Getting out of your (voice’s) way

Voice training is weird. Really. Think about it. Of all the instruments that can be trained, name another one you can’t see or touch? Perhaps this explains why voice training sometimes takes on mystical overtones. Teachers or trainers are seen as guides to the unknown. This notion may seem a bit dramatic, but in a real sense, the trainer IS guiding the singer in his/her/their understanding of what can’t be seen or touched.

Oddly enough, another complication is the fact that most every human has a functioning vocal mechanism. It arrived, factory-installed and seems to be working fine. What more could I possibly need to know? Well, I would argue, a lot.

Based on my own experience and years of teaching, I can report the following: Most singers can’t tell you, with much accuracy, how their instrument works. Most will struggle with basic facts like: How does one sing louder and softer? How does one sing higher and lower pitches?

Now, if singing in the shower or along with your favorite singer is your only goal, you may not care about knowing more and that is fine. However, if you are experiencing any limitation in your singing, maybe you need to know more about how the voice works so that you can stop doing things that are impeding your potential, success, and enjoyment.

When getting to know a new student, I always ask, “What is something you wish you could do with your voice that you can’t at this time?” The limitation is usually caused by the presence of misinformation about how the voice works. Although well-intentioned, the singer’s choices and actions are the impediment because they are not working with the design and function of the vocal anatomy and mechanism.

Often I am asked, “What do you do in a voice lesson?” My standard response is this: “I help people get out of their way.”

Listed first as one of many benefits of Estill Voice Training is “replaces mystery with knowledge.” It would be my pleasure you help you do that.

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