I’ve been writing this blog for over 20 years, and didn’t even know it.

I began taking private voice lessons as a teenager. I was a rock singer with above average pitch, a halfway decent range, and a whole slew of bad habits. In addition to my breathing being shallow and disconnected, I was completely wrought with tension whenever I opened my mouth. Every note sung was tight and pressurized, and yet, somehow, I still managed to sound pretty good most of the time.

This, of course, was of small consolation when you consider that most of the days when I sang and sounded halfway decent were followed by a day or two in which my voice was tired, strained, or utterly useless. I didn’t know anything about warming my voice up, let alone warming it down. The sum total of my knowledge regarding singing and voice training came from the crumbs I’d learned in public school chorus, and from listening to my favorite singers, while trying (poorly) to emulate them in my own performances.

Vocal instruction completely changed the way I was able to use my voice. Over time, I became a hundred times more relaxed, both physically and emotionally; I developed a much wider range than I ever thought possible, and I got myself to the point where I could sing, night after night, without my voice suffering the following day. The more I learned, the more control I developed; the more I studied, the stronger and more dynamic my voice became.

I eventually went to school for music with an emphasis on classical voice. From there, I began studying jazz voice. At one point early on in my collegiate career, when I started coaching various friends in some of the fundamental singing techniques I had learned, I discovered that I knew a lot more than I realized. And I found I got a tremendous amount of satisfaction by using what I knew to help my friends become better singers. So, when I grew sick and tired of the sales job to which I was clinging, I had the idea to try and make a few bucks teaching voice lessons. And something amazing happened: I found I had both a real talent and a true love for helping people become the singers they strive to be.

To use a tired cliché, the rest is history.

Over the course of a teaching career spanning more than twenty years and counting, I’ve worked with singers of all ages, shapes, sizes, and types. I’ve taught total beginners for whom the entire concept of voice training was alien, and I’ve trained seasoned professionals who had very particular goals they needed help reaching, or specific sticking points in their style or methodology they wanted to address.

One of the most surprising and satisfying discoveries I’ve made on this journey is that I’ve learned as much about singing, training, technique, and performance by working with my students as I did by training with my own teachers and mentors, or in my own experiences performing live or in the studio.

Each and every singer I’ve ever taught has possessed a unique physical, emotional, and psychological makeup. Each has had their own background, bringing with them specific challenges and goals, strengths and flaws, tendencies and proclivities. No student has ever come with their own set of instructions on how to help them work through their hang-ups, purge their bad habits, and realize their potential. But with each *has* come the exhilerant challenge of deducing the right formula, finding the best plan of action, to help them navigate through their own personal obstacles on their paths to becoming the performers and artists they strive to be.

Around twelve years ago, I started doing Q&As over the internet. Aspiring singers of all styles and experience levels began emailing me through my website and through social networking entities like MySpace and Facebook with queries of all sorts about voice training and performance. At first I tried to email everyone back with invidual answers to their questions, but as the missives rolled in, the sheer volume became too much to keep up with.

I also found that many people were asking a lot of the same questions. So, after trying to copy/paste my responses into emails to those with the same queries, I started posting some of the Q&As on my personal website and MySpace blog. After awhile, it became more time-efficient to take the subjects that came up most often and write articles addressing them, which I would also post. I was eventually approached by a few online publications, and then a small record label, asking to reprint a few of my articles on their sites.

This natural transition over time has led me to where I now arrive: the creation of this blog.

I mention all of this to drive home a very particular point: I believe this blog is truly geared towards what most singers, ranging from beginners to professionals, in all genres and styles, want to know. It is based entirely on the issues that inquisitive singers have raised with me over the years, both in person and online. I expect it to be an ever-evolving entity, it’s growth fueled by the continued questions, input, and contributions presented by the ever-evolving singers themselves for whom it serves.

I look forward with enthusiasm to the journey ahead, and I invite you to join me.

To our continued shared diligence, and to your well-earned success,

– Dan Parilis.

Have a question about singing technique, voice training, or performance, or an article you’d like to see written? ASK DAN.

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