How I Learned to Love My Singing Voice

11174319_10101633298922663_5694432252549346234_o-2This is the story about why I became a voice coach and how I developed a singing voice I love.

They are one and the same story.

Let’s start with the ending:

I have worked with thousands of vocal students.  American Idol finalists, national arena acts, Heart and Led Zeppelin tribute band singers, local singer-songwriters.  Musical theatre belters, pop divas, urban R&B tenors, smooth jazz crooners, country artist singers, hard rock singers.  Vocalists from all over the US, Canada, Italy, Australia, Sweden, the UK, and Denmark.  And a handful of people who couldn’t match a pitch during their first lesson.

I adore my students; they give my life a lot of meaning.  I get excited with every little step forward they take during their lessons.  (Sometimes more excited than they do!)

And finally, now, I love my voice, and other people seem to love it, too.  I get paid to sing in professional bands of all descriptions including jazz, rock, top 40 and dance.  People come to my original shows and ask where they can buy my music.

But not that many years ago, I didn’t understand my voice, I hated how it sounded, and… my bandmate told me that I needed to work on my intonation (pitch).

How did I get here?

I haven’t been a musician my entire life.  Before becoming a vocal and live performance coach, I was a semi-pro water skier and a software developer.

When I started making my first recordings in 2007, I loved singing but I HATED my voice.  I was so embarrassed about how I sounded that I made my bandmates go wait outside while I did the recording myself.

So I started taking lessons from one teacher after another. Although I picked up bits of information here and there, I often felt like they weren’t using my time or money effectively. Occasionally, I even detected a bit of condescension that I wanted to sing rock, pop, or funk songs rather than classical or musical theatre songs. Still, I thought I might be jumping around too much to see any benefit, so I decided to commit to one teacher. I worked with that teacher for a year and half, at the end of which time she let me go, saying she had nothing left to teach me.  “But,” I thought, “The high notes still hurt! I still don’t understand how to sing in a mix! I still dont know so much about my voice!” (This teacher was even certified by the National Association of Teachers of Singing!)

I resumed going to different teachers and picking up more skills from each of them, but I also committed to taking responsibility for my own education.  I read books and websites, bought just about every vocal training product that was available to purchase at the time, and experimented a lot with my own voice.  I would spend a couple of hours trying to figure out how to sing a single note, trying different combinations of airflow, placement, muscle movement, posture, and anything else I could think of.

After a couple of years of daily work, I was starting to figure out the basics.  But since I still hadn’t connected deeply with any teachers, I decided I would become a voice coach myself.  It was scary, but there is no better way to learn something than to teach it – and I figured I had something to offer beginning singers, at least.

As I taught, I tried both standard voice exercises and my own creations on my students.  I learned what tends to work and what doesn’t.  During these years I started to learn very quickly – not only how to teach voice, but how to sing, too.

Fast forward seven years and thousands of students later.  I now have more students wanting lessons than I have time for.  And there are plenty of other students who would like to learn from me but don’t have the funds.  I get it!  Quality private lessons are expensive.

So I started creating products.  I can help many more vocalists, much more affordably, by recording what I know and sharing it with you.

In late 2014 I released a huge vocal training product, Nail Every Note.  Now I am continuing to create other, smaller vocal training products to reach as many people as I can.  I don’t want you to waste all the time and money that I did!

It’s an ongoing journey, and my voice keeps changing and improving, but at this point it will do just about anything I want it to.  And I understand how to solve problems as they occur, rather than being confused and frustrated because my voice isn’t working the same from one day to the next.

If a computer jockey / athlete can learn to sing well in her 30’s, surely you can too!

I believe in you.  Now, go sing!