The Real Reason All Gospel Singers Should Take Vocal Lessons (It’s Not What You Think)

By far the biggest challenge I face daily in this ministry is convincing naturally gifted singers that they too need to invest in vocal lessons.

But that’s because so many people think vocal lessons are about teaching you how to sing. Well if I already know how to sing, and I was born into a family of singers, why would I need lessons, right?

But let me ask you for a moment to think about the last time you sang. Probably last Sunday. Whether you sang lead or background doesn’t matter. What matters is how you felt. Think back. Was there ever a time your attention shifted from the message you were singing about to the task of singing itself?

Think back. Did you at any time start to feel discomfort? Did you find yourself at any point just kinda wanting the song to be over?  If you did, you must understand that in moments like those your mind, heart and spirit are no longer available to God.

Physical and mental limitations become a hindrance to your ministry when they take your focus away from the message. You really can’t be a proper conduit for the Holy Spirit to flow through if the connection is broken.

That is the real reason all singers who proclaim the Gospel through music should invest in vocal training. It’s not so you can hold a note until the audience starts clapping in celebration of how long you’re holding the note. That’s about YOU. It’s not about being able to sing notes so high that they become almost irritating to the listener. That is also about you.

The real reason it’s important for Christian/Gospel singers should take lessons is to remove any physical limitations that distract you from the message. Physical limitations lead to mental distractions. Now your mind is somewhere other than focused on what you’re singing about.

Training your instrument simply makes you a better instrument for for God. It frees you from things that distract you. Things that keep you from being able to go when doors open. Makes you unable to focus your heart and mind on what you’re singing about. So when you take lessons you are taking steps to eliminate those things so that you can be more effective when you minister in song. Not by holding notes longer or singing notes higher, but by eliminating anything that breaks that spiritual connection to the message that you need to really move from performing to ministering. And that’s about God, not about you.

Listen, I can definitely understand the hesitation many people have to spending the money to take vocal lessons when they aren’t really sure they’ll benefit at all from them. You may have even been told as much by someone who took lessons. But you really can’t rely completely on someone elses’ opinion on things like this. There are too many variables.

Many people sign up but they quit after one lesson. Some continue to take lessons but they don’t practice at home so they don’t see results. So only you can decide if they’ll really improve your ministry, and you can only decide that by trying them.

I know that’s a scary thought for many people though. So I wanted every singer to have an opportunity to try vocal training for themselves without fear or reservation. To do that I created a free 5 day vocal training course. You can get this course by simply signing up for my mailing list. You won’t need a credit card, you will never be charged. It’s simply an opportunity for you to see for yourself what some training can do for your ministry.

You’ll be introduced to some simple, basic vocal lessons and concepts. If you take them seriously and actually do them, in a few days you’ll notice changes. At the end I’ll give you an opportunity to continue your training at a deeply discounted rate. Completely optional, of course. Some people go on to up-grade to the full home study course, but many more simply enjoy the free lessons and go their own way, more educated. Whether they upgraded or not though, thousands of people all over the world have taken this course and raved about it. You’ll see hundreds of testimonials below the video lessons when you join.

So take the the step right now by filling out the simple form below. If you do the exercises I’m going to show you in this course you will fill different by the very next time you sing. The next step will be up to you.

Why Do I Get Dizzy When I Sing?

Today we’re going to talk about dizziness. Why do you get dizzy when you sing? Has this ever happened to you? You’re going for that really high note, or maybe you’re at the press/vamp of a song where you really have to stay high and you’re really pounding it in and pushing hard to stay up there, then suddenly you get dizzy? Well I’m going to try to explain that today.
I did some research on this subject just to see what other people were saying about it, and I was really surprised at how little information there is out there about it. And I really didn’t see anyone explain this the way I’m going to here, so let’s get right into it.

As a vocal coach you hear me talking about the larynx often. If you look at youtube videos or read articles about vocal technique you’ll hear other vocal coaches referring to the larynx often also, because your vocal cords are located. Just to be clear we’re speaking of that lump in your throat that is often referred to as your Adam’s Apple or Voice Box. Your vocal cords are located inside that “box”, so anything that affects your larynx affects your vocal cords, and thus affects your singing. In this video I’m going to explain in detail how some of the most common things we do as singers causes stress to your vocal cords and how that stress causes some people to become dizzy. You’ll definitely want to watch this free 10 minute vocal lesson!

How to sing loud without yelling

The ultimate calling card of the Gospel music genre is powerful singing, isn’t it? That’s not only what most singers want, but it’s become what most listeners expect from Gospel singers. But there is a fine line between singing with a nice, full, powerful voice and just out and out screaming on pitch. Now, if you happen to be one of those singers with a big, powerful, loud singing voice you might not see anything wrong with that. After all, it’s Gospel singing! It’s you that they depend on the carry that section in the choir stand when the numbers are thin, right? And even when they aren’t thin, it’s your loud, powerful voice that really makes the section nice and strong…right? Well, yes and no.

You see, having a powerful, loud voice can be more of a curse than a blessing if you have no control over it. If you find that the only way you can achieve any note above your most comfortable one is to simply get louder and louder until you’re doing something a  lot closer to yelling than singing, then that’s not a good thing. Singers who have really big, loud voices often become more of a problem than an asset in group situations. That’s because in groups, choirs and praise teams it’s very important that the voices blend well vocally.  You want a nice, full, warm sound where nobody’s voice is standing out or overbearing. So if you’re consistently much louder than everyone else in your section, you’re standing out like a sore thumb.

The key to getting a nice full, powerful sound without screaming-even in the upper notes of your range- is breath control. What causes us to yell notes is the tendency we have to push with everything we have in order to reach them. When a singer does this, he is basically using all of the air he has at once. This causes notes to be harsh and “loud”. But not loud in a good way.

Taking a sudden gasp of air and then pushing it out as fast as possible is what we do when we scream. It’s what I did the other day when I was in someone’s back yard and two large dogs bolted out of a doggie door straight for me, lol! I wasn’t singing at the time, but the experience isn’t much different than the way most of us approach singing. The way to gain control of this “loudness” without losing your vocal power, is to learn how to control your breathing.

Not only is it important to learn how to release air in a more controlled way, it’s also very important to learn to control the position of your mouth. What happens when we scream? We make our mouths as wide as possible to accommodate all of the extra air velocity we’re pushing. But when you learn to use less air and sing with a more narrow position, the result is more volume with much less effort. But the sound you’ll produce when you sing this way is much warmer, even and controlled. This is the kind of volume that is strong and full, yet it’s not overbearing or unable to blend with other voices in the group.

It’s an overwhelming concept on paper, but it’s actually not hard to understand at all when you see it demonstrated. I teach that and many much more in my home study course Vocal Ministry Breakthrough. Read more about the course and see clips here.

 

Vocal Ministry Breakthrough is now LIVE!

Well gang, I’m very proud and excited to announce that my first official coaching product has launched and is available for sign-up. Vocal Ministry Breakthrough is the first home vocal training course of it’s kind and I’m excited for you to see it. Today I’m offering a free 7 day trial for everyone who joins. Your credit card won’t be charged for a full 7 days. Join and take a look around. Inside you’ll find the first lesson active and ready to go. But you’ll also find all 5 lessons from the free 5 day vocal training course. So go check it out, get signed up and tell me what you think. Oh, and if you’re going to look at this at work, be aware that I have a video on the site that starts automatically with music playing.  So watch the volume! Http://www.themusicministrycoach.com/vocal-ministry-breakthrough 

Image courtesy of “Stuart Miles”FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 things in Vocal Ministry Breakthrough not found in any other home study vocal training course

This past Saturday, as I’ve done for several weeks now, I got up at about 7am, made myself some coffee and went to work creating and editing the content for my soon-to-be-released home study vocal training course, Vocal Ministry Breakthrough. This particular Saturday was all about editing videos lessons I’d already completed- a long, tedious process that I spent about 10 hours of my Saturday doing. As I worked on the course content I thought about how important it is to me that the course have something unique and different to offer my customers, followers and friends who have been supporting me since I came on-line.

I started thinking about all of the nice things people have said to me about the free 5 day vocal training course (which I still give away for joining my mailing list), and I noticed a few comments that seem to come up over and over. Sunday morning as I did a real-time review of all 7 videos I’d spent all day Saturday editing, I could finally see from their eyes what they’ve been telling me in the many comments I get at the bottom of the videos.
I have to say guys, I’m pretty proud of the product that is developing here, and I think people will really, really be blessed by it. As I told a friend just the other day, I don’t want this to be just another home study vocal training course with a Christian name slapped on it, but nothing really different or decidedly Christian about it’s content. And I think I’m well on my way to achieving that. So I thought today I’d just share with you 3 things you’ll find in the course that you don’t typically find in any other home study vocal training course.

 

1. Mistakes!

 

One thing I’ve always done is be very real and very candid in everything I do. So in my training videos I made the decision a while ago that I would just turn it on, shoot and be myself. I edit things where I’m over-explaining or being redundant, but otherwise you see it all. In this course you’ll see me have trouble and crack and sound horrible in some exercises! Now, most vocal coaches would never show you that. They would be good and warmed up before they start, then if they have any trouble with an exercise, they’d edit that out. They would then practice it until it’s perfect and then film that.

But I want my students in the course to feel comfortable, not inferior. It’s kinda like those exercise dvd’s you buy where everybody in the video has these amazing bodies and you think “OMG  I’m never gonna look like that!”  You’d feel better if you saw at least a couple of people a little out of shape, in the back sucking wind like you, lol! I don’t want anyone feeling that way as they move through my course, so I leave my own cracks and flips and breaks right in, and then we laugh about it together! That way when it happens to you, you know it’s normal and it’s ok, because you just saw the vocal coach have the same problem with the same thing!

 

2. Plain English.

 

One thing I’m complemented on more than anything else is the fact that my instruction is simple and easy to understand. That’s because I’ve always avoided using most of the industry terms and complex anatomy names that many coaches use. I speak in a language that’s much like the language I use every day talking to my friends. So my training videos tend to feel like that for people who watch them.

 

3. Prayer and scriptural teaching

 

make no mistake, this is a vocal training course. As such the lion’s share of what you get in this course will be vocal training, heavily focused on proper technique. But as I said, I wanted to be sure that this course had something specific to offer people who work specifically in music ministry. People who are believers and want to improve not only their singing, but their ministry. In other words, I don’t want this to be just a vocal training course with a Christian name. I want it to be a vocal MINISTRY course. As such, subscribers to this course will see things not likely found in any other home study vocal training course. Like videos where I teach on music ministry-related scriptures and concepts that help you transform your music ministry mindset. Gospel singers will hear references to popular songs that many of us have trouble with. It is in every sense of the word, a Vocal Ministry course.

Subscribers to the course will find it easy, funny, engaging and inspiring. I can’t wait for you to see what God has given me to give to you! Vocal Ministry Breakthrough is available now on my website. Take the step now to invest in the most fertile ground you can invest in. Your own ministry.

I’m looking forward to working with you!

View The Course

Image courtesy of Master isolated imagesFreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 compelling reasons to take vocal lessons with a coach who specializes in your genre

Before I even get to the list I’m going to present to you today I want to preface it by saying that I believe all trained vocal coaches can significantly improve the average singer’s voice. There are many methods and techniques out there, and quite often you’ll see vocal coaches touting theirs as superior to all others. Even worse is when they go on to point out other methods or techniques as bad or useless. That’s something I think really lacks professionalism and something I avoid doing. I don’t know a single professionally trained vocal coach that doesn’t have a long list of happy, glowing testimonials. Most methods based on solid technique have more similarities than differences.

The truth is, good technique is good technique, period. And there is something to be gained from just about all disciplines of professional vocal technique. I’m going out of my way to point that out because I believe any style of singer can benefit from vocal lessons with any vocal coach that has had some kind of professional training with benchmarks, certifications of some kind and levels of proficiency that must be met. When you get into people who have started teaching lessons based on nothing more than the fact that they’re a naturally good singer, that’s when you run the risk of possibly doing some harm to your voice.

All that said, I do believe there some very distinct benefits you get from studying with a vocal coach who specializes in your particular style or genre of music. A genre-specific vocal coach;

 1. Knows The Music

A vocal coach who specializes in your style of music will know most of the artists and popular songs of that genre. That’s a big help when you’re working on specific songs because the coach may have the song, know how to play it, or simply be familiar enough with the song that he understands better what your challenges are or what you’re trying to accomplish

 

2. Knows The Lingo

Every genre of music kinda comes with it’s own language. This goes beyond common terms like the verse, the chorus, etc. It’s the kind of language that centers around the very culture of a genre of music. Once I was taking a vocal lesson with a vocal coach who specialized in theater, for example. I was working on Hezekiah Walker’s “Grateful”. Of course, the tough part was the last modulation (moda-what?) that happens in the vamp (the what now?)…you know, the press (hunh?).

But when it really dawned on me how different it can be working with someone not familiar with the kind of music you sing is when he got frustrated with the fact that the song was so high for a tenor. “Good God, why don’t you just change the key?” Again, a logical and fair question, but one you don’t have to ask if you know the culture of Gospel music.

3. Knows The Lifestyle

Every genre of music has a lifestyle. The people who dedicate their lives to it grew up listening to it. It shaped everything from the way they talk to their style of dress. Again, that’s something that has little to do with good technique. Bot often it’s the intangibles like those that make one vocal coach a better fit simply because he understands it better and can thereby relate better. Another example of that comes to mind with the same vocal coach I mentioned earlier. I had the privilege of  watching him work with a few students that day. They were all little girls or young teen-age girls coming in with their moms. He specialized in theater so they were all doing these show tunes and talking about all the various venues and audition processes, other professionals in the industry, etc. Then she pulled out her sheet music for the song she wanted to sing. He took a quick glance over it and started to play it on-site.  Again, we teach the same vocal technique! But she would have gotten so much less from me than she did him, simply because I just couldn’t relate to the culture, nor did I know the music or the artists.

Funny story, I sang a song for my vocal coach the first time I met him. I think it was Amazing Grace. Now,  I thought I was singing it pretty straight-forward and rather non-descript. But when I finished he said “wow, you should really think about doing style coaching!” We went on to say how sooo many of his students who sing pop have great voices but lack any “soul”. And he couldn’t teach it to them. Just like I couldn’t teach them the in’s and outs of theater that must accompany the technique.

That’s really the whole premise behind my new vocal training course Vocal Ministry Breakthrough. As I said to one student just the other day, I really didn’t just want to do a typical vocal training course and slap a Christian title on it. I wanted it to be something that speaks to the whole person. That’s really what the name is all about, as is the name of my company. I’m not just trying to take your voice to another level. I’m trying to take your MINISTRY to another level. And that’s the special difference you’ll find in this home study course that you won’t find in any other one. The same is true when you study live with me, as many of my former students will attest.

So in summary, you can likely get good results studying with most any trained professional. But studying with someone who specializes in your genre or style of music gives you those little extras you can’t get anywhere else. So study with someone who “gets you”, and you’ll be rewarded with much more than just some good technique.

Image courtesy of “Danilo Rizzuti FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

7 keys for success with a home study vocal training program

If you’re connected with me in any way you’ve heard by now that I have a full length, 6 month home study vocal training program Vocal Ministry Breakthrough. But even with all the financial, convenience and time saving benefits of studying home, I’ve encountered a few people who are skeptical of taking lessons this way. In this article I’ll give you 7 keys to getting the most out of a home study vocal training program; or any home study course, for that matter.

1.  Self motivation is NOT EASY. Know that going in and be determined to stay the course.

One of the hardest things about doing pretty-much anything at home on your own- whether it’s taking a vocal training course like mine or working out at home, is making yourself do it. The number 1 reason people fail with home study courses is simply not doing the course work. In the comfort of your own home with all it’s distractions it’s all too easy to just decide to do it tomorrow. Only tomorrow often never comes. Go into a home study fully aware of this and resolve to be absolutely determined to do your course work daily.

2. Set aside a time for your course work and stick to it.

Assign a time of day or evening you will do your lessons, and stick to it. Doing so will help you adjust your schedule around that time slot so you’re more likely to do it every day. Don’t make the mistake of making your lessons the last thing you do after you’re done with everything else. You will be tired and more likely to blow off your lesson for the day.

3. Make the family aware and ask for their support and encouragement.

You may as well start wrapping your mind around the fact that you’re gonna have to make a bunch of really weird, funny, embarrassing sounds in front of your family, lol! Telling your family in advance that you’ll be doing this will help everyone acclimate quickly. Inform the family that you’ll be taking a home study vocal training course, and that you’re really serious about it. Tell them what time of day you’ll be doing the lessons and about how long, and ask them not to disturb you during that time. Having the family on board and aware of what you’re trying to accomplish makes it easier to stick to your designated lesson time.

4. Choose a quiet, out of the way spot to do your lessons and practice time.

Again, designating a specific time and place for your lessons serves to quickly establish it as a regular part of your daily routine. You need that place to be as quiet and out of the way as possible not only so you don’t disturb anyone much, but so you are less likely to be disturbed yourself.

5. Take the course as seriously as you would face-to-face lessons

It’s a very common thing for some people to automatically take studying at home less seriously than studying at a studio. Of course everything I’ve listed above plays into that in it’s own way. But there’s something about a treadmill in your living room that just feels way more “optional” than the one at the gym, doesn’t it? The same holds true with vocal lessons at home via a home study course vs. going to a vocal studio and standing in front of a vocal coach for an hour.

Approach your home study course with the same determination and resolve you would for live face-to-face lessons. Remember you’re paying for the lessons so if you don’t take them you’re throwing hard-earned money away.

6. Don’t skip ahead before you’re ready

It’s very important that you’re honest with yourself when you’re studying at home. You may be tempted to move on to the next video if you get frustrated or just tired of doing the current one. If you do that however, you’re sabotaging your own progress. Stay with the current exercise until you have it down before moving to the next one.

7. Incorporate a live session periodically.

One of the biggest drawbacks about studying vocal training at home is that you’re often just not sure if you’re doing it correctly. For that reason you should seriously consider scheduling a short Skype session with me about once a month, or any time you find yourself stuck. Live support/coaching is something seldom available with other home study courses, but it can be the key to getting you past a plateau and keeping you progressing.

So there you go! Follow these 7 tips when you sign up for Vocal Ministry Breakthrough and you’ll see dramatic results in pretty-much every aspect of your singing; all of which will transfer to dramatic changes in your ministry. “I’m ready to take my music ministry to the next level!”

Introducing the Vocal Ministry Breakthrough home study vocal training program

 This is an exciting day for me everybody! Because what you’re about to see is the official introduction of my first ever home study course. This is a detailed video describing pretty-much everything you need to know about my new course. Once you watch the video, take a look at the bottom. I have another little secret for you. Enjoy, and post any questions or comments you have.

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Psst….Can You Keep A Secret??