Welcome to my Website. And thank you for your visit! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or advanced student. You’re also welcome here whether you're interested in popular styles or classical performance. Either way, you’ll likely find valuable and interesting knowledge here. If you've had no experience or never studied, scroll down to the section A Note to Beginners or Those at an Early Stage.
A Note to More Advanced Students
Are you experienced? Or have you studied for some length of time with others? If so, it’s important to warn you of the possibility or even likelihood that you could easily misunderstand the way I teach. You’ll find that it’s different. What it treats as first and most important is different. How it deals with it is different. But the voice works best for everything else when it is efficient. I like to say, “More juice for less effort.” We will focus first on the basics of efficient vocal function. This is not a matter of taste. The laws of nature determine it. And it works best for every style!
These laws not only determine how the vocal anatomy works best. Taking advantage of them results in incredible vocal freedom. This includes efficiency in the use of air. You learn this using deeply relaxed, natural aerodynamics. They take the strain off your voice and let nature do the work. It’s the most efficient way to produce a rich, full, beautiful sound at both the highest and lowest pitches.
Another crucial part of this is the acoustic adjustment in the vocal tract. What kind of adjustment most efficiently gets your sound from your larynx out into the performance venue? These factors, when fine-tuned and working all at once, provide huge benefits.
They bring you great ease and ensure vocal health from your singing. They also combine, of course, to produce a rich, full, gorgeous sound. All this together even produces a delicious feeling of blissful freedom in your body. It provides the pleasure of singing with a body that is relaxed yet filled with vital energy and expressive power.
This doesn’t merely eliminate damaging vocal strain. It builds the voice with use. It is in its nature the healthiest way to sing. However, often more experienced students still have substantially less than optimal vocal function. That usually includes those who’ve studied for several or even many years with another teacher. Such students sometimes hold their former teachers in high regard. This means that any discovery that they have basic deficiencies in their vocal function is difficult for some to accept.
Unfortunately, many teachers do little more than teach songs. They don't really teach much that helps you sing way better than before. At best they help you very slowly, bit by little bit, improve your vocal function with random corrections while singing songs. This may consist of nothing more than their own vocal demonstrations. They fail to teach you anything that helps you fully understand the difference between your attempt and what the teacher tries to give you by example. This by itself is only very weakly effective.
It seems quite reasonable to assume that when you come to me it's because you feel there is more to learn. I focus strongly on getting the fundamentals right before moving on to what some students consider more advanced material. This way of teaching quickly reveals whatever weaknesses there are in your vocal function. Sometimes I don't even have to say anything to you about how well or not you're doing. Just merely teaching you how to do it right is often enough to make that clear for you. For a few new students here and there this uncovers an unpleasant fact. Sometimes as much as eight or nine years of lessons didn't reveal very much to them about what truly good vocal function is.
Sadly, some prospective students don't want to know that. Or maybe they're simply unaware of how important getting the fundamentals right is. Most are not even very clear at all regarding what the fundamentals are, even if they sing fairly well. Over the years, I have even had a couple of new students feel insulted by going back to work on fundamentals. With my guidance they could have built a vastly better range, great tone, vocal health, agility, and ease. Although rarely, it’s disappointing that the most promising people sometimes leave before they get a chance to discover how fast and powerful the methods I use are. Sadly, they miss out on developing their voice far beyond their current level.
I have deliberately taken on the challenge of teaching students with very little vocal talent or musicality and helped them develop an amazingly wide range, terrific tone quality, relaxed, physical ease and solid confidence in their pitch accuracy. The most talented students are the easiest to teach, so I have naturally learned the most about how to teach from my least talented students. Happily, the powerful teaching techniques I’ve developed working with the more challenging students are amazingly more effective for the talented students. They take off like a rocket! Why?...because the problems of both are essentially the same. They generally differ only in degree rather than in kind.
So occasionally I get a talented student with years of experience and/or previous study who doesn't continue beyond the first lesson or two because s/he failed to appreciate the value of going back and getting the fundamentals down as solidly as s/he needed to. This doesn’t mean, as some interested in popular genres sometimes wrongly assume, that you're going to end up sounding like a classical singer if you learn to use the voice in the exceedingly healthy way I’ve described. Optimal technique is a reference platform that works for any genre or personal style that doesn’t vary from it far enough to lose all the wonderful advantages it provides.
I've shared this information in case you need it to forestall the sad mistake of missing out on the tremendous advantages genuinely optimized vocal function provides. It always saddens me to witness a failure to appreciate the value of going back to fundamentals and getting them right before moving on to what some may perceive to be more advanced musical pursuits. In their minds, perhaps, starting with material that seemed more advanced to them would have been more appropriate for their level of experience and training. This is just another unfortunate example of how ego can get in the way of what could have been amazingly rapid progress in the case of talented students.
All the best,
P.S. If you're interested in classical styles, you will also get excellent coaching in Italian, French, and German diction for the art song literature in those languages.
A Note to Beginners or Those at an Early Stage
One visitor asked me whether I have had students who started off with a bad sounding voice and improved enough to sound really good. This visitor stated that her voice was not bad, but she just wanted to have some idea of how much improvement was possible with my approach. The short answer to her question is "yes", but that doesn't really tell you much, does it?
I've had many students who came to me with a very strained way of producing a tone and it unfortunately sounded as strained as it was. It is usually an unpleasant, rasping quality, with some hint of pinching the voice to get a sound out of it. This typically comes from lacking vitality in their breathing. They try to make up for it with the upper vocal mechanism itself instead of the breath, which cannot work...ever. Most singers, even experienced ones who have had producers and regular recording dates, come to me with some sort of unnecessary strain or effort in their voices.
Most also have at least minor pitch problems. There are always a few students for whom this is pretty severe. Some of them came to me after trying online vocal training that simply did not work for them. Others came to me with the hope that I could help them after their university professors they had been studying voice with had not.
We should let the voice ride easily on the power in the breath. A surfer finely adjusts the board to guide the power in a wave. Surfers just finely balance and subtly tweak their position. All the power comes from the wave. The voice is the surfer and the respiratory system is the wave. All the power comes from the breath and its coordination with the voice. The voice must just relax and finely adjust to use that power efficiently.
In your lessons we will use highly effective techniques that strongly set up your voice to relax and "float" on the breath. You also get a simple exercise to practice at home that involves only the breath without vocalizing. It smooths, strengthens, and conditions as a habit the way your respiratory system supplies air to your voice. It doesn't take 30 seconds to do, and you do it four or more times a day, every day. You can even do it sitting at a stop light.
At your lessons, we use techniques that relax the upper vocal mechanism. We allow that to lead the breath and coordinate it finely with the needs of your relaxed vocal mechanism. This reveals your natural voice and lets it come out. These techniques physically discourage strain and any temptation to impose artificial postures on the vocal anatomy. The result is a rich, full sound that feels really good to the body, sounds wonderful to the ears, and it's a lot easier...much more efficient. That means you get a bigger, richer, fuller vocal tone with a minimum of effort.
There are many common exercises that claim to do what I'm describing here, such as lip and tongue flutters, etc. But my techniques involve much deeper principles of ease and relaxation while encouraging vitality where it counts, in the respiratory system. You develop a fine poise, a habitual internal posture that is similar to the vitality you feel in a kind of mild giggly or laughing sensation. They also condition the right adjustments for efficient sound production throughout your range. These same exercises extend that, surprising you with how high you can suddenly go and so easily. It is also pleasant to discover that on low notes the same exercises eliminate that crunched down or often instead a breathy, fuzzy sound. They replace it with a clear, solid, vibrant quality with silvery, ringing overtones.
I live for the moment when my students first feel and hear what it's like to produce a tone this way. Their faces light up and they're amazed at how effortless it feels and how wonderful it sounds. I have a young high school student who in his most recent lesson at the time of this writing just burst out laughing he was so happy to feel how great it felt, how good it sounded, and how incredibly natural and easy it was. He could hardly believe it was his voice, but in fact it was his real voice, the way it naturally sounds when used correctly.
I explained to him that all the effort he had been making was fighting the laws of nature. These laws govern the vocal anatomy and how it functions with relation to the laws of sound...acoustics. When you let those laws work for you instead of working against them, it almost literally feels and sounds like magic.
If you haven't already, please look at the reviews here at my Website. Those reviews come from students' personal experiences of what I've just described. So I have indeed helped people with a really poor sound and even a very bad pitch sense sing well and in tune. My approach accomplishes this very much more quickly than simply having you sing songs while doing relatively little to help you improve the way you use your voice. This approach is wonderfully healthy for your voice and works for any style.
So please feel free to give me a call at 704 341-0250 and arrange an introductory one-hour lesson. I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon and hopefully meeting you in person.
All the best,