Improve Your Vocal Tone and Articulation

Improve Your Vocal Tone and Articulation

If you were to listen to your top three favourite singers side by side - you would notice that while singing is easy and effortless for them; they all perform with a variety of vocal colours, tones, timbres and styles.

When it comes to vocal tone, there really is no such thing as "one size fits all" - especially considering how unique our vocal instruments are.

But how do you learn to sing with the right tone and articulation?

Learning to develop articulation as a singer is an incredibly important skill - otherwise you'll just sound like you're slurring between vowel sounds, or sound excessively classical and operatic even when you're trying to sing rock or pop.

The key here is actually to develop the most OPEN vowel that you possibly can, then learn to articulate as a secondary to the vowel, instead of prioritising speech sounds over your resonant vowel.

How To Sing An Open Vowel

What IS an open vowel?

If you've been through a few YouTube singing videos before, you've probably got a head full of singing terms and concepts - and probably even less understanding of how to achieve them than before you hit the play button in the first place.

One of the terms you might have come across is "covering", "vocal cover" or even the term "vocal protection".

What does covering the vowel really mean?

When it comes to singing, speech sounds and sung vowel sounds are actually two different kettle of fish - where a speech sound occurs in your mouth, an "open" or "covered" vowel occurs in the pharynx at the back of the head as you raise up the soft palate to modify your resonant overtone (clear as mud, right?)

A super simple way to learn the first overtone change in your voice (there's generally four resonant overtones per vowel sound when you sing) is to subtly alter the character of each of your vowel sounds;

  • AH to AW (hard to hawed)
  • AY to EH (hey to yeah)

Now, don't "pronounce" these sounds like you would in speech, just let the resonant character of the vowel change a touch as you aim for the back of your head with the vowel and you'll notice an instant increase in range and ease in your singing.

Now, learning all four vowel changes takes time and practice - but with a little perseverance and training, you'll be nailing your high range with ease and ready to articulate your sounds like a pro.

Vocal Tone and Articulation Examples

Many of my favourite singers have achieved a balance of open, resonant singing with a touch of stylistic articulation - from Layne Staley to Bon Jovi, Aretha Franklin to Adele; by first developing a powerful foundation and the right technique, these stylistic choices and all the "cool stuff" in singing becomes easy and effortless.

I've started releasing vocal covers on the BVS vocal channel along with "what I learned" tutorial videos to help you develop GREAT singing technique while also learning the finer points of vocal articulation;

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The Key To Great Singing

When it comes to excellent Open Throat Singing Technique and the finesse it takes to articulate correctly for a great vocal tone - the key is really a strong foundation.

When it comes to a strong vocal foundation, there is nothing stronger, more effective, more powerful or simpler than The Four Vocal Fundamentals;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality

If I could go back in time to meet myself as a beginner singer almost 20 years ago and give myself just ONE piece of advice for improving my singing (and avoiding so many years of wasted time, effort and heartache!), it would be to develop my foundation as a singer with The Four Vocal Fundamentals above all else.

After all, every single great singer out there from Aretha Franklin to Myles Kennedy, to Scott Weiland and Adele has mastered The Four Vocal Fundamentals and learned to articulate with ease.

Isn't it time you mastered The Four Vocal Fundamentals?

Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals

With the Foundation 101 Singing Course

The #1 Professional Singer’s Secret to Singing Success

The #1 Professional Singer's Secret to Singing Success

I remember taking my first few singing lessons - lip trills after lip trills when I just wanted to know the SECRET to great singing.

But what exactly IS the #1 Singer's Secret to Singing Success?

It's a little more complicated that just one single secret - in fact, great singing really isn't a secret at all; but I'm going to keep this as simple and practical as I can and show you the number one thing that absolutely changed EVERYTHING for me as a singer going from those first few singing lessons getting bored with vocal scales and drills to now having enjoyed a decade-long career as a professional singer.

If I had to pick just ONE thing that is going to turn the tides for you as a singer, I first need to know what's going on with your voice, so let me give you one tip for each of these senarios.

#1 - You're Straining and Struggling

The pros make it look so damn EASY, right? So why is singing such a struggle and strain?

The truth is, it's likely much of your strain and tension actually comes from excess work - it's not that you need a 'special secret' to sing better, you in fact need to do LESS so that all that muscular strain and tension is never engaged to begin with.

My #1 secret to helping my own students achieve singing success it to help them discover and develop Mixed Voice.

Mixed voice itself is actually a completely natural aspect of your vocal mechanism - in fact, so natural that many vocal methods out there just completely skip over this important concept because "it's OBVIOUS that you should sing with mixed voice", when in fact for many of us who aren't necessarily natural singers to begin with - our singing voices are anything BUT mixed.

Mixed voice in a physical sense occurs when you develop a balance and coordination between the TA and CT muscles to create a fluid connection between chest and head voice. Ergo, if you're trying to take chest voice as high as possible, and thwarting this natural balance in your voice - you're probably experiencing an unholy amount of strain and tension.

Am I right?

If you're experiencing strain and tension, there's no amount of vocal exercises or 'tricks' that are going to help you unless you first start using mixed voice.

It's easy, let me show you how to find mixed voice in this exclusive lesson (it's free!)

Find Your Mixed Voice

In This Exclusive Free Lesson

Scenario #2 - You're Not Sure Where To Start

This is surprisingly common, especially in today's "information overload" age.

Have you watched so many YouTube videos that your head is just spinning and spinning?

Do you actually feel like a WORSE singer after watching some guy belt the crap out of a vocal cover on YouTube and then tell you the answer to all your problems is some crazy term like Open Throat, or Appoggio, or Cry - and you have NO idea what they're talking about??

Trust me - I felt the same for a very long time.

The truth is, there's actually only ONE thing you have to do to start learning how to sing; Learn The Four Vocal Fundamentals.

That's right, it's not some crazy vocal method with 20 modules and 7 types of onsets and 9 types of cry and sob coordination - but just FOUR things you can learn right not to help you sing better;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality

Actually, we've already talked about mixed voice - so there's actually on THREE more things that you need to do to start singing better today. Here's a freebie to help you master the four vocal fundamentals;

Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals

With the Foundation 101 Singing Course

Scenario #2 - Your low range is fine; but you have no high range

This one was me in a nutshell - or at least, I "thought" my low range was fine.

Surprisingly enough, extending your high range is all about your vowels - learning to open the vowel into the pharynx to create Height In The Vocal Tract (Yes - the first of our Four Vocal Fundamentals!)

This is actually where the term "Open Throat Singing Technique" comes from - the "open" really refers to the soft palate raising up into the pharynx, and "throat" really refers to your resonant space rather than the 'throat' space in your neck like you might think.

Open Throat singing is actually SUPER easy to achieve, so lets do it:

Master Open Throat Technique

With the Foundation 101 Singing Course

The Ultimate Singing Success Program

I've been exactly where you are - looking for the next method, the next secret, the next 'advanced technique' that was going to help me with my strain and tension, my lack of high range and ultimately the issues I faced as a lower voiced singer.

But the secret wasn't some crazy technique like vocal modes or compression - it was really building a rock solid foundation for my voice with The Four Vocal Fundamentals we just spoke about.

By singing with a raised soft palate, I was able to achieve "vocal cover" in my vowels to achieve a powerful but effortless singing voice - some people even call this "vocal protection" - which is pretty indicative of what an open vowel approach will do for you as a singer; protect you from strain, tension and vocal harm while increasing your range and improving your voice in every way imaginable.

With this in mind, I've designed the vocal program that I wish that I had been given when I was first learning how to sing;

No overcomplication, no excessive 'vocal science' copied directly from medical wikipedia pages, metaphors kept to a minimum with practical examples, concepts and exercises in their place and ultimately the most simple but effective vocal method for singing success I've been able to design with 20 years singing experience and also a decade of professional coaching expertise of my own under my belt - the Foundation and Growth 101 singing courses.

The Foundation 101 singing course really is a unique take on learning how to sing - with a focus on practical singing ability and concepts you can apply right now instead of esoteric ideas like curbing and edge that really do very little to help you sing better, and really just confuse what should be a simple and natural process for your voice.

I've designed Foundation 101 with the express intention of being the #1 Vocal Program for Singing Success - all killer and no filler.

If you're sick of the BS and just want to SING better, then it's time to develop a killer vocal foundation with the Foundation 101 singing course.

Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals

With the Foundation 101 Singing Course

How To Sing Like Bobby Liebling of Pentagram

How To Sing Like Bobby Liebling of Pentagram

I still remember the first time I heard the crushing intro riff of Sing Of The Wolf from Pentagram's first official release, "Relentless". Catchy, Crunchy, Deep, Dark and oh my god... that voice!

Hearing such heavy music with clear, crisp, multi-layered clean singing was just such a breath of fresh air in the 90's when everyone else seemed to get be getting more aggressive and further and further away from 'real' singing - and I've been a lifelong Pentagram fan since.

At my vocal studio I get asked about all kinds of singers, mainly the 'big' singers like Jon Bon Jovi, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Adele and also a bunch of pop stuff I have to admit I just don't enjoy - so I decided it was high time that I started sharing the singers that I loved and doing vocal tutorials and illustrative covers from the artists and bands that truly led me to my career as a professional singer.

Let me start by sharing this cover of Broken Vows from 1987's Day of Reckoning, and then we'll talk about what I learned from the process of putting the cover together for the BVS vocal channel and how you can apply some of these concepts and some of that classic 'Bobby style into your own singing.

 

 

The Three Things I Learned From This Cover

Before doing this Pentagram cover, I went back and listened to all of my old Pentagram albums and a bunch of the original 70's stuff that sadly never made it to an official release - Lazy Lady, Walk In The Blue Light, Starlady and so many other incredible songs that were lost in time for so many years.

From this massive listening session, I realised one very stark reality about why I loved Bobby Liebling's singing so much - it wasn't about the range, or the distortion, or the vocal pyrotechnics.

Almost all of Bobby's singing is absolutely clean, clear and sung without distortion or aggression.

That's right - you might think that this isn't such a great thing when it comes to such incredibly heavy and crushing songs; but there's just something spine tingling about the way Bobby repeats "Live Free and Burn... Now You're Gonna Learn" in Live Free and Burn, or that catchy refrain in Sign of the Wolf "And I don't know how but it's happening to me"

I realise why after all these years I just go NUTS for heavy music with great, clean, melodic singing that doesn't delve into power-metal theatrics - this was exactly what I wanted to do when I was a beginner singer, before becoming obsessed with range, and compression and vowel modification; sing with flair, personality and power.

Let me share with you the three things that I learned from singing this Pentagram cover;

#1 - Bobby Sings absolutely clean over these brutally crushing riffs

#2 - He ducks the consonant sounds in SUCH a sinister way unlike any other singer

#3 - He was a master of doubling the vocal track on Pentagram albums

How I Learned To Sing Like Bobby Liebling

Alright, you've checked out the cover and the vocal tutorial - you've listed your OWN three things that you love about uncle Bobby's incredible voice; and you want to get started learning how to sing.

Let me tell you exactly how I've been able to develop the stylistic choices and ability that allows me to sing Pentagram songs with ease, while also still sounding "like me" - you'll notice from my other covers and vocal tutorials that I'm also able to do the same thing with Layne Staley, Jon Bon Jovi, Mark Lanegan and so many others at the same time without being 'stuck' singing in one style.

You might also notice from quite a few of my videos, in particular the Mark Lanegan cover I released recently where I'm singing down to a B1 that I'm actually a baritone with quite a low voice naturally.

Do you want to know how I built the strong foundation that allows me to make so many stylistic choices with ease?

The Four Vocal Fundamentals.

That's right - it's not some fancy schmancy vocal mode, or belting, or vowel modification; just these four simple but powerful vocal fundamentals;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality

By raising the soft palate to create Height In The Vocal Tract, singing up into the bones of the face to create Forward Placement, balancing your air/compression/support to sing "All In One Flow" while aiming for a balanced and Mixed Tonality - you really do open up a world of vocal range, stylistic choice and just an unearthly amount of power and high notes in your singing voice.

And with these powerful fundamentals comes the ability to make all kinds of cool choices - not just to sing one classical vowel while sounding like an Opera singer.

For me personally, The Four Vocal Fundamentals have been an absolutely life changing experience.

Aren't you excited to see how much they're going to improve your singing voice too?

Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals

With the Foundation 101 Singing Course

Can Anyone Learn To Sing? [The Answer is Frustrating]

Can Anyone Learn To Sing? [The Answer is Frustrating]

There's so many 'natural' singers out there who didn't take singing lessons, but have a massive vocal range and have enjoyed a professional career that it's easy to think that not everyone can be a great singer - Freddie Mercury, Adele, Paul Rodgers, Ray Charles; these amazing singers obviously all naturally held "the gift" of singing that the rest of us only dream of.

So with this in mind - Can Anyone Learn To Sing?

I guess there's really two sides to this coin, as I've actually stood firmly in both camps at various points in my life - someone who was an awful singer, and now as someone enjoys a career as a professional singer.

If you look at my story personally, then it's obvious that if a guy like me who strained and struggled for so many years could finally turn the corner and build a pro voice (to the point that my booking calendar as a voice coach is now booked out weeks and weeks in advance), then absolutely ANYONE can build a great voice with time, practice and...

...here's where the answer to the simple question - can anyone learn how to sing, becomes really frustrating;

The Right Approach.

I say this, because I actually took singing lessons for over ten years myself, and actually spent over $15,000 on courses, books and lessons over this time while seeing very little improvement in my singing - if I had just given up at this point, then the answer to the question would have seemed like an obvious NO.

But I didn't give up - I started singing SMARTER instead of HARDER.

Obviously, what I was doing wasn't working for me - exercises after exercises, drills after drills. So, I started questioning EVERYTHING I was shown, every new piece of information I came across, every new technique or tip that was supposedly going to change my life as a singer or be the answer to my prayers - If I didn't understand it, then I didn't waste my time with it.

I recently detailed in this exclusive singing lesson just how lucky I was to find a singing teacher who took my goals seriously - not just their own safe classical singing, but my own desires to sing rock with POWER and INTENSITY and FREEDOM.

Practicing lip trills all day for the years prior to this life changing experience really yielded little, if any results at all - but just a few short weeks of practicing Lip Trills with the right intention, and with the express goal of developing mixed voice absolutely changed my life as a singer who struggled for years with strain and tension.

So with the previous ineffective approach to singing - there was no way I was ever going to be a great singer.

But with this simple approach to the fundamentals of singing - it has facilitated my ability and goal to become a professional singer.

Can you see what I'm getting at?

Technically - anyone can learn how to sing. But, the answer to the question "can anyone learn how to be a great singer" is really fraught with so many variables such as the approach they choose, their dedication and attitude to learning, self accountability among others really makes it a slipperly slope where you could potentially spend YEARS practicing exercises and concepts in the wrong way and thwarting your own progress - or, you could really focus on the base fundamentals and see outstanding progress with a little work and dedication.

How to REALLY Sing Better

If I had to choose just one thing I could tell my 20 year old self about how to sing better, it would really be to focus on my Foundation - in particular, The Four Vocal Fundamentals;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality

If I had focused all those years I tried trying to sing with "Cry" and "Edge" and instead focused on my fundamentals by way of The Four Vocal Fundamentals - I would have seen an incredible amount of progress.

The Four Vocal Fundamentals really are life changing for any singer who applies themselves to this simple but POWERFUL approach:

Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals

With the Foundation 101 singing course

Exclusive Mixed Voice Lesson

Got Big Dreams? Build a BIG Voice with Mixed Voice.

(It's Fast, Easy and Effective - Just Watch Below!)

 

Watch this video all the way through to learn how I built a SERIOUSLY big voice - and how you're going to build one too!

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Add your details here to receive your FREE 3-part Mixed Voice Vocal Plan!

Develop Mixed Voice with the Foundation and Growth courses - and a Skype Session.

$180 $98

Get started with the Foundation 101 Course

$300 $150

Get started with the Foundation 101 Course & a personalised coaching session with Kegan.

$340 $199

Get serious with your singing by purchasing both courses.

$460 $230

Take your singing to the NEXT LEVEL with both courses and a personalised coaching session.

My progress has been pretty epic!

Will

Kegan is a great teacher with a huge knowledge and talent - If you want to sing rock at the highest level choose BVS!

Piotr

Foundation 101 is AMAZING!

Daniel

See what others are saying!

A little about my own journey (and struggles) as a singer

Hi, I'm Kegan from Bohemian Vocal Studio (we just met in the video above!) If you're experiencing vocal strain, a lack of high range or you've been struggling to find your mix voice, I totally understand your frustration. For way too many years I also struggled with strain and tension, fought against my naturally low voice, lacked high range, hated my tone and chased after that elusive 'mixed voice' sound until I finally discovered the right way to develop my vocal foundation. Learning how to sing better doesn't have to be difficult - you just have to sing smarter, not harder! 

If I could go back in time to when I first started learning how to sing and give my younger self just one piece of powerhouse singing advice, it would have to be - Focus on The Four Vocal Fundamentals;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality <- (this is what we learned in the video above!)

The Four Vocal Fundamentals serve as a bullet-proof roadmap for building your voice - and you can identify these fundamentals yourself in EVERY great singer's voice, from Aretha Franklin, Bon Jovi, Layne Staley, Adele, Myles Kennedy and countless other classic singers with a killer range and effortless approach.

 

Ready To Fix Your Mix?

Each of the vocal elements required to build a powerful and impressive voice are covered in depth in my Foundation 101 singing course, which I'm super pleased to offer to you at an exclusive discount at a fraction of the usual cost to other singers to ensure that you have the same specialised skills and techniques that I've developed over the past 20 years of singing and past decade of coaching professionally so that you can learn to sing with the same freedom and enjoy the continual progress that this approach has afforded me. The Foundation 101 course will help you;

  • Connect chest and head voice into one fluid range
  • Create mixed resonance
  • Form your vowels properly
  • Balance your vocal onset for consistency and power
  • Place your frequencies for more efficient resonance
  • Warm up your voice effectively
  • Manage your breathing
  • Develop your voice with over 60 minutes of tutorial videos and warmups
  • SO much more!

Foundation 101 Singing Course

Are you ready to take your voice to the next level with a vocal method designed specifically with your voice in mind that will allow you to overcome the unique challenges you face while learning to sing? My foundation 101 singing course is going to change your life by showing you how to sing effective vocal onsets, achieve mix voice, form your vowels properly, support your voice and SO much more!

What You're About To Learn

Foundation 101 is designed around the principles of The Four Vocal Fundamentals; in particular how to develop a balanced and strong foundation for your voice so that you will see continued progress in your singing as you develop and build each concept.

The Four Vocal Fundamentals are as follows;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality
  • Forward Placement

The course builds on these four fundamental setup steps to help you connect chest and head voice while creating mixed resonance and a strain free tone through your full range.

Divided into three easy-to-follow stages; The Informative, The Setup and The Practical - Foundation 101 really is one of the most well organised, easy to follow and practical vocal courses available and has continued to receive rave reviews from singers of all walks of life including many other singing teachers looking to better their technique and teaching approach.

If you're serious about improving your voice and can't wait to get started - you can click the link above to purchase the course and get started building a better voice right now.

This is what YOU'RE about to learn!

Choose how much progress you'd like to make as a singer

$180 $98

Get started with the Foundation 101 Course

$300 $150

Get started with the Foundation 101 Course & a personalised coaching session with Kegan.

$340 $199

Get serious with your singing by purchasing both courses.

$460 $230

Take your singing to the NEXT LEVEL with both courses and a personalised coaching session.

An introduction to The Four Vocal Fundamentals

 

 

 

 

A great introduction to The Four Vocal Fundamentals that you'll master in the Foundation & Growth Courses.

6 Tips On How To Sing Higher Notes

6 Tips On How To Sing Higher Notes

Today is going to be fun.

Do you know WHY it's going to be fun?

It's going to be fun because I'm going to show you how to sing a higher note - actually, how to sing a LOT of higher notes!

There's many facets to being a good singer, from tone, to style, to consistency - but when it comes down to it, we all want to learn how to sing higher notes, right? In most cases, our favourite singers are our favourites because they're capable of singing high notes in a way that seems impossible for mere mortals like you and I - but there's 6 things your favourite singers are doing when they are singing higher notes that if you apply in your own singing today, I guarantee that with some practice you will absolutely be able to sing higher notes with ease!

How To Sing A High Note

Are you excited to sing higher notes with ease? I know I'm excited to help you get there, so lets get started with 6 Tips for Singing Higher Notes!

  1. Open the Vowel

Have you noticed that your favourite singers seem to sing their high notes a little strange? They sound fantastic and all, but the way they sing their higher notes just sounds 'different' to their speaking range?

This is because they're "Opening The Vowel" - and what this really means is that the speech formant of the vowel has changed into a secondary overtone as they raise the soft palate and allow their voice to form a Pharyngeal Vowel - basically, a vowel that sits in the back of the head in the space where the soft palate raises into the pharynx rather than a speechy "mouth vowel".

Try it in your mid range going up a major scale on a sustained Laaaaaaaaah (for guys say from a G3 up the major scale to the D4, and girls around an octave up). You'll notice that if you're just singing the AH sound like the word "hard", that something needs to switch and change up like a gear needing to shift as your revs get to high - this is the point where you need to do three simple things;

  • Lower the jaw
  • Allow the resonant character of the vowel to take over (in this case, AW instead of AH)
  • Raise the soft palate

Now try it again with this in mind - the AH vowel shifts into a subtle AW like a slack-jacked Hawed instead of Hard.

This makes it much easier to ascend with ease, and without constriction right? 

I told you today was going to be fun - you're now well on your way to singing higher notes with ease.

This subtle change in the vowel is sometimes called Vowel Modification - and it's a key aspect of the Foundation and Growth 101 singing courses here at Bohemian Vocal Studio.

2. Place Your Resonance

Placing your voice "in the masque" is the best way to release any tension from your throat, especially as you're starting to sing higher notes.

Placement ultimately refers to the bright "singer's formant" that occurs when you resonate within the bones of the face instead of trying to make sound in the softer parts of your vocal tract.

This one is super easy, so easy that I'll show you exactly how to place your voice right now in this simple but effective lesson:

You'll notice that it's much easier to sing, and also that your voice is a lot more powerful and effortless when you're singing with this bright, forward sound - but just remember, forward placement is a bright and pleasant sound, not an ugly nasal sound; if you're just getting nasality, then it's likely you're a little imbalanced within your vowel, or perhaps you're singing with the velar-port open to airflow through the nose.

Need some help with placement? Book a session with me using the button below:

Book a Skype Session with Kegan

Master vocal placement and Open Vowels

3. Don't Look Up or "Lift Off" when you sing higher notes

I'm dead serious - this is one of the most common, but simplest issues you'll find as a singer trying to sing high notes; looking towards the sky when you sing those high notes has a detrimental effect on your voice in many ways, from effecting your posture, effecting the path of your resonance and ultimately making you 'reach' for high notes instead of singing a well supported and relaxed resonant tone.

You might also find other little ticks in your singing technique when you're going for those high notes - like 'lifting off' with your feet, or clenching your fists, or locking your jaw.

Remember, great singing is controlled, relaxed and resonant - you don't need to clench, clamp or grunt when you sing high notes.

4. Perfect Practice

You know the old adage "practice makes perfect" right? Well, when it comes to singing, it's really "PERFECT practice makes perfect".

If you spend an hour yelling an A4 - you're obviously still going to suck at singing high notes after your practice session, and you're not doing your vocal health any favours either.

The idea that you need to just "support" and "lean into" the high note when you're learning is ultimately flawed - my students are always surprised at just how light, bright, gentle and resonant I get them to practice an exercise; only to notice their high notes appear quickly and with ease.

Ultimately, your voice is like a house being built - you can't just plonk a roof on the ground and then try to lift it over your head when it rains; you need to build that concrete foundation first and develop your 'vocal house' brick by brick until it's time to sing those high notes.

Practice "perfectly" without strain and tension, without cracking and breaking - and with some patience, time and practice you will be singing high notes with ease.

5. Support Your Voice

A better way to phrase "diaphragmatic support" is really "rely on your breathing" - when you sing a high note, make sure you're engaging the mid section while also allowing a slow but steady stream of air to vibrate your folds; almost like a leaky tyre - pressurised but slow.

You can even practice this motion by laying on the floor and doing a sit-up as you ascend along a scale or sing a phrase with a high note at the end. When you get to the high note, perform the sit-up and notice just how easily that high note flows out.

Now, most people will look at this simple exercise and think "Eureka - the key is to clench my abs!" - but the real reason this simple exercise illustrates diaphragmatic support so well is because of the way you engage your diaphragm any time you need a strong core; so really, diaphragmatic support is simply creating a solid but flexible mid section that allows a small amount of highly pressurised air to pass the vocal folds.

6. Practice Without Words or Consonants

When you feel you're really starting to nail the first five points on this list, you can start practicing vocal phrases in a stronger, fuller voice - but start out by doing so without any consonant sounds or really and 'words' other than your base vowel sounds;

  • AH/AA/OH
  • EE/AY/OU

This will really help you get a grip on the idea that "words" don't really exist in singing - and it's all about the pure vowel sounds.

 

What Do These 6 Tips Have In Common?

If you've been following my lessons here for a while, or you're subscribed to the BVS YouTube Channel - you've probably noticed from my teachings that these 6 simple but powerful vocal tips actually have one important thing in common;

The Four Vocal Fundamentals

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality

That's right, each of these 6 steps relates directly to each of the Four Vocal Fundamentals - diaphragmatic support is an extension of singing "All In One Flow", open vowels are a product of Height In The Vocal Tract and building strength and dexterity through the mid section of your voice with care, practice and perseverance results in Mixed Tonality.

In fact, you can boil down just about ANY vocal issue, singing technique, concept, term or trick into one of these four fundamentals.

If you're ready to sing higher notes with ease, then you're ready to master The Four Vocal Fundamentals.

 

Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals

With the Foundation 101 Singing Course

How To Sing Well [Even If You’re Not a Natural]

How To Sing Well [Even If You're Not a Natural]

Learning how to sing is like love and war.

I can tell you personally from my own 10+ years as a professional vocal coach, and nearly 20 years of experience training my own singing voice, that singing really is a true joy - sometimes you feel such genuine elation at even the slightest hint of progress, from a higher note through to nailing a song that you previously couldn't even touch; and then other times you really feel like it's all too hard and you just want to give up, even on the basics.

You love singing, and you're obsessed with becoming a better singer - but sometimes it feels like you're fighting a battle with your own body just to make the slightest sound.

Does this sound familiar to you?

I also felt the same wishy-washy "back and forth" between I love singing and I suck at singing for a very long time - until I learned what I'm about to share with you.

... And no, it's not a "secret" or some fancy Italian word or marketing term.

It's just the truth about how I learned to sing and persevere through years of struggle to build a formidable vocal range and become a well respected singer.

In fact, things have changed SO much for me as a singer since learning this simple process that I even get likened to my own favourite singers like Chris Cornell, Layne Staley and James Hetfield - and that's for my own original music, not just vocal covers! I don't even put myself out there as a guy who can sing like Layne, or Chris; but it's immediately obvious with the range I've built, the tone I enjoy and also my personal vocal style.

So what exactly changed for me as a singer that showed me how to sing well, even though I wasn't a natural to begin with?

Was it Mixed Voice? Head Voice? Compression? Twang? Laryngeal Tilt? Cry?

Actually, it was all of the above - combined in one neat little package called Foundation.

Improve Your Singing With Vocal Foundation

Learning any skill requires a 'foundation' understanding and set of tools that allow you to develop a skill.

To learn to write you first must learn the alphabet, and how to hold a pencil and understand basic grammar.

To ride a bike you must first have balance... and a bicycle.

To paint well you must have a canvas, and a palette of paints, and a brush, and an understanding of form, function, colour and construction.

To cook a great meal you need all the ingredients, right utensils and a great recipe.

And when it comes to singing, well, you need a great Foundation in much the same way as each of the above skills.

But what exactly is a great foundation when it comes to singing? 

Foundation in singing is a working knowledge and basic ability to use each aspect of your vocal mechanism, from the diaphragm (support), to the epiglottis (twang), to the vocal folds (adduction), the TA and CT muscles (mixed voice) and so forth.

By first developing use of each of these vocal aspects, along with each facet of a great voice from vowels to resonance, onsets and range - you are setting yourself up for lifelong progress as a singer. That's right, I said lifelong - I'm approaching 40 myself, and I've been doing this seriously for 20 years; and my range has just grown and grown and grown like crazy to a point where I'm kindof questioning "where to from here???"

Wouldn't it be amazing if your biggest struggle as a singer was to wonder exactly what you're going to DO with all this crazy range and power?

If I can be honest - it's pretty cool.

But it's not about me, it's really about YOU - and the kind of voice you can build by developing that same rock solid foundation for your voice that I built long ago that has stayed with me through the years and allowed me to reach many of my dreams as a singer.

Learn To Sing In Mixed Voice

In This Exclusive Lesson

The Four Vocal Fundamentals

When it comes to singing, if I had to pick just FOUR things that serve as your palette of paints, your understanding of grammar, your cooking utensils and ultimately your recipe book, it would be The Four Vocal Fundamentals;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality

EVERY single concept, technique and term out there from Vowel Modification to Masque, Compression to Cry relates directly to one of these four simple fundamentals.

How To Learn The Fundamentals

Obviously, if you're serious about mastering the vocal fundamentals right now - you'll book a Skype session with me or lock in the Foundation 101 singing course; but I'm not here to do a hard sell on truths you probably already know.

Instead, let me show you exactly how to get started with your very first vocal fundamental by showing you how to sing in mixed voice by connecting Chest and Head Voice into one long, fluid, connected note from your lowest pitch to your highest note in this simple but effective vocal tutorial - How To Sing In Mixed Voice.

For me personally, Mixed Voice was actually one of the LAST things that I learned as a developing singer - but it really was one of the keys to building the kind of range, tone and power I now enjoy. So instead of making you wait days, weeks, months or years to find your mixed voice - lets start your journey towards becoming a better singer by learning to sing in Mixed Voice right now.

Seriously, connecting chest and head voice really IS the most important thing you'll ever learn to do as a singer - because so many other concepts and techniques out there are based off your existing ability to connect your registers.

When it comes to rock sing in particular, Mixed Voice is king.

Learn To Sing In Mixed Voice

In This Exclusive Lesson

Singing Lessons Beginners <- Get Started Singing Today!

Singing Lessons For Beginners

One of the biggest hurdles many beginner singers face is pulling the trigger on their very first singing lesson - but with these singing lessons for beginners you can become a pro singer very quickly!

I actually remember my own first singing lesson - showing up at the front door of a local guy who offered 'professional singing lessons' only to be met by barking dogs, his annoyed wife, his screaming kids and then half way through the lesson his neighbour mowing the lawn right outside the window.

Suffice to say my first experience learning how to sing wasn't a positive one - let alone fun, professional or really useful in any way at all.

At this point I just wanted to give up - have you ever just wanted to give up on your dreams?

After my first singing lesson - this is exactly how I felt.

Instead of letting this dodgy first singing lesson scare me away from achieving my goals and pursuing my dream of becoming a professional singer - I jumped back on the horse by buying every course, book and resource I could find on the art of singing, and really taught myself the basics of singing, and putting myself in the position where I could approach more advanced singing teachers for help with the 'next level' techniques I needed to improve my actual singing.

What I'd love to do is save you the exact same heartache of taking your first singing lesson by giving you one of the absolute best singing lessons beginners could hope for, while setting you up for a lifetime of BETTER singing and a healthy voice.

How To Start Singing

I'm often asked by my own singing students exactly how I myself started singing and most important - what was the first thing I learned as a singer.

Without the slightest hesitation, I will tell you that the very first thing you need to learn as a singer is PLACEMENT.

Placement itself is really just efficient use of your vocal resonators - the oral, the pharyngeal and the nasal resonators to be exact. With the intention of "placing" your voice in the central resonator by singing "forward" with a bright and natural vocal tone - you'll notice any vocal tension melt away instantly, your range increase and your power and volume increase in spades.

Let me show you how to sing with vocal placement;

As you can see, learning how to sing is SUPER easy when you have a straightforward and streamlined approach to singing - without all the outdated classical terms and confusing M1, M2, F1, F2 labelling of registers and overtones that you'll find in many vocal methods out there - learning how to sing is not only easy, it should also be fun, exciting and rewarding too!

If you're not having fun, then you're  simply not going to learn anything.

By developing forward placement in this way, you'll be able to GROW your voice in many ways like increasing your range, improving your tone and ultimately becoming a better singer in every way.

When it comes to contemporary singing like rock and pop - forward placement really is King.

Master Vocal Placement

With the Foundation 101 Singing Course

Learning How To Sing - The Basics

Over many years of experience coaching others to sing better, I've discovered something rather remarkable in the learning process of my students - every single concept, technique and term out there actually relates directly to one of these four fundamentals;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality

That's right - all of those technical and complicated terms and techniques you see on YouTube are simply an extension of each one of these four Vocal Fundamentals.

For example, Vowel Modification occurs when you alter the vowel overtone (sometimes known as a formant) by altering the size and shape of the vocal tract by raising the soft palate - resulting in Height In The Vocal Tract.

Another great example is terms like Masque and even those annoying NAY NAY NAY exercises - these are all just ways to help you develop Forward Placement and you saw just how easy it can be to develop techniques like forward placement in the video above!

In fact, The Four Vocal Fundamentals have changed my own voice in SUCH an incredible way that I've designed my whole coaching approach around these four simple but effective basics:

Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals

With the Foundation 101 Singing Course

How To Sing Like John Bush [of Armored Saint and Anthrax]

How To Sing Like John Bush [of Armored Saint and Anthrax]

I'll go right ahead and say I'm a bigger fan of Armored Saint than I am of Anthrax with John Bush (I'm more of a Belladonna guy!), but John's voice has always been larger than life to me - and I've played the Symbol of Salvation album so much that it barely works on my turntable anymore; I especially loved the song Last Train Home, in particular John Bush's incredible and effortless vocal performance on what is likely their biggest hit.

His voice is huge, powerful, distorted, effortless and resonance all at the same time - so how exactly do you learn to sing like John Bush?

I recently recorded a cover of Last Train home with the intent of putting together this tutorial on How To Sing Like John Bush for you - so you can check out the cover below or scroll down a little further for the true dirt on how to sing like John with a powerful but controlled vocal tone that is gnarly but effortless at the same time.

John Bush Vocal Technique

So what exactly did I learn while doing this Armored Saint vocal cover? Well, for starters - John Bush really is an INCREDIBLE singer; even recent live recordings of John in his late 50's display the same effortless but powerful delivery he was so well known for, with little if any decline in has ability or health as a singer.

Why hasn't John lost his voice like so many other sings that went for the same powerful, distorted tone?

The reason why John's voice hasn't lost it's edge is the 'open' way that he sings his vowel sounds as well as the sensible way that he approaches distortion and intensity in his tone. So let's first talk about the open vowels and get you on your own way to singing with such a powerful but healthy voice;

How To Sing Open Vowels

What exactly is an "open" vowel anyway, and what is "Open Throat Singing Technique"? The "Throat" portion of Open Throat Singing really refers to the vowel opening up into the Pharynx at the back of the head/top of the throat by way of raising the soft palate - I often refer to this as singing with Height In The Vocal Tract - and is the very first component of The Four Vocal Fundamentals.

So when someone says "open throat" they're really referring to the resonance space created in the pharynx by raising the soft palate rather than physically opening up the space between their vocal folds like a can of beans opened by a can opener. The fact is, you actually need resistance to airflow and 'closure' within the throat in many ways to create an open vowel - so there's a reason these terms are so confusing when they're thrown about without any further explanation.

An open vowel simply means your vowel is formed by the space and size of your vocal tract, rather than pronounced with the articulators of the mouth like in many speech accents (such as mine as an Aussie). The key here is to raise the soft palate correctly while aiming for the right vowel character to match each register - sometimes known as Vowel Modification to ensure the most effective resonance when you sing.

The second thing that I noticed about John's voice is just how forward and bright his vocal tone is - even though it's easy to perceive it as dark and overtly masculine. Listen to a song like Last Train Home again and try to listen to the brightness in his voice - this forward placement really is the most important key to developing an intense but effortless vocal tone, especially when it comes to a layer of tasty distortion like John is so well known for.

The grit that he used in Armored Saint was actually pretty subtle - with the double-tracked vocal lines, harmonies and pretty heavy compression used in the recording, it's easy to get fooled into thinking it's way more distorted and aggressive than it really is (I tried to leave my version as natural and unprocessed as possible for this reason).

Distortion in this way is really the result of two processes - forward placement (sometimes known as "masque" singing) and compression; but it's much easier than you're probably thinking. Learning how to sing with distortion is really all about The Four Vocal Fundamentals + Tonal Intention. You might think that distortion and gravel require you to be excessively muscular and forceful with your voice - but it's really just like a very small layer of fine sandpaper that your resonance passes to create a distorted overtone within your placement.

How To Sing With Forward Placement

If you want to work towards a healthy but intensely distorted vocal tone - they key is to first develop forward placement. Forward Placement is actually quite simple and again relies more on tonal intention than anything too physical in your voice.

Think about a singer like Layne Staley, Chris Cornell or even Aretha Franklin - they're "bright" singers, right? They have that twangy, bright, buzzy sound on top of their tone at all times; this is forward placement.

Now, when you come across a guy like John Bush who seems to be pushing chest voice and singing in an extremely masculine way - the first thing you need to do to work out what they're actually doing is listen to the placement. In John's case, it's surprisingly bright, right? And that's the key to developing both that powerfully belted tone, and also the distortion he is so well known for.

Bright but effortless sounds like Nay and Zing are really great for developing forward placement, but there's a few other special ways that I like to help my students with to find their forward placement. Here's a super practical tutorial on creating that forward buzz;

The Roadmap To Better Singing

Singing with an Open Vowel (Height In The Vocal Tract) and Forward Placement are two of the most important aspects of The Four Vocal Fundamentals - basically, the roadmap that every great singer uses to create a powerful and effortless voice with endless range;

  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Forward Placement
  • "All In One Flow"
  • Mixed Tonality

These four vocal fundamentals have personally changed my life - so much so that I've developed a whole vocal method around The Four Fundamentals, starting with the Foundation 101 singing course which will help you;

  • Connect Chest and Head Voice
  • Develop Forward Placement
  • Sing with Mixed Tonality
  • Height In The Vocal Tract
  • Increase Your Range
  • Improve Your Tone
  • Sing Through your vocal break
  • SO much more!

Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals

With the Foundation 101 Course

Vocal Exercises for Singers – Are They Really That Important?

Vocal Exercises for Singers – Are They Really That Important?

When I first started learning how to sing, I often caught myself wondering things like “Did Rob Halford REALLY do these exercises to get so good at singing?” and “Does Chris Cornell REALLY walk around his house practicing lip trills?” and “Did Aretha Franklin REALLY have to warm up her voice for an hour before going on stage?” – and that’s what I’m going to answer for you today.

Are Vocal Exercises For Singers REALLY that important?

I’ll give you the disclaimed that yes, I really did walk around my house practicing lip trills and practicing sirens in the car on the way to work for many years to develop the voice I know enjoy, but after many years of professional coaching experience under my belt now too – I know that there’s actually an easier and more efficient way to learn how to sing.

Learning how to sing isn’t like building a muscle – although you’ll often see those YouTube gurus telling you such things; it’s not really a matter of “do exercise = become Freddie Mercury”. In fact, many of my favourite singers were actually ‘naturals’ who did very little training themselves – and do you want to know exactly how and why guys like Chris Cornell, Paul Rodgers and Freddie Mercury were just so naturally great at singing, while the rest of us have to toil away for months or even years doing rudimentary exercises before seeing even the slightest improvement?

They’re in tune with their instrument.

I’m not talking about singing in tune, I’m talking about being “attuned” to their own instrument in a way that let them sing in the most efficient and impressive manner – ultimately, they’re just singing “correctly” to begin with, while many others like you and me have to practice exercises over and over to learn how to use the voice correctly – and herein lies the secret to learning how to sing BETTER and FASTER;

What Are You Actually Trying To Do When You Practice Vocal Exercises?

That’s right – you know that lip trills are “good for your voice” right? But do you know HOW and WHY they’re intended to help you sing better?

*BAM* 

Did I just blow your mind?

This is really the difference between someone who struggles for years, or goes between method to method looking for “the secret” to great singing (which obviously never comes) – and someone who sees outstanding progress and improvement almost instantly just like a natural singer.

Let me share with you another secret;

I Wasn’t A Natural Singer At All

I get the occasional comments on YouTube or here in these tutorials that say something like “but you were just BORN with that range” or “you’re a Tenor – that’s why you’re good at singing”. But the truth is, I was actually a terrible singer, in fact, I didn’t even WANT to be a singer to begin with – it was all guitar, guitar and more guitar for me – and you’ll actually notice in this recent Mark Lanegan cover I released that I’m more than comfortable and accomplished at singing down to B1 with ease; making me a natural bass and not a Tenor in any way shape or form – I’ve simply developed my technique to a point where I can now sing freely in any male range with ease and consistency.

I Want To Start Singing Better NOW!

Learning how to sing is a skill just like any other skill – Math, Riding a Bike, Driving a Car, Language etc.

So with this in mind, let’s finally answer the pesky question at hand and get down to business improving your singing voice – are vocal exercises for singers REALLY that important?

YES. It’s a hands down YES that vocal exercises for singers are truly an important part of the puzzle to becoming a better singer – BUT, they’re actually not the be-all-and-end-all of great singing; and you guys out there who’ve purchased singing courses before and practiced the exercises diligently week after week, month after month while seeing little progress will attest to this; simply practicing an exercise repeatedly doesn’t mean you’re improving your singing voice in any way.

I say this, because there’s really FOUR things you should be getting from a vocal exercise;

  • Physical – the exercise works your vocal mechanism
  • Psychological – the exercise trains/teaches you the psychological aspects of singing
  • Emotional – you must connect with the exercise and invest in it like you really FEEL it
  • Spiritual – a little esoteric, I know; but there’s an “X Factor” to great singing beyond the physical

You can boil these four points down into one simple question:

What am I getting out of this exercise?

What exactly does a “hoot” exercise do for you in each of these aspects of vocal skill?

Physical – The “hoot” exercise on an OO or EE vowel physically helps you raise the soft palate while neutralising lift in the larynx/lowering the larynx. This in turn helps you blend resonance between chest and head voice and ultimately allows you to build one fluid and long note from your lowest to your highest pitch without a vocal break.

Psychological – You’ve likely never created a sound with the soft palate raised – in fact, depending on your accent, it’s probably a totally foreign thing to both raise the soft palate and lower the larynx, not to mention using airflow to create sustained vibration of the folds rather than a staccato burst like many speaking accents. The “hoot” exercise trains you psychologically beyond the physical to “sing back and high” rather than out of the mouth – this will then translate to every other sound you practice.

Emotional – The “hoot” exercise allows you to move beyond any perceived physical limitations in your voice, like strain, tension or a hard vocal break by using the mechanism in a more intuitive and natural way instead of trying to use your speaking voice. The emotion of “I can’t do it” or “my voice doesn’t go that high” results in a multitude of physical changes in the voice that actually causes and exacerbates these concerns – the “hoot” exercise helps you break free of your emotional limitations, which ultimately then relates to the psychological process of singing, and then the physical workings of the voice.

Spiritual – Again, esoteric, I know. One of the most frustrating things I’ve found about the rise of online vocal coaching (I learned “the old way” with a classical teacher many moons ago) is the idea that you can just go on wikipedia, quote the names of a few tendons and the thyroid cartiledge and all of a sudden you’re an incredible singer. Excess information is actually kryptonite to a budding singer because they start to focus solely on “the physical” instead of the bigger picture, which here I’m calling “spiritual”, but is ultimately that little extra special sauce that a great singer has, and a singer who spends all day practicing exercises does not have. Singing well really can be a spiritual experience that is so far beyond just the physical process of “flex this muscle, pull this cartilage, engage this, blow this much air”, that it can actually hold you back to practice too many exercises and avoid the actual act of singing songs.

Ergo, you can practice lip trills day in and day out; but if you’re not applying the concepts and technique that you’ve learned and developed while singing the trills, and you just go right back to yelling with the soft palate slammed shut – you’ve wasted your time.

The most important thing you’ll ever learn as a singer is WHY you’re practicing a vocal exercise.

Being a great singer is SO much more than just practicing exercises and drilling the voice to build ‘the physical’, and in fact, the physical aspects of singing are SO easy that I’m going to show you the absolute EASIEST way to learn how to sing in this simple but effective tutorial on The Four Vocal Fundamentals;