When learning how to use your voice it can feel like an enigma. Why? One, because you can’t see it!! It’s not like the piano or any other musical instrument (though it is one). Two, you don’t hear your own voice the same way that everybody else does. This can make learning to use your voice a little tricky!!!!

To start with, and most importantly, you need to make friends with the voice you hear on the recording. That is your true voice. The voice that everyone else hears. That voice you hear in your head, only you hear that voice!!!

Then you need to become aware of how it feels when you sing. What sensations do you feel in your body? What do you notice when you sing higher/lower? Can you sing loud/quiet? Does it feel comfortable/uncomfortable on certain notes? Is there a change / break/ transition anywhere? Does the sound change? If so on what notes?

For example: do you feel a tight and squeezey sensation when trying to hit higher notes? If so, the voice teacher needs to guide the singer (by demonstration) to experience release and relaxation on these higher notes. Allowing the singer to experinece a new sensation. Time to play opposite games!!!

Here is a short video of a female singer’s vocal folds. If you’ve never seen anything like this before it might be a little bit gross. But it shows you how the vocal cords/ folds change size and depth depending on the pitch. How the air passes through the cord/ folds to make sound and how that airflow is resisted by the opening and closing of the vocal cords/ folds.

This is why learning to sing can be tricky:

Piano teacher ”please can you play D4 on the keyboard please!”

piano student “yes ok, that’s this one right?”

Voice teacher “please can you shorten your vocal cords to the correct depth and thickness with the right amount of air resistance for a D4…….” (hopefully said no voice teacher ever!)

Vocal student “ummmm???????” as your fingers are crossed hoping they are making the correct sound.