Solve One Vocal Mystery at a Time
Have you had the desire to solve every single problem with your voice in one lesson? Or maybe with just one exercise? Really? Me too!
And I think every single one of my students has, as well.
This, however, is a terrible mistake. You see, impatience is one of the reasons why singers struggle with poor or slow results. To make matters more important, this is not always the student’s fault. Many times, unexperienced instructors will try to resolve multiple problems at once during a lesson. It’s just not possible.
Do not misunderstand or get confused with Throga’s 7 Dimensions of Singing. With it, one exercise can target more than one Dimension, but this is different than thinking that one exercise or one lesson will solve most or all your vocal problems.
Imagine you wanted to learn a new skill besides singing. Whether it’s learning a new musical instrument, learning to paint or maybe you want to learn a new language… Can you imagine trying to do it in just one lesson, week, or month of practice? Let’s have just a bit of imagery here. Think of the learning process as a staircase of knowledge. You must go one step at a time to reach the top. Trying to skip these steps or jump higher than you can, will throw off your balance or even worse, make you fall and seriously injure your progress.
Singing is exactly like that. Most of the time, a singer will have more than one issue that will impede him or her to sing with balance and beauty. It is the teacher’s responsibility to be able to identify each of these issues and slowly but securely, work on fixing them. Just like the 7 Dimensions have an order on how to be approached and focused; vocal issues must be treated similarly. Thus, trying to accelerate the process or just trying to do a dozen of different vocal exercise may only induce fatigue instead of solving anything.
When working with your personal vocal instructor, make sure he or she has plan to help you work on your vocal troubles and that you are aware of it. We Certified Throga Instructors have a template that we can share with our students. This table is very helpful to organize the Dimension being targeted, the pattern, volume, pattern and more. This is a perfect example of how to approach a problem. You understand the problem, you identify it and then provide a solution.
This however, is easier said than done. Remember when we mentioned that there is not one exercise that will solve all your problems? Likewise, more than one exercise may be needed to solve just one problem. This usually depends on the singer and maybe, the instructor’s approach. There is no absolute or only way to do this, but they all should lead to the final goal: Vocal balance.
Here’s a good example of how we need to solve one vocal mystery at a time. One of the most common vocal problems nowadays is tension. It may have different origins and depending on the student, it may be fixed in a couple of lessons, or after many months of diligent training. The inexperienced instructor or the student that is searching for a “cure” online, will end up trying different exercises to “relieve” or eliminate tension.
But that’s not only incorrect, it’s also a terrible idea. As mentioned above, doing the exercise is the last thing you do when trying to solve the vocal problem. The goal of the instructor is to find the source of the tension. Otherwise, even if the student trains every single day, tension may be reinforced by the exercise or not be completely eradicated. Whatever mental or physical behavior is causing this tension must be reprogrammed in the subconscious with good behavior and only then, reinforced with an exercise that can assist to it.
There is also the strong possibility that tension can come from different bad behaviors. From poor posture to pushing too much at high notes, they all contribute to it. Thus, we cannot try to solve all those bad behaviors in one night. Keep in mind that your brain and body have gotten used to it for many months or years of repetition; it is now your job to turn the wheel around. Therefore, it would be too much for you and your instrument to work on all these issues in “one shot”; instead you have to fix the problem one step at a time.
Thus, solving the mystery, which is finding the reason of the vocal unbalance is as important as trying to fix it. Trained ears and years of experience as we Certified Instructors have, help us to identify all these issues, find the root of the problem and give you a solution that will bring results in the short or long term. This is how, little by little; with proper instruction, your voice will get better. There is no magic, there are no gimmicks, is just a matter of having a good instructor, patience, and hard work.