Vocal Imbalance, Creating Vibrato…

Here’s a couple question/answers that I hope are helpful to all…

Q: Dear Billy, I have been singing for 10 years now. I have sung in a choir for 4 years, in a theatre group for 3 years and am now singing at weddings and in bands professionally. I have also been taking singing lessons for the past 3 years. I was in Germany for 8 months and sang the lead role in a German production of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. So now you know where I am at. I have a few problems with my voice. Currently i have three registers. A low (alto) register which is very strong and well developed, a middle register which is a bit weaker and then my high register which is very light and airy. I am finding it really hard to sing in my low register as i always strain my throat when doing so. The difference between my high and low register is very dramatic so I continue to sing in my low register and sometimes even push myself to try and sing higher notes in this lower register. I have stopped my singing lessons as the teacher didn’t
understand my problems. Please help… -S.

A: I can’t understand why the teacher doesn’t understand the problem; it sounds like a classic case of vocal imbalance – too much weight from chest voice (which is why it is strained) will always deplete the upper register (which is why it is “airy”) What you need to do is rebalance your voice, and eventually you can apply it to your songs. It will require strengthening your upper register and softening your lower register a bit, especially at first – please note that it will take some patience on your part, and you may find your voice in “limbo” for a short while, where it would be best not to have to sing in public (a month or two) but not necessarily. Strengthening the upper register is 90% of what a teacher like me does, but you can do the work on your own if you understand the concept involved. That’s why I created the Ultimate Voice Training for Singers home study program! I highly recommend that you give my program a try; you’ll be glad you did!  But if you decide to try lessons again, seek out a teacher who truly understands the bridges of the voice, not one who just plays songs a gives tips.  -billy

Q: Hello, I am 35 yr old female and love to sing. Back in February of this year, I started voice lessons. Both my breath support and projection are doing very well for only having 6 months of lessons but unfortunately, right now I have a vibratoless voice… meaning I naturally force a straight tone. When we begin to work on vibrato, my teacher says I’m forcing it. She says I need to relax and think vibrato and it will happen but I am having a difficult time with this and it’s beginning to really depress me. I want a natural vibrato but unfortunately, I grew up thinking straight tone was the correct way of singing and now it’s become natural to sing that way. Do you have any opinions on vibrato and how to achieve it? Thanks for your time. – A

A: Sometimes you can’t just relax and let it happen, especially when you’re very experienced singing without it–what you do is “fake it”–practice singing a sustained line of 1/2 steps, for example C-B-C-B-C-B-C-B etc… starting with the vowel sound oooooo….. it will sound totally fake and a bit “wide”, but you can smooth it out with practice-then start doing that with different vowel sounds, and then at the end of your phrases in songs, where you would normally put vibrato. If you’re trying this and that is what your teacher calls “forced” then I disagree. No, it’s not performance ready at first, and it will sound fake, but that is your best procedure for relaxing it into happening on it’s own…and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can make this happen. 6 months is too long to wait, in my opinion, though I know that everyone is different. This is covered in chapter 3 of my program, “The Ultimate Voice Training for Singers” if you’re interested. You can find it at my site. Good luck in everything – billy

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