I know from experience that people who are naturally gifted singers are often some of the most complacent people of all when it comes to fully understanding how precious that gift is. And to what lengths people all over the world are going to in order to learn how to do what you take for granted, simply because you woke up one day knowing how. I don’t say that to be mean though. It’s just natural to find it hard to really appreciate something that you’ve had all your life. So it stands to reason that often people born with a natural ability to sing will have a really hard time seeing the need for them to take vocal lessons. After all, vocal coaches teach people how to sing right? Often you hear things like “Well God blessed me with that naturally. I come from a long line of anointed singers so I just have it in my blood”.
I suggested to a friend of mine a few years ago that he take vocal lessons, and he took it as an insult. Mind you, I love this person’s voice! But I knew he struggled with certain notes that we find ourselves singing a lot in Gospel songs . And I knew that taking vocal lessons would make those notes much easier for him.
Although there are some people who can actually learn to sing by taking lessons, I believe some of the most dramatic improvements come to people who already have the gift of singing. But gifted singers still have a tough time wrapping their head around actually going somewhere and spending money to , in their opinion, learn how to do something they already know how to do. In another blog I explained in detail what I believe are 5 Tell-tale signs you need vocal lessons. But I want to give a couple of simple examples here, of things you may not be aware of. These are little things about the way even naturally gifted singers approach singing, that can cause strain and wear on your voice that will build up over time until your singing voice actually starts to deteriorate even sooner than it would over the natural course of time.
One thing that almost all of us do without being aware we’re doing it, is use muscles in our singing that aren’t designed or intended to use for singing. We engage these muscles sometimes even when we’re not singing in a way that feels particularly high or uncomfortable. Let’s feel one of those right now.
Put your thumb, face up, underneath your chin. Rest it gently against that soft fleshy area under there. Now, just sing a little. Sing something simple. You don’t even need words. Try singing “MM-MMM-MMMM-MMM-MMM” on a simple scale. Can you feel that area under your chin pressing against your thumb? Now sing notes a little higher. You’ll see that the higher you go the harder those muscles push against your thumb. This is a muscle used primarily when we swallow. Go ahead and swallow with your thumb right there and you’ll feel the same muscle.
This muscle is NOT needed at all for singing! It is what we call an “outer-larynx” muscle. In other words, it one of many muscles located outside of the larynx that have nothing to do with singing. These muscles add strain to the singing process.
Here’s another example of something very common many singers do that causes tension to build up. I heard one vocal coach on American Idol call it “Gospel Jaw”; that thing you see some singers doing where they move their jaw up and down in cadence with their vibrato? Completely un-necessary to produce vibrato and adds nothing at all to the singing process but tension.
Of course we’ve talked at length in several other blogs about all of the ways improper breathing affects your vocal cords in a very bad way. This topic is broad and includes everything from tightening your stomach when going for high notes to how you hold your mouth for certain vowels. Not to mention the actual process of breathing in and out, which believe it or not, most of us do incorrectly just walking around in every day life, let alone singing.
These and many, many other issues are things you learn how to overcome and correct when you take vocal lessons. When you do, some pretty amazing changes start to take place in your singing. Not only does your overall tonal quality and warmth improve, but your entire ministry becomes more effective, more powerful and more anointed. Taking vocal lessons eliminates all physical and mental distractions every singer feels at some point when they’re up before God’s people. Imagine that for a moment. How would that kind of complete and total freedom change your ministry?
So if you’ve thought about taking lessons before but just didn’t feel like you would benefit that much from them, I urge you to take my free 5 day video vocal training course. It’s an easy, risk-free to really see for once and for all if you can really benefit from vocal training. Hundreds of Gospel singers all over the world have already done just that, and as simple as this little mini-course is, many of them have reported some pretty amazing changes.
Have you ever taken voice lessons? Please share your experience by commenting about it below.
If you haven’t, why not schedule a session today! You can Book Shena or Book Ron at the top of the page by clicking on the Book Private Sessions page.