Set Your Voice Free

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Once you see the possibilities, it becomes tempting to sample a few. The Truth about Your Voice It's time someone leveled with you about what your voice can really do and what's reasonable to expect from your basic set of vocal equipment. I know old beliefs die hard, and what I'm about to tell you may sound counterintuitive that is, impossible, silly, or fictitious , but the statements below are absolutely true. If yours can't, it's because you're doing something wrong.

It's a myth to think that high and low notes are for someone else, or that you're doomed to sound like a wet alley cat when you sing the national anthem. Training, perseverance, and the techniques I'll teach you can make every note of those octaves come to life. Contrast that with the 40 or 50 percent of the people I meet who are sure that they "can't sing" because of some inherent defect.

Actually, tone deafness is a relatively rare condition that results from damage to the ear, for instance from a high childhood fever.

Set Your Voice Free: How To Get The Singing Or Speaking Voice You Want

If you're truly tone deaf, you can't sing on pitch because you can't hear the pitch 12 If you're one of those people who cringe at their own, or others', missed notes in talent shows or at karaoke bars, you're not tone deaf, you're just tone shy. I'm happy to report that your hearing is just fine, and even if you sing like an untrained Owen, the young man I spoke about earlier, we can fix the pitch problems. Allow me to introduce you to the voice you've been dreaming of. Some Basic Equipment You're probably wondering just what it'll take to start shifting your voice toward the part of the spectrum that you, and other people, might label beautiful — or even just strain- free.

Actually, there are just three main requirements: 1. Stay in touch with your desire to improve your voice. Be willing to play, and to fake it till you make it. Be willing to put yourself first — even if it's just for a few minutes a day. In your heart of hearts, what is it that makes you want to improve your voice? Maybe you have a fantasy — that you're singing in a community theater, or telling stories to kids at the library, or inspiring the troops at your workplace like Patton.

I hope you'll consider speaking those answers onto a tape, because I think you'll find it to be a valuable record of where you are and, eventually, of how far you've come. As you complete the statement, and later begin practicing with all the exercises, you'll need to silence the harsh critic who lives inside you, the voice that makes wet-blanket statements like "It sucks"; "It's embarrassing"; "It makes me sound stupid. Just gather information and use it. The second statement is important because it's essential, as you begin, to put some of your desire into words.

That's a way of keeping your eye on the prize.

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No one wants to take voice lessons for abstract reasons. It's always something personal. There may be a specific song you want to sing or a feeling of confidence and satisfaction you want to walk away with at the end of a meeting where you and your voice have done your best. Or you may have a feeling that's more like an intuition — that improving your voice will change your life in some way you haven't yet imagined. This work may feel scary to you. It may even feel silly and out of character. But your desire is real, and powerful.

And once you've spoken that desire, like a birthday wish or a mission statement, it can work for you. It'll help keep you motivated when you feel stuck and inspire you to keep exploring your vocal possibilities when you've realized that your voice has hundreds of colors, instead of just a couple. You'll hear clear demonstrations of the sounds I'm referring to, and you may also be asked to make the sounds yourself.

Don't skip that part! Imagining what you'd sound like doesn't count — you need to try copying what you hear. That's where the lights go on and the learning begins to happen in your body and mind. What we'll be doing is as simple as follow the leader. I'll make sounds and you'll copy them.

There's not a lot of complicated theory, just a wide variety of playful experiments. As you follow my voice through the exercises on the CD, you will be automatically placing your mouth, jaws, stomach, breath, and vocal cords in positions that make it nearly impossible, over time, to produce weak, strained, or "bad" sounds.

This is not an intellectual exercise. All you have to do is be willing to let go of a little fear and self- doubt, and duplicate the sounds you hear. To work with me, you'll need to listen carefully, copy what you hear me doing, let yourself have a little fun, and give up the misconceptions and bad habits that have kept you stuck in an ill-fitting voice. You may not feel that you're doing everything right, so just fake it and have a little faith.

Make the funny sounds. Giggle if you need to. There's no need to worry about looking dignified, because that's going to be impossible anyway. Just listen and repeat after me and you'll be fine. The easiest way to ensure that you're getting the same benefit from this material as the students who come into my offices is to do what they do: set up a regular weekly voice lesson.

When you're through reading this chapter, I'd like you to get out your calendar and block out some time for your private sessions with me. Plan one session of at least half an hour or forty-five minutes during the week for reading and listening to each chapter. Consider that to be lesson time, during which you'll learn about and experience different parts of your voice. I suggest that you take the lessons a week at a time to give yourself a chance to assimilate the material and let it "soak in.

How To Sing With More Freedom : Free Your Voice!

Practice sets in motion a physical training process that reshapes the way you make sound. You're learning to control the voice-production muscles, and even a little regular practice will go a long way toward building the physical strength that will make your voice more powerful. Please remember that you're doing this for yourself. You have a lot of demands on your time, and chances are you spend most of your time thinking about what you need to do for other people.


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You've got a to-do list that's full of pragmatic questions: How can I earn more money? How can I take care of my family? How can I squeeze in sleep and exercise and the job and the kids and the parents and romance and everyone who wants something from me? Maybe there doesn't seem to be a lot of room left for more dreamy items like: I want to be a singer.

I want to speak better. So, you'll have to be bold and just take the time to learn and to practice. My most successful students are the ones who can tell themselves: "I'm finally going to do this for myself, even though the choir director laughed when I mentioned wanting to be a soloist. Even though my friends think I'm nuts. Even though I've sung in a joke voice for 14 Making this change is my gift to me.

You may well have to give up a lot of comfortable ideas about your limitations and what a person like you can dream of doing. But if the experience of my students over the years is any indication, it's a risk you'll be glad you took. Do It for the Joy Having a voice you can count on to reflect who you are and express the ideas, emotions, and soulfulness you have inside is a gift. And it's one of the wonderful secrets of my business that those who seek the voice they deserve find benefits they never expected.

I'm not talking just about money or fame or even confidence — I'm talking about joy. Students who sing with me, whether their ultimate goal is to improve the way they speak or to ensure that their voices hold up on a year-long album tour, find that singing makes them feel better.

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It must be something about making those sounds. It makes me feel a lot better than going to therapy — and it's a lot less expensive. It's long been known that sound is incredibly powerful think of all the savage beasts that have been soothed by music , and that it lifts the soul spend time singing or chanting in any house of worship and you'll see what I mean. And it doesn't feel like that much of a stretch to expect that it can work some kind of healing physical magic on the body. The results are still coming in, and I'll share some of them with you later.

Meanwhile, try making some of the sounds I'll teach you — I'm almost certain that, like Bill, you'll feel the joy. My Story Working with the voice isn't just a job for me — it's a lifelong, life-changing passion. And the power of the voice isn't something I think of as an abstract concept.

Set Your Voice Free

It's a vital force I've seen again and again in my life. I've always loved to sing. Some of my earliest memories are of interrupting my parents' dinner parties just as the food was being served and singing my heart out until someone would pick me up, put me under his or her arm — still singing away — and place me in another room. From the time I was seven or eight, I begged for singing lessons, and though my mother believed I didn't need lessons until I was thirteen, nothing kept me from belting out songs at any opportunity. I was a healthy, happy, active kid, but at the age of ten I developed osteomyelitis, a bone condition that required major surgery.

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I was in a wheelchair and attending a school for handicapped students for a year, then in a walking cast for six months. I couldn't exercise, couldn't walk, couldn't play as I used to — it was the biggest hardship of my life to that point. But I could sing, and I clung to my voice like a lifeline. I began giving 15 At twelve and a half I was a fat, lame kid trying to fit back into a regular school, and I used singing to rebuild my ego and my life.

It was my first genuine lesson in balancing the good and the bad in life, and my journey to wholeness was made possible by the love I had for singing. To this day, in working with my clients, I believe that finding and developing the voice is an amazing tool for rebuilding self-worth. At thirteen I finally got the singing lessons I'd longed for, and in a short time I was winning vocal competitions and performing as a baritone in operatic productions around Los Angeles.

A couple of years later I also began teaching professionally. My voice teacher was offered a temporary out-of-town position, and he asked me to take over his studio and work with his clients, a roster that included the Beach Boys, Earth Wind and Fire, the 5th Dimension, the Jack-sons, and many more of the biggest recording stars in the world. I continued my training and established myself through competitions as the number one voice in the state. But at twenty, two years into my college career, my voice went through another change, and it was an enormous shock to me.

Suddenly I was a tenor, and I couldn't perform the baritone repertoire I'd been working so long to perfect.


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I was dropped from the competitions I was used to dominating — my voice had betrayed me. I felt like a huge, in-transition loser.