You Already Know How to Sing

You already know how to sing. Whether you or anyone else thinks you are good at singing is another matter entirely.

For the self professed “singers” in the house, I want to address your fears around voice training. If there are any.

When I started my singing career, I had no clue how my voice worked and had even less desire to learn about it.  I just wanted to sing, which is the case with most working singers.

Why analyze something you’ve always been able to do?  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right?

Then, like so many other unsuspecting singers, I discovered a love for teaching that dovetailed beautifully with a love for helping people.  (Working with voices is the perfect job for someone interested in music, psychology, and science btw.)

Soon after I began teaching, I discovered the world of voice science. That discovery sparked an insatiable desire to learn about vocal function.

This step, learning the mechanics and acoustics of the body, necessarily requires teachers.  Voice teachers. Ugh. Who wants to take a “voice lesson?”  And where could I go to learn how the voice works without getting accosted with an aria?

Like so many other singers who do just fine on their own musically, I was suddenly frozen between wanting to know more about how the voice works and not wanting anyone to tell me “how to sing.”  In this case, sing jazz.

Fast forward a few years, and finally . . . meet Tom Blaylock.

Can you think of a moment in your life that changed you forever?  Meeting Mr. Blaylock was like that for me because he said something I’ll never forget: “You can already sing, we’re just going to work on some underlying technique.”  Like, no big deal.  Your voice works, kid.  Let’s just go to the gym.

I’m smart enough to know that Tom Blaylock could hear every single vocal flaw and untrained part of my singing voice.  There were/are many. AND likewise, HE was smart enough to know that the music was already inside me, and my singing style and love for jazz have ALMOST NOTHING to do with how coordinated by body was for singing.

It was the most liberating moment of my voice training life.  I didn’t have to change what I love about my voice.  I didn’t have to sing opera or musical theater to learn technique.  I could take lessons with a voice expert, because finally someone understood what I needed more than anything – just to understand how the voice is put together and how to exercise it!

This is why I constantly preach about the difference between style and function.  Many people pretty much know how to sing, AND they know what kind of music they like and/or how they want to use your voice for their jobs.

What about giving singers a break already?  What about treating singers like the musical experts they are, and just take them to the “voice gym” instead of trying to make them sound like everyone else?  Why not approach singers like athletes who need a workout instead of people who need a “voice lesson?”

I think a lot of people need to hear what Tom Blaylock said to me that day: “you can already sing, and we’re just going to work on some underlying technique.  Let me show you how.”

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