The biggest mistake prospective singers make is that they try to manipulate their voices into sounding a certain way right out of the gate.  They hear a performer to whom they relate, to whom they strongly respond, and they try to twist their voices into resembling that performer when they sing.

The problem is, the singer they are emulating has probably spent years developing that sound.  And, more importantly, that singer’s voice probably naturally lends itself to sounding the way does.  So, the prospective singer manipulates his or her voice to try and create the quality that the singer they are emulating gets naturally.  And this often leads to a serious strain, either right away, or over time.

Don’t get me wrong: musically, it’s a great idea to emulate another musician’s style if they move you.  It’s been happening since art and music were invented, and it’s totally natural.  But from a physical standpoint, doing so with that sort of manipulation of the voice can be very harmful.

When a singer gets into the habit of building their voice the correct way, by using a proper practice regiment, by learning proper breathing and resonance techniques, by learning to sing without physical tension or strain…they gain the tools necessary to create any sound they like. Developing those mechanics first is imperative.  If the mechanics are there, the results come AUTOMATICALLY.

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If I hear a technically exceptional guitarist, may it be Paul Gilbert or Eddie Van Halen or John Petrucci, and decide I want to play the way they do, I can’t just pick up my guitar and play well in their style right from the get-go.  My runs will be sloppy; I’ll sound amateurish.  I’ll most likely end up with a whole lot of frustration, not to mention Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, for my trouble.  But if I consistently spend some time every day (the same way the guitar players I mentioned do), playing scales, doing dexterity exercises, developing muscle memory, learning how to keep relaxed and avoid tension…I should be able to develop some pretty great chops.

The voice works the same way.  Doesn’t matter whether you sing Rock, Pop, Classical, Jazz, R&B, Metal, Broadway, etc…work on the mechanics, and the results will come.

Ok, fine…point made.  So, how do we begin working on the mechanics that will help us develop into the singers we want to be?  Let’s start with the foundation of the house:  proper breathing technique.  The next article will offer the information (along with a few applicable tips) you’ll need to get started.

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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