Have You Fallen Into This Common Singing Trap?
Learning to sing is often a confusing and lengthy task, but the fact remains that singing itself is a rather simple process of balance. Often, the person that makes singing so difficult for us is ourselves. Along with common myths and misconceptions about singing that are perpetuated by many vocal approaches and voice teachers, there are certain traps that you might fall into with your voice that can ultimately make the process of singing much more difficult than it needs to be.
Have you fallen into this common singing trap?
Singing terms and techniques SHOULD make singing easier
But often they don’t. What was once a figurative phrase, such as Open Throat, has now become a marketing term for expensive courses, and is often held ‘sacred’ by those in the know and those not willing to share their secrets, except for a large sum of money. Singers often go down the path of over-researching the scientific mechanism behind singing and ultimately tie their shoes together in knots – falling over when they run, so to speak. Physically understanding that an A note resonates at 440hz is super cool, but does it help you sing an A note? Absolutely not – in fact, it will make you overly critical of yourself and other singers who casually sing an A note “That was 441hz!!”.
The same goes for the physical function of the vocal folds themselves. Understanding the mechanism is one thing, but physically being able to aduct your folds and sing with resonance is ultimately no achieved by pure scientific understanding – and here is where one of the biggest singing traps begins. I often explain singing technique in a practical sense, rather than going too in-depth about the scientific aspect and bludgeoning my readers/students/subscribers with terms like Glissando, and instead simply explain what they are and the most practical manner in which to achieve them – out of interest, a Glissando is simply a continuous slide between two notes – am I wrong to simply call a spade a spade? Of course not. If I told you to sing a Glissando, I’m likely going to get a blank look, but if I told you to slide between two specific notes, you would be able to do so with ease. Overcomplication of the singing mechanism and use of confusing terms is rife within the world of learning to sing, and it really does nothing to help anyone sing better.
As an example, I recently released a tutorial about the Myths and Misconceptions singers often struggle with when learning to sing, in particular, I simplified the process of the vocal folds by explaining it as a balance of vocal fold weight and vocal fold tension – which in a practical sense, is one of the BEST ways for a student to understand how their registers work. Of course, the first comment was then:
My simple explanation was then pulled apart by a YouTube commenter using terms like Glissando where I simply said to ‘sing between two notes’ (Glissando means a connected slide between two notes), and where I said vocal fold weight and vocal fold tension, they then used the terms “Cover” (Vocal fold cover is the thin folds aka tension) and “Body” (Body is the full fold aka weight) and said basically the same thing in an overly complicated way. And here’s where it gets interesting, on my next video the same commenter made another comment:
While their scientific explanation and use of several classical terms seems rather impressive in a YouTube comment, the fact remains that they are unable to sing in a full tone above a C4, which is a relatively low/middle note. They know the terms and the science, sure, but they are ultimately struggling with their voice. Be careful of those science junkies and YouTube know-it-alls who impress you with classical terms when in fact they cannot sing themselves.
Further to this, they were adamant that there was “no middle voice”, which in a scientific sense is true, but in a figurative sense helps you connect with more strength through the middle of your range and through the C4 that they are ultimately struggling with. They appear to have fallen into the biggest singing trap out there which in turn is stopping them from reaching their full potential as a singer. A spade is a spade – calling it “Spalare La Vanga” in Italian and then explaining its use as a mechanical centre of gravity leveraging implement doesn’t help you shovel snow any better.
The biggest singing trap
The biggest singing trap you can fall into is chasing terms and a scientific process when in fact a simple exercise or figurative explanation will actually make you a better singer and help you improve your voice. Would you prefer to use the term Glissando on YouTube, or actually be able to sing one?
A great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio which will show you how to set up a strong base to build your voice upon, and then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with actual PRACTICAL and USEFUL professional tuition, you can book a Skype Session and we’ll work towards extending your range and developing consistency and strength every time you sing.
If you have any questions about the most common vocal trap, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!