Ranges of Normal

Student question: Why does my singing range seem different now that I’m in college? Every voice changes over time. Teenage boys, of course, experience the most dramatic change, but adolescent girls’ voices also gain strength and depth, and may lose a note or two from the very top end, compared to their childhood voice. In […]

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The Grammy Garage

Adventures at the awards show.  I’m married to a gearhead. The Spouse of Voice spends most of his time in intricate journalistic relationships with digital entertainment tech. Two days before the Grammy Awards he joined a press posse backstage at the Staples Center to view the miles of audio cabling, multiple rear-projection screens, and other technological […]

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Pete’s Forehead: a remembrance of Pete Seeger

I fumbled with an unfamiliar guitar and fingerless gloves in a cold little house behind the studio, a converted barn. Pete Seeger perched on the opposite chair, lanky as the tall bare wintry trees outside, trying out recorders for the ballad we were about to play together, “The Lass of Glenshee.” It was a grey, […]

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The Vocal Big Bang

Just after midnight on January 1, 2000, my husband ran into our music room, grabbed a 30-inch brass gong and its mallet, and held them high as he opened the back door, then raised his arm for a massive hit. BANG! The gong’s rich, metallic vibes joined a cacophony of  car horns, shouting, and rattling pots and […]

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Singers’ Guide to Throat Lozenges

Before you use an over-the-counter throat lozenge, think carefully about why you want one. The most common reasons why people use lozenges are (1) a hoarse-sounding voice, (2) throat pain, (3) cough. Sometimes these symptoms occur together, sometimes not. They are relieved by different ingredients, and some of those ingredients have side effects that you […]

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Singers’ Guide to Weight Training

Twice last week, I met new clients whose voice problems began when they had started serious weight-training. I’ve seen others who got sudden lesions, including a gnarly vocal hemorrhage, when they changed trainers or otherwise increased their workout intensity. Most voice problems have more than one cause, so I won’t argue for an exact correlation. […]

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At Home In Your Range

Every voice teacher is asked, “Can you show me how to hit really high notes?” And the answer is, “Maybe, maybe not.” The pleas continue: “My rock band is getting some local buzz, but I need to sound like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, or else we’ll never get a record deal.” One singer I know […]

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Singer’s Basic Warmup

The singing voice is often considered to be the most sensitive and expressive instrument of music. It offers a wide dynamic range, a “fretless” flexibility of pitch, and a nearly infinite variety of tone colors. However, its sensitivity presents several challenges that must be addressed when warming up for a gig. First, the voice is […]

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Mic Technique

As the house lights go dark, I look up from the program to see the first performer of the evening, a solo singer/songwriter, stride onto the stage. The artist moves to the mic, strums her guitar, and tests her foot-pedal drum sounds. She starts her first number, and suddenly I’m frowning, puzzled. It’s not that […]

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