Why Is Singing Well So Hard? [There’s 4 Reasons]

Why Is Singing Well So Hard? [There's 4 Reasons]

When it comes to great singing, there's really only four things that you need to master - but these four simple fundamentals can make or break your singing voice.

If you've been wondering why singing well is so difficult to learn, then I'm about to change absolutely everything for you as a singer.

If we break the singing voice down into it's most basic elements, we get:

  • Airflow
  • Vibration
  • Resonance

And that's actually IT for the physical function/ability of the voice to sing. Now, there's obviously a LOT more to great singing than just these three elements, but they're a great start if you're struggling to learn how to sing.

Now, when it comes to actual singing technique beyond these three physical basics - you might be surprised to learn that absolutely every trick, technique, concept, method and term out there relates to one of these Four Vocal Fundamentals:

  • Height In The Vocal Tract (Raise the soft palate)
  • Forward Placement (Sing bright and 'forward')
  • "All In One Flow" (Don't interrupt your flow of air unnecessarily with too much, or too little air)
  • Mixed Tonality (There's more to your voice than just "Chest" and "Head" voice)

For example, an advanced technique like vowel modification is simply a way to help you alter the shape/size of your vocal tract to achieve the peak resonant overtone for the register you're singing in by altering the Height In The Vocal Tract. What about twang? Edge? Brightness? Nay? Nyah? Yep, they're just ways to help you discover and develop Forward Placement.

By developing these Four Vocal Fundamentals, you are in essence growing and building upon the three physical elements of the singing voice we just discussed earlier.

Seriously, The Four Vocal Fundamentals are going to change your life as a singer.

But before I show you exactly how to master The Four Vocal Fundamentals in your own singing - let's get back on track so I can tell you exactly why learning how to sing is so difficult for some people.

Singing is HARD [But it should be EASY]

When it comes down to it, great singers find singing to be absolutely the easiest thing they've ever done. The voice just flows out of them like a river - where the rest of us are choked up with dams and debris.

Now, that 'debris' really comes in three different forms. If you've been struggling to sing well, or even if you've tried a few different courses and methods out there and haven't really made any progress, these three reasons are why:

#1 - Perception

When it comes to great singing, perception really is key. Maybe it's subjective, but I "feel" and "think of" my voice very different than I did when I first started learning how to sing some 20 odd years ago - ultimately, my perception has changed.

That's why there's so many analogies and "imagine this" instructions out there for singing - but it's easy to go too far with these cheap explanations and lose sight of why they're being used in the first place.

A great example of this is the wave of "Open Throat Technique" videos that have swept YouTube over the past few years. The term itself comes from the Italian "La Gola Aperta" which yes, translates to "The Open Throat" - but in context, really should read as "Singing Without Strain" or "Singing With Freedom"; but you get coaches telling people to open up more and more and more to the point where the student creates tension and strain from excessive width in the vocal tract, incorrect embouchure of the mouth and ultimately a strained, "closed" voice.

If you want to get literal, the voice is physically 'closed' when you sing;

  • The vocal folds are closed
  • The glottis is made up of various valves which resist airflow
  • The velar port is closed to the nose on a vowel sound
  • The tract itself is often narrowed rather than wide open
  • The tongue is quite often raised in the back of the mouth

And the result of this is an 'open' sounding resonance that is free from strain.

It's easy to get the wrong idea of singing from cheap tricks and throwaway tips that are really meant to cast a wide net over prospective students and clients rather than specifically help YOU sing better.

The most important thing you need to understand if you want to be a great singer, is that singing should be easy and free of strain - if it's not easy, then it's not right.

#2 - You're being taught by a natural (and you're not one)

This one is pretty close to home for me, because I realise now many of the teachers that I went to in my earlier days were total naturals - which sounds like a good thing, right?

The reality is that if someone didn't have to learn how to do it themselves - they lack the ability to teach it to you.

Now, it might be way more exciting (and probably business savvy) for me to say "I've always been awesome, and I'm better than anyone else", but the truth is, I had a really hard time learning how to sing - and the formidable voice that I now enjoy is one hard fought, and one that I've earned over more than a decade of training, perseverance and you guessed it - practice, practice, practice.

I guess my advice to you here is if you're watching a YouTube voice coaching video, ask yourself at the end "did I actually learn anything from that? Or do I just feel all warm and fuzzy about THEIR voice?" - these are two totally different things. The former might not be super exciting or worthy of a viral video and a million views, but it's definitely going to help YOU sing better than just watching someone else do it naturally.

#3 - Your Foundation sucks

I'm sorry, I know that wasn't diplomatic - but it needed to be said.

Remember those Four Fundamentals that we just spoke about? Well, it's time you learned them once and for all - and I'm just going to show you how to do them in this video right now:

Let me guess, you just learned more in about 9 minutes of free video than you've learned over years of lessons, years of trawling through YouTube videos and probably years of frustration too, right?

I told you they were important - you probably just didn't realise HOW important they are though.

For me personally, mastering The Four Vocal Fundamentals has been absolutely key to taking my less-than-one-octave range that I naturally started with, and turning it into four octaves and more power, range and tone than I really know what to do with - and they're definitely a big part of the reason I've been a successful voice teacher for over a decade now, because they just work.

The #1 Most Important Thing You'll Ever Learn

Now, I know I've made the business faux pas of showing you all my cards right from the get go - and you're probably not so excited that you're going to pull the trigger on a course or lesson at this stage, and that's totally okay; because there's something JUST as important that you need to learn - and I'm also going to give it to you for free too:

Vowel Overtones

Remember how we spoke about Height In The Vocal Tract a little higher up on this page? Well, great singing isn't just about raising the soft palate and hoping for the best - there's actually a set of specific overtones that occur through each register of the voice that allows you to connect full voice from your lowest note in chest voice, right through the middle and up into head voice with more power and ease than you could have ever imagined.

Watch this video to learn exactly how I help my own students master Vowel Modification to unlock their register overtones (you can also watch the full video here to see a "before and after" of my own voice before and after I learned what I'm about to share with you)

Having BIG DREAMS as a singer means you need a BIG VOICE to match - watch the video above to learn how you're going to build a big voice too!

6 Comments

  1. Perfect! Exactly what I’ve been looking for – and SO much more information and techniques too, it’s almost overwhelming. Do you think that finding singing hard is purely down to bad technique and training, or is there a natural or physical reason too? I took singing lessons when I was younger and simply gave up because it was too hard – but I notice I was taught very few of these techniques you’ve shown here. I’m wondering what your prices are and your availability? I notice you teach online – is this expensive?

    • Hey Tina! Thanks for the kind words – yes, I do like to overload and put everything on the table ha. It’s half half really, some people really do have a natural aptitude for learning how to sing, but in the end, it really doesn’t dictate how well someone will be able to sing with proper vocal technique, this aptitude really only applies to an untrained singer “getting things accidentally right” and sounding OK where another budding singer may have no idea – with the same training, these two singers will end up with the same extensive and expressive range.

      Coaching online actually allows me to provide the most competitive pricing on private singing lessons possible – there’s no studio cost, and there’s no travel, so my studio charges purely for my time – and as you’ve noted, I really DO love to over-provide in terms of value for your time and money. I don’t believe in expensive courses and a crazy cost for singing lessons, and my sessions start around only $40 – you can see the current specials and full pricing in the online booking calendar.

      Let me know if you have any questions about your voice – I hope this tutorial has re-lit the singing spark for you!!

      All the best,

      K

  2. Hi Kegan. This is so true and I know many of our own students (we train in musical theatre mainly) suffer from the 1st error you mention in that they are always trying too hard to start with. I think that many people think that singing is a difficult thing to do and therefore they set their mindset on having to make a lot of effort with it, instead of just relaxing more and letting things flow more naturally.
    I think that singing is like anything – we can all do it, but it’s good to learn how to do it properly, like walking or talking!
    You certainly give loads of information here too I can’t keep up sometimes but I guess we need to focus on one problem at time and sort that. Then move on to the next. 🙂
    Thanks for all the great info. Gail

    • Absolutely – singing should be easy and free, not a strained ‘chore’.

      Ha, yes, I do like to lay it all on the table and give as much detail as I can – you’re right, taking things one step at a time will take you further in your singing voice than any other approach.

      All the best!

      K

  3. How exactly do we use our diaphragm without straining our stomac…been exercising my diapragm for a long time but nothing adds up…i think this singing thing is all about some instinct with no physical application…idk…thoughts?

    • Sounds like you’re trying to breathe from your belly rather than effectively engaging the diaphragm – think more laterally at your ribs at your sides when you breathe in, and hold onto that wide feeling in the mid section as you enhale. It’s a pretty general question, but, if you’re tense in the stomach I’d say your posture is a little off, and also your expectation as to just how muscular you need to be when you sing is a little off – great singing is all about balance and resonance, not about muscle and physical force.

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