Having Trouble Singing? Here's How I Fixed My Voice!
Learning how to sing just wasn't fun for me - I struggled and strained, spent way too much money, and saw very little progress over many years of dedicated practice. I tried almost all of the tricks out there that you've probably come across in YouTube singing videos - things like yawning while singing, smiling while singing, supporting like you're having a bowel movement, singing forward and bratty, taking chest voice as high as I could and even practising in falsetto and nothing worked.
I'm sure you've been there with these kind of tricks before - Joe YouTube tells you in no uncertain terms that "Yawning Is The True Secret To Great Singing", and when you try it yourself, it really does feel like something new is happening in your voice when you try it. You practice like this for a few days and really feel like you're making good progress; until you try singing an actual song for the first time, and not only have you made zero tangible progress, but you've picked up a bunch of strain and tension in the process of forcing a yawn each time you've practised.
And back to the drawing board we go, looking for the next hot singing tip.
Does this sound familiar? This cycle went on for many years in my own singing, punctuated by numerous singing teachers, even more courses and books - and still, very little progress.
It's Time For The Good News
I finally came across a singing teacher who questioned my motives with each of these throwaway tricks like yawning and smiling wide - "but WHY are you yawning?", and "WHY is your mouth so wide?" he kept asking as he proceeded to demonstrate his own flawless, effortless and strain free singing voice that featured no yawning at all, no wide smile, no pushing, no bratty tone and definitely no 'bathroom movement' when he sang, just a great singing voice with power, range and a really beautiful tone.
I remember being a bit defensive about these tricks I'd learned, and also a little defensive about the teachers that had taught me these tricks in the first place - because without these tricks, I really didn't know anything else about singing, which after almost ten years of learning to sing was a little bit embarrassing. He proceeded to take me through each element of the vocal foundation, and how each of the 'tricks' I had been using were really poor substitutions for actual vocal techniques like correct vocal placement, vowel formation, managing resonant space and mixed resonance. My new teacher was even able to break down each of these 'magic tricks' (as he called them) that I had been using and explain the superficial feeling of improvement they had been giving me along the way - because after all, magic is an illusion.
What Does Yawning While Singing Actually Do?
When a beginner singer yawns, they experience a slight diaphragmatic engagement which really feels like a game changer when you've been struggling with strain and tension for so long - but this slight engagement really is less than 10% off the full picture required for correct support and compression when singing. Again, the improvement you feel with the yawn is superficial.
The second reason that yawning while singing helps some singers is the slight raising of the soft palate that often occurs when some people yawn (this apparently wasn't happening in my voice at all when I was practising with a yawn - hence many of my issues), which gives you momentary access to the open resonant space that professional singers enjoy - but when you start closing down the vowels to pronounce your sounds in a contemporary tone, this space collapses and the result is again superficial, the magic trick of space was simply an illusion, and your voice slips back to square one again.
The final reason that Yawning When Singing might give you the illusion of improvement when you sing is the lowered larynx that features in a yawn - you can test this yourself by placing your fingers gently on your voice box, then feeling how it lowers when you perform a deep yawn. Of course, manipulating the larynx in such a physical way as a means of vocal improvement is actually a myth - forcing the larynx down when you're singing the vowel correctly won't actually do anything to improve your voice, and will actually create strain and tension. A lowered larynx is really a result of your vowel production, not the result of manhandling your voice box in such a haphazard way.
It's easy now to see why some people magically see a level of improvement when they employ these kinds of tricks and tips, with a bit of luck you might just fluke diaphragmatic engagement, a lowered larynx and a raised soft palate - but for the rest of us, these gains are superficial and illusory as the larynx begins to raise, the soft palate slams down and our breathing goes out the door beyond this initial yawn.
This Is What Really Improved My Singing
By breaking down the voice in such a simple, but technically sound way - I really started to grasp the concepts I had been taught previously over many years of singing lessons, and my singing REALLY started to see tangible improvement. My range increased, my tone improved, I was able to approach more challenging songs and things were finally moving forward for my voice - I finally had a vocal plan in place that was providing ongoing progress and gains for my singing.
With each level of technique that we build and grew in my voice, the results really were pouring in like never before - and those basic foundation steps of setup, support and space grew stronger and stronger as each register of my voice improved and grew with practice and time. My breathing wasn't just a necessity of posture and inhalation, it had become a POWERHOUSE that allowed me to support my high range and compress heavily for a killer rock tone and effortless power. My range was becoming a little bit excessive and well beyond the scope of what I thought was possible for a guy with a low voice like me, and my natural tone was really becoming something that I loved and was quite proud to call 'my voice'.
By first setting up a rock solid foundation of the fundamentals of great singing, this set up my voice for ongoing progress as a grew and balanced each element of the voice, and this where I started developing the Foundation, Growth, Balance approach to singing designed around the same process that took me from almost ten years of constant setbacks and minimal gains to a complete shift in perception of my own abilities as a singer - I wasn't just someone who warbled karaoke for fun, I now possessed the voice of a professional singer and realised I needed to DO something with the powerful instrument that had been built with time, care and a very detailed process of Foundation First - and here I am another ten years down the track at Bohemian Vocal Studio helping singers just like you all around the world enjoy the same success and achievements that this simple process has provided my own singing.
Foundation in singing really IS just like the foundation of a house that is being built; the rock solid concrete base that your walls and roof are built upon - walls and roof being a euphemism for RANGE and TONE when it comes to singing. With an effortlessly powerful foundation, you will enjoy ongoing progress in your singing as you move through each stage in the process of learning how to sing - Foundation, Growth and Balance.
I'd love to set you up with a vocal plan similar to the one that has absolutely changed my life as a singer - focusing on your unique voice and needs as a singer, I can estimate the amount of progress you're likely to make with this simple but efficient approach to singing with a few quick questions in the survey above. It's important that you answer the questions the best you can so that I can set up an appropriate vocal plan for your voice and help you achieve your goals as a singer.
You can also get started straight away with this exclusive Mixed Voice Singing Lesson which will show you the Foundation First approach in action as we connect your chest and head registers while developed mixed resonance for a more powerful and pleasant vocal tone.
Mixed Voice was one of the biggest game-changers for me as a lower-voiced singer, and has allowed me to turn my naturally deep baritone voice into a formidable range machine that sings comfortably in the Tenor range and beyond with ease. In short, learning to sing in Mixed Voice is truly the key to singing high notes without strain or tension!
Kegan is the master of vocal training… period – Derek (2019)
I recently bought your course and I can feel the resonance/placement into my head and it’s super cool – Alec (2018)
If you want to sing rock or blues… THIS is the guy! – Mau (2016)
Wow! Very useful – Vesna (2018)
Seeing lots of progress in such a short amount of time! – Chris (2019)