How Learning To Sing is like Building a House

How Learning To Sing is like Building a House

Singing itself is a very simple process, just like a house is ultimately a simple structure – four walls and a roof. However, learning to sing is often a very difficult process, just like building a house can be a drawn out and expensive outing IF you’re not prepared and if you choose the wrong builder. I like to use building a house as an analogy for building a great voice because they have a number of surprising similarities that might not seem immediately obvious. Intrigued? Read on to find out how Learning to Sing is like Building a House!

Foundation is key

A strong foundation is an obvious part of any house, and singing is much the same. I often remind my own students that their singing voices are only going to be as strong as the foundation they build first. After all, what good are walls when you’ve got nothing to attach them to? Your singing voice is similar in that the foundation of breathing, posture and placement all allow you to build an extensive and powerful range with ease – but without them, your range will ‘fall over’ and you’ll no doubt strain your voice.

Many small nails make one solid structure

You can’t just prop a wall up without the aid of small screws and nails that ensure the strength and integrity of your structure. Singing is the same, if you focus on the ‘big’ techniques without fine tuning the small screws that hold your technique together, like vowel shaping, consonant grouping and register release, that powerful range you desire will only ever be a pipe dream. Start small and dream big for the best voice possible – don’t overlook the quality of the nails and screws you build your voice (or house) with!

Triangles are the strongest shape

You’re probably wondering how I can turn this into a ‘building’ analogy, right? It’s easy. Your chest voice is the base of the pyramid, and head voice is the very top point – everything in between should be at an angle travelling like a gradient towards either direction. A square can be pushed over or collapses, a triangle can not. If you pull up your chest voice, this ‘square’ approach to singing will result in a vocal break or flip, but if you treat your voice like a tonal pyramid, you will have the strongest structure known to man.

Don’t forget the plumbing!

That’s right, a house is just an empty box without running water and good plumbing, right? Your voice is the same – don’t forget about your breathing as you ascend in range, your breath support and air flow are figuratively the plumbing and watering system of your voice, if you lack pressure you might just end up with a dry, hoarse voice. Without proper breath support, your voice is going to get ‘backed up’ so to speak and you’re going to spring a leak somewhere along the way, with drastic consequences.

Building a house is an ongoing process – so is singing!

You can’t build a house overnight, and it’s the same with singing. You must take your time and make adjustments and measurements along the way. And don’t forget about ongoing maintenance! It’s important that you maintain your house, just like your voice and treat your voice like a new instrument each day that requires tuning, tightening and training.

Can you see how many similarities there are between learning how to sing and building a house? Your foundation is key to building a great singing voice and ongoing maintenance is key to a long and healthy life as a singer. A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, and then when you’re ready to take your singing to the next level with professional voice coaching, you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started building your dream home… I mean, voice!

If you have any questions about building a STRONG voice, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!

New vocal App makes singing a breeze!

New vocal App makes singing a breeze!

Singing itself is a simple process, but learning HOW to sing is often a confusing and difficult task. After all, with so much conflicting information out there and so many different programs and approaches – who do you turn to when you’re having trouble singing a specific song or struggling to sing a specific song?

Bohemian Vocal Studio’s new Vowel Translator vocal App turns lyrics into the specific vowel shapes and consonant groupings needed for great singing. I know I know, you’ve heard of speech singing or speech level singing, right? Well, I’m here to show you why your singing voice and speaking voice are totally different processes, and introduce a killer new App that makes singing a breeze.

How is singing different to speech?

While singing and speech might use the same mechanism, their application and process are very different. Where you pronounce your words in speech, you actually need to articulate them using the shape of your tongue and altering your resonant space as you ascend. Learning how to do this in a scale with a vocal coach is actually pretty easy to do, but what if you want to learn a specific song that is different to the vocal exercises you’ve been practising, which vowel do you pick for each word, and how do you translate speech into these tongue shapes?

The vowel translator App has been paramount to many singers turning those scales into actual songs and has helped singers all around the world make better vowel choices and develop better vocal habits.

A game changing singing App

The vowel translator will take any lyrics you input and turn them into the specific consonant groups and vowel shapes you need for consistent and powerful singing. A great example of this is any word with an “i” in it like the word “Like” – in singing terms, this “i” sound in the middle of this word actually becomes an AH vowel punctuated by an EE at the end, while also requiring you to navigate a glottal stop on the “K”, not to mention the special form required to sing an L sound without strain, making the word oo/l-AH-EE-k when you sing (try it yourself!).

Fortunately the vowel translator does all this hard work for you and is currently capable of translating over 3000+ words into the correct form for open and resonant singing – with new words and full songs added each week! Want to try out the world’s first Vowel Translator App and make the process of learning how to sing actual songs a breeze?

If you’re new to singing, a great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, and then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level you can trial The Vowel Translator and book a Skype Session and we’ll get started building your voice!

If you have any questions about The Vowel Translator, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!

10 Ways that Speech and Singing are totally different

10 Ways that Speech and Singing are Totally Different

With the rise in popularity of speech-singing and pop singers who sing in a speaking style, it became very hard to find a good singing approach that really shows you how to sing well. Speaking and singing words is not the same. Singing in a speaking style is actually very bad for your vocal health and may damage your voice. You have probably heard at least one that a famous pop singer has damaged their voice or even cancelled an entire tour due to a vocal strain. That vocal strain probably occurred because they sing in a speaking style. A vocal strain can occur due to many different reasons, but typically, it occurs because a singer has incorrectly applied a specific vocal technique. Although we are using the same mechanism both to speak and to sing, the mechanism is utilised in a completely different way. To put things simply – if singing and speech are the same, why everyone can’t sing? Everyone can speak, but learning to sing is not easy and requires a lot of time, dedication and professional guidance.

Learn how singing and speech are different, and how important proper vocal technique is for your vocal health.

#1 – You breathe differently

In speech, your breathing is shallow and controlled by expanding and contracting your ribs. When you speak, you don’t think about breathing, and you use your intercostal muscles naturally. In singing, intercostal breathing must be avoided. To sing well, you have to breathe only through the extension of your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing in singing is called Appoggio, and it means support.

#2 – Your vowels are different

You may have noticed that singers lose their speech accent when they sing. This is completely normal and actually occurs because vowels do not sound the same when you speak and when you sing. In speech, you create vowels by articulating aspirated air into words. To create vowels, you have to use your lips, teeth, and the tip of the tongue – also known as articulators. When it comes to singing a vowel, you have to EQ your resonance into a vowel sound. To sing a vowel, you need to form a specific tongue shape and match it with a corresponding vocal tract width. This probably sounds a bit complicated, but once you understand it, it’s very easy and comes naturally while singing. Let’s try shaping the first two vowels. To do this, try alternating between an “EE” vowel like in the word speech, and an “AH” vowel like in the word “Love”. On the EE, the back of your tongue should be rising, and on the AH, the back of your tongue should lower.

To sing a vowel, apart from forming a specific tongue shape, you also need to match it with a corresponding vocal tract width. Using the same example, you should feel the difference in how open your throat is on each of these vowels. This change in width is not always easy to achieve, but it’s necessary if you want to ensure your vowels resonate throughout your full range.

#3 – Singing involves very little aspiration of air

Hold your hand in front of your mouth and speak. You will feel a certain amount of air flowing out, especially on your consonant sounds. When singing, you should actually feel very little aspiration of air because, in good singing, the airflow you feel in speech is traded for air pressure and resonance. If you breathe through your diaphragm and form your vowels properly, you will feel very little aspiration of air that is actually a by-product of singing (and not its cause).

#4 – There is no accent in singing

Even if you have a very broad accent and thick articulation, you will lose it in singing. If you hear someone singing with their speech accent, it means they are not forming their vowels properly, but rather using their articulators as in speech. Singing this way is not natural and puts your vocal health at risk. Also, it is important to know that singing in a speaking style has nothing to do with retaining the uniqueness of your voice. The only way you can actually preserve the natural character of your voice is with proper vowel formation. There is no excuse to sing without appropriate vocal technique. If you want to become a great singer, proper vocal technique should always be more important than stylistic delivery.

#5 – Consonants don’t exist in singing

Consonants in speech are created by articulating aspirated air, or sometimes through a glottal stop. Singing consonants in this manner is not good for your singing voice, especially when brought over in an uncontrolled manner. In singing, to create a particular consonant group, you need to develop an approach that will enable continuous and free resonance without any excess airflow or force. That is the only way to sign consonants properly and not to put your vocal health at risk. In a technical sense, we can conclude that speech consonant sounds don’t exist in singing.

#6 – Speech doesn’t require coordination

We speak naturally, with ease and without thinking much about it. However, to sing naturally and with ease is not that simple, because it requires coordination and proper vocal control. In order to sing well, we need to train our voice and learn how to control it. When we say someone has a talent for signing, it actually means that person has a natural aptitude towards the coordination required for quality singing. In order to sing naturally and with ease, it is essential to learn how to coordinate between your breathing, muscles, vocal folds and resonance.

#7 – Singing is often closed

If you are a beginner singer, you have probably heard famous singing gurus saying that The Open Throat Singing Technique is the secret of great singing or the only way to sing great. However, these famous singing gurus don’t bother to explain what open throat singing actually means in a practical manner. Open throat singing has nothing to do with physically opening your throat but actually requires closing your vocal cord and soft palate, and also narrowing your vowels towards closure. In speech, you don’t have to close your soft palate, vocal cords or think about your vocal tract width.

The Open Throat Singing Technique is a translation of a classical singing term La Gola Aperta, and it’s just a figure of speech, and not a singing instruction that should be taken literally. Singing with an open throat actually means singing without muscular force in your throat. Rather than singing from your throat, La Gola Aperta means singing with low support and high resonance. If you are a beginner singer, it is very important not to take classical signing terms such as this one literally because unnatural widening of your vocal tract will lead to straining your throat. Also, it’s very important to keep in mind that these classical singing terms and techniques won’t help you become a better singer if you don’t understand their meaning or incorrectly apply them in your singing. A good voice coach should always explain these confusing terms in a practical manner and also explain how a particular singing technique benefits your singing voice.

#8 – Speech is mostly consonants, singing is mainly vowels

Speech mostly requires articulating consonant sounds with added airflow and minimal resonance, while singing is mostly made of vowels. Speech only involves articulation of vowels and consonants, while singing requires articulating resonance.

#9 – Singing uses different muscles

As previously mentioned, singing is an act of coordination and balance between different muscles and elements of your vocal mechanism. In order to sing well, you need to coordinate between vocal fold weight and vocal fold tension. Vocal fold weight is controlled by the engagement of the thyroarytenoid muscles, and vocal fold tension is controlled by cricothyroid engagement. Only by coordinating between vocal fold weight and tension, you will be able to retain the depth and rich tone of your chest voice and access the extensive range of your head register. In speech, vocal fold tension is minimal while vocal fold weight is significantly higher than in singing.  Due to this, compared to a fully developed vocal range, it will feel like your speaking voice is situated at the bottom of your range. Apart from the mentioned muscles, for proper vocal control, it is also essential to use your diaphragm for breathing and intercostals to set up a correct posture.

#10 – Speech is often partly sung, great singing is never partly spoken

Unlike speech, singing is an intentional, balanced and controlled act. Quality vocal training will not only help you singing voice but also your speaking voice. However, it is important to remember that although singing may be useful for you speech, singing in a speaking style is never good for your voice. We can conclude that although speech and singing use the same mechanism, and seem like similar processes, they are unrelated. While speaking comes naturally, in order to sing with ease, you need a lot of time, effort and training to perfect this delicate act of coordination and balance.

As you can see, there are many important differences between singing and speech, and it’s important that the two aren’t confused as you train to become a great singer. Sure, some accents might lean naturally towards the right vowels in singing, but it’s still important to develop proper control over your voice rather than leaving anything up to chance – or worse, putting your voice at risk of strain through poor vocal technique.

Singing is actually a very simple act of coordination, not one of muscular force or contortion. If something doesn’t feel right when you’re practicing singing, then you’re not practicing correctly, or you’re using your speaking voice.

If you have any questions about how speech and singing differ, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!

Online Vocal Training (What you need to know first!)

Online Vocal Training (What you need to know first!)

Quality online vocal training can really help you learn how to sing. However, with a plethora of online singing courses and YouTube singing gurus marketing their expensive courses with clickbait videos, it’s rather hard to select a good vocal coach and be at peace knowing that you won’t regret your decision or your money. In order to find quality online vocal training, it’s important to familiarize yourself with this world first.

When I just started learning how to sing, the internet was in its formative stages, and my only resource for singing was actually my local coach. Nowadays, a lot of resources are at your disposal and it’s quite easy to find quality vocal training programs online if you know how and where to look. However, you should be aware that although it’s possible to find amazing online singing tutorials and lessons, you can also come across a lot of bad ones because, online, anyone can spout their expertise as a voice coach, even when they don’t have any skills or understanding.

Singing is actually very easy, but learning how to sing is a process that requires a lot of time, dedication and patience. While learning how to sing, you will come across a lot of confusing information, archaic terms, and lastly expensive courses loaded with marketing materials designed to simply sell you their lessons instead of really teaching you something. Here is what you need to know before delving into the world of online vocal training.

The BEST Vocal Training Program (Doesn’t Exist)

Every voice is unique, therefore there is no such thing as a magical solution or technique that will make you a great singer. Since your voice is unique, some things that have worked great for other signers will not work for you at all. It is vital to find the right approach for your voice in order to learn how to sing. Therefore, vocal coaches who claim they are the best and they can help you sing better than anyone else are not interested in teaching you how to sing, but only in taking your money. Since we all have unique voices and a unique build to our vocal mechanism and resonators, it is impossible that a one-size-fits-all vocal program can really teach you anything and help you become a great singer. When you think about it, it seems obvious that these vocal programs are a scam, but when they are accompanied by impressive recording studio videos and marketing tricks, they actually generate a lot of sales. It is very important to remember that there is no such thing as the best vocal training program.

It is possible to find a lot of great resources online that are really designed to help you sing. However, it is important to have in mind that most vocal approaches out there are designed to give you just enough information to ensure you keep you coming back and buy the next level. Most of the time, these expensive courses will make you buy expensive lessons with a singing guru just for clarification or to ask some very basic questions. If you want to make sure you are making the right decision, you should ask the following five questions before signing up to online vocal training or singing course.

#1 – Do their videos/resources help you sing better?

It is very important to ask yourself if videos and resources from a particular vocal coach really help you learn something or they simply make you feel like they have a secret or possess something you simply don’t have. Making you feel this way is the essence of internet marketing and it’s a powerful sales tool.

Your vocal coach is legit if their videos really show you something practical and useful, and actually help you realize something you weren’t previously aware of. Helping you sing in a way you couldn’t before you applied their tips and advice also shows they are knowledgeable professionals and great singers.

#2 – Can they sing themselves?

If someone sings great, it doesn’t mean he is a great vocal coach. However, a good signing teacher must be a great singer. Otherwise, how will he teach you if he doesn’t know how to sing? You should like the singing tone of our voice coach, as well as the way they articulate their vowels and ascend through their range. If a vocal coach is pushing a certain style or a method that doesn’t apply to the manner in which you wish to sing, he or she is not a good choice for you. The easiest way to learn how to sing and absorb vocal lessons from your voice coach is to choose someone who has developed an approach that you identify with, and someone who has a singing voice that you yourself would like to build. To put things simply, there is no point going to Toyota to have them build a Ferrari, or buying a Dodge Ram if you want to do inner city driving and park in small spaces. Remember that there are two sides to every coin.

A great singing voice is dynamic and versatile. A great singing voice is never colored by stylistic choices. If a voice coach is unable to sing in a pleasant way and appears to push while singing, this is the same voice you will build with their approach. In order to progress as a singer, you have to find a coach who has an approach you identify with.

#3 – Do they explain complex concepts in a practical manner?

If someone claims to know the secret of great singing and they will show it in their course, you are definitely barking up the wrong tree. A good voice coach should be open, honest and he or she should always explain complex singing concepts, terms and techniques in a practical manner.

One of the first things I have learned in my progression as a singer is that classical singing terms are often just a figure of speech and that they shouldn’t be taken as literal singing instructions. For example, Open Throat Singing doesn’t actually require you to sing with an open throat, but rather with closure in many facets of your voice. A great voice coach will explain these confusing techniques and terms to you in a practical way without adding mystery and magic to what is really a basic element of singing and a natural function of your body (vocalizing).

#4 – Do they push an opinion or a certain style?

Obviously, a voice coach must be assertive and confident in the way that they coach. However, pushing their opinions and style doesn’t have anything to do with great teaching. I often had the chance to see singing coaches teaching stylistic choices or opinions as facts. For example, instead of bridging a balanced connection, many teachers teach students to sing as high as possible in their chest voice. As a result, students build a bellowed, yelling and rather unnatural tone. This can quickly become a habit that is hard to break. To explain things in a simpler manner, imagine as you are taking a painting class and that your painting coach just loves the color blue, so he or she makes you paint only with that one color. Does that mean that using another color will make you a bad painter? Of course not. But this is exactly what these sorts of courses and singing gurus are doing. As a beginner singer, it is imperative to build a balanced and neutral singing voice. As you progress, you will learn to make your own stylistic choices without jeopardizing your vocal health.

If your voice coach forces a particular style, such as pushing an overly heavy sound under the guise of rock singing lessons, this coach is definitely not a good choice because he or she is not considering your unique voice and won’t be able to help you find your own true voice. Lastly, due to their ego-driven approach, they are ignoring your singing goals and personal happiness and as this isn’t enough, they are putting your vocal health at risk.

Personally, I am a ‘rock guy’, but I can’t stand strained, pushed singing, and love caching students how to sing soul and RnB like Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. Remember that great vocal coaching has no ego and that great singing technique has no opinions. Great singing can only have a personal style developed by an individual singer.

#5 – If something seems too good to be true…

I have 20 years of experience in singing and have been building Bohemian Vocal Studio since 2010 all by myself. However, I have never claimed that I am the best or perfect. If you come across a coach who acts like he is god’s gift to singing, this is simply too good to be true.

After so many years of singing and developing my own approach to singing, I still have to warm up my voice, take care of my vocal health, and even give my voice a break when I’m having a bad day. Do you see videos from these YouTube gurus before they’ve warmed up? Do you see their multiple takes or editing? Of course not. It is crucial to understand that the voice is a physical and ever-changing instrument and that even the greatest singers get tired or simply have a bad day.

A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, and then when you’re ready to take your singing to the next level with proven and professional voice training that simply works, you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started extending your range and improving your voice!

If you have any questions about online vocal training, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below?


How do i sing better as a Baritone?

How Do I Sing Better As A Baritone?

Baritone singers face unique challenges when they want to learn how to sing better, such as inconsistent frequencies, too much vocal weight and of course lack of coordination between their registers. If you’ve been wondering “how do I sing better as a baritone?” then you’ve come to the right place – this tutorial is going to show you HOW to sing better while increasing your baritone voice range with ease.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “It’s a Tenor’s world” before, but this really only refers to the learning curve faced by a beginner singer, not the powerful and extensive range it is possible to build with either voice type. Vocal classification has more to do with the character of your voice than possible vocal range – sure, a Tenor will never sing a D2, but on the flip-side, a baritone CAN learn to sing a D5 with ease.

What is the baritone voice range?

A baritone voice is generally characterised by a deep and rich timbre and comparatively low range compared to other voice types. Baritones often struggle to connect their registers and build a bridge between chest and head voice, along with other issues of overly heavy onsets and difficulty with frequency control and placement. Fortunately, there is light at the end of the proverbial vocal tunnel for baritone singers who really want to take their voices seriously and sing with an extensive vocal range.

One of the most important aspects of learning to sing better as a baritone is the placement. Placement is the concept of properly controlling your frequencies to ensure that only the most efficient vibrations are allowed when you sing, in essence allowing you to sing with ease while accessing your high range at will.

Placement is easy to develop as a baritone and really makes the difference between a ‘difficult’ voice and one that resonates freely with ease and power. The next step is unlocking your middle register.

What is middle voice?

You’ve no doubt heard of chest voice and head voice, but did you know there is a central register that connects these two main registers called middle, or mix voice? That’s right, you can balance your vocal fold weight and vocal fold tension into one centralised and connected range that will gift you with one, long, connected vocal range that has no breaks or need for bridges.

Middle voice is an easy concept to develop, but is often over-complicated by vocal programs and approaches that don’t truly understand the mechanics of the voice. While there is no ‘middle’ register in a literal sense, many baritone singers do experience a large disconnect between their chest voice and their head voice, necessitating the visual concept of a ‘middle’ register that is part vocal fold weight, and part vocal fold tension instead of dominance in either direction.

Many of your favourite singers utilise their middle register in a powerful way, from Aretha Franklin right through to Chris Cornell and James Hetfield.

How do I sing better?

Great singing is simply an act of coordination rather than a feat of muscular force. By developing a balanced onset, the middle register and coordinating the various elements of your voice from tonal quality to frequency control, you will build a powerful and extensive voice that is free of strain, consistent and confident.

While the baritone voice range does face a few unique challenges in the initial learning curve, it IS possible to build a powerful vocal range, even when you have a low natural range. You might be surprised to find that even some of the most famous rock singers known for their piercing high range were naturally baritone singers, from Chris Cornell to Axl Rose and even David Coverdale and Warrel Dane.

The first step in learning how to sing better is to develop a strong foundation. I often remind my own students that their singing voice is only as powerful and strong as their foundation – you can’t build a house without a slab, and you can’t put up a roof without walls. A great place to start is the free foundations courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, and then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional voice coaching you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started improving your baritone range!

If you have any questions about singing better as a baritone, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!

Bruce Springsteen Cover (Ghost of Tom Joad)

Bruce Springsteen Cover (Ghost of Tom Joad)

As a voice coach myself, Springsteen has always been a bit of an anomaly in terms of singing technique. Funnily enough the first cassette I ever owned was Born in The USA (which proudly sits in the tape deck of my Jeep), and I was just in awe of how powerful his voice was, and how he didn’t sound like some boring ‘classical’ singer, but still hit all the notes and did so with confidence and consistency. I’ve been lucky to see Springsteen live many times over the years and his iron-clad voice simply amazes me – there is something just magic about The Boss and how his voice has held up over all these years, even with all that powerful belting and gruff delivery he is so well known for.

I recently performed a number of Springsteen vocal covers from the perspective of a vocal coach looking to better their student’s technique while learning to sing like Springsteen.

While my voice is literally miles away from Bruce’s natural roar, these covers show you just what CAN be done with proper vocal technique and how building healthy vocal technique really allows you to sing anything, yes, even Bruce Springsteen.

Springsteen is known for the character and tone of his voice more than range or finesse, so make sure that you’re in control of your voice first before trying to sing Bruce Springsteen songs – your vocal health is paramount. You can change a broken guitar string, but you can’t fix a broken voice! Sometimes singing isn’t so much about ‘sounding’ like a particular singer, and more about how you can efficiently hit the same pitch and articulate and interpret the song in the right way for your voice.

As you can see, my low baritone range doesn’t permit me to sing in the same breathy, cracking way that Bruce originally sang My Hometown. It’s important that you sing with YOUR voice instead of trying to mimic your favourite singers. The best way to sound like your favourite singers is to sing naturally – after all, Bruce Springsteen wasn’t TRYING to sound like Bruce Springsteen, he was simply singing.

As I often remind my own students, their voices are only ever going to be as strong as the foundation they lay first – so make sure you set up your posture, breathing and vocal placement first before “running” when you’re at the stage of walking. A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available at Bohemian Vocal Studio, and then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started developing your high range.

If you have any questions about learning how to sing like Bruce Springsteen, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!

Five Ways to Sing Low Notes Like Johnny Cash

Five Ways to Sing Low Notes Like Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash was known for his incredibly rich baritone voice, characterised by a very low range and tonal depth unlike many other pop and rock singers. Learning how to sing low notes takes just as much time and practice as learning how to sing high notes – but there are a few key pointers that will make the process of learning to sing low notes like Johnny Cash a much smoother and simple one.

One of the key aspects of learning how to sing like Johnny Cash is to avoid the temptation to impart an accent, or a drawl on your tone – remember, Johnny Cash wasn’t “trying to sing like Johnny Cash”, he was simply singing.

While there is an element of physical build to being able to hit lows like Johnny Cash (a soprano will likely never sing Walk The Line – and I’ll likely never sing Whitney Houston convincingly as a baritone), your low range requires the same dedication to vocal technique to sing efficiently and without strain, and of course to achieve consistency.

The #1 technique you need to build your low range

The most important technique I’ve found for consistently building my students’ low ranges is placement. Now, the term placement itself might be a little abstract, but in essence really refers to your perception of where your voice ‘occurs’ and ultimately allows you to sing with efficient frequencies rather than any improper vibration that is dragging your tone down – yes, even in your low range.

Vocal placement is easy to develop but is often overlooked by higher-voiced singing teachers who either naturally place their voices, or are yet to experience issues with their voice due to improper placement. This often happens in a Tenor who sings with incredible prowess in their youth, but eventually lose most of their voice ages and their frequencies change. Placement is not only the answer to building a powerful low range and finding low notes you thought were out of reach, but it’s also the answer to keeping your voice safe and retaining your range as your voice ages.

I can’t sing high notes anymore

Funnily enough, this actually goes hand in hand with developing a strong low range, if you’ve lost your high notes or can’t sing high notes anymore, then it’s likely your voice has gone through a natural change and requires development to build control over your ‘new’ instrument.

Singing low like Johnny Cash or singing high like Chris Cornell both involve the same process of vocal coordination and developing control over your vocal mechanism. I often remind my own students that their voices are only ever going to be as strong as the foundation that they build first, so make sure you set up your posture, breathing and placement first to ensure that you can not only sing low notes like Johnny Cash, but so you can also build an extensive range and hit high notes like your favourite singers do with ease.

These five techniques will help you sing low notes like Johnny Cash, but remember, singing is all about coordination and your foundation, so don’t try to run before you’ve developed the skill to walk first.

#1 – Placement

As we just discovered, vocal placement is absolutely key to building a strong and consistent lower range. Without placement, your frequencies will descend into the throat and you will no doubt lose your pitch and feel very uncomfortable as you descend. Develop proper placement first to ensure that you sing with the most efficient frequencies every time you sing.

Placement has been key to developing consistency in my own voice as a low baritone.

#2 – Appoggio

Appoggio is really just a fancy word for support, but it really defines a concept more than a technique per se. In my approach to singing, Appoggio is more the act of breathing and releasing air pressure without your ribs collapsing as you either ascend in range or hold a sustained phrase.

#3 – Middle Voice

You’ll see that when I ascend in range in the above Johnny Cash cover that I’m not shouting in my chest voice, but I’m also not flipping into head voice or falsetto – in essence I’m singing with a combination of chest and head frequencies which is often called Middle Voice. Middle voice, or simply Mix is a coordination between vocal fold weight and vocal fold tension, ultimately allowing you to sing with the right depth afforded by chest voice while accessing the extensive range allowed by your head register.

#4 – Vowel tuning

Vowel tuning really has two facets, first vowel production and then the actual tuning of frequencies often achieved by either vowel modification or physical tuning of the vocal tract. Simply put, pronunciation gives you your speaking voice, and vowel articulation gives you your singing voice. Learn to sing your vowels in the right manner and you will be able to sing almost any song you desire with ease and resonant power.

#5 – The Soft Palate

A lot of confusing is caused by archaic terms like Open Throat technique and even Appoggio. The essence of open throat singing is really just proper control of your soft palate, which should be closed on vowel sounds, but allowed to stretch up and create the space required for your high range. If you suffer from a nasal tone, or you ‘flip’ up into falsetto as you ascend, then it’s likely you’re not controlling your soft palate properly.

Learning to sing like Johnny Cash does take time, dedication and consistent practice, but his resonant low range can be created with proper vocal technique and developing control over your singing mechanism.

A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio. Then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started developing your vocal control!

If you have any questions about learning how to sing like Johnny Cash, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!

Virtual singing lessons that WORK

Virtual Singing Lessons That WORK

Singing is easy, but learning how to sing can often be a difficult process for many beginners because there are so many different methods and approaches out there, often one contradicting the other. A great place to start is the following virtual singing lessons that will build a strong foundation and set you on the right path to singing success.

Your singing voice is only ever as strong as your foundation, so make sure you set up your posture, diaphragmatic breathing and vocal placement first to ensure your vocal health and ultimately shorten your learning curve towards becoming a great singer.

Top 5 beginner singing lessons

These beginner singing lessons will help you become comfortable and confident with your natural voice and truly set the stage for the extensive range it is possible to build with the right approach. From breathing right through to vowel production and secret tips to help you sing consonant sounds and actual songs, these 5 beginner singing lessons are the ultimate in virtual singing lessons that really work.

#1 – How to sing better with vocal placement

Vocal placement is one of the lynchpins of a healthy voice. Placement is simply the idea of limiting any excess frequencies when you sing so that you can resonate with ease and power while avoiding any vocal cord strain from improper frequency production.

A great place to start with vocal placement is the following placement lesson I’ve put together for you:

As you can see, singing has little to do with the sound that comes out of your mouth and has more to do with sound that resonates and vibrates within the body.

#2 – How to sing better with proper vowel production

In speech, we use pronunciation to form our vowels, but in singing, we actually need to shape the tongue in a specific way while matching a corresponding vocal tract width and frequency band to allow efficient resonance while also creating the ‘illusion’ of the vowel sounds we know as words in singing.

A great place to start with vocal production is your smaller vowel sounds like EE and OO to first create a bridge that connects between your chest and head registers. From there you can build your other wider vowel sounds like AH and AA to ensure that you’re not opening up too much and causing strain or improper frequencies.

#3 – How to sing better with Appoggio

Appoggio is an age-old approach to breath support, literally meaning to support or lean. In essence, Appoggio occurs when you allow your airflow to occur without your ribs collapsing, in essence relying on your posture and diaphragmatic control for all your airflow and air pressure requirements when you sing – especially on high notes!

#4 – How to sing better with Middle Voice

You’ve no doubt heard of Chest or Head Voice, but did you know there is a third honorary register that exists as an extension/connection between these two registers? In essence, Middle Voice is any form of coordination between vocal fold weight (Chest Voice) and vocal fold tension (head voice). Middle voice is one of my favourite topics in singing and was one of the greatest “AHA!” moments when I was first learning to sing, truly allowing me to resonate with ease and power with very little effort through the middle of my range connected well up into the highest register.

#5 – How to sing better using with soft palate singing

The soft palate really serves two functions when you sing, the first being to block airflow from exiting via your nose when you sing a vowel sound, and secondly to alter the resonant space as you ascend in range to make room for higher sound vibration and a connected head register.

Proper soft palate control really should occur when you very first set up your voice with posture and breathing to achieve Appoggio.

If you want more virtual singing lessons to help you sing better, you can use the troubleshooting guide to your right and research any singing topics you may be interested in or any aspects of singing you might be struggling with. Our YouTube channel is packed full of free singing lessons and professional vocal tips that will help you extend your range and power up your singing voice while allowing you to sing with freedom and confidence.

A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at which will show you how to support your voice properly with diaphragmatic breathing, vocal placement and proper posture. Then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional vocal training you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started building your voice!


Alice Chains Would Cover (Layne Staley Tribute)​

Alice Chains Would Cover (Layne Staley Tribute)

When I first started learning how to sing, Layne Staley was simply out of my reach in so many ways. While I was able to sing the odd Alice in Chains song an octave down in my natural baritone, singing a song like Alice in Chains Would? was an impossible task right from the first few lines of the song.

I’m here to show you that you really CAN learn how to sing like Layne Staley with practice, perseverance and the right approach. I recently released a cover of the Alice in Chains classic Would? and followed up with a run-through of how I am able to achieve Layne’s unique vocal tone.

As you can see, singing is simply a process of coordination that takes time to develop. My old approach of pulling up my baritone chest voice simply had to go if I was ever to sing like Layne Staley with ease.

How to sing like Layne Staley

Layne Staley had a unique and powerful sound that was characterised with a strong twang and resonant buzz. Coupled with his unique approach to Open Throat singing and quintessential 90’s style, Layne Staley is remembered as one of the greatest rock singers ever and with good reason.

Singing like Layne Staley requires you to develop proper Appoggio breath support, along with vocal placement and the right approach to vowel production. Appoggio starts with your foundation, and foundation includes your posture, breathing and frequency control.

Appoggio in singing relates to the manner in which you moderate your airflow. Appoggio occurs when you manage your airflow via expansion of the diaphragm instead of contraction of your ribs.

Layne Staley Voice Type

Layne was a classic tenor, characterised by a naturally high range and relatively sharper tone than say, the baritone range that Johnny Cash was known for. Even as a baritone, you can learn how to sing like Layne Staley, but the approach required may differ to someone who has a higher natural vocal type.

A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, then when you are ready to take your voice to the next level you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started extending your range and developing your voice.

If you have any questions about singing like Layne Staley, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!

The Secret to Singing In Key

The Secret to Singing In Key

If you want to build a great voice, it is essential to learn how to sing in key. Singing off key really means that you are singing the wrong notes, and as a singer, that is something you definitely don’t want. Singing the right pitch seems hard, but it doesn’t have to be if you develop the right approach. Developing a good singing approach starts with the foundation elements of your singing technique. Remember that your voice will be only as strong as the foundation it’s built on. So, in order to sing in tune with ease, you have to set up your posture, breathing and resonance placement. Only with a strong foundation, you will be able to sing in key while at the same time strengthening your vocal technique for a powerful singing voice.

What Singing in Key Means?

Singing in key actually refers to perfecting the frequency of the note you are aiming to hit. Great singers know how to sing in key and always sing on pitch, even when it comes to most demanding or dynamic vocal phrases.

Pitch refers to frequency vibration, and notes are the names given to each pitch. For example, frequency vibration of 440Hz is known as the “A” note in the fourth octave or A4. Timbre refers to the character of your singing voice, and tone is used to describe a pitch, a note or a timbre. So, we can define a tone as a description of a character in ones singing. Therefore, a tone can be dark, bright, pleasant and so on. I am explaining the difference between these words because, in order to sing in key, it is necessary to master each one.

So, to sing in key, you need to take control of the frequencies with which you sing (notes) and learn how to sing them in a particular tonal character. Having problems with singing in key means there is probably an issue in your foundation.

How to Sing in Key with Support

As I mentioned, a proper and a solid foundation starts with a proper posture. Only by maintaining a proper posture, you will be able to breathe properly using Appoggio. Posture, as the initial step of your foundation, starts with keeping your head raised, your shoulders back and looking forward with your chin parallel with the floor. You also must widen your ribs in order to be able to control your breath support. While singing, you shouldn’t breathe and manage your airflow by contracting the ribs as you do in speech. Breathing and airflow management should be done only through your diaphragm. Controlling your breathing in this fashion is professionally called Appoggio and it means support. By using this healthy posture, you can breathe only using the diaphragm. In order to sing in key, you must maintain support in this manner, and your ribs mustn’t collapse when you are ascending in pitch. Balancing between airflow and air pressure is not easy at first, but with practice, and most importantly, an efficient approach, you will master it in no time.

Now that you know how to set up Appoggio, in order to control your frequencies, you have to learn to sing with placement. Vocal placement is the process that involves limiting excess frequencies which don’t resonate efficiently in your singing voice. As a baritone singer, I often had issues with placement in the past. However, no matter what type of voice you have, vocal placement is a technique you must master if you want to become a great singer.

To practice vocal placement, I recommend a simple “N” exercise which is focused on limiting any frequencies that occur below your top teeth. Every singing exercise will be useful to you only as much as you understand how it’s supposed to help your singing voice. For example, if you don’t know how scales work, there is no point in practicing them, and expecting to sing better.

Over time, the “N” exercise will help you train yourself to control your frequencies and form a separation between speech tone and your singing voice. Singing in the same way as you talk is not good because these two processes, although they use the same mechanism, are actually unrelated in their operation and application.

How to Improve Singing in Key with Frequencies

Remember, the intention you hold is the most critical part of any singing exercise. As I said, practicing scales won’t improve your pitch, but when done the right way, it will help you understand why you are singing off key. Understanding why you are doing something wrong will help you develop an approach that will actually address the problem.

Singers are often pitchy due to improper vocal placement. Without proper vocal placement, your voice won’t resonate properly, and you will be singing off key. Since pitch is a frequency, and notes are the names given to each frequency, singing off key actually means you are singing an incorrect frequency. So, to explain the root of your problem – you are singing off key because your frequencies are not being formed in the right way.

In singing, frequency is the speed at which your vocal chords vibrate. Vocal cord vibration is created via adduction (closure of your chords) combined with air pressure release that is allowed by extension of the diaphragm. In order to identify why and where your pitch and key is going wrong, you have to break down your technique to its core. When you know that the problem is not in your foundation, you can focus on learning to articulate and EQ a particular frequency into vowel sounds and words. But typically, the problem with off-key singing is, as I previously said, in your foundation, and not in the way you articulate and EQ a particular frequency. Once you learn how to set up your posture, breath only through your diaphragm and ensure proper vocal placement, your pitch will also improve drastically.

How to Sing in Key with a Balanced Onset

Out of key singing can also be caused due to the improper creation of vowel sounds, and the way you begin your resonance, also known as you onset. Singing with a balanced onset is a vital part of great singing and retaining your vocal health. An onset is a way your airflow and vocal chord closure coordinate together. With proper training, these two will coordinate together, creating a pleasant tone. Without professional training, your onset will be glottal or breathy. Glottal or breathy onsets are both a result of a very poor vocal technique. Singing with a glottal or breathy onset will not only make you sound bad, but it may also severely affect your signing voice and lead to a vocal cord strain.

How to know if your onset needs to be fixed? If you are singing scales and other exercises in key, but you struggle when you add words, you are not creating your consonants and onsets in a proper manner. A balanced onset helps you create that perfect start, and sing in key with a pleasant and powerful resonance.

How to Sing in Key with Vowels

Learning to sing in key with vowel sounds is one of the secrets of great vocal technique, and it will definitely make a difference between singing scales and actual songs. As we already mentioned, singing and speaking are very different in their application, even though they use the same mechanisms. In speech, vowels are pronounced with your lips, teeth, and tongue, and in singing, vowels are created by shaping them with your tongue and matching it with a corresponding vocal tract width. For example, the most narrow EE vowel requires you to raise the back portion of your tongue, and the AH vowel is relatively wide and requires a lowered and concave tongue for proper resonance. Learning to shape your vowels will help you sing in key much faster than singing scales or doing similar singing exercises.

Once you master proper vowel production, you will gain better frequency control and also have clearer diction. If you struggle to sing a specific word, you are not creating vowel sounds correctly.

How to Sing in Key with Middle Voice

Beginner singers often struggle to sing with their middle voice. This is experienced as a break in their voice that splits chest voice from head voice. Middle voice manifests when the two registers, the chest voice, and head voice are connected together. The middle voice is very important for gaining the ability to sing in key. In order to reach your middle register, muscles that create your chest register, and those of your head voice (the TA and CT muscles) must be engaged in a perfect balance.

How to Achieve Cricothyroid Thyroarytenoid Balance

The thyroarytenoid muscles are the ones that control vocal fold weight. Basically, these muscles are responsible for thickening your cords which allows deeper and richer resonance production, often known as chest voice. The cricothyroid muscles control tension in your vocal folds. Tension and stretch with no vocal fold weight is typically known as ‘head voice’. By balancing cricothyroid and thyroarytenoid engagement, you can create a third register, that is typically known as middle or mix voice. Your middle voice is characterized by both the depth of your chest register and the extensive range of your head voice. The middle voice is always sung in key because your frequency production and the use of your resonators is more efficient.

How to Sing Higher Pitches in Key

Due to improper coordination of their registers, beginner singers often have issues singing high notes in key. As a result, chest voice is aggressively pushed or may flip up into a heady tone that is weak and disconnected. By coordinating your chest and head voice, and accessing your middle register, your singing voice will easily resonate at the appropriate frequency to sing in key. Singing higher notes shouldn’t be difficult for you because signing is an act of coordination and balance rather than use of muscular force. If you’re straining in the high range, you are doing something wrong. The first step to fix this is to break your technique to its core elements, which means you have to go back to your foundation. Once you set up a proper posture, breathing, and placement, and went through vowel production and register release, you will be able to coordinate your registers in a balanced way. Our voice was designed to function in a certain way, and to sing in key at high pitches, you must learn to alter the width of your vocal tract as you sing higher.

Vowel modification or continually altering your vocal tract width will allow you to sing higher into your range in key. The first vocal break can be mended by widening your vocal tract a bit and then returning to a more neutral space in the middle of your range. A common and easy way to achieve vowel modification or proper tuning is to slightly change your vowel character as you sing through more difficult passages. For example, the “AH” vowel, requires a concave tongue and keeping your vocal tract relatively wide. But as you change it to “OH” or “AWE” around your first vocal break, you will notice that this removes your break and allow you to sing in key into your high range with ease.

It is very important to keep in mind that each vowel is unique, and resonates in a unique way. Basically, two singers cannot modify their vowel in the same way. Another efficient way to tune your resonance is to control the tongue root, the tongue, and the soft palate because they are responsible for making subtle changes. Without learning to control them, during vowel modification you may feel the need to mangle your words. A great exercise for this is to toggle between the AH to OH vowel character without moving your mouth, and focusing only on the back of your throat. Over time, you will identify how the tongue root moves at the base of your tongue and not at the back, which will further allow you to tune your resonance and ensure proper space and efficiency for singing higher notes in key.

Conclusion: Singing off Pitch is Caused By Improper Frequency Production

To summarize this lesson, I must remind you that pitch refers to frequency vibration and that frequency is the speed at which your vocal chords vibrate. Therefore, singing off key means you are not creating the right frequencies for the corresponding note you want to sing. In order to learn to sing in key place your frequencies properly first whenever you start warming up. With proper training, you will eventually realize that the pitch and key of a note don’t come from ‘hearing’ the pitch, but from proper frequency control that is achieved through adequate breathing, support, vocal fold closure and singing with placement. The truth is that a pitch is heard after it has already been created, so training your ear won’t actually help to sing in key.

The best way to control your frequencies properly and ensure you are singing in key is to set up a solid foundation, starting from your posture, breathing, and placement, to maintaining quality support and shaping your vowels. Next, you have to work on controlling your vocal tract width, vowel modification, register control and singing with a balanced onset. Since singing is a process of coordination, having troubles to sing in key is most likely caused by improperly applying or completely missing a key element from your foundation.

A great place to start is the free foundations courses here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, and then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional vocal coaching you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started extending your range, strengthening your foundation and most importantly cementing your skills to pitch notes properly.

If you have any questions about singing in key, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!