Alto ... Schmalto!

Many singers get quite fixated on the label assigned to them from often a very early age as to what vocal range they have. “I’m an Alto”, “I can’t sing that high, I’m a Baritone”, or “That’s way too low for me, I’m a Soprano” are all too often self limiting beliefs that turn into excuses for not even trying to go past one’s comfort zone.

I had a student in the other day who knew absolutely nothing of these labels, nor did he know what the top and bottom limits of his voice were. Such a wonderful treat to work with someone who knows absolutely nothing! I had him start off by speaking as a big giant, then as a little girl, humming like a big bumble bee, wallowing in the mud… low, low, low… then to go up like a roller coaster all the way to his highest, smallest register. The notes he was able to achieve (not singing) were close to 3 octaves!

If you can make a sound down there, or up there, you can absolutely sing there. The trick is to know how to approach it properly.

Interestingly though, when I asked him to sing these very same notes, he couldn’t. It took the bulk of the singing lesson using various exercises, imageries and physical movements to get his voice to open up to the point where he would allow it to reach those very same notes he had achieved when he was speaking and humming.

I believe that singing is 70% mental and only 30% technical (once the right techniques are in place).


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    Voice Teacher Kelowna specializing in singing, public speaking, spoken word and acting coaching