How Singing Relates To Learning To Walk


By Chris Glyde

Many singers come to me and want to learn how to increase their range, to belt, to sing like their favorite singers, to change their timbre etc. They expect to get exercises to make significant dif-ference in their voice, today.

Unfortunately, voice is not exactly designed this way. Voice is very much a two-step-forward-one-step-backward process. Youíll fix one problem and youíll have a new issue that rears its ugly head after that. My objective as a vocal coach is to guide you in the right direction and make sure you develop as the singer that you want to be. My job is to give you advice, help you follow a specific path and to tell you after youíve implemented this whether youíve achieved the goal or not.

That being said, singing is also very much a personal coaching experience. I am here to guide you, but I canít simply possess your body and show you how to do it 24/7. You must go through the practicing and the process. The process in voice is not as straight-forward as practicing guitar or other instruments. You wonít see gradual improvement like you would on clarinet, guitar, or trumpet. You will get a lot of nothing until something clicks and you get your eureka moment. Then you will be able to apply this new skill in this direction.

Knowing all of this, it becomes more obvious that voice is very much a process of failing and doing it wrong A LOT. Just like a toddler learning to walk, you will have to fall on your face over and over and over before you do it right. It will take time, but at least with me, there is 100% success rate if my students simply do what I tell them to and stay on the path.

Does this mean that you shouldn't take vocal lessons? If itís just learning to walk, shouldnít you just keep trying and you get better? There are also vocalists who can sing and never took vocal lessons. Iíll address both situations, since itís possible these thoughts went through your head.

The quick answer is yes, you should still have a vocal coach. They can tell you whatís right and lean you in the right direction. They can help you grow faster. Yes, there are people who can sing well without training, but this is not because they learned how to teach themselves. I have never met anyone whose singing skill was great and taught themselves.

The reason many of these people can sing with zero training is specifically because of how the human body works. When youíre a baby, you have the ability to properly support your voice naturally. Itís something humans can all do. We just lose it by roughly age 7, since we talk to each other instead of grunting which doesnít involve support. In other words, if you donít use it you lose it. It just so happens that singers that sing consistently before the age of 7 have a better chance of retaining some or all of the natural support. This means that they have a higher chance of being a great technical singer without the need to train for years. This is why natural singers exist, they have retained their vocal support. People tend to retain different levels of the skill.

So yes, you need a vocal teacher and yes you will still need to be patient. It will take time, and you will make mistakes, but youíll learn.

About the author:
Chris Glyde is a vocal teacher based in Rochester, New York. Instructed in Bel Canto but with a contemporary spin for rock, blues, pop, or metal. Looking for contemporary vocal lessons in Rochester New York