Singing Myths BUSTED!
There is a SERIOUS amount of information out there today concerning singing technique, and some million+ singing lessons out there on YouTube to choose from – how do you work out what is the RIGHT technique to use, and what is just a myth? With over 15 years experience studying the voice, I’ve been around the block a few times with most of the common singing myths and things that people say just to sell singing courses and the . Trust me, how to lean to how to sing doesn’t have to be such a confusing thing, so lets break down those myths one by one!
Some people are just BORN with singing talent.
What IS singing talent, really? Is it knowing how to breathe properly, create a resonant sound, place your voice and know how to hit the right vowels? That certainly sounds like singing technique that can be taught and learned to me – in fact, this is what I specialize-in here at Bohemian Vocal Studio. With my experience as a Rock Vocal Coach and the years I’ve spent working with students around the globe of many voice types and native tongues, I believe the idea of “talent” comes from the natural aptitude that some people naturally have towards learning some topics over others – for example, Math isn’t my strong point (nor was learning to sing, initially!), but I totally have a knack for pulling cars apart and also building things with my hands. Someone else might be totally rubbish with cars, but be a total math WIZ – this doesn’t mean that they couldn’t LEARN how to tinker with cars just as well, if not BETTER than I can. Catch my drift? Natural aptitude refers to the learning curve only, not the end result or the ability itself – if I applied myself, perhaps I could learn to split equations with the best of them, but I much prefer spending my time developing my voice instead! Absolutely ANYONE can learn how to sing with a powerful, healthy, resonant voice that has tons of range if they learn the right way from an experienced vocal coach.
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Are some people just BORN with singing talent? BUSTED.
You can’t sing a high C with a baritone voice range
With my range starting around an A1, and extending up to an A5, I’m just going to hit this one straight away as BUSTED. People who say that Baritones have a limited range simply don’t understand the mechanics of the voice. The ‘vocal range’ (or “fach”) system was created simply for dividing Operas up into the easiest/most pleasant or maneable sounding part of each singer’s range, it has NOTHING to do with the actual possiblities of each singer’s voice with training. While my range extends well into the bass range personally, it’s now very easy to sustain my voice up into the tenor range convincingly without much effort – so am I a “bass”, or am I a “tenor”? Neither – I have my own unique voice type that has been developed to extend my range and grow with power in a healthy manner.
Are baritone’s limited to notes below a high C? BUSTED.
Grit will RUIN your voice
The verdict is out on this one, and really depends on HOW you create grit in your voice. I believe the issue with grit is the fact that’s often called “distortion” – when you sing with a gritty sound, you’re not actually distorting or contorting your sound, you’re actually creating an overtone that sits on TOP of your natural resonance. So if you approach it in the way that I do where breathing is your foundation, resonance is your walls, vowels are your roof and diction is your fittings – grit would simply be the lick of paint you apply after the fact. If this was the case for ALL singers, then of course this myth would be busted – I’ve personally be singing with this healthy approach to grit for over 16 years, and my range is now MUCH greater, my voice is way more powerful and I understand my voice MUCH better than when I first started, so yes, it CAN be done in a safe way. However, a lot of singers actually approach grit in the wrong fashion, leading to strain and damage – so lets leave this one as UNDECIDED.
Your range decreases as you age
This one is another UNDECIDED as it really depends on how healthy your vocal technique is. Sure, if your warmup is a pint of beer and you’ve been shouting Khe Sahn for the last 30 years, then absolutely – you’re going to lose that range BIG TIME. But if you’ve developed a healthy, resonant voice that you have complete control over, then your voice will stay strong and healthy for a lifetime – just look at how much more powerful Paul Rodgers’ voice is at 60+ than when he was 20. The sign of a great singer is how well their voice ages – so, if you have dodgy singing technique, then this one would actually be true. If you have a healthy, resonant voice that you’ve built in the right way – you’ll keep your voice for life. So lets leave this one as UNDECIDED as it really depends on how healthy your vocal technique is.
Singing with a breathy tone is bad for your voice
This one I will absolutely CONFIRM – singing with a breathy tone will sap your resonance and dry out your vocal chords. If you do a google search for singers that have damaged their voices, you’ll likely find they have one thing in common – BREATHINESS. Whether it is Adele, or John Mayer, it’s not pushing, belting or grit that caused vocal issues, it was too much air across the chords. Learn how to breath properly and support your voice from the diaphragm, and you will never experience these unnecessary issues. Remember, your voice works via air PRESSURE, not air FLOW – so hold back that air and sing with resonance, resonance, resonance!
Do you have any other singing queries you’d like me to clarify, or any other myths you’d like me to either BUST or confirm? Let me know in the comments below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.