Singing Basics #4: Creating a Tone Model

I was on a motorcycle taxi the other day, practicing some calming breathing exercises as we navigated the busy streets of Bangkok, when my driver decided to be his own radio. He sang luk thung – Thai “country” music – all the way to my apartment. For as far as I was concerned, he could’ve been a “luk thung” star. I thought to myself that if I, with all my opportunities and training, devoted my life to singing “luk thung”, I probably still wouldn’t sound anywhere as good as him.

I’ve noticed this over and over again as I travel the world, and also at home in America. People sing the way that they hear songs sung. Even people who claim to be tone-deaf pick up all sorts of stylistic nuances from the music they grow up with. There is an important lesson in this, and it is: Continue reading

Singing Basics #1: Posture

This month we’ll explore 4 core areas of singing technique: posture, breathing, resonance and tone. These are the topics that start most voice lessons, and also the ones that even the most experienced singers refer back to time and time again.

The first time I went in for a professional massage, I was about 15 years old. At our first session, the therapist told me that my neck and shoulders were so tight, she should take me on as a charity case. This continued, until two years later, when suddenly everything changed. “Are you less stressed now?” she asked me. “Did you meet someone?”

The truth was, I had picked up a new love: dancing. Continue reading

The Most Important Thing in Singing

When starting a new blog, you never know if readers will get past the first post. Thus, I decided that I should start this blog for singers by writing about the single most important thing that every singer should know.

The problem was, I had no idea what that was. Certainly many things came to mind; singing often and well, enjoying the process and art of singing, engaging and emotionally connecting with an audience; all topics I am eager to further explore in this blog. None of them, however, seemed so important when considered all by themselves.

The answer came to me a few weeks later, while meeting a friend in a local café to go over some Italian text I was singing. Continue reading