Are You Self Sabotaging Your Singing Ability?
With so many different terms and techniques out there - it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused as a singer; and even easier to self sabotage your singing ability with this overload of information and even excuses for why you're not singing at your best rather than working towards a better voice.
I say this with the greatest respect and understanding of where you're at - because this is exactly what I used to do as an amateur singer.
Now, I say "amateur" because I wasn't exactly a beginner by this point. I recently detailed how I spent over $15,000 on singing lessons over the span of ten years while seeing very little progress.
And do you want to know the reason why I wasn't getting any better?
I was self sabotaging my voice.
One of the biggest ways I was sabotaging my voice was with the desire to 'avoid head voice'. I loved how easy and resonant it was to sing in chest voice up to a C4 and I just hated that flip into head voice and how girly it sounded when I sang in falsetto. With my limited understanding of how the voice worked at the time, it 'made sense' to me to try to take chest voice higher and higher to get a better tone and fuller voice; obviously experiencing strain and tension and ultimately putting my voice at risk.
You'll see that my issue was actually linked directly to my belief that chest voice was "good" and head voice was "bad" - and the intention of taking chest voice as high as I could in a muscular sense. This lead me to push, yell and pull chest voice constantly - and see very little progress as a singer as I shouted and yelled more and more out of pure frustration and poor technique.
I see this almost every day as a voice coach - singers who cause and exacerbate their own issues because of something they saw on YouTube or something they 'think' their favourite singer is doing.
A great example of this was my initial desire (and inability) to sing like Chris Cornell many years ago. He had SUCH a powerful voice - so OBVIOUSLY he had learned how to sing those crazy high notes in chest voice instead of head voice, right? It's clear now that this style of singing is relatively easy for me that Chris actually drops most of the weight from his voice, and many of those powerful notes and even full songs are actually very well developed head voice - not pushed chest voice like I thought for many years.
Instead of building my voice naturally and 'discovering' my resonance, I was trying to do something that wasn't physically possible, nor what my favourite singers were really doing - but this is what I thought I 'heard' them doing and hence I spent many years self sabotaging with the intention of singing high notes in chest voice instead of developed mixed tonality and forming my vowels properly - both very important elements of The Four Vocal Fundamentals.
If I could go back in time to those years of pushing and straining, I'd tell myself to learn just four simple things;
- Height In The Vocal Tract
- Forward Placement
- Mixed Tonality
- "All In One Flow"
These four key elements are known as The Four Vocal Fundamentals - and really are the secret to building an incredible singing voice. Here's a great tutorial on mastering The Four Vocal Fundamentals;
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Learning how to sing can be frustrating and complicated - but it doesn't have to be! You might be surprised to learn that EVERY single vocal technique, tip and concept out there relates directly to The Four Vocal Fundamentals. Height In The Vocal Tract | Forward Placement | All In One Flow | Mixed Tonality By mastering these four simple basics you can build a spectacular voice without falling into the deep dark well of endless YouTube videos and confusing terms that have 100 different meanings, or 100 different terms that mean exactly the same thing. Keep it simple and remember - "Less Clicking - More Singing!" https://bohemianvocalstudio.com/get-better-at-singing-fast-with-the-four-vocal-fundamentals #voicecoach #vocalcoach #howtosing #singingteacher #singingcoach #originalmusic #rocksinging #singinglessons #rocksinging
Mastering these four basics will help you identify any self sabotaging behaviours and habits that might be holding you back as a singer - and they actually apply right from the beginning stages of learning how to sing right through to becoming a powerhouse professional singer; all the greatest singers from Aretha Franklin to Chris Cornell to Myles Kennedy to Ray Charles have mastered The Four Vocal Fundamentals in various ways to create the voices they are known so well for.
The next time you're having trouble singing a song or you're not sure how to approach a vocal line, instead of focusing on stylistic elements like vocal runs or distortion - instead ask yourself these four simple questions first;
- Am I singing with height in the vocal tract?
- Is my tone forward?
- Am I singing "All in one flow"?
- Is my tone mixed?
If you're struggling, then you would have answered "no" to one (or all!) of these basic vocal fundamentals; because every great voice out there features these four important fundamentals.
Top shelf sing-ninja wisdom! All kinds of awesome.
Kegan is a great teacher with a huge knowledge and talent - If you want to sing rock at the highest level choose BVS!
Kegan is the master of vocal training... period.
Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals
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Do You Have What It Takes
Over those many years of self sabotage, I wish someone could have just TOLD me whether I really had what it takes to be a better singer - or even how I should have been spending my time to see more progress.
... And now it's possible!
This vocal improvement quiz will estimate your exact potential for improvement as a singer. Best of all it's quick, super accurate and most singers are totally SHOCKED at the results!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.