Each voice is as unique as a fingerprint – says Kim Chandler
This is my final instalment and I’d like to leave you with my top 3 priorities as a vocal coach – all of which happen to start with the letter ‘M’ and which I follow in sequence.
Medical: if I hear a singer has a persistently hoarse, troublesome or unreliable voice that presents with stamina, fatigue or instability issues, loss of vocal range etc, then I will suggest they get checked by a singer-friendly laryngologist (throat specialist) and put their singing training on hold if need be.
Singing lessons are not generally the priority if there is something medically wrong with a singer because their condition will likely hold back their progress. And it’s certainly not within a vocal coach’s remit to speculate as to what might be medically wrong with a singer as this is the province of properly trained medical specialists.
Mechanical: this is where most coaching work begins. What I’m designating ‘mechanical’ is vocal technique – the ‘nuts & bolts’ of efficient singing. In the previous 7 weeks I’ve covered, in as succinct a fashion as possible, various technical areas that are important to me. However, what I’ve covered is the tip of the technique ‘iceberg’!
In my experience, most singers need to attend to their technical deficiencies before they can fully express themselves with freedom; developing a beautifully responsive instrument to their creative, interpretive impulses. Coaching aims towards technical optimisation, however…
‘Musical’: this is where the real art of singing takes place! The ultimate goal of the singer is to create great music and to touch people emotionally in a way few other art forms do so directly. Every voice is as unique as a fingerprint, and this individuality needs to be valued & nurtured by trainers so that the resulting music making fulfils this ultimate purpose.
My Reactions To This Past Week’s Peer Review Vids
Ksawery – Bliss (cover)
You’ve chosen wisely for what suits you – what a great commercial indie rock sound! I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding a band who’ll want you as their frontman. But why sit down to sing when you’re rocking out? Your vocal level could’ve been a little higher; you were getting a little overpowered by the track at times. I liked your usage of head voice, but it could use a little more focus & edge.
William Spears – Tonight (original)
Even though the acoustics in the room weren’t great, you can tell you have a really stylish pop voice. I very much liked the visual setting, your song, your tasteful ‘licks’ and the fact that it featured such accomplished use of breathy tone, although it is causing you to chest breathe as evidenced by lifting your shoulders when you breathe in. My main comment would be that I would’ve liked more dynamic contrast overall.
Kim Chandler is one of the UK’s top contemporary vocal coaches. She has a busy private studio in London and her clients include well-known artists, artists in development, professional singers and other vocal coaches. She is a director of the British Voice Association, and is the creator of the popular “Funky ‘n Fun” vocal training series.