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Training Your Voice

Some Definitions: p.1
Qualifications: p.2
Finding a Teacher: p.3
What to Ask: p.4
About Gender: p.5

The act of singing is an intricate fusion of physiology, technique and emotions. When you sing publicly, you lay bare all three of those aspects. As a result, singing can sometimes feel like one of the most naked, vulnerable activities that you will ever undertake. With practice and training, however, it can also feel like the most victorious activity you've ever engaged in.

Here is a partial list of what you're expected to do while you're singing:

  • Sing on pitch.

  • Sing loud enough for listeners to hear.

  • Place your voice so that you achieve the desired tone.

  • Make the lyrics understandable.

  • Sing in the correct rhythm and tempo.

  • Convey the emotional content of what you're singing.

  • Oh, yeah. And, by the way, make it all appear effortless.

There may be a certain small percentage of us who have such a wonderful natural gift that we don't need any assistance accomplishing these goals. The rest of us need training.

Whether you're singing grand opera or grunge rock, you're entrusting a valuable asset to someone else when you choose a voice teacher or coach. Hence, you should be very selective.

But if you're a new singer, how do you know what to look for? More often than not, it's a crapshoot. As the carnival barker says, "Ya pays yer money, ya takes yer chances."

While no amount of advice can guarantee that you'll locate just the right vocal mentor for you, we've put together some ideas that can at least help minimize the risk.

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Some definitions

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