"A lovely beautifully produced mature timbre"- Opera Now
Tel: 079709 38661 OR 07969 880177
I teach in SIX locations. I am available for lessons from 1pm to 8pm
Broadgreen Liverpool (just off the M62)
Broad green Lane
(just off the M60)
The Methodist Church
St George’s Parish Hall Church Street Altrincham WA14 4DB
Heswall Methodist Church Heswall CH60 0AE
8 Brunswick Road
Please listen to my recordings
While providing singing tuition in Liverpool and Manchester I am pleased that the musical and singing culture is thriving . I have been teaching a variety of young people who are worried about their voices. The demands of singing pop and musical theatre are very great and young singers are trying to do this without any technique at all.
The reasons for pain while singing are many - but here are a few of the main ones-
1. Not knowing your range- so baritones sing tenor and mezzos sing soprano with dire consequences. What do i mean by this?
Well a tenor is a high male voice - well trained tenors can reach a top C for example. But we are not all made the same way. Some male singers are baritones and some are basses. The top note of a baritone is always going to be about three notes below a tenor and a bass is three notes below that. The same with girl's voices- Soprano is high, mezzo soprano is middle voice and contralto is low. For example- Adele and Katherine Jenkins are mezzo sopranos. So if you are a mezzo soprano and try to sing really high you will end up hurting your voice!
GOLDEN RULE - Don't sing higher than is comfortable- and don't worry there is lots of good music out there for every voice.
2. Tightening the throat. A lot of people when they start think that singing has to be an effort and that effort comes from the throat. Singing is an effort but not with the throat. You will find later on in this web site that the effort has to be from your "abs" not your throat.
3. Poor posture- this is especially true when singing with a microphone- don't stretch up for the microphone keep the throat and larynx relaxed. And keep your whole body in a straight line with your throat.
4. Singing in the wrong style. There are different styles of singing.
Opera, Rock, The Belt, Crooning, Falsetto for example. Each one has a technique that a singer has to master - the problems come when a singer who can Belt uses that to sing music written for an opera voice and so on.
"The Belt" uses a different method for approaching the higher notes of the range. The reasons behind "The Belt" are technical and artistic. While there are very few really good singers who are also really good actors you can find many more really good actors who can sing pretty well- especially when they are provided with good amplification and sing a restricted range.
It is important to understand when this change happened. West Side Story (1957) was written for opera style singers in the lead roles. So it's no good trying to sing West Side Story with a Belt voice- it will hurt. In the sixties and certainly into the seventies with Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and Hair and all Stephen Sondheims later work musicals were written for actors who could use the Belt or for rock voices but not for Opera style singers.
The vocal folds are very sensitive and react badly to rough treatment and protect themselves first with a protective layer of mucous and then by growing calluses called nodules. Nodules can be removed but a singer often loses the quality of voice that made them a star. I do feel sorry for people who can no longer sing as well as they used to.Even when nodules are not the problem, there are other dangers, because the muscles that move the vocal folds can be strained. Then control is lost so that pitch is very difficult to maintain and/or a wobble develops.
At the moment we are suffering an epidemic of star singers damaging their vocal folds. Modern medicine promises to fix this- but it is much better if the problem doesn't start in the first place. No-one should suffer a vocal haemorhage it is extremely dangerous and completely avoidable.