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FAQ Index

Hey everyone, come in and get to know our resident Vocal Therapist Mark Baxter. Mark is a dedicated teacher / mentor in the field of voice and too quote him "I don't think I'll ever tire of learning about the voice". Mark's book The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual is considered the "bible" of singing and the video companion to the book The Singers Toolbox which no dedicated singer should be without.


His clients include: Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Josh Todd (Buckcherry), Steven Augeri (Journey), Amiee Mann, Scott Weiland (Velvet Revolver), Gary Cherone (Van Halen), members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Jonny Lang, Tonic, cast members of RENT, members of Vertical Horizon, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls), Angry Salad, Regina (#1 single on Billboard's pop chart), Steven Augeri (Journey), American High-Fi, Geezer, Quicksand, The Amazing Crowns, Coal Chamber, The Dresden Dolls, Amiee Mann, Peter Wolf, and many others.


Mark will be fielding questions and sharing his expertise through our FAQ's. You can contact Mark by email. Just click on the contact us icon at the bottom of the page (scroll down) and choose ask Mark Baxter in the selection menu. Please read the FAQ's first as many of your questions can be answered here.


Mark's Advice on SCREAMING click here


Do You Have "The Gift" For Singing? Watch And Find Out



What's the Fastest Way to Become a Better SInger?



The Real Source of 99% of Vocal Problems



What is vocal therapy?



Singing with Passion - The possiblities



Registers.. it's not your voice ..it's your thinking!


Question.
Hi Mark,

I've been singing for many years and have a very good grasp on vocal 'technique' (I have also taught students to success). Yet although I am seamless in vocalising all scales, I can't seem to sing a song in the same way. Its very frustrating. Being female, I have the usual 'break' at around A or B - but never in my scales. Its hard to explain; when I sing a song, it seems I have two voices. It seems I can only sing certain songs in a heavy chest voice (and push up to beyond a nice tone), or I can sing other songs in a lighter (almost middle) voice, but these songs have no oomph on the bottom end. Why can I sing perfect scales through 3 or more octaves (seamless up and down) yet I still cant get through what would seem to be the simplest song that even an amateur would be able to sing? My teachers over the years have always praised my scales, so I am doing them correctly. Thanks if you can help.

Sandy


Answer.
The answer lies in your brain. There are two different motor programs that are triggered dependent on whether you "think" you're vocalizing or singing. There is an absence of vulnerability when you vocalize. Your comfort and coordination comes from many hours of practice and a belief that you are doing things correctly.

There is a line we must cross in our minds when moving from vocalizing to singing.

There is no such thing as a correct way to sing a song. Art is subjective and singing is a communication of your emotional state. What will move some people will be dismissed by others. That means we are very vulnerable when singing. We have to put our emotions out on display for all to ponder before we know they will be accepted. The exposed feelings are triggering emotional guards in your brain - that in turn send down commands to the very same muscles you use to vocalize. Those muscles can't argue with the brain - they just do what they're told.

So this leaves you with limited options in which to sing a song. You can either push through the rigid muscles or slip under the blockade by remaining in head register.

I recommend you record yourself reading emotional sections of your favorite books. Listen back a few days later and ask yourself if you feel emotionally stirred by what you hear. Continue reading like this until you have captured yourself in a very emotional place. That recording can serve as a guide for singing. Then do the same thing by recording yourself reading the lyrics to a song. Are you connecting with the sentiment? Next up would be to sing the melody of a song without lyrics - just on a single vowel AH. Do you hear an emotional communication?

This process can make it easier to let down the emotional guard thats hijacking your songs. It's perfectly alright if you crack or hit bad pitches when exploring this dimension of yourself. It will take time before freedom of expression catches up to your freedom of vocalizing.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I am a male rock singer with some decent prior instruction (Ron Anderson), but live in the Pacific NW.. I am wondering if you have any recommendation for vocal instructors in the Portland/Eugene/Seattle area? I always push myself too hard singing along with recorded lessons, and things have been going downhill. I would appreciate your thoughts on getting in with another high level instructor who won't break the bank!

Also, my band is really loud due to guitarists requiring large amounts of feedback (like Jack or Jimi), and even with an earplug in, I just end up yelling over them-- resulting in a disastrous live sound. Short of in-ear monitors, do you know any tricks or solutions to our live sound dilemma? Thanks for your time - C. Carter


Answer.
There's a glut of free info on line these days if money is an issue for instruction. I don't have a personal recommendation for your area but I'm available via Skype. A lesson or two may do the trick. You can email me direct at mbaxter at voicelesson.com for times and rates.

As far as your band situation I used to wear two ear plugs - jammed in as far as they would go. It's not your job to fix the mix. What if you played acoustic guitar? Would you try and project it by playing it as hard as you could? Jimi himself didn't yell over his guitar - he played around the singing. The guitar gear these days can emulate that old sound pretty well without the volume - but I'm sure your guitarist won't hear of it. Alls I know is there's a direct connection with your voice going down hill and all the yelling - and I don't mean with the recorded lessons.

Mark Baxter

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Question.
Hi mark, Im a 15 year old girl and have been singing for a couple years now. I would like to know how to put a jazz or indie style in my singing, i have the sound in my voice, just not the style or rhythm. - Tori


Answer.
Start listening to a lot of jazz musicians and instrumentalists. Sing with sax and guitar solos rather then with other singers. To develop your own thing you've got to stop comparing yourself to others. Learning to play an instrument like guitar or piano would help tremendously. I've got a lot of helpful exercises to build a better rhythm sense and style on my instructional CD, "Sing Like an Idol." It's available on my website.

Mark Baxter

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Question.
Hi Mark.

I have the problem that I am singing through my nose. I can stop singing through my nose by opening my throat but then I sing really loudly and can only hit high notes. Any suggestions to what I can do to stop singing through my nose and still be able to sing at a respectable volume and hit low notes as well as high?


Answer.
The real problem is that you think there are only those two choices: either you sing through your nose or you sing too loud. The only reason you haven;t discovered that reasonable volume is because you will sound bad when you sing there. Your voice will crack and wobble because you've never explored that behavior. That's okay, let it sound bad as you simply focus on what you want: a voice that is not nasal and has dynamic control. It's okay to sound bad as you work on your skills.

Mark

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Question.
Hi, I have been singing alone in my car for a couple years and I just finished a semester of a voice class in college, so I know how to breathe correctly and I can sing on pitch and all the other basic stuff. My natural voice sounds a lot like Toby Keith in terms of both tone and range, only I can even go down into Josh Turner's range without much difficulty. I love 80s rock though. Think Axl Rose or Bon Jovi. 1) Due to my extremely low range, am I hopeless to get the notes they do? 2) I only know how to sing clean. Is there a certain technique to get the "half-screaming" 80s rock vocal sound, other than smoking? I realize I have my own voice and will never sound exactly like Axl Rose or Bon Jovi, but I want to learn how to achieve that style with my own voice. 3) I have asthma. Will this put a stricter limit on what I can do with my voice, even with practice?

Evan


Answer.
Hey Evan,

Just reverse the question and you'll have your answer. Do you think Axl Rose or Jon Bonjovi can hit your low low notes? I certainly don't think so. Anatamy plays a roll in range - but flexibility also does. The technique to get a higher range is to allow the notes to be in falsetto first. As you get more comfortable stretching for those notes at a low volume - you slowly increase the volume over time, making sure not to stress out your throat. Speaking of stressing out the throat, that's how those guys got the half screaming sound. I have a download for exploring that on my site. It's called the "Five Secrects of Screaming."

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, This mail comes from Nigeria. I am 28years of age and I havent been singing for so long. I have a deep voice, but I would like to have a wide vocal range like Donnie McClurkin. Is this possible, and if it is how do I achieve this? Thanks. Ik


Answer.
Yes it's possible.  You'll need more flexibility within your larynx to
expand your range.  Read through the free lessons on my site
(www.voicelesson.com) and begin to explore your potential.

Mark

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Question.
Thanks for taking time to answer our questions, Mark. It's much appreciated! Question... I've been singing all of my life, to give you an idea of my sound, I'm constantly told I sound like Josh Groban, only in a more soul/pop/Celine Dion way. Lately I've been having trouble and got into this habit out of nowhere, where some notes, even relaxed (Middle C) notes I sing looks like my throat is jerking up (in the mirror.) When I sing higher notes, it does it more, when I open my throat, it suffers to do it, even with pushing air up there, when I sing soft or in falsetto, in higher notes, it again, strains to sing through my throat but cracks. Am I losing my voice? Am I using my chest voice too much? I've always watched myself sing in the mirror and never had this behavior going on. I'm 22 years old/male. Any advice?


Answer.
My advice is to stop referring to it as "it." No part of your body moves without your permission. If you want your larynx to remain in its resting position then target that when practicing. No matter how bad this makes you sound, you first must understand that you can keep things relaxed. After that it's a matter of dialing in the appropriate amount of air pressure. You must be pushing harder then usual.

Mark

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Question.
For like past year or so, I've been training with this great professor, who worked on developing my falsseto, so I could be back at my feet as a countertenor! Unfortunatelly, the professor reitred, and moved away... My current range is 2 octaves (of falsseto), and I was wondering if it would be possible to extend that range! I am 20, and I do train daily... The professors I've worked with in recent time, are completely clueless about the work my old professor was doing, and in past 6 ,months I haven't seen any progress! Any suggestions, or links where I can find more training material? My main goal is to extend the range as far as possible, if possible at all


Answer.
I would stick with the exercises and direction the old professor gave you
if it was working.  "Vibrato"
(Add some spark to your voice)

Mark

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Question.
All my friends are excellent singers! They all got great parts in our musical and I only had a few lines! Please help me so I can get a good part in the next musical!


Answer.
Get new friends! Better yet -- move to a new school. Seriously, there are only so many parts in a musical and it sounds like your friends are always going to get the juicy ones. I know this seems negative but you won't be in school much longer. In the real world it's all about who wants it more -- so don't give up.

Mark

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Question.
ok so i have been singing for a while now and i have sung in front of 1400 people before, that is a lot for being only 13. but how do i get a really good vibrato in my voice and how do i learn to hold notes longer?


Answer.
Both are the result of proper air control. Practice exercises at a lower volume to take the pressure away. When you hear the vibrato coming in you can turn it up a little at a time.

Mark

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Question.
Hi there Mark! My name is Lindsay and I'm 14 years old. I love to sing when I'm by myself, but when I try to sing in front of others, I freeze up! Do you know anything that can help me so I can sing in front of others?


Answer.
Sing when others are in the next room, so you know they can hear you, but you can't see them. That way there's no pressure to perform, because they don't know what you're really doing. When you get used to that then you'll be a little better with people in front of you.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I'm a 17 year old, just started trying to sing, i can hit notes and all but im not happy with the way my voice sounds, is there anyway you could change the way you pronounce sounds while your singing or anything along those lines? if you know what i mean.


Answer.
Absolutely -- the voice is the most flexible instrument in terms of color and dynamics. You should explore it via exercises instead of songs. That way you'll discover what is unique about your voice rather then constantly comparing to someone else.

Mark

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Question.
i am a pretty good singer but i have stage fright and my range needs to be stronger what do you recommend


Answer.
Practice, practice, practice.  Not just songs, either, the best way to
build strength is by vocal exercises.  There's a good routine for you on my
CD, "Sing Like an Idol."

Mark

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Question.
I recently watched a film that said that you had two pairs of vocal cords, meaning that you could technically say two things at the same time. Is this true, and if it is, can I earn how to do it?


Answer.
It's true we have two pair but we can't say two thing at the same time. We only have one tongue to shape the words and the second pair of folds can't vibrate.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I am 26 year old female who sings Soprano. I had the flu this past winter and excessive coughing has ruined my vocal cords. Before I had the flu I could sing to the six octave with no problem and now I can only sing much lower than that. Is there anything I can do to get my soaring Soprano voice back? Please help Mark, Thanks, Nicole


Answer.
Of course, there's lot's you can do -- but not before you lose the dramatic language. You did not ruin your vocal folds. They are rigid and irritated. To sing high they need to be thin and pliable. There are many vocal exercises which I'm sure you did to achieve your six octave range that should be done now at a very low volume. Allow the voice to cut out and break up as you nurse it back to its old self. Don't check it by singing songs -- vocalize it back to health.

Mark

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Question.
Hello Mark, i have been singing now for around 13 years. I am 30 years old and have recently been told that i have bilateral vocal chord nodules. I now attend a speech therapist weekly and she says that it is o.k to sing provided i practise the vocal exercises she has given me, however my throat still feels inflamed afterwards. I was wondering if you could let me know of any other vocal exercises ? Thankyou, David.


Answer.
Your condition is too severe to suggest generic exercises. I would ask your therapist to offer more exercises. She has the advantage of observing you which is very important in guiding your behavior back on track.

Mark

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Question.
This question is going to sound VERY naive but I dunno who to ask: When you sing, if the vocal range is not completely out of reach, should you try to reach the same exact notes as the singer or just sing it in your own octave? Because often I have to sing in falsetto to sing the high notes in some songs.


Answer.
Sing louder and those falsetto notes will be in chest register. If you strain then let your voice crack and work on releasing your neck, face and jaw.

Mark

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Question.
every time i go for a high note it hurts my throat and sometimes feel dizzy, because i am in a rock band and alot of my idols hit real high notes but when i try it hurts and i cant get quite there, so i wonder if u could help me


Answer.
The dizzy thing is because you are spending too much air. Go for a cleaner sound at first so you don't lose so much air. Practice scales on EE and AH vowels until you can get those notes clean and loud. There's too many other things going on in songs to work on specific issues.

Mark

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Question.
Hello mark. I am a pretty good singer & I always get a good response when I sing. But I have a problem hitting higher, louder notes. My voice just fails me when I get up there. And also, do you have any tips on singing vibrato (I think thats how you spell it lol). I want to be able to sing christina Aguilaera "Beautiful" without messing up... THANK YOU sooo very much : )


Answer.
The tips I have are all laid out nicely in my instructional CD, "Sing Like an Idol." It would help you a lot.

Mark

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Question.
Hello Mark I am so delighted to meet you. I'm 13 and i have been singing ever since I was 6 years old. I have drempt of being a superstar one day when I'm 14 or 15. My friends think im good for my age. My question is do you have any tips to make me a better singer and do you know of any places in my area (warren,michigan) that give good singing lessons? Thank you. sincerely, Tara


Answer.
There is a search engine for teachers in your area on my site.  Just look on the right side of the "lessons" page and plug in your zip code

Mark

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Question.
hi mark! i am an alto rock singer. i wanna model my voice on james labrie,eric martin and singers with the same vocal calibure. can u tel me will i be able to do it.which exercises would you recommend and which book or dvd lesson can help me for this


Answer.
Of course you can do it!  I recommend my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's
Survival Manual.
" By the way men are Bass, Baritone and Tenor Only women are Alto and Soprano.... just so you know.

Mark

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Question.
Hello, i was just wondering if its possible for anybody to sing beautifully? Because i admire singing more then anything and have a passion to do so, please let me know


Answer.
Yes it is possible for you to sing beautifully. It will take hard work and dedication so your passion will have to carry you for a while. Each month you work on your voice thing will sound better and better.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I love to sing and i can't help singing everyday! but i have a problem... i always seem to sing in a reali high key and can easily go out of tune... how can i lower the key of my voice to help me sound better overall? email back lv emily xxXxx


Answer.
You lower the key by relaxing. What you're accustomed to is pushing -- you have always thought of that as passion. You will definitely sound better overall if you back off a bit and let things come out more naturally. It feels weird at first -- like you're not doing enough. But if you try it you'll see that people respond very positively.

Mark

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Question.
hello mr. braxter! i would like to ask a few things about vibrato. i've read from somewhere that it wasnt good to use vibrato and i was told never to use it. is it possible for vibrato to damage your voice or produce negative effects in any way whatsoever? also i discovered that vibrato should come from somewhere in the throat and not in the chest. it was also said that it would take time to repair this mistake once it has been done for a while. i was alarmed because i have been using vibrato for quite a while now and all the while I've been using my chest to produce it. can you also tell me how to correct this mistake?? i would appreciate it a great deal if you would take time to help me out. a million thanks and more power to your incredibe site!!


Answer.
Vibrato can not hurt you period. Now matter where you get it from -- a little movement is better then none. The best way for you to approach vibrato is by forgetting about it. The more you look for it the harder it is to produce because it is a natural reaction to all things being in balance. If you just relax and sing a very easy note at a comfortable volume vibrato should emerge at the end of the note where you're most relaxed. Calling it up where you want it means singing with independence -- much like it feels when you're on a easy note at a comfortable volume.

Mark

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Question.
Hi mark, ok the thing is lately i always wanted to start singing and i thought the best way to get to would be for me to learn an instrument, so i went out and bought a guitar and im going to take a few lessons and i was wondering if it would be a good idea for me to start out and taking singing lessons, because i personally think i have a good voice but once i recorded it on this voice note thing on my phone and i sounded completely different and i was wondering if maybe it was the recording thing on my phone that wasnt any good, and i never got around singing around ppl thinking that my brothers would think it's just plain weird for me to think about singing but it's definately something i've really liked and i would like to do as a career so please give me an answer, oh by the way im 15 and male. thank you in advance.


Answer.
Yes -- take the singing lessons along with the guitar lessons.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, I am a 26 year old female attorney and basicly became an attorney becuase of what is considered 'acceptable'. Not to mislead you, I have to point out that I do enjoy being an attorney, but I know I was born to sing--be an entertainer. My singing is something everyone has always commented on positively whether knowing me personally or hearing me sing casually, however, none of those people are actually trained to recognize what I call a voice with "star quality". My question at this point is, what is your advice for basic getting a credible opinion as to whether I have a voice which is that of a star?? As you would guess, at this point, I would not want to give up a profession on misguided information. SSS


Answer.
I believe I am perfectly qualified to asses your situation and I will say you do not have what it takes to become a star. This, mind you, has nothing to do with your singing ability. No star is famous because they sing well -- though some do. A star is a star because he or she has campaigned tirelessly -- before there was any hint at becoming a star. It's not a left brain decision. Only those who are willing to lose it all half a shred of a chance.

Mark

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Question.
hey mark, i have been singing all my life,and am workin on my first cd, and i do all my vocals, including backups, but i have trouble knowing when to come in and do the backup, not hrmanozing persay, but at the end usually when theres more tan one voice, or set of words goin on u know...i have trouble knowing when to come in on what tunes...


Answer.
There's no right or wrong answer here, but it seems you would really benefit from working with a producer. Or at least bring in another musician to bounce ideas off of.

Mark

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Question.
I've sung for two bands, which isn't much, and I sing like a mix of Steve Perry and Lou Gramm. But unfortunately, my voice hasn't gotten me very far, because of my poor timing. I'm not sure how to fix this serious problem. I'd really appreciate your advice. Thank you


Answer.
Buy a metronome and clap your hands with the rhythm of the song.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark About "you sing like you eat", you point basically the worse and best to eat, but I'm having a little trouble with it. If you eat fast-digesting stuff, that hungry sensation comes many more times a day, so is it possible for you to point more alternate sources? I'm aware that in a book you can't see each case and I imagine you point the 'ideal' diet for a singer, but you surely know what I mean, for example, it's hard to sit during that 4-hour class with only fast-digesting food in the belly. I guess I'm not the 1st to ask you this, and I'll have other questions in the future, so, thank you at once and congratulations for your work =]


Answer.
Your body isn't made to go four hours without nutrition unless your sleeping. Since the industrial revolution, we have had to adapt our eating to our jobs because the boss won't give us multiple food breaks. The routine of three meals a day is not healthy or natural. Lot's of weight problems and phlegm issues are because we eat too much to pack it away for a while. You've got to be inventive if you want a clean instrument to sing with. Nuts take a while to break down so have some handy in class. The other thing to remember is that combining foods is what disturbs digestion most. It's okay to eat protein if it's not combined with starches. That will definitely take you through class.

Mark

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Question.
Gday Mark, iam 15 years old, in a rock band and a serious life-long singer, i am a great fan of Justin Hawkins and his amazing falsetto range, however, wen i try and sing falsetto like him, i find some notes in the lower falsetto, are weak, are theyre specific falsetto techniques i shuld use, or will my falsetto range improve as my voice develops as i grow older?


Answer.
The reason those lower falsetto notes are weak is because they shouldn't be in falsetto. The line between the registers is influenced by vowel and volume as well as pitch. What register you're in at any given moment depends on many factors. You'll do much better if you stop thinking about registers and let your reflexes self-regulate that line. Just think the sound you want.

Mark

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Question.
Sometimes when I sing along with my friends and gets to the climax of the song, my voice reaches the limit and not enough air is held inside my stomach. No sound comes out, not even a squeek or cracks. How can I improve my vocal and air while singing? Please help.


Answer.
First of all, air is not held in your stomach - that's where your food goes.  The problem isn't even your lungs.  Your throat is closing off on those high notes.  The best way to get things to work right is to practice singing scales and stuff.  There's too much distraction when singing songs.  Get your voice to work first, then you can enjoy singing any song you want.  My CD, "Sing Like an Idol" can take you through all the steps you need.

Mark

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Question.
Hello. My name is Luke, I am 17 years old, a junior in high school, I have been singing in chorus sinceelementary school, and my voice has just about finished changing (maybe 80% done or so). I have been a excellent, pure, and well-skilled first Tenor for my entire life until this past school year (05-06). My voice had changed, I lost my well-produced Tenor voice, my voice cracked constantly, I lost my breath support, and i couldn't hit the high notes with my normal (full/chest) voice anymore. I did gain some Bass notes that I couldn't hit before, however. Now since my voice has almost finished changing, I have a huge gap between my full voice and my falsetto voice whenever I sing a descending and ascending slur. My chorus teacher had told me that if I continued to sing throughout the period when my voice changed, then My voice would change quicker. I also realized that when I try to sing loud notes (mf,f,and ff) in my falsetto, I cannot produce a pure and crisp sound...it cracks. I was wondering if there was any way that I could somehow regain my previous pure, crisp Tenor voice and keep my new lower full voice. I would appreciate any kind of advice that you can give me. Thanks in advance.


Answer.
What you're asking is if you can be twelve again, which is obviously impossible. What your adult voice will be was determined when you were concieved. Puberty is when your hormones kick in and your genetic code unfolds. The larynx can go through big growth spurts over night. As your larynx grows you gain low notes and lose some highs. The good news is that you absolutely can fill in that gap between your registers. Take it easy through the break and let things sound bad for a while. Everything is different inside so it will take some time to coodinate.

Mark

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Question.
Hello Mark. I am involved in a theatre program and it calls for alot of singing. I'm fairly good at it, but sometimes I feel that I am not singing from my diaphram. What exercise(s) should I do to make singing from my diaphragm more natural?


Answer.
You should place your hand over your belly button when you practice your songs. Make sure you relax your tummy on each breath. That means your hand will come out as you take air in. You should also move your head very gently as you sing to make sure the back of your neck stays relaxed.

Mark

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Question.
Well i guess to get to the point cuz im sure you read enough of these my question is that when i sing i can almost hit any note, but only problem is that when i hit the higher notes i think it sounds cartoonish and funny im not straining my voice or anything i can sing this way like i can any other way, but when the well known male singers hit the higher notes is it that they are singing the same way i am, but their singing voice just sounds better or is their a way i can make it so i sound more professional and not as cartoonish? or does it sound like i'm not singing properly? i guess an example of the voice i'm attempting to match when i sing like this would be some bands called Saosin, or Chiodos,(i dont think the lead singers of these 2 bands have balls or something lol) and my fav. Taking Back Sunday i love how Adam from taking back sunday explodes the high notes makeing them sound clear, rich, and powerful. i believe the styles between saosin and chiodos are alot alike, and TBS being different if u wouldnt mind i'd also appriciate some explaining in the differences between these two groups of style and how to sing like em. Please take the time to awnser my questions, not having the money for lessons, or knowing many vocalists i could use the advice thanks alot.


Answer.
To get a rich tone you need a relaxed throat. Rather then singing songs, it would be better to work on relaxing your throat by just singing an AH vowel up and down your range. Let it crack instead of tense up. That will be temporary -- you first need to coodinate your air.

Mark

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Question.
Hi. I'm 18 years old. I have been singing for a long time, but I have never had a vibrating voice. I know that others have it, because they were born like that, but even though i wasn't born with a perfect voice, is there a way for me to train my voice so that it will have some vibration when i sing?


Answer.
Absolutely.  I think my new CD, "Sing Like an Idol" would be a good fit for
you.  There's tips on vibrato and lot's of other things to give you that
edge when singing a song.

Mark

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Question.
I'm a fourteen year old and am interested in developing my falsetto voice, as i can reach some very high notes with it. However, I seem to have trouble pronouncing certain letters without breaking down into my ordinary voice again. I'd like to know if this is common for my age and will clear up when my voice stops breaking, or if ill be stuck like this. everyone else my age seems to be able to sing normally with falsetto, but i appear to be stuck to vowel sounds.


Answer.
This is definitely a temporary situation you're in. Keep singing through this time and things will calm down. Try not to push too much air and don't tense up when your voice cracks.

Mark

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Question.
How do I train my voice to become stronger, do i just warmup and practice scales?


Answer.
That's a good beginning but there's lots more. Training the voice is all about creating an instrument that's easy to play and sounds great. What exercises you do depends on a lot of factors. Re-enforcing correct behaviors is also important. That's why it's best to work with someone who can give you advice on your form.

Mark

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Question.
I have been singing on my own for a while and my voice is getting better but I extreamly need a voice coach..How do I find a Voice Coach?


Answer.
Ask at your local music store. Look in the classified section of your news paper. Or, ask your music teacher at school.

Mark

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Question.
i love singing but i find when i sing along to songs my voice doesnt go the way i want it to. like when i sing along to Kelly Clarkson i go really high and im not good at singing high how can i get higher? im 15 and i really love singing. thanks Emma


Answer.
It would be best if you stopped singing along with songs for a while and worked on your voice separately with exercises. You have not developed your instrument yet and you're comparing yourself to someone who is very developed. That's no fair and will only frustrate you.

Mark

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Question.
I'm a 43 year old male who has been singing all my life. I have a range of a low C up to about a G above middle C. Over the course of the last couple of years, I've been losing my ability to sing. My voice cracks and I lose control when I try to sing above about a middle C. It also feels like I have to push harder to get any kind of decent sound out. Of course, this fatigues my voice and I have to stop singing to let it rest. I've been through some vocal therapy, so I understand about opening your mouth and doing the "yawny thing" (as my therapist puts it) with your throat. I also understand about controlling the pressure with your diaphragm, but these techniques don't seem to make much of a difference. Medically, I have been given a clean bill of health (I have acid reflux, taking Nexium daily). I had a vocal strobe test done and my chords appear to be healthy. I'm just about at the point of giving up trying to sing any more, and it's killing me! Have you heard of this kind of condition before, and do you think it's treatable? I've really lost most hope of singing regularly again. Thanks for your expertise!


Answer.
Welcome to the aging process. By that I don't mean you're getting too old to sing. It means you're getting too old to sit back and expect everything to be like it used to be. You can sing if you want to -- to a rip old age. However, you'll have to commit yourself to a daily regiment of vocal exercises to keep your folds strong and flexible. As we age we loose water in cells and membranes. For the voice this means less pliable. That's why it's become hard work to sing the same old pitches. Stretching exercises will help maintain flexibility and independence in and around the larynx.

Mark

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Question.
Hey, Mark, I'm 14. 15 very soon, I can play guitar, and I am interested in singing, usually I can pick up anything and play it, but not with singing.it's completely different, all my family are number crunchers, except for me, i aspire to be an artist, but music is an art too, I don't sound too bad, but i cant sing some of the songs i want too, my friend told me to try and change the key of the song to fit my voice but I dotn know quite how to do that, could you please give me some help its REALLY appreciated, thanks


Answer.
Yes you're right.  Singing is completely different then learning any other
instrument.  That's because, with singing, you have to build yourself an
instrument.  Any other musician can start developing chops right away but
singers have to spend most of their time developing themselves as an
instrument first.  Read through my site and give yourself some time.
You'll get it.

Mark

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Question.
Hey I've been looking around on the internet for singing lessons, advice etc. and i stumbled across your website. I'm almost 16 and me and some friends are planning on starting a band sometime soon. I am meant to be the lead singer but lately with my singing at the back of my throat theres a little bit of a vibration. I'm just wondering how I can get rid of that and make my voice clear. I was also interested in the voice of Sonny Moore in the band 'From First To Last' if I was wanting a voice like his is there any special style I can try to get something like him? At the moment I want to get my voice clear and sound something like the lead singer of Story of the Year. Also is there any free online voice training thing that I could commit myself to as right now I have no money for singing lessons and I'd rather just learn on my own and see how it goes. I can sing quite well depending on what tone I was told by my sister that I'm quite good and could be better with lessons but as I mentioned before It's something I can't do right now. Well hopefully you'll hear about a great New Zealand band sometime. Thanks


Answer.
Read through my free lessons and experiment with different sounds.  Don't
be afraid to sound bad as you're messing around.  As your band gets going
your voice will find a zone that works.  It may not sound exactly like your
favorite singers but that's okay -- they don't sound like their favorite
singers either.

Mark

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Question.
Hey..I'm female and almost 16 yrs old. I love to sing...can't go a day without it but i can't do it in front of people ...i mean..how do you know if you have a good voice...this sounds like a stupid question but my mom said I have a good voice because she hears me when I don't know shes there but..I think it sounds awful..its like the talent just drops in every once in a blue moon..I just don't know if I'm cut out to be a singer or not...i don know what to do..please help! thanks!


Answer.
When your desire to sing outweighs your fear of embarrassment then you'll sing in front of others. Until then, there's nothing wrong with singing for yourself.

Mark

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Question.
Hi! Well Ive read alot of your FAQs and I ALWAYS learn something new! Well I recently started a band and Im the singer yet I haven't gotten any private lessons but I always sing even with friends but I really need advice. Im 16 year old male guitarist. I want to make voice like the singer in Fall Out Boy but I just can't get it right. Like the song Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner and Dance Dance. My voice is a little lower and doesn't vibrate. I need work on my high notes. Please help me! Thank you so much!


Answer.
You don't need my help -- you need to work on your high notes! You already know what you need but you're looking for a quick fix. Unfortunately there isn't one with the voice -- or any other instrument for that matter. When you've been singing as long as the guy in Fall Out Boy you'll have it down. But ask yourself this.. will singing like someone else be good for my career? The answer is NO. The reason you like this guy is because he sounds original. Learn to sing like Roy and then someone will send me an email someday asking how to sing like you.

Mark

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Question.
Hello Mark, My daughter is now 14 been singing since young, infact I have taken here to a vocal teacher 3 years back and he did not work out so well. I am looking for a dedicated teacher to help her gain self confidence as a performer as well her vocals. She is very artistic, she does play keyboard by ear as well. I have been told by many that she has a great voice and that she would one day be the next one , cute huh? Well point being she loves it and practices daily her vocals and keyboard, she has electric guitar and accoustic but she feels to fancy the keyboard more. I learned music when younger geez that sounds bad lol but I have played classical but she will not take me up on it , as mom cannot know all right? which is cool. So here I am looking but if I can hook up with you or at least know where to find you, I would be very interested as she wants to do demo in studio this summer. Thanks much Rosan, Montreal


Answer.
Have her read through my web site www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question.
Mark: I am a 56 year old woman who has been singing since I was 5 years old. I am having problems with enlarged tonsils and they may have to be removed. My biggest fear is that I will not be able to sing anymore. I have a soft spoken voice but when I sing in a natural voice it is very strong. Also after I sing I am sometimes hoarse, is this my tonsils or the way I am singing. Can you help me? Thanks so much for reading this email and take care.


Answer.
You will not lose your voice from the tonsillectomy -- if all goes well during the procedure. Your hoarseness comes from the difference between your speak and singing. It is the same muscles that speak and sing yet you use them very differently. Since you speak much more then sing they are weakened by your soft approach to speak and then shocked by the load you present to your vocal folds to sing a song. Vocal exercises will help you find a balanced middle ground. I recommend you take some lessons after your operation. 56 is not too late to develop something you enjoy so much.

Mark

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Question.
I have been a choir director for thirty years; our groups unhesitatingly include so-called "monotones". They invariably have great attitudes and seem to find a "harmonic" to sing that colors the whole (as odd colors flavor a Gothic rose window). Naturally, I would like them to match pitches, but get frustrated. I can usually get them to match two or three pitches in low registers, and, interestingly, in "falsetto", but the in-between becomes a no-man's land. I think fear is involved, but I'm no psychologist, I'm a musician. I'm really trying to locate some good book, method or whatever that might be helpful to "monotones". Any suggestions?


Answer.
I'm sure this is a frustrating situation for you. First is to stop thinking of them as monotones. People who can hit a few easy pitches when relaxed have the capability to coordinate their folds -- monotones do not. The reason they hit notes down low or in falsetto is because the pressure is balanced (by accident I'm sure). In other areas they tense the muscles surrounding the larynx and over drive air pressure. It's the same choke that occurs when people try for a bull's eye on the dart board. Have them produce a hiss first before they sing the note to dissipate the pressure and create a flow. It will take time to work with each singer individually, but no two people will have the same issues plaguing their coordination. Loose neck, loose jaw, relaxed abs, relaxed face, breath out the pitch.

Mark

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Question.
I'm a 19 year old female and I am just beginning to sing now. I have been doing the basics like breathing exercises and scale exercises. I want to sing rock and metal music so I want to develop a strong and powerful voice with a bit of rasp and edge to it. Right now, my voice is more sweet sounding and melodic and it lacks the power I am looking for. I have no idea how to achieve the sound I want and currently I cannot afford to get a teacher nor do I have the time to join a singing group. Do you had any tips or suggestions for me? Thanks a lot.


Answer.
Start a band . . . with a hard hitting drummer and a guitar player who likes Marshall amps. You get an edge to your voice real fast . . . for free.

Mark

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Question.
I want to sing strong like shakira! how do you do that?


Answer.
Wait a minute . . . Shakira sings? I've been so busy watching her dance I never noticed she was singing! Anyway, to sing strong you'll need to be very coordinated (like Shakira). When muscles tense they rob us of sound so the goal is to stay loose while you're putting out a lot of sound. Experiment with this in private so you're not self conscious about sounding bad.

Mark

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Question.
Hey I'm 16 and I recently got into singing about a couple months ago. I have a few questions. Ok first: What makes a good singing voice? Second: What exercises could I do to achieve that good singing voice? And third: I don't really like my voice, and I'm just wondering if it's just me being self conscious or if i actually do suck. Any answers?


Answer.
Answer 1:  A good singing voice is one that expresses whatever emotion the
singer is feeling.

Answer 2:  The exercises you should do depend on what's stopping you from
expressing your emotions.  My book has lots of exercises and explanations
about what they're good for.  I think that would be a good place to start.

Answer 3:  Yes you actually do suck.  Why would you be good?  You've only
been at it a couple of months.  You certainly would still suck at playing
the guitar after a couple months.  So stick with it and practice singing
all the time.  As you get better you'll be able to ask for more emotion and
that's when things get interesting.

Mark

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Question.
Hello sir. I was curious if there is a special technique I could practice to achieve more resonance in my voice, such as what the lead singer of Iron Maiden and HIM have. Thank you.


Answer.
Practice makes the difference. Your goal is to relax your throat open when singing. That's what creates the resonance. It takes coordination to dial in the right air pressure without triggering throat muscles to engage. Keep the sound you want in your mind as a target. You'll get there.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Marky. When i sing and play guitar, some times i think im sounding good. I have no lessons or any instruction. When i record myself, or ask others of there opinion, they always say it sounds like im trying to hard, in a cheesy way. Im not sure how to correct it. thanks!


Answer.
You correct that by backing off and chilling out and not calling people "Marky." The less you do the more you real personality will immerge.

Mark

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Question.
I've Been Singing for a while and sometimes my voice will start to sound a little nasally or hoarse, so is there anything i can do about that


Answer.
Stop singing. Next time, start out slower and warm up your voice. Don't push so hard and try to hit the high notes so loud right away.

Mark

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Question.
Should you feel the voice in the front of the face (mask) at all times? Is that the way to tell if you're singing right? How do you know when your singing correctly and when you're not?


Answer.
I am not a fan of placing everything in the mask. That is a very old opera technique that was devised to project the voice in an un amplified situation. Now a days we like to hear singers sounding conversational -- which means the resonance is distributed evenly throughout your airways.

Mark

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Question.
hi, i really want to sing for my music performance but i am really not confident with singing... mainly because my whole family says i should stop... but i enjoy it and really want to get more confident... how?


Answer.
Just the simple fact that you enjoy it is all the reason you need to continue. You're not hurting anybody. You will get more confident the more you sing. Unfortunately, family members can be cruel without thinking. Most times they are just reacting to their own embarrassment. They are not as brave as you so it makes them uncomfortable to hear you struggle. Keep struggling. You'll get better and they will give up telling you to stop.

Mark

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Question.
Hi. My story is that I play guitar in a band with no singer, so I am trying to fill the spot, although I really haven't much of a voice. I'd like to be able to pull off a Ray Davies from the Kinks sort of a thing...Or something like the guys from the Zombies. Any suggestions?


Answer.
Your situation sounds exactly how Ray Davies got started! My suggestion is to write songs for your voice -- rather then what you wish it could be. In other words, don't write Kinks songs write George songs.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, I stopped singing when I was 34 years old and at that time I could only hit G below hi-C before I had to shift into falsetto. Also I could not hold that G for any length of time. I’m now 53 years old and a very odd thing happened when I tried lifting a heavy object and had made a grunting sound while doing so. I went over to my piano and found that it was a hi-C. I then worked doing scales and practiced opening my throat to purify the tone and remove the pinched sound of it. I can now hit and hold a hi-C# but I have no falsetto at all. On all my reading of the subject of singing, I have found that some instructors claim that by singing this way I will eventually develop nodes. My question is… do I need to worry about nodes if I continue to hit my high notes in this fashion and how is it that I can now hit notes that I only dreampt of before? Thanks, Jeff


Answer.
You can thank the aging process for your new found high range. Your vocal folds are thicker now and throat muscles are more relaxed. Nodes are not an issue unless you're embarking on a six month tour. Throwing your back out, though, the next time you're lifting something heavy is a lot more likely!

Mark

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Question.
I think i can sing and all the people around me tell me i can except my parents because when im singing at home i put on a funnny voice because i think that they ll be kind of embarassed im not sure


Answer.
Okay. . . Um, since there really isn't a question here I'll just say good luck with that funny voice thing.

Mark

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Question.
hey, im a 16 year old girl. my voice is lower than most girls, i think i have a really bad voice, and can never sing beautifully. my mom thinks i should go and take singing lessons but im a bit shy since a lot of people will be there. what do you think i should do? and what about my low voice? thank you for taking the time to help me.


Answer.
You definitely should take the voice lessons. It's a good idea to do some things that you're not comfortable with -- plus you can only get better. I don't think your low voice is going to be a problem at all. Also there are private lessons.

Mark

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Question.
Hey mark i seem to have this problem with playing my guitar and singing at the same time do you think you could help me out because i wanna start a band but its a bit hard because no one else can sing or play guitar like me


Answer.
Start the band now. Don't wait until you get good. Find a bunch of guys that are in the same boat you are -- just starting out. Get good together and you'll have a bond that's greater then waiting until each individual is decent on their instruments.

Mark

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Question.
hi well i luv 2 sing but i have a few problems one is that i have a lisp and it doesnt exactly help my singing and also when i try to sing a high my voice goes quieter nd sounds funny


Answer.
Learning to sing will only help the lisp. Even though we're still singing words, the way your tongue behaves when singing will be a little different and should reduce problem. The high notes just need a little boost of air pressure.

Mark

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Question.
do you have any tips on european power metal singing like bands such as helloween, manowar, dragonforce, rhapsody etc. I need to get into the high range they use and they use vibrato really well too but im stumped how they do it?


Answer.
My suggestion for you is to learn to sing -- really well. It's going to take years but you can do it, pretty much just like the guys you admire. Start with the voice you have now and keep practicing. There are lots of exercises in my book to get you started.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark! I was curious in asking if there is any way to hear your voice as it really sounds. I've recorded my voice many times, and the sound that came out didn't sound like me at all! I've read somewhere that this is because you listen through your bones as opposed to your ears when you speak/sing. Unfortunetely I've never managed to find a cure for this problem. Is there any way to accustom my voice to the way I want it to sound as I hear it? Thank you once again.


Answer.
What you're hearing back from the recording is the way you really sound. What you think you sound like is not. Voice lesson can help you release the muscles around your larynx and allow more of that deeper sound you hear in your head to come out but it will always sound a little different to you. What matters is that you get to like the sound of your recorded voice.

Mark

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Question.
I know nothing about singing except that I enjoy it. I particularly like singing with other people. None of us know anything about harmonizing. Can you help us?


Answer.
Nope. But I'm sure some teacher in your home town can. Actually, you don't need to know anything more about singing -- you need to just sing more. As long as you enjoy it and every one you sing with is in the same place then there's no need to make it work. You'll get better the more you sing.

Mark

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Question.
i would like to start singing but know that my voice isn't the greatest there is. Should I even try? Do lessons and such really make that big of a difference because i always thought you had t be born with a singing voice.


Answer.
Yes you should try if it is something that you want. Lessons make a huge difference. But if you're expecting a beautiful singing voice to come easily, you can always let yourself off the hook with the tired old excuse that you just weren't meant to sing. No one is born to do anything but eat, sleep and reproduce.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I'm 26 and have been singing for a number of years.My main influence is Jon Bon Jovi, mainly cause i sound just like him and have been told that by numerous people, hitting notes ,singing in tune has come naturally for me,but my main concern is that i am having problems with vibrato, people say if i had that they would never be able to tell the difference between Jon and I, i can't understand how to train for that and it's driving me nuts listening to the true singers achieve it while i struggle, what can i do? any exercises i can try?


Answer.
There are plenty of exercises to try but the main objective would be to create internal independence. You a little too tight and pushing too much air which is locking up the very muscles that need to fluctuate during vibrato. When an internal balance is achieved, vibrato will be at your disposal.

Mark

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Question.
Hey, I'm sure you have been asked this question thousands of times before, but maybe you could answer it for me. In my band I do vocals. I say vocals, because I don't sing. I scream. Mostly very high pitched raspy screams like the bands...Alexisonfire, Fear Before The March of Flames, The number Twelve looks Like you, Converge and Underoath...just to give you an idea. But, a lot of people tell me that I can eventually mess up my larynx from screaming so much. is this true? Because when I scream, I don't scream in my throat...I use my diaphragm and push the air up from my gut...But is it still possible to mess up your voice even if you use this technique. Thanks a lot!


Answer.
Why yes I have been asked this a thousand times. The answer is of course it's true. The two key words are "can" and "eventually." The same is true for jumping. If you play basketball, you can eventually mess up your knees. Some people blow out a lot sooner then others. Strength and conditioning play a big role. So does listening to your body. When your throat feels sore, it's time to make an adjustment. Most times singers don't, because they don't have any other way to do things. You're good for now but don't take it for granted that it will always be there for you.

Mark

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Question.
hey mark my name is joe and i've been singing now for about a year and a half now currently i'm sick and can't get to where i need to be with my singing any tricks you know would help and the other question is i was never in choir or token any lessons and learned how to sing from scratch im eagar to learn how to control my voice when i'm singing and also need a better understanding of how to sing can you help me with that


Answer.
You can't get to where you need to be because your sick.  Welcome to
singing -- where the instrument can get sick.  Training will not prevent
you from getting sick but it will allow you to sing much better when you're
under the weather.  It's not tricks; it's skill.  I recommend starting with
my book to gain a better understanding of how to sing.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark! I have this problem: everyone say that my voice is too weak,everysong i sing my voice is still so weak. Do i have to do some exercise for my voice to make it better? Or something else.


Answer.
Not some exercise . . . lots of exercises. Vocalizing is way more effective than singing songs for building strength.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark my name is John and im 14. I can sing but when im in front of an audience I get really shy and am scared to sing. What can I do to boost my confidence?


Answer.
Get out there and sing in front of others more. That's the only way. No one said it would be easy -- but if you stick with it you'll become very comfortable on stage.

Mark

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Question.
I'm not sure if you're familiar with the singer Chris Cornell, he's done things such as Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, and is with Audioslave currently. But my question is how do I get my voice to sound like the grunge/alt rock kind of thing as his. He can really hit some high notes, but also has a very soothing calm voice. I play keyboards in my band, and nobody in the band can sing at all. Me being the most likely canidate for a singer, I would enjoy your advice.


Answer.
Yes, I'm very familiar with Cornell. To me, he is the high water mark for rock singers. How he does what he does is part genetics and part personality. It's fine to use him as inspiration but expecting to sound like him when you're just starting out will only lead to disapointment. Write songs that highlight what you do best. He does. Be courageous with dynamics - allow yourself to sing without pushing sometimes. He does. Doing what he does - rather then chasing his sound will put you in the best place possible.

Mark

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Question.
Hello Mark,am a guy from india.I have problem in singing on higher notes.Even i feel my voice is not clear, sometimes it vibrates,especially on the higher notes i have irritation in throat.Plz help me.


Answer.
The irritation comes from tense throat muscles. You are tensing your throat in order to control your voice. To relieve the irritation, let yourself lose control when singing high. Let the voice sound terrible - cracking and wobbling all over - and notice that the throat doesn't hurt when you do this. Keep practicing this way for many months and you'll sound better and still feel loose. You've got to get loose first - then coordinate.

Mark

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Question.
Is there such thing as too much practice? I practice around the house, grocery shopping, in the car, etc. I get weird looks from people but it doesn't bother me much.


Answer.
If you're practicing correctly, meaning no tension or straining, you can never get enough. Don't worry about those weird looks -- they're just jealous that you have a passion in your life!

Mark

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Question.
Hello Mark, Thank you for this opportunity. I'm 63 years old, I love music, especially listening to good singers that can hit the high "C" note. I know nothing about music. I have a very low voice. I believe I'm tone deaf, however I used to play the saxophone when I was in High School. So, I assume that I could learn music again, however the singing I'm not sure. Are there people that just can't sing at all? And why? Thank's for your time......... Louis


Answer.
Greetings Louis, No, there are not people that just can't sing -- only those that won't let themselves. Singing is a part of being human. Singing well takes a lot of training. High notes, for instance, require a lot of flexibility. So you can sing -- and you're not tone deaf (other wise you never could have picked up the sax). I doubt, however, that you'll be making many high C's anytime soon. Work your way into it slowly. Sing because you enjoy it -- not because you're good at it. Don't leave all the fun to those showoffs with the dramatic ranges!

Regards, Mark Baxter

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Question.
Hi Mark my name is Calvin and I'm so into the Barry Gibb of the bee gees and i try to imitate him but when i try to go high on the falsetto that he did on Too Much Heaven my voice cracks and so i was wondering if you could somehow tell me how to stop my voice from cracking thx


Answer.
Falsetto requires very little air pressure. If you're cracking it's because you are too tense and driving too hard. Back off the volume. Relax your neck and jaw and practice the song while moving your body randomly to keep the rest of you loose.

Mark

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Question.
Hey, Well I am a singer (not profesional) and of course my dream is like many others to make that my profession. Well I think I have a pretty good voice I think (I am not sure) that I have 4.3 octaves. Well so here my question are singing lessons really expensive. About how much is the price range. I really want to learn how take care of my voice and make it the best it can possibly be. Id really appreciate your answer thank you for our time.


Answer.
Lesson prices range from $30 to $300. If money is tight then I would read as much as possible and maybe purchase some instructional products. Lessons are not necessary to become a professional -- fans are.

Mark

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Question.
hi i am 14 years old and i am a alto/mezzo-soprano i think (i can sing up to an A flat below high c, if im warmed up enough). i wanted to know if there was any possible way i could reach the higher notes... in other words is there any chance i could ever be a soprano?? if so how?? what can i do to reach the really high notes??? PLEASE HELP!!!!!


Answer.
You can train. Typically, it takes a good ten years of training to become an acceptable classical singer.

Mark

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Question.
It's really hard because I have a beautiful voice but no one ever lets me shine. I sing out in choir but know one ever askes me to sing for them its always this one group of girls pushing me away.


Answer.
Welcome to the music business! Where the only people that are allowed to shine are the ones that push hard for the chance. Don't sit around getting bitter, figure a way to outsmart those girls and get yourself some spot light. It will be great training for your future in show biz.

Mark

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Question.
hey mark,, i use to take singin lessons then developed a condition with my sinuses which causes one of my nostril to block up alot,,,it required surgery and i gave up my singin lesson,, while takin singin lesson i always had the problem of singin through my nose,,, i have a great range but my singin doesnt sound as close as it could due to singin through my nose,,,, how can i get rid of it,,,, and would my sinul condition be resopinsible at all for this problem,, if yes,, is there a way i could overcome that,, thanx alot,, and your sites amazin,, really helpful


Answer.
You don't mention here whether the surgery changed your singing abilities. It should have. I recommend you start back up with your lessons.

Mark

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Question.
mark i emailed you about 3 months ago your book has done amazing things for my voice. your vocalizing tech. listening to ones body staying relaxed building gradually. warming up then warming down after band practice. my voice soars over the mix. but if you can answer one question. i can hit and sing notes in head voice , but i need you to clarify how to hit and sing those same notes in my chest voice. i have olso noticed by vocalizing faltsetto in my chest my upper registers are begining to sound smoother and more defined your friend


Answer.
Volume is what determines whether a note will be in head voice or chest voice. The louder you sing the higher up the change occurs. SO if you want very high notes to be in chest voice you'll have to sing very loud. I think its better to train to the point where it doesn't matter what register you're in. Once they all sound the same you won't be spending so much energy forcing register changes.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark. I'm a 16 year old male, and ever since 15, I've noticd that I have a great passion for singing. Now when I started of, I sounded like a dying cat, but now I'm not too bad. My frend and family have told me that I have improved a bit. But the problem is, I seem to have hit a dead end. My voice doesn't seem to begetting any better, and I do not know what to do. This obviously means I have a very mediocre voice, so i need somewhere to get started, and know what to do. I cannot sight read but I think that the fact I can't read music sheets or know what a note sounds like of the top of my head doesn't help this fact, and my mum tells me that I can't hit get the tune off the top of my head, and have to imitate what I hear. I can't afford singing lessons, but may buy you book and dvd if I get the money. Apart from that, can you help me in any way possible?


Answer.
Nobody has a mediocre voice -- they just play it that way. One year is nothing in the big picture. Other then picking up my book, I think your time would be well spent developing your ear for a while. Pick up guitar or piano (whichever is more available to you) and sing the notes you find on the instrument. The skill of matching pitch is developed in the brain and will help your singing a lot. You don't need to read sheet music to sing.

Mark

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Question.
I know you probably hear this question all the time, but how do I make money,or get recognized at doing what I know and have been known to do best? I'm 29yrs. and old have been on t.v. once. I love to show my feelings and give a show.God HAS put me on this earth to do SOMETHING and that is to GET A WITNESS!{Thats my favorite saying}-"CAN I GET A WITNESS" When I put a mike to my mouth thats the first thing that usually comes out my mouth.I don't know what i need first/or most for that matter,money,or recognition.I do know one thing I really need need something. Please help me,point me in the right direction.PLEASE!!!lOVE yyyyya,YA CAJUN BABY---CHANTAL-JANE'T COUVILLION!!!!!!!!!!!!


Answer.
There's no doubt that you have a passion for singing but unfortunately that's not what matters when it comes to making money or gaining recognition with your voice. It's all about self promotion. Those that are great promoters get the recognition -- not those that are great singers. Sometimes a person can be both but promotion matters most when it comes to getting your name out there. So that's the direction I'm suggesting you head in. Start talking your talents up to any one and everyone. Ask for opportunities. It's exactly like running for president. First you have to let everybody know you're in the race.

Mark

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Question.
hi i see u're doing a grt job here. how do i sing without letting those annoying mucus cutting my notes short cos i sing in a pretty high range?


Answer.
Drink lots of water. Cut out sugar, coffee, spicy foods and dairy. Get plenty of rest. Exercise. Vocalize. Warm up and then back off the air pressure just a little on those high notes.

Mark

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Question.
Is it possible to expand your range rather quickly? if so, how or what do I need to pursue to make it happen?


Answer.
Yes but it's always at the expense of tone and feel. Check out Brett Manning's technique.

Mark

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Question.
I have real trouble reaching some notes, they are too high, i have to shout to reach them. What do you sugest i do to reach these notes without bellowing!?


Answer.
Let your voice change registers.

Mark

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Question.
Hey, I want to start learning to sing, I'm quite shy and don't have that much confidence, but I want to be able to sing like Phil Anselmo of Pantera, and that kind of singing is very powerful, could you give me a few tips on how I should go about learning to sing like this. I think my biggest problem will be volume, as I play guitar at the moment and so have some idea of pitch. Thank you!


Answer.
Do you worry about playing the guitar loud enough? Of course not, you just turn up the amp. Same goes for singing. Many beginners make it very hard for themselves by trying to sing as loud as they can. It kills all the flexibility to do so. Instead, try and sing at a medium volume and suck on that microphone. This will give you far more control.

Mark

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Question.
I've been tryin for a while to tremble my voice while singing sometimes it comes out fine but i want to go a little faster and im having some problems.. How can i make it better? What shall i do?


Answer.
It's called vibrato and I have a free lesson on my site you should read:  http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons_07.htm

Mark

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Question.
Hi mark i am a 15 year old that is into a lot of rock. I am in a band and i play guitar. But in my spare time i write songs and lyrics. My problem is we are trying to play music like System Of A Down,Mudvayne and Three Days Grace and they have powerful singers. I know i am not the best singer in the world but i try to hit the high notes but they don't work. Also when i sing i kinda have an accent and it is driving me crazy. If i took singing lessons would it help me get rid off the accent thingy or will i stay with it because i don't like it at all.


Answer.
Yes singing lesson would get rid of your accent and get those notes that aren't working right now.

Mark

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Question.
hi mark. nice site by the way. im 17, male, and by no means a decent singer, though i can hold a tune easy enough. i guess ide describe myself as a tenor, or bass voice. for a long time now i have been un able to access my falsetto range. ive tried everythin i could find about it, but nothing seems to help. when i go up high in my register, my throat gets very tense, and im unable to un tense it. im aware that i need to be able to relax my muscles on my vocal folds, but i dont know how. i really want to be able to go falsetto, and it is so frustrating not being able to. are there any excercises i can be doing? thanks nick


Answer.
Try breathing in the note instead of the usual way. All you need is to trick the body into letting out a little squeak of a note. Try making animal sounds like kittens or birds too. Part of the problem is that you're trying too hard. Make it more playful and you'll stumble onto it.

Mark

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Question.
heyyy i'm 13 and i love to sing it's my passion. All of my friends say that i sing great but, i don't think that i'm that good. i think they just want me to be happy knowing that i'm good. i started singing in my school chours and its fun but kind of geekey. i'm all about keeping my reputation cool. i also started singing instomental songs and participating in school musicals. i just i'm tired of trying to be the best i wanna be good. it's my dream to be a star i want to entertain people. i already entertain my family and friends. but, thats not enough.I always wanted to audition but i'll be a nervious reck. i'll be scared i'll prabobly choke .i wabt to become more cofident. what should i do to practice to become better??


Answer.
You're already doing it. Keep up with chorus and the musicals. Your teachers will help you through the auditions if they see that you are there a lot and participating. Don't worry about the cool factor either. Being cool means not caring what others think.

Mark

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Question.
About 3 years ago, my friend and I were singing in the same competition. I got a higher rating than her, and we had sang the same song. When parents weren't around, she would tell me how much I sucked and how I should have got a much lower score than I did (I recieved the highest possible one). This didn't bother me at first, but she kept it up to the point where I would cry and tell myself I had to change my dream of becoming a singer. Even though I got over the fact that she said it, I can't get over the fact that it was said.I was unable to change my dreams, however much I tried. I still enter competitions and do relatively well in them, but I just don't have the confidence that I used to. I don't care what people think, but I still have trouble with confidence. Not only that, but if I try for something I want really bad, and I don't get it, I will re live what she said before and convince myself about how much I *suck*. I just want to go as far as I can because I want to become well known for my music, but I know that I would be much farther if I wasn't so unconfident. If you could help me, it would mean the world to me. Thank you in advance, your amazing!


Answer.
What a shame that you would let your so called friend win like that. She really got in your head. You've got to stop saying you don't care what people think and start telling yourself the truth: You care very much what people think. Here's the deal. People who are known for singing aren't the best singers in the world -- they are simply the people who can handle criticism. The second you open your mouth for others to hear you have to be prepared for some negativity. Nobody is immune. Superstars are either one of two types: Super smart or super dumb. The smart ones know better then to let comments get to them and the dumb ones . . . well they're just too dumb to know they're being criticized.

Mark

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Question.
mark, i'm 20 i started singing when i was 17 i have a voice that suits Billy Joe from Green day, when i reach high notes i go into falsetto, but a while ago i discovered i could force my vocal chords into a kind of shout and get the high notes in a stronger voice but i can't control the volume, i want to be able to take both high and low pitches and want to be able to adjust volumes as well, is forced singing ok or is there any other way to reach high notes.


Answer.
You are controlling the volume when you shout those high notes -- you're making it loud. If you want to sing high pitches at a low volume you'll have to let the register change into either falsetto or head voice. Forced singing is what it is. It may be cool for certain parts in songs but not every time you sing. You lose emotional impact when you force every note.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark I've been practising singing whilst playing around on my guitar. I can hit the notes I want to hit when I sing quite but have trouble holding the melody when singing louder. Any Adice? thnx for your time.


Answer.
Your working too hard to sing loud. My advice is to practice singing loud without the guitar so you can experiment with doing less. Try and relax everything you can (jaw, neck abs) and still keep the volume up. Get used to that first then put the guitar back on.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, im a 15 year old girl thats in great shape, but for some reason my breathing techniques arent working! When I sing I get out of breath or either i cant hold the notes long enough! Is there any more breathing exercises you can help me do to improve?


Answer.
It's not your breath technique that's at fault -- it's your singing. I know it seems like you not taking in enough air because you're always running out on long notes. The problem is that you're releasing too much air when singing. For starters, sustain a very low volume hiss for sixty seconds. That's how little air should be leaving you when singing. Place your hand up right near your mouth and sing so that you don't feel air hitting your hand. You can also drape a piece of toilet paper in front of your mouth and sing so that the paper doesn't jump up.

Mark

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Question.
What is the word for jumping several octaves when singing, either at the end of a song or within the body of the song.


Answer.
An accident

Mark

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Question.
Hey. Im david. im 16-17 and i have a VERY deep voice. Is it harder to sing with a deep voice? Can i reech all the notes normal people can??? Coz when i sing i seem to mumble a bit. Thankyou


Answer.
No it's not harder to sing with a deep voice just like it's not harder to walk with big feet. Everything is proportionate. It is harder to sing higher notes with a large larynx but that has nothing to do with mumbling. I think most of your issue is just being young and a little insecure. Most guys your age speak way too low and it effects their singing until they can break through the fear of letting go.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I have no problem getting through most notes, but after a while it becomes clear that i'm singing through my nose. so i guess my question is, what can i do to avoid this sound? Thanks again, Mitch


Answer.
Nasality means you're pushing too much air. You can literally hold your nose and sing vowels in order to discover what the right pressure is. When your nose stops vibrating you've got it right.

Mark

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Question.
Hi! I am good at singing but im not very good at finishing phrases! How could i improve on this???


Answer.
Practice it! The hardest part is identifying what's weak in your game. Now that you know focus on finishing when you practice. Clap your hands to keep time and make sure you're ending your notes exactly on the beat.

Mark

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Question.
I cant really sing like its not a gift for me. If I keep practicing and singing out loud all the time will i eventually get better and better till i can sing really good. I'm fifteen and i'de like to sing in a band.


Answer.
Yes, you absolutely can improve your singing and become very skilled. Keep at it!

Mark

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Question.
I have been singing my entire life. I'm a total soprano, but have been getting my voice to go lower little by little. I take lessons, but the biggest problem I have is I have no self confidence. I should, because I enter competitons and I do fairly well. I got to record a crappy demo, but none of this has made me any more confident. When I was younger, I had more confidence, but a person completely destroyed all of that. I still want to sing as a career and I still do competitions, but they are harder to do because I still never feel like IM good enough. I have to try out for a chorus soon that I have been planning to try out for for years and now I'm finally old enough, but I'm terrified. I've tried everything I could think of, and everything my vocal teacher could think of to get my confidence back. Any advice would mean the world to me!


Answer.
My advice is to forget about confidence and summon up some courage. Most people assume that the performers they watch on stage are confident people. That's about as far from the truth as you can get. most performers are incredibly insecure and struggle greatly with it until they get past the first verse of a song. All you need is some courage to start singing. Once you're in the song it's all good. Confidence only comes after. It's courage you need.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, First of all, thank you ever so much for giving your time, anergy and talent. Really appreciate it. I am a 23 year old guy. I have sung in several bands, and I'm looking for one now. Earlier, my vocal upper range was a little above average. I really couldn't hit high notes. Nowadays, I find that I am able to sing many notes that I used to not be able to. The thing is, the voice comes out really powerful and loud (smooth nonetheless). Please tell me if this is normal. I mean... I wouldn't want to damage my voice... Thanks Mark. Cheers, Rohan.


Answer.
Seems normal to me -- you're getting looser. You would know it if you were damaging yourself.

Mark

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Question.
my voice is sought of deep when i talk but when i sing im sought of sound like new found glorys singer,really high pitched,its not a bad thing, but how come i can do it?


Answer.
You squeeze you throat when you sing which only allows the higher overtones to emit. When you're talking you relax your throat which allows lower overtones a resonator.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, I've been singing for a lot of years & been compared to Robert Plant & then Jim Morrison ( I think that was cool) but after developing some bad habits & taking about 3-5 years away from practicing, my breath is about 1/2 of what it was & now my high end/falsetto are is just about nil. what can i do to get it back? i was told it's like the top muscles are very well developed but the bottom ones (or the other way around) are really weak. is there a way to work more on one part than the other? Thank you Jeff


Answer.
What you've lost from lack of challenge is flexibility. You can regain it by taking your time and gradually exploring higher notes while letting the voice fail and cut out if necessary. There's no harm done if you let things return in their own time. Things get limited when they are rushed back with little appreciation of how long of a lay-off five years is. I have a warm up routine on my site called "K.I.S.S.". That would be a good place for you to start. http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons.htm

Mark

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Question.
Up to last year I had been in choir for 6 yrs, I am a roadie for a band, Kritickill. The vocalist is amazing, he's able to hold long notes, but he's also able to get out some good screams that I wish i could hit. I have a single tone scream that sounds like shit i've been working on but getting no where. I'm still perfecting holding tones, the type of vocalist I aspire to be is a more bassier style with some screams and very little growl vocals but I still want some, When i try the growl vocal style my voice gets scratchy very quickly and I start to cough, what do I need to do about it, or is there anything I can do about it?


Answer.
You're in the perfect position to seek this info from the source. Ask the singer in Kritickill for some tips regarding that wall you're hitting.

Mark

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Question.
Hi,im 14 girl, and i realllly enjoy singing and i haea hard time hiting high nores, and i can hae flat notes sometimes, one of my Toncels(if i spelt that right) it ligt big on one side, i was wodeing if that would cut off me being able to sing better, if i get my toncels taken out would it help afterwards??please help, thanks


Answer.
Getting your tonsils out won't help or hurt your singing. You should have them taking out if your doctor says you should. Afterwards you should take a few singing lessons and you'll get those high notes out every time.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark. when I get nervous some times, I sing through my nose. Is that normal? How do you fix it? My mom says that I don't sing through my nose when I'm in a microphone but, I wanna sing without one without making a fool of myself.


Answer.
It's very common to tense up when you're nervous. Tension in the throat, tongue and jaw is to blame for the nasal sound. Relaxing these things is the key but of course that's not easy when you're nervous. The first thing to do is back off your volume. Don't push so hard.

Mark

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Question.
hi mark, i want to be able to have my own voice but i keep on comparing my voice to different bands. i want to be able to find my own voice and make it a good voice. could you help me?


Answer.
Stop singing songs and start vocalizing (vocal exercises). There's lots of exercises in my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual."

Mark

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Question.
Hiya just wondering if you could tell me how phlegm affects the singing voice.


Answer.
Just imagine pouring molasses on guitar strings.

Mark

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Question.
Hi mark I am a 17 year old and I enjoy singing and playing guitar very much. 99% of what i play and sing is nirvana but I have a dilema Im hoping you can give me advice for. i can never seem to hit the high note I can sing well all the low screaming but when it comes to screaming high notes my voice crackles and almost seems to jump vocal chords its just to har. I was just wondering what a solution to this is....will practice make perfect? thanks shawn


Answer.
Yes practice will help a lot but remember this: You were given a guitar, but you have to build a voice before you can learn how to play it. Vocal exercises will help you hit those higher notes but Kurt cracked and choked when singing up there all the time. What he did was just push and push without regard to the welfare of his voice. That's part of the attraction you have to his music. I'm not recommending you purposely blow out your voice -- just understand that some people are willing to hurt in order to create.

Mark

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Question.
HI, i've been singing for 6 years now but lately my throat has been hurting and I don't know whats the matter with it. It feels like pressure is pressing on it and its hard for me to sing, it feels dry even though i drink lots of water..whats wrong with it..?


Answer.
It could be many things -- perhaps a gland is swollen. One thing's for sure you should have it looked at by a doctor.

Mark

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Question.
Hi it's me Ricky again and It's about vibrato. Every once in a while, my vibrato is stiff and sqeaky on each oscillilation? Especially in high volumes


Answer.
Stiff and squeaky means strained and choked. You are pushing too hard when singing loud and high. Back off just a little and work to release face and jaw muscles.

Mark

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Question.
how do i keep my larynx down when i sing high notes can you give me some techniques or exercises please


Answer.
Relax. It's not the end of the world if your larynx rises a little when singing high. It's just that for every degree your larynx goes up, the throat closes in a little. So if you lift your larynx a lot -- your throat will choke off the voice. Watch yourself yawn in the mirror. Notice how the larynx sinks down. Now sing with the same yawning action. The sound will be deep -- like a teddy bear. That's one way to show the body that there is an option when singing higher. Play with the sound and allow your voice to sound bad when looking for less movement. Too many times we're trying to get new behaviors but not allowing the voice to sound bad in the process. That's like learning to ride a bike without ever falling.

Mark

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Question.
(1) I am 17 and i used to never sing becuase i had kinda a low voice for a girl and my range was realy small. but now that i started to sing more often somehow i streatched my voice realy high. now i have a three octave range starting at the F lower than middle C (yeah i'm kinda new to music - only ever played the drums) Now i am a suprano 1, and when i sing in the third octave above middle C i sound like a whistle when i sing loudly. its a peircing sound and it gives me a headach to listn to myself. i am glad to be able to sing that high but i would like to get my lower rang back again. Can you give me some tips to streatch my range lower and improve my falceto? i already do daily warm ups in chior but i dont feel that it helps much. also my instructer says i have pitch memory. what is this and how can i use this to my advantage like she says i should?
(2) I like the way my voice sound when i use my chest register. how can i sing using my chest register and still produce high pitches?
(3) also i heard that a nose job could change my voice. i had a reconstructive surgery done on it due to a bad injury- not like for cosmetic reasons or any thing. Could that be why my voice got higher?


Answer.
(1) That means you can remember melodies well -- especially the starting pitch. I think your instructor is telling you to focus and concentrate when singing with the choir.
(2) Sing louder.
(3) A little bit, but mostly because you are now singing a lot more.

Mark

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Question.
(1)ok my palate is definitely going up so i'm not singing through my nose as much, or possibly at all, anymore which is a big plus. you said to place a finger on my tongue, i did this and i can keep my tongue in that position without my finger now, but should my tongue be in this position the whole time i am singing? if so, then can i move it when i need to pronounce a letter that requires movement of the tongue? (2)also, my friend said that your singing voice shouldn't be the same as your talking voice, and i was watching john lennon playing "come together" live, and its true, when he talks his voice is very deep and when he sings it is like another person. my voice sounds the same to me all the time mostly, is this a bad thing?


Answer.
(1)You just answered you're own question. Of course the tongue will move for various vowels and consonants. The exercise I suggested was to get the tongue out of the habit of helping you hit pitches. (2)Some people do, some people don't. I noticed you didn't bring up Paul McCartney who singing does sound like his speaking voice. Then it comes down to the age old argument of who was better: Paul or John.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark. Please help me. I'm a 35 yr old woman who used to sing in a covers band.I was a good singer and had lots of confidence. About 4 years ago I was singing a song by Tranvision Vamp.The venue was really smokey and the sound was poor. I really had to push my voice to the limit.At the time it felt like I strained it. Now its like I can't sing at all - my range is now really small and feels that I have no "strength" in my voice. I love to sing to cd's in the car, but now I always seem to be singing flat and out of tune. I also feel like I have a lot of phlegm but I can't swallow it down or cough it up. I do have reflux disease but I don't feel that this is the cause. If a breathe in hard through my mouth and try to make a sound it sounds congested. What have I done to my voice? It feels like I've been singing non stop for many hours and have no voice left. Can I get it back?


Answer.
Put what happened four years ago out of your mind. It's not that. It's a combo of reflux, a long lay-off and age. You can regain your voice but it will take work. I recommend taking some voice lessons. I know you just sing causally now and that seems extravagant but think of how much enjoyment you gain when you are able to sing well. You need to regain elasticity and build up your vocal strength and conditioning. Singing songs in the car won't help you -- try vocalizing.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, absolutely love the website, i regularly read and take in all the advice you give to other people to help me learn as much as i can. First off i wanted to say thank you for taking the time and patience to answer everybodies e-mails, it must take a while, but you always answer thouroughly and genuinely helpfully. Thank you Mark, you're the best! Now as for my question, i feel that i am in a catch 22 situation. I am a smoker and a singer. I don't smoke that much, rougly around 10 cigarettes a week, and am also fairly healthy, i cycle everywhere and play basketball regularly. I've been singing for years (i was in my primary school choir, and i'm now almost 20) and have reached a point where i'm happy with my actual singing voice (through lots of practise, and advice from your site of course). I sing in a kind of rocky powerful style, influenced by Corey Taylor, Chris Cornell and Jesse Leach etc. The only problem i have is that i'd like to be able to hold notes longer, which means increased lung capacity, or at least more controlled and refined air pressure and release. Now, i've heard that giving up smoking can negatively affect the voice because the throat is used to the effects of the smoke. If this is true, what should i do? Will the amount i smoke make that large a contribution? Should i carry on smoking and deal with not having notes as long as i want them, or quit smoking and be able to have longer notes with decreased quality? I'm a little bit worried that if i do quit that my voice will be different, but i guess its just fear of the uncertain. Thanks ad infinitum for any advice you can give me, and i'm sorry for the long message.


Answer.
First off you don't need to increase lung capacity to sing long notes - you need a more efficient larynx. Smoking directly assualts the folds by burning off the lubricating layer. Quit and you will be owner of any sound you want. Continue and you'll be locked into what you've got. Now let me think who keeps perpetuating that myth that quitting will negatively effect the voice . . . It wouldn't be singers who smoke would it?

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I'm 17 years old and female and have been singing all my life, but lately I find that I'm hearing a kind of buzz in the back of my throat when I sing... when I record my voice it tends to be nasally but if I sing any higher my voice cracks. What is the buzzing and how do I get rid of it?


Answer.
The buzzing is your nasal cavities vibrating. You have developed a habit of pushing just a little more air pressure than necessary and that has triggered your nose to become involved. When you sing higher your jaw braces and narrows the throat which channels pressure up into the nasal cavities. The smaller cavities of the nose make a great place to put extra air pressure but treat the sound with a signature nasal twang. If you don't like the sound then you'll have to back off your pressure and open your mouth more.

Mark

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Question.
Hey mark, I just want to say your amazing and from what I've heard you can help anyone. I am 15 years old and I dont really sing a lot. I'm not very good but I would really like to get better. Do you think that even though right now my voice isn't strong and I can't sing too well, I have a chance at becoming a good singer?


Answer.
Absolutely. Just replace the word singer with guitarist and no one would doubt that you could become really good.

Mark

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Question.
* Hi, I was just wondering why ever time I sing my voice will not really go up as high as I want it to it's like my voice siffs down a key and sounds really funny. ?


Answer.
Your throat is choking you off when you try to sing high.

Mark

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Question.
I am a fourteen year old boy trying continue to make my self a song star in the future but as i when through perbuty my soprano voice changed and now i can only sing between alto and bass what should i do when music is my life and i cant even hit a simple high note


Answer.
The first thing you should do is look on a piano and notice that half of the notes are low and half are high. Singing isn't all about high notes -- it's about telling a story. You can exercise your voice to stretch your range. I recommend private lessons so a teacher can watch your form. Until then keep singing -- no matter how high you can hit.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, I have been a keen musician for many years, i'm 34 years old and now have a little home recording studio in my spare room, When i listen back to my voice it sounds very nasal, is there a microphone or do you have any tips to help with this- i currently use a studio projects b3 condenser microphone, any help greatly appreciated Many thanks Paul


Answer.
It has nothing to do with the microphone. Your jaw and tongue are tense when you sing and you are controlling the air pressure by sending it up into your nasal area. This makes managing the air easier but creates the nasal sound. To get a richer tone you'll have to release your tongue and jaw and manage the air via muscles below the larynx (diaphragm). I recommend taking a few voice lessons to get introduced to the concept. I think it will help you a lot.

Mark

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Question.
Hi its me again. It's about vibrato. When I first wake up out of bed my vibrato is slower than it was the day before. Its also more chunky. But like at 3:00 its back the way it was not chunky or slower. Why is that?


Answer.
For the same reason your face looks different when you first wake up. Your body has fluids inside and they are distributed differently when we lay down. The membranes in your larynx are a little puffy (swollen) in the morning so they don't vibrate as easily.

Mark

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Question.
My question is how do you sing and dance at the the same time w/ out sounding all shaky? Because I've tried to jump, run and sing at the same time and I sounded shaky. So how do I sing a clear tone while I dance at the same time? As I listen to superstars like Usher and Beyonce'as they dance they don't sound shaky and ugly. I've tried to vibrato as I do it too. It sounded worser.


Answer.
Practice by running ten miles a day while singing your songs. That's how Beyonce and Usher did it.

Mark

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Question.
im gona be getting braces, noo! and i was wondering will it affect my singing voice in any way watsoever, im very touchy about the subject.


Answer.
No problem with you voice. Do it now and get it over with.

Mark

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Question.
Hi,I am a baritone and I am extremely interested in developing a raspy rock voice.I have realized I need to use my falsetto range a lot of the time and I need to discover how to add rasp to falsetto.I can do the crackly voiced fake screaming thing but I have tried to incorperate that into actually singing with little success.Sometimes when I am singing falsetto I can tap into some nice easy rasp low in my chest which actually sounds decent but most of the time it is quite crackly and undesireable.Is the crackly voice thing the way all these rock guys are doing their rasp? If so,do you have any specific advice for me? Am I on the right track? hopefully one of your videos tackles this issue.Also do you have some examples of baritones who have developed this?


Answer.
Chris Cornell is the best example of a baritone creating a thick raspy falsetto. Listen to the old Sound Garden stuff. You are on the right track -- it's just going to take some time. That cracky area needs to develop into a coordinated middle voice. As you become more skilled at floating through the middle you'll be able to add a little more pressure and disturb the folds to get the rasp you want. It's all about balance. A clean voice is in balance and a raspy one is out. The degree you take your voice out of balance will directly effect control and condition.

Mark

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Question.
Well my question was that ive been singing for about close to a year now and up till a few months ago ive been able to hit high notes but now these days i can i have a feeling its because ive been singing wrong all along is it possible to that ive damage my voice to the point where i can not sing anymore? Because latley my singing style have been going from a metallica john corrabi sound and ive been wanting to do a dream theater style voice how can i even do it? how do i begin or is it even possible?


Answer.
It's possible but you have to commit to one sound. If you want the cleaner high notes you'll have to do a lot of flexibility exercises and forget about singing with rasp.

Mark

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Question.
I am currently in a band playing music mainly from the 60s and 70s. I was wondering on how to get more of a rock sound from my voice (like in sharp dressed man by ZZ Top) instead of just a clean voice. Thanks for your time.


Answer.
Smoke a lot of cigarettes and drink a lot of tequila! Especially in the era you're covering, singers with that slight rasp (opposed to the death growls of today) were singing through their hangovers. You can emulate the sound by collapsing your upper throat a little and pushing -- just like when you're lifting something heavy. This will irritate your throat at first until you find just the right amount of pressure to get the sound you want.

Mark

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Question.
I am a amateur singer who is wandering what my voice is. How do you tell if you are a soprano or alto or bass.


Answer.
If you use the women's room you're either a soprano or an alto. If you use the men's room you're either a tenor, baritone or bass. If you're a female and sing high comfortably you're a soprano. If not you're an alto.

Mark

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Question.
Hello Mark, I am a 44 year old lawyer from Texas. I recently had an argument with my 50 year old surgeon brother about people singing in the shower. I made the comment that some teachers recommend singing in the shower because of the effects of the steam on the vocal cords. He insisted that the steam had nothing to do with it and that it was because of the acoustics. What's the correct answer?


Answer.
Your brother is right. When singers hear themselves clearly and with the added resonance of a tile enclosure they relax and perform much better. That's why many singers can't duplicate what they sang like in the studio when touring. Singing in the humid conditions is very good therapeutically -- but when those same conditions exist on a noisy night club stage the singer will loose it quickly.

Mark

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Question.
Hi, I'm 16 years old and have been singing my whole life. I sang good, very good i had no trouble hitting any note or anything, everything came very easy to me. But ever since my voice began to change that's when I started having trouble. Overall it became a little harder to sing but that's not the problem, now I can barely sing upper middle range, or higher. What can I do to expand my vocal for that range, if I can at all.


Answer.
To expand you're range you have to allow your voice to switch into falsetto. You have gone through a growth spurt and your larynx has gotten a lot bigger. It's going to be awkward for a while so make sure you're in a private place where no one can hear you. Sing through that area that's cracking and breaking up but don't try to make it sound good at all -- just let it crack. As you get more comfortable going through that area you'll find some balance and things will sound better. Most guys aren't willing to put up with it sounding bad so they choke themselves off and strain.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, this could be a duplicate questions from before it was sent out by accident. But if you didn't get it here they are. One, how can I project sound to make it louder?. Two, how do u know when ur out of breath?. Is it that when the air stopped flowing I should take a breathe. And, is it that my ab area supposed to rise each time that i do this. Is there a diff from diaphragm air used in singing versus air in daily breathing. I'm all confused about everything. Please, help! Thankyou


Answer.
Don't be confused. People tend to make breathing a big deal and it's not. You make sound louder by adding more air pressure under your larynx -- just like when you're yelling to one of your friends down the street. You don't think you just do it. Your out of breath when you can't make the sounds you want. Your stomach should come out when you breath in. That's what it does when you're sleeping. Singing is the same as talking but extended -- so the breathing is a little different.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mr Baxter,Thank you 1st for having the time and patience to answer our questions. You probably get this one all the time, I tried to go through all questions that were asked before but I found only few that asked. And I didn't fully get a clear understanding. So my question is: When I lead or back up sing in church. My voice sometimes strains or cracks in high ranges. you told someone that we are asking our larynx to hit notes with the wrong air pressure, please explain that. And also is there anything I can drink or use to remove mucus from my throat before I sing? I think that is also part of my problem. Thanks and GOD BLESS YOU. Min.RON


Answer.
Drink plenty of water all day to reduce mucus. I also will gargle with warm salt water sometimes to clear out more. The wrong air pressure means pushing to hard to reach high notes. When you push too hard your throat will close up and cause the strain. If you don't push hard the voice usually cracks and slips awkwardly. What's correct is to find a balance right in the middle. It takes practice to trust that your reflexes will do the right thing if you relax and let them sing. You are avoid a change of register when you strain on high notes. Probably because it will crack and that's embarrassing. So practice at home and let your throat completely relax on high notes no matter how bad you voice sounds. Do this often and you'll notice less cracking. You'll also notice a better tone and an easier time reaching those high notes. Don't just sing at church -- explore your voice everyday in private.

Mark

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Question.
HEY Mark I've just hooked up with a band and have never sang a lick just played and they want me to sing a few songs where in the heck do i start the three songs are stones tucker and bad company I dont want to let anyone down wesley


Answer.
You start at home and in private. Let your voice suck as you explore those songs. Play the vocal melodies on guitar so you can see the shape of things. Give yourself a break and let it out. You're not letting anyone down if you can't do it. As you said, you never sang a lick before so there's no expectations.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark -- I began singing with lessons about 8 months ago, with absolutely no talent to begin with. Things are looking up, but I'm getting pretty concerned about my range. Like many others, I'd like to end up famous, but I'm a baritone. I'm not really interested in singing opera (for a living), Broadway (I'm under the impression that baritones don't get the famous solos), or choir, though I'm all for doing them for fun. I'll do whatever it takes to expand my range, but I'm feeling like it won't be enough. Everything I've heard people say thus far is stuff like "Find your own voice" and whatnot -- in your book, The Rock and Roll Singer's Survival Manual", you said with some practice, no singer would want any other singer's voice... but I'm finding that hard to believe, in my case. Having not heard any famous baritones sing, why wouldn't I want a voice like Steven Tyler's? Otherwise I'm just in the lower end of the choir. The middle range is just so mundane and boring. Really, what can you do unless you're on either extreme? I'm currently in the production of a musical, A Chorus Line, and all the male parts are tenor roles... which doesn't help any. Any advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Answer.
My advice is that you don't waste any more time worrying about your range. If your goal is to become famous then take a lesson out of Paris Hilton's book and release a sex tape on the web, live off your daddy's millions and flaunt your spoiled ways on a reality TV show. Then, like her, you'll get a record deal and can sing anyway you damn please. Otherwise, you're destined to live out your days as a useless baritones like Dave Groll, Eddy Vedder, Joey Armstrong, Paul Rogers, Kurt Cobain, etc., etc. Get the picture?

Mark

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Question.
How can you handle re-inforced falsetto or "falseton"? Sometimes I'm able to go up to Fa7 (I think; would-be fret 25 on a guitar, e string), but sometimes my falseton breaks around La-do below that Fa. The answer to stop this is probably that I need to practice more, but my main goal rather than range is that I would seriously like to know how to incorporate re-inforced falsetto to the rest of my vocal "repertoire" so as it to be just in "line" with the rest of my voice so my high pitches would seem like I were doing them with real voice instead of falsetto. Any excercises or suggestions on this? Thanks, Hugo


Answer.
My suggestion is to stop thinking about registers and start creating the sounds you want. You are overly aware of the mechanics when you're singing and so the body gets ahead of itself and prepares a register for an upcoming note. The reflexes will blend small degrees of registers together to create a bigger sound if you let them.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark,My names christina and i'm 12 and turning 13 this year and everyone in my class loves my voice and so does everyone else i know. i used to sing at a restraunt my mom worked at b4.I have allways wanted to sing but it's money thats holding me back.but i love to sing and if u could give me ne tips that would rock! thanks,christina


Answer.
Hey Christina, You should be giving ME tips! If everyone loves your voice then you don't need any help -- just keep singing. Opportunities will come by eventually. There isn't a superstar around today (except Beyonce) that didn't have money problems at the beginning.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark. My name's Christin and I'm 13 (I'll be 14 this coming March). I need to ask you some advice. My school is having a talent show the 30th of March, and I was going to sing this song I wrote last year. There's just one problem; no one else has ever heard it before and I'm afraid of what people will think about it. What if they make fun of me? What if they don't believe that I wrote it? I need your advice; should I sing it, or should I sing a different song? Thanx for the help. I just don't know...I don't handle rejection well! I need your help...please.


Answer.
I think you should sing your original. Every artist has a problem with rejection. Adults have the same worry about being laughed at -- that never goes away. The thing to remember is that you feel nervous because you care -- and that's a good thing! If kids make fun of you it's because they're jealous. If they don't believe you wrote the song it means the song is great. All those are good things too. So . . . you can't lose!

Mark

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Question.
Ermm...Mr Mark,is there any singing methods and methods to boost my confidence?I always have low confidence about myself and my singing as my family always dun like my singing


Answer.
Low confidence has nothing to do with the way you sing -- it's all about the way you think about yourself. There are lots of people out there who have a very high opinion of themselves and don't sing well at all. There are also lots of people who sing great but won't let anyone hear them because they are incredibly self critical. There are so many things that may be connected to your feelings that it would be impossible for me to suggest a remedy. What I will say is that you are not alone. So keep singing if that's something that you like to do but don't look for any encouragement -- certainly not from your family. If you continue to sing, as you get older people will simply respect that it is something you like to do and will stop commenting. You don't need high self esteem to sing well -- you just need to coordinate your breathing.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark! I'm 13 years old, but my voice just isn't mature enough. I've heard myself recorded (I do a lot of recording on the computer) and in my "normal voice" I sound high pitched and really young (Yes I know 13 is young, but I mean really young). I know my voice hasn't fully matured yet, but I really want it to. I can sing lower if I push it, and it does sound pretty good, but if singing lower I tend to sound flat and go out of tune. I can't find the right balance, sing OK/quite good and high/young or sing low and just OK. Sorry if my explanation isnt great, I hope you understand


Answer.
Hey Joey, I have the perfect solution. Sing some simple songs for about an hour a day. Don't push low or force anything. If you do this everyday for five years I guarantee you'll have a more mature voice.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark. I was wondering. How do i find out what my vocal range is. cause im tryin to do a song that Ville Valo(HIM) does and his voice goes very deep and i wanna learn how to do that


Answer.
Sing the highest note you can and then find it on the piano (make sure you warm up first). Then sing the lowest and find that on the piano. Your range is what's between the two notes.

Mark

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Question.
hey ever since i was 6 i had been a soprano singer then i had a surgery done on my throat to remove my tonsils ever since i had become a bass singer and amn wondering if there is a way to raise my voice from what i used to have thanks


Answer.
I'm guessing by your name that you're a guy so the answer is no. When you were six your larynx was as tiny as a sopranos. As you got older your larynx grew and therefore lowered in pitch. The operation didn't cause it -- it just made the area stiff which made it seem like you couldn't go high at all. Keep singing in falsetto and you'll regain some high notes but nothing like when you were 6.

Mark

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Question.
How Can A Male sing in the Whistle Register and is it sung in Head Voice or Falsetto for the men?


Answer.
It's called "Whistle register" because its a separate register then head, chest or falsetto. So it's not sung in anything but itself. Sometimes the easiest way for guys to experiment with it is to breath in the high note and let it squeak.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark. I'm in a band, in which I play guitar, and were looking for a singer. I have decided to try and sing, but as of now I sound terrible. Im 15, and my voice sounds kind of deep, maybe monotone I guess. Anyway, I want to learn to sing like Scott Russo from Unwritten Law, Mark Hoppus from Green Day, and scream like Dustin Kensrue from Thrice and Dallas Taylor from underoath. I understand that I will probably never be able to sing like all of them, but I want to have a voice that sounds kind of like them and at least ear friendly. What kind of stuff can you reccomend for me? -Brady


Answer.
I recommend doing the same thing you did to learn the guitar -- practice the basics. You're not as old or experienced as the singers you mentioned -- the same goes for the guitar players in those bands -- so you'll need lots of practice at both the basic skills and song work. Sing in scales and siren sounds in your bed room separate from singing with the band and your CD's.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark. I have a question about my singing voice, or well, actually, how to find it. You see, I'm having a lot of trouble with singing. When I start with my talking voice, I can't reach low notes and I'm having trouble reaching high notes. When I start with a slightly higher voice, I can reach the lower notes, but I can't reach the higher ones (those that are higher than the voice I start with), and when I start with a lower voice, it's the other way around. So you see, everytime I sing I'm having these troubles, and it's very frustrating. Do you know what I can do? - Joshua


Answer.
The trouble is you don't have any instrument yet -- not a flexible one anyway. Stop trying to sing and just make sounds. Animal sounds, sirens and moans are a great way to explore the instrument without the pressure of performance. Then sit at a piano or with a guitar and start playing random notes. See if you can match the different pitches. To sing on target, your brain needs to be connected to music and the muscles need to be free and coordinated.

Mark

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Question.
hey mark, i have a huge problem! I love to sing i sing everyday all day if i can. i'm in the 7th grade and wen we can listen to our ipods in school i even sing then, and nobosy says anything, but i don't know if i can sing. When i sing in front of my friends, they say i'm good, but i don't know if they're just sayin that because they want to be friendly. Is there a way i can find out if i really can sing, na dif i an i want to be better. how can i do both of those? thanks


Answer.
Trust me, if you couldn't sing your friends would be the first to let you know -- and not so nicely. If you want to challenge yourself more audition for the chorus at school or church. Or get a simple record program for your computer and start recording yourself.

Mark

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Question. i have been trying to sing for a couple months now and my voice really does suck. my friend sed that if i touch my nose whiel singing, and it vibrates, thatn means im singing through my nose and i shouldnt be. she sed to open my throat up, my other friend suggested pretending there is a ping pong ball in my mouth and that helps her, and my other friend(all of these ppl are amazing singers)gave a very vague instruction to "lift the back of my head" can you give me any tips on opening up my throat?

Answer.
Any image is good if it helps you sing better, but sometimes we can be confused about what to do. Place your finger on your tongue and sing AH up and down your range. If you keep your tongue relaxed (your finger is there to make sure) you will release the throat as well. Keep in mind you might sing worse for a little while when first attempting this. It takes coordination to get the voice to behave with an open throat.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I wonder If you could tell me what a good exercise to get rid of breathiness of tone is? Also an exercise to energise the body before singing. And finally a good exercise to energise the mind before singing? Thanks

Answer.
To get rid of breathiness make a vocal frye -- a low pitched crackle sound before starting the pitch. To energize the body do jumping jacks to get your heart going. To energize the mind just close your eyes and imagine singing for thousands of adoring fans!

Mark

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Question. I want to start singing! I'm 13 turning 14 in June on the 20th, but if I start singing sometime this year, what age will I be by the timeI can really sing? I want to make singles n abulms? What should I do?

Answer.
It takes a couple years to get good -- a life time to get great.

Mark

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Question. I once took singing lessons and had to stop because of finances. I want to continue, but I live with my mother and we don't have the money to do it. Could you help me? I am 11 years old and my dream is to be a singer, but I don't know where to start? I have a very good voice and I want someone in the field to notice me so I could get started on my dream. Please help! Thank you very much.

Answer.
I don't know of any big famous singers that had it easy when they were your age. Money is always a problem but it didn't stop any of your favorite singers from getting where they are now. You don't need lessons to sing. You need lesson to correct bad behaviors. If you can't afford them then sing anyway. There's no better motivation then poverty to get where you want to be.

Mark

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Question. hey mark! well i'm 20 years old and have been singing since i remember! i have had no pro. traning (well until now my husband got me voice lessons for x-mas) i fell like i'm a good singer and my friends say the same i even went to canadian idol last year and made it past the first round! the said that i had an nice tone to my voice and that if i got some training i could really be something! my question is if i stick with the traning and i get really, really good, where do i go from there? i know i have the talent and i definatly have the attidued! every one is just waiting for me to make it big, but i don't know how to do that, or who i have to contact! i'm willing to do anything! risk it all and my husbands 100% behind me what do you recommend i do to make it big?

Answer.
I recommend you write a song that everyone on the planet will agree is the greatest song they've ever heard and then record it so that everyone on the planet agrees you are the greatest singer they've ever heard and then post it on the web and sit back and wait for everyone to go nuts. OR Become horribly addicted to drugs and live under abridge somewhere and do bad things and then find the strength to clean yourself up and write a book about your ordeal and then call Oprah! Seriously, you are many steps ahead of yourself. Worry about the contacts once you have something to offer. You need a recording and/or a band for starters. You also should create a local buzz to prove that it's not just you and your husband that think you're wonderful -- how about local radio playing your songs and clubs filled to capacity to hear you sing? Once you're at that level the contacts will call you.

Mark

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Question. Hello, Mark. I'm a 13 year old girl, with no vocal training, but have currently been working on my voice, with the help of advice from singers here and there, and with Broadway. However, one problem I have is that my voice wavers, especially when I hold out a note. Some say it wavers even with short notes. What can you recommend for it to stay put on one note, and one note only?

Answer.
Practice with a long buzzzzzzzz sound. The tongue will help refine the air. When things seem stable, gradually open up your buzz into an EE or AH.

Mark

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Question. I'm 14, and right now i don't have a good voice at all, but i really want to. How can I?

Answer.
Take lessons, read instructional books, talk to other singers, buy instructional CD's, join chorus at school, sing in your bedroom and sing when you play drums.

Mark

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Question. Mark, love to listen to music, and sing along, but the wife says I am tone deaf. what do you have that can help me sing better, or less annoying to others?

Answer.
I have a brand new wife for you! There's nothing like a new relationship to keep people's opinions in check. Seriously, people who comment on the off-singing of others are really projecting there own inability. They won't let themselves sing because they feel there are rules or standards which must be met before one is allowed to sing. Baloney. There are no standards for painting, woodworking, gardening, sailing, writing or any other casual pursuit done in the privacy of one's life. Plenty of happy people do these things poorly every day -- and without the criticism that singers face. If you love to listen to music and sing along then you should continue -- just the way you do now. It's not your bad singing that bothers your wife it's that you continue to find joy in something you don't do well. Good for you! It's very possible to improve your vocal skills but it takes dedication and practice. That, I fear, would turn singing into a source of guilt if you failed to do your exercises. We've got enough of that kind of pressure in our lives. So next time your wife comments on your tin-ear singing, just smile and agree with her as you continue to sing to your heart's delight.

Mark

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Question. i really dont know what to say my music teacher says i have a good singing voice but my bro doesn't, also i always hav a tickling sensation in the front of my throat when i sing how can i stop it?

Answer.
Brothers are put in our lives to make us humble (or should I say insecure!) Their constant criticisms are nothing more then their inability to handle their emotions. It's a guy thing (but wives can demonstrate the same inability, too!). Your music teacher is able to observe your singing more accurately because she or he is not related to you. The tickle comes from tension. Don't let your brother get to your head! The tension comes from trying too hard and will lead to restrictions. Keep things loose and, if he's being a jerk, don't sing around him until you trust your talent.

Mark

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Question. HI! I have a right paralyzed vocal cord that has been tied shut through surgery. My question to you is Do you think that I could still sing? I do sing one song well and that is Nancy Sinatra's These boots are made for walking...

Answer.
Yes! Your one good fold can adapt and compensate to create a very presentable singing voice. It may lack the complex overtones of two vibrating folds but often it is hard for a listener to tell the difference. If you can sing one song well then you can sing any song well -- provided you adjust the key to fit your voice.

Mark

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Question. Im a 17 year old male who plays guitar, my band is currently without a vocalist, I would step up and claim front man but my voice is a little shakey and I have a wee bit of trouble keeping it in tune. Guitaring has given me an ear for music but not the voice. How would I go about getting my voice into shape?

Answer.
Do exactly what you did to become a guitar player for the voice: Practice singing. You were shaky on guitar when you first started -- no reason you can't apply the same dedication to another instrument.

Mark

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Question. Hi mark my question to you is how can I stop singing from the throat, when I speak I sound like an alto but when I sing its sounds like I am in between alto and tenor no balance and I crack and go into falsetto keep in mind I am a 31 year old man could there be possible damage to the throat from strainig?

Answer.
No damage at all -- just un-coordinated. The muscles of the throat are responding to your desire not to crack and sing poorly, just like the tense arms and legs of someone not wanting to hit the ice when learning to skate. Allowing yourself to crack as you vocalize (don't sing songs like this) through the break area will turn off the throat tension. The next step would be to dial in the specific air pressure necessary. Repetition without tension (letting it sound bad) is the quickest way to find the proper balance. Like skating, singing is a slippery feeling and most people tense in response to the (perceived) lack of control that feeling creates. Keep it loose and practice until things sound better.

Mark

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Question. hi mark. i love to sing. but i honestly dont think that i am that good. it has just been recent that i like to sing. I LOVE MUSIC THOUGH. i cant live without my ipod. my parents and my friends dont think im that bad of a singer but my voice is really wierd. i think anyways...when i sing..it kinda sounds more like im talking than singing. and i cant get that high. ive been trying some excercises but i dont feel im inproving. to be honest i dont think i have the money right now to go to singing lessons either but i really really hope that one day i could be really good and become famous. do you have any suggestions that could help my voice sound more like singing rather than talking. Thanks alot

Answer.
The difference between singing and speaking is extended vowels. Practice by saying simple words like "hello" but extend the end. Example: Helloooooooooooooooo and good-biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark! I'm a 15 year old male and I thank God that God gave me the talent of singing and music! Just fantastic. Anyway, my question is, is it normal for a guy to possess a whistle register? Because for some odd reason, I was singing along with Mariah and I hit those notes. Not ALL of them but I've figured I can hit an F6 and if I'm lucky an A6. Is this normal? Have I hit puberty yet? I mean, I'm able to sing bass. Thanks! :)

Answer.
You not fully through puberty yet. It is normal for lower voices to have a very high falsetto or whistle ability.

Mark

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Question. My name's Karla, I'm 15 years old and I've been singing all my life. My entire family is very musical and i know i have a good advantage and talent. When i sing i feel good and it sounds to me like i sound good, but when i record my voice (like on a camera or on the computer) it sounds terrible to me. I don't understand why it sounds different. It sounds so high pitched and childish. I want to know how I can deepen/lower the sound of my voice so that i will be able to immitate the voices of the lead singers of bands such as Fall Out Boy & Papa Roach, but still be able to reach high notes without any problems like Beyonce & Kelly Clarkson. Enriching my vocal expance, of coarse will take time and practice, but i don't really know of any sort of technique or trick that i could do to get what i want from my voice so i was randomly seaching the internet and found this site to be quite helpful, but didn't exactly have the answer to my specific problem. I would really appreciate advice and of coarse would give you the credit. Thankyou

Answer.
For one thing the lower voices you use as examples are guys -- and you're not. The real issue, though, is that the gear you're using to record yourself isn't that good. It takes profession grade recording equipment to bring out all the tone of a voice. The recordings you listen to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. You don't have to spend that much -- but a small investment in some better recording gear ($1,000 should do it) would at least give you a better representation of your voice.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark. My name is Brittany. I was wondering how I can sing better. I can sing good, so i've been told, but I wanna know how i can go on high pitches and not sqeek. I love to sing but i want to sing better. Will you please help me out give me some advice to sing better. Thanks for your time. -Brittany-

Answer.
The best way to sing better is to take it seriously and practice vocal exercises every day. There are plenty of exercises to work with in books and CD's available everywhere. Finding the material isn't hard -- it's actually doing the work that presents the challenge. We're all looking for a few quick tips but what it really takes is full dedication.

Mark

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Question. Hi I was just wondering if you can tell me how to sing high. Whenever I try to sing high it ends up going into falsetto and I don't want that. I would much rather to sing high and keep my natural range, like power metal singers. Im not saying anything bad about singing falsetto but peronally i just dont like it. Power metal singers have amazing range and sing in their natural range which I would like to achive. Just tips on how to reach the notes WITHOUT switching to falsetto, thanks!

Answer.
Your refusal to explore and develop falsetto is exactly why you can't sing high notes in chest voice. You spend so much energy blocking out falsetto that the flexibility of your voice is shot. Allow the notes you want to be sung in falsetto first -- get comfortable with that -- and then you'll discover how to add just a little more volume until the sound is right for the song.

Mark

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Question. I am a lead singer in a band. In April, I am going on my regular road trip that me and my friend go on. I usually come back with a very hoarse voice from partying. Five day's later I have a gig on Friday and Saturday night. I am worried my voice may go out on Saturday's gig.... Any advice on how to prevent this from happening?

Answer.
The obvious answer is the only one -- less partying. I know everyone thinks touring rock bands are non-stop parties (and some times they are) but the singers always have to make a choice: Party or sing. At the show the next day, you can always tell which way they went.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark... I'm 15 years old and well, Im about to sing at my church in about a month. Im singing a song called, Who Am I. However theres one part in the song that i cant quite get. Its sort of high and when i sing it, I might hit it but then my voice starts to either go in and out OR it wont even hit the note* at all. Do you have any suggestions? --Seth

Answer.
When you practice the song, move your arms and legs as you come to that difficult part. Get as much movement going as possible. You'll slip the note out easily. You'll need to practice like this a lot (in private obviously) in order to trust that the note is going to work. The problem is that you are tightening up just before the note comes.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark, A lot of people say that I can sing really well, and for most times, I get lots of solos in my Chorus class. I'm skilled in terms of having both high and low ranges. Usually, when I sing high, I have to switch to my higher voice (false setto, or something like that). Is there a way that I can train my voice in order to sing higher notes, but in my actual chest voice? I really want to have a higher range with my chest voice. Thank you.

Answer.
The only way you can stay in chest voice on those high notes is to sing louder. I don't think that would be appropriate for chorus singing. In bands it gets mixed in with the music and no one notices that the singer has to get really loud to keep it in chest.

Mark

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Question. can u give me advise for warming up my vocals and what can i do to keep my voice healthy and in the singing mood like what can i eat or cannot eat in order to keep my good vocal skills working

Answer.
Sure, and I've even written it all down for you in one easy to keep binder.  I call it, "The Rock-n-Roll Singer's Survival Manual," but it's not just about singing rock.  It's available at this very site.  Pick it up and start developing your voice to its full potential.

Mark

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Question. hi, im in a band, we play mainly 70's punk stuff but also do other styles aswell. i am the singer but i cant really sing. all my influences are people who never learned to sing (john lydon, joe strummer etc) so i dont really know where to start. please help!

Answer.
You've already started -- you're in a band! There's no need to stress about your singing when you in a punk band. The whole point is that you don't care what others think. So go for it and let your inspirations guide you.

Mark

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Question. hey, i sing in a band, and i practice my singing every day, and lately with the progression of higher notes came this somewhat raspiness along with it, it maybe be a cracking, but it still kind of pushes the note but it seems like it half way cracks, and eventually if higher and higher notes are attempted it cracks, but theres a section from one note to a few steps higher that it gets raspy. I dont understand why this happens, what is wierd is, i can prounounce the letter E, and sing very high, but othere leters it just gets rough and raspy sounding. thank you

Answer.
You are pushing too much air when you sing high. The EE vowel requires the tongue rises up and that helps black some of the pressure -- so you get away with it on an EE vowel. The other vowels don't often that kind of aid so you get raspy.

Mark

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Question. I am 32 and love to sing but can't afford vocal lessons and have a writting contract with MUSIC CITY MUSIC RECORDS in nashville but can't do vocals myself could you please help me i know i can sing i used to be in school choir singing alto-and soprano

Answer.
You don't need lessons, you just need to write yourself some songs that are really easy for you to sing. That's not cheating -- it's craft. And I'll tell you what . . . you write those songs and they will be the easiest songs to sell you ever wrote. Every singer loves a song they can sing well.

Mark

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Question. hey i am 17 and ben singing for only a year i taught myself to sing and people say im good but the thing is i learned to sing with a medium voice i cant go to high or low im use to singing avril lavigne songs and some of her songs i cant sing live if you know the song nobodys home in the verses i cant sing them becuase it to low and no matter what i do i just cant project my voice i want to knowhow i can sing lower and sing songs by green day cause i cant go low or to high and im stuck on one level how can i change my voice

Answer.
Singing low and high requires that you allow your voice to change registers. Right now that's right where your voice cracks or chokes off -- so you never sing there. With voice lessons, you can learn to sing through those cracks and free up your high notes. I know you're proud of the fact that you taught yourself but there's a lot more you can develop with the help of an outside teacher.

Mark


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Question. Hi, i'm 16 and I am just discovering my love for singing, but I can't afford lessons. There is only one thing I would really like to know how to do- when I hold a note, the sound is flat, but with other singers, they can sort of flutter their voice when they hold the note out. How is it achieved, is there a technical term for it, and can you give me any tips or references? Thanks a lot.

Answer.
The sound you're referring to is called vibrato. I have a lesson about it here: http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons_07.htm

Mark

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Question. Tell me if I'm crazy....a few weeks ago I was performing and singing the song Man in the Box (Alice in Chains). During the hard vocal part I got a quick painful headache that went away. 3 sets later at the end of the night I started with a slight headache that progressively got worse over the next 30 minutes and I started vomitting. I wound up in the hospital on an IV. The next day I was fine. The following weekend I had another gig. I felt ok through the night and had taken some headache meds the ER doc gave me just in case. BUT again at the end of the night when we were starting to load out, a headache started and I started vomitting again. This time it only lasted about an hour so I was ok before going to a hospital. I went to my regular doc and she gave me Imitrex for migraines. I was just wondering if you have any thoughts on this? Have you heard of anything like this? Do you think the pain I felt during Man in the Box could have something to do with what's going on? I've been in my current band for about a year and haven't had this problem before. I'm anxious to see what happens at next weeks gig! Thanks, Charles

Answer.
You're not crazy. Tension in the neck from squeezing out those vocal parts cuts the blood flow to the brain. It can also compress the spine and cause a host of strange symptoms. When you were loading out you moved in such a way to aggravate the condition -- sometimes it's from the release of the neck. A stretching regimen combined with a vocalizing program geared toward reducing pressure used on those high notes would solve the problem . . . or just get some roadies and skip the load out!

Mark

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Question. Im 19 years old. A couple of years ago, I can remember having a pretty good singing voice. I was even complemented by a few of my classmates. Even though I sing a lot, I feel that Im beginning to lose my talents. I thought it might be that I was only singing what I heard on the radio and nothing too challenging, but thats all Ive ever sang. I was never in choir or musical plays or anything like that. I would like to start taking singing seriously and possibly pursue a career in pop music. What can I do to get the sound that sound back.

Answer.
The answer is in your question: Start taking singing seriously. Sign up for some lessons, start vocalizing, record yourself weekly -- create some targets so you have a direction.

Mark

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Question. Are there any particularly effective ways of developing upper ranges? My throat seems to close and get "thinner" as I try to sing higher notes. If I try to keep my throat open and try to allow a full sound, it's very breathy and cracks. My singing voice is also a bit nasally-sounding, like if I have a light cold, any ways of making that sound better? Thanks.

Answer.
The best way is to leave the larynx in its resting position. You are lifting the larynx (your Adam's Apple) when you approach those high notes. The lifting causes the closure of your throat -- do to swallowing mechanics. Leaving the larynx were it sits will provide a better resonator.

Mark

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Question. u might not sing Broadway, but i'm asked to sing beauty and the beast ( the broadway style) on my audition in school, and the teacher told me to sing from the diafram ( the stomach area...can't spell) so she said it was sorta like yawning with your mouth, but istead u are singing "words". but when i reach the higher notes, all my sound are coming from the throat, what do i do?

Answer.
You should definitely ask the teacher -- I'm not avoiding the answer but it's a complicated situation and impossible for me to guess what you're doing wrong. The teacher will be standing right there and can show you what to do. Don't be afraid to ask -- that's why you're in school -- to learn.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark. I'm 14. Last year after completely losing my voice in the middle of show I went to the ENT and found out I had developed vocal nodules. I did a bout a week of vocal therapy and they basically told me I need to learn how to sing and not strain and to sing more from my diaphragm. How can I sing without straining my voice (especially when I try to hit high notes)? Also I would like to develop vibrat, but I'm clueless as to how. We have not been able to find a voice teacher yet. Do you have any techniques for developing vibrato?

Answer.
Developing nodes at such a young age is nothing to take lightly. You must have an extremely tight neck and jaw and push very hard when you speak and sing. These are the first things that need to be addressed before you should worry about high notes and vibrato. The problem is that, most times, the tension is wired into your personality. You're going to have to work on backing off and chilling out when you speak and sing. Keeping the back of your neck completely relaxed no matter how wimpy it makes you sound would be a good first step.

Mark

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Question. When ever I try to sing the kind-of high notes my throat sorta tightens how can I get it to loosen up so I can sing the high notes?

Answer.
High notes often cause us to use way too many muscles -- especially in the throat. The reality is that the vocal folds only stretch a microscopic amount. The first step is to back off the volume. The second is to let your voice crack and wobble out of control as you explore those high notes with less push. As you learn to coordinate you'll crack less and get the best of both -- loose muscles and soaring high notes.

Mark

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Question. I got this ABC's of singing paper because I have never had lessons and it said to"Never Hold your breath while singing" I don't get how you are sopposed to sing and breath at the same time.

Answer.
I don't know why they would put that as a point because you have to breath out a little to sing. Maybe they needed a point that started with an "H". You're thinking about lots of breath coming out -- which wouldn't work. They're talking about someone not letting any breath out -- which is called silence.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark, i just need a little advice. First let me tell you a bit about myself... I am 5'9, blonde, weigh 133 and im obsessed with singing. My favorite artists are Mariah, and Christina Aguilera. I sing everyday, I basically give myself lessons. I have never taken any. I have always been afraid to sing in front of people, but i have recently sang at my dad's 50th bday, Which was a party with over 200 guests. As I sang on the karaoke machine, everyone turned to watch me perform... It was like fame, everyone came up to me and told me I had a beautiful voice It broke me out of my spell a bit, because later that year my friend made me enter our high schools Canadian Idol. As I sang in it, everything went wrong... the guy in the back never turned the mic back on after our judges were speaking, so nobody could hear me, and i couldnt hear myself sing. I tied for first with another girl, and ever since than ive been scared to perform in front of people. Everyone keeps telling me to go on Canadian Idol when i sing for them, and they also say i have the most beautiful voice, but I keep procrastinating to get on the show because im scared of messing up. Sorry for the long note... peace

Answer.
Hey Elisa, Your fear is not of messing up -- it's of winning! You didn't screw up last time -- the guy running the equipment did -- and you still tied for first! I know it sounds funny but the fear of success is very common. The solution is to do nothing and you'll bore yourself into entering something later. Once you've had a taste of the spotlight, there's no going back!

Mark

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Question. Advice please! I'm a 15 year old male and I have trouble singing high notes. I want to sing like Paul McCartney, who can sing very high. My throat usually gets tight when I try to sing high, and if I try to stop it from getting tight, I sing in a part of my voice that I didn't know I had. I'm not sure if it's falsetto, but I know I can sing falsetto, and it feels like a different register. It sort of jumps uncontrollably into a higher sort of falsetto. What should I do to correct the problem? Is there a name for it?

Answer.
The name for this problem is called "beginner!" The solution is to let your voice change to that other register in order to get your throat to relax. Later you'll be able to put more power behind those high notes and make them fuller -- but not while your throat is tensing.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, My 6 year-old plays piano and her piano teacher ( who actually studied singing as well) is giving her 10 minutes of voice lessons. My daughter enjoys it but my concern is possible damage from possibly hitting notes that are too high. Should I be concerned and what can I do to make sure she is not damaging her vocal cords by the voice lessons. Maria

Answer.
There's no need to worry about ten minutes of vocal stretching. Where kids get into trouble is when they start performing and demanding high notes be projected like adult voices. If her voice ever sounds hoarse you'll know she's pushed it too far. That too, is a temporary situation and will (should) go away in an hour.

Mark

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Question. Hi again, I sing in the whistle register up to A6 and sometimes a B6, C7, or even D7! But somedays i can't do it. I still use the sucking in technique but when i try to do it the normal way all i get is air and a light squeal (which doesn't seem usable) how do I build this up to make it stronger? Also what did mariah carey do to her voice to make it where it is now? her high notes use to be so strong and clear and now they are nothing but air! Thanks Alex

Answer.
It takes time to find the right balance of air pressure for something as delicate as whistle register. When you do it the normal way you are tightening around the larynx and pushing a little too much. Keep at it. I don't know Mariah but it sounds to me like she's paying the price for too much partying over the years and not enough respect to vocalizing and practicing the basics.

Mark

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Question. mark i just want to say you figured it out i went to instructors to learn how to sing. just didnt seem like it was going anywhere.but i stumbled unto your book. read it tried some of the exercises as i read it, right away i noticed improvements.olso bought your video its been 3 months. of practicing everynight for about 2 to 4 hours in my home with my pa cranked up. my friends are all impressed with how fast my voice is coming along. thank you your friend joe

Answer.
That's for the great endorsement Joe! I'm glad I was able to help.

Mark

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Question. Hey. Uh, My name is Michelle. I am 14 years old, and getting ready to turn 15 by January. I was in chorus in 5th grade and sixth grade. And then concert choir in the 8th and 9th. My choir teacher was the greatest and she thought I could really go somewhere with my voice, but I don't really know where to start. Singing is my life and I don't want to give it up. Do you have any advice for me? I really need somewhere to begin. I would greatly appreciate your advice, please. Thanks.

Answer.
Don't worry Michelle -- you have already begun! Keep singing at school and around town. Sing every day. As you get older more opportunities will come your way, but you will only be able to take advantage of them if you are ready.
Mark

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Question. Hello Mark, I just discovered your site, and am quite impressed by the scope of it! I'm interested in improving my very limited singing voice, and have no clue what to look for when choosing a vocal instructor. Most don't come cheap, and I don't know anyone personally who has taken voice lessons that can provide recommendations. What qualifications/education/background do you suggest I consider when choosing an instructor? Thank you for your time, Carol

Answer.
It's the same dilemma for finding a hair dresser. Just because someone likes their's, doesn't mean that person will work good for you. Even if you don't click with someone you can still learn something in the first few lessons. So I recommend going with your gut and taking a few with someone you get a good feel about. It's not the end of the world if you leave after a few lessons.
Mark

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Question. Hey mark i have just got asked to join a band about 1 month ago and we have been playing and im havint trouble breathing while singing some people say i should breath in my noise and or my mouth and when its a short breath just in my mouth and some people say 2 much the air i get into my forehead. any tips for me breathing while singing thx?

Answer.
No matter how you breathe in it always goes to the lungs -- no where else. It's best to concentrate on releasing your body when singing. Your tensing up and pushing hard which is tightening your body and making you take shallow breaths. Loosen the back of your neck and your abs when singing and you'll have an easier time with the breathing iussue.
Mark

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Question. Dear Mark, Hi Mark i am 16 and i am in the treble choir at school. Our school also has a symphonic choir and it is only for the elite. last year i tried out for it and i didnt make it. the requirements for joining are being able to sight read (which i can do), & not being afraid to sing out. i need to learn on how to improve my voice so that i can learn to be comfortable with my own singing voice and develope a more woman like voice, do you have any suggestions on how i can do this??

Answer.
In order to develop a more woman-like voice you'll have to become a woman first! There are a lot of changes that occur from 16 to 26 in a female singer. I'm sorry that you did not pass the audition at school. That stinks. Just remember this has absolutely no bearing on your ability to sing in the future. They were looking for something particular -- you didn't fit that bill. Now it's time to look for other opportunities and set new goals. Your voice will continue to develop as you do.
Mark

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Question. how can i improve my singing, and when i sing a sone like in the middle of the song my voice starts to go out how can i keep that from happening

Answer.
Too much tension will bring the voice down every time. To release the throat, your breath should be coordinated with just the right amount of pressure. You must be pushing too hard.
Mark

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Question. when i sing my voice goes all crokey wot cab i do to help it anna xx

Answer.
Practice more.  The voice is an instrument like any other.  You need to exercise it so that the muscles are strong and flexible when you sing.  There are lot's of exercises in my new CD, "Sing Like an Idol."  I think it would be a big help.  
Mark

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Question. Hi... I really want to be a good singer but I have some problems: 1. I think my voice is terrible. 2. I am a very shy person and I'm afraid anyone will hear me singing- i don't even sing to my friends!! Please help me...

Answer.
Don't beat yourself up about this. You don't want to be a singer bad enough yet -- that's all. I know it seems like a passion right now but your personality is still winning out over singing. There will come a day when you just can't stay silent any more. Of course the voice will be shaky when you finally let it out so be patient. I think my CD, "Sing Like an Idol," would be a great companion to work you through the necessary steps for vocal strength.
Mark

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Question. Hi- I'm in my high school's a cappella group, and I'm the low bass in the group. The song we're going to be starting to rehearse soon (The Real Group's A Cappella in Acapulco, not sure how familiar you are with this) is written mostly below the staff. We're probably going to perform it in a few months, but I have a small problem. There are some low C's (below bass clef) that I have trouble reaching. There are also D flat's above this that I can hit if I stretch for them, but the C's are very rare for me to get. I was wondering if there was a way I could get this note (the low C) consistently? I am 15 years old and I've never taken voice lessons. Thank you, EC

Answer.
You need to look at the bigger picture in a situation like this. You are the bass in this group because you can sing the lowest of all those available -- not because you can hit the low C consistently. If this were a national group, they would hold auditions and find people whose voices fit the music perfectly. Your school has to use the singers that go to that school. You may be able to develop that low C as you age, but I would sweat it for the song. Not being able to hit the note strongly will not ruin the performance. Simply think the note and let your voice get as much of it as possible. The best you can do is be loose about it.
Mark

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Question. What would I be if my vocal range was from a d sharp(11th fret 6th string on a guitar)to a f sharp(2nd fret 4 string on a bass guitar).Thanx Mark

Answer.
Baritone
Mark

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Question. Why does my voice crack when I sing high?

Answer.
Because you're asking the larynx to sing those high notes with the wrong air pressure. Turn down the volume and let it go into head voice. Then develop that area a little louder.
Mark

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Question. Hello, I have been singing on my own now for about 2-3 years. I was wondering if there is any way to gain back the range I have lost, and is there a way to actually peak your full range without redamaging your voice. I find myself having to shut up for days for my voice to sound like it used to. sometimes when i try to talk with my regular voice its like that range is lost, have I damaged my vocal folds? and if so will silence regen my vocal range back and is htere anything else that could help.

Answer.
Silence doesn't remove your bad behaviors -- so every time you go to sing you'll get the same results.  I have a warm up routine you can purchase as an MP3 download.  I think it would help you a lot.  www.voicelesson.com
Mark

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Question. I'm entering a talent contest with 2 of my friends but they both say my voice is good but too soft and they can't hear me. When I sing it sounds like the volume is okay but my friends don't think so. I'm also worried that if i sing louder i will go out of tune. How can I get my voice more powerful?

Answer.
Practice by covering your mouth with a pillow and singing as loud as you can. That way you'll know if your tuning fear is correct. You're robbing your voice of its power because you're a little shy and concerned what others will think. Singing loud in private will give you need to open up.
Mark

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Question. How can you get your voice to not shake.

Answer.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Mark

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Question. I am in a Rock band right now, and we have no singer, but I was interested in singing. The only problem is that I've always wanted to sing and always tried to sing, but my voice has always been very rough, and I don't know how to soften it. It is a very unpleasant singing voice, so can you please help me out?

Answer.
Spend as much time exploring your voice as you did your instrument. The voice is as easy/or as hard to learn as any other axe. The problem is people just assume it is what it is -- no change available. Not true. You can make great changes with work. Start by singing scales very softly.
Mark

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Question. I just stumbled upon your website while looking for tips to develop my vocals. Me and a friend are going to start a band once I get a bass guitar. I listen to a lot of Prince and he's my motivation for singing. Is it anyone that I could gradually develop a falesseto like his, I'm sure it would take pratice and patience, the latter which I have plenty of. I know I'lld never be able to achieve the vocal prowess of Prince, but something like his.

Answer.
Yes -- it's a good idea to develop falsetto even if you'll never use it in a song. You've got to start very soft and without any force. If you push you'll block it out. Try humming first.
Mark

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Question. Im fourteen years old. Ive been in a bunch of bands now and have played many shows. I can do really good acoustic songs with my voice but when i play it with a full band I cant get the keys and notes as good, i also have a problem with the volume of my voice. Please help man i need it. thank you

Answer.
I recommend you wear ear plugs when singing with bands. That way you won't get tricked into thinking you have to push more. Your voice is an acoustic instrument. It can't compete with drums and electric guitars. Luckily, there are microphones to help us out.
Mark

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Question. Mark I was told to turn to you by Gary aka Lonewolf. I recently had surgery on my throat and need some vocals to help me regain my voice. I was almost in a four octive range and now I sound like a guy. Can you help? As well thank you for helping other that I have grew up listening to and enjoying.

Answer.
Yes i can help but you should contact me through my website or by calling 1(800) 659-6002. www.voicelesson.com
Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I've been trying to develop my whistle register for quite some time now without too much success. I can hit a G6 in my head voice, but I can't seem to go any higher than that. I've heard about the whole inhale singing a high note and then exhaling to sing that same high note and also about mimicking a kitten's meow to trick the vocal folds into that register, but nothing seems to work! I've heard more air pressure on those notes and less air presure on those notes, but i'm left feeling confused and frustrated! Any tips and exercises that you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

Answer.
I would just be repeating what you already have been told. It's not a guarantee that whistle will produce those crazy high notes for everyone. I would build upon your voice as a whole and not focus so much on novelty notes. Usually once you look away from something, it becomes clear. I just think you're trying too hard.
Mark

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Question. Hi I'm 13 years old. I was wondering why when I'm not on the microphone I sound better? Becasue when im on the mic I sound bad or scratchy? I really wanna know bbecause I really Want to be a singer but if i dont sound good on the mic, that wont be so good.

Answer.
You're singing differently when using a mic. It's weird at first to hear your voice so loud -- so people tend to be shy with it at first. I recommend you sing loud without the mic near your mouth and keep singing that way as you slowly put it closer to your mouth.
Mark

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Question. My 16 year old daughter has a wonderful singing voice and loves to perform. She is planning to go to college for music and is very serious about a career in this field. My question is: She has had strep throat about 5 times within the year and her doctor said her tonsils need to come out. She has had many friends at school tell her that when their tonsils were removed their voice changed and not for the better. She is very concerned about this and doesn't want to have them out if this is a possibility. What is your opinion on this?

Answer.
I have not witnessed any negative vocal issues with clients who had tonsils removed. It would be difficult to sustain a career with such a sensitive throat. At such a young age, I think the operation is less risky. Make sure the doctors know she's a singer so they are careful when intibating.
Mark

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Question. how do you develop a wider range in your voice. and how do you get yourself to make a smooth change from your normal voice to your falceto voice? this is a big problem for me. i want to sing very badly but this is my biggest downfall.

Answer.
The area between chest register and falsetto is everyone's downfall. It takes a lot of patience and practice. Just the right balance of air pressure will let you go through smooth. The air needed is different for every vowel sound so it has to be a reflexive more. Keep you facial muscles out of the game and don't push to stabilize your voice if it gets shaky. If you can put up with some bad sounds in the process you'll get there.
Mark

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Question. when i sing hard stuff like chorus of smells like teen spirit and enter sandman when playing in a band (drummer at least) ( i also play rythem guitar) i sing these songs and they seem easy and it amazes me. when i am not playing with a band and someone randomly asks me to sing, it kind of clips, like my vocal chords just wont allow it, this is embarrasing as it can make people not believe me when i say i can sing and is also a big problem when i try to record songs (because instruments are recorded seperately), when im playing in a band its like i just know and my vocal chords just open up and let me do anything. when im not playing in a band (like at home or sumthing) i can still sing soft music that isnt very high relatively easy and well according to ben. also when im not playing in a band and i want to sing anytime it feels like theres a fat lump in the back of my throat possible some kind of infection which my dad says i do have (phynus)

Answer.
It's just a head trip. I went through the same thing. Under the cover of the band's loud sound and with the distraction of moving your arms for another instrument you can let go. In front of another person on a one to one level is a different story. You can start by swinging your arms around and singing so to get your body loose. Then sing when you know someone is within earshot but not listening to you -- like in the next room. This is the same head trip actors go through. They're fine until the cameras start rolling.
Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, my name is liam and im 17 years old. I realy want to sing bass, i can sing barritone to a good standard and geting down to the low noted isnt realy a problem, until i get to about low e then my voice starts to waver and also my projection isnt very loud. is this because im too young to get that far down and the deeper notes will come with age? can you please tell me any exercises to do to strengthen my lower notes and help with my projection. thanx alot

Answer.
Your voice is like your shoe size. It is what it is. You are having trouble with the low notes because you have a medium sized larynx. A bass has a very large larynx. Your voice will deepen in tone as you age but not necessarily gain lower notes. I suggest you exercise the whole voice -- the lowest notes will improve without special attention.
Mark

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Question. i am a bass singer but have problems with lower notes.what can i do?

Answer.
Maybe you are not a bass. Release your jaw and facial muscles first off. Reducing your volume will also un-complicate things.
Mark

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Question. Hi, um I am a teenager and i love signing. Whenever I sign I always get out of breath no matter how much I breath and whether I breathe deeply or not it doesn't make a difference. Can you please help me? I can't take singing lessons but I am in my school chior!

Answer.
I would ask your choir instructor for some tips. It's not about taking in more air -- it's about using the air efficiently. Make a very low volume hiss for 60 seconds. It will take some practice but doing so will build your diaphragm.
Mark

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Question. Hello Mark Tell me please, do you give any advice for r'n'b singers? And is there any book about how to build back vocal for such a tricky style of music? Thank you for your time Darya

Answer.
My new CD "Sing Like an Idol" is perfect for developing an R&B style.
Mark

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Question. Mark, Suffice it to say that I tried to study classical voice for about a year and my voice was fried by the end. I had waaay too much tongue tension and finally started to notice it when I figured out I couldn't yell. My voice was a wreck about 4 months ago. It makes me teary to think about it. Anywho...I also noticed ALOT of posture problems related to my neck. I could barely walk straight or roll my shoulder. I saw a physical therapist and went through the exercises and basically hated my life for a long time. Things slowly have goten better. Now I can sing softly again. I feel as though I'm going the back-route to singing. I know where the placement should be it just won't engage fully. My voice teacher (I have a new one) is amazing and has helped me solidify my range. My neck tension has gone away dramatically and I'm walking with no difficulty. I am curious about one thing really: how would I know if I permanently damaged my voice? I keep asking over and over, everyone I know, and no one really knows... I have your book and feel stupid that I didn't notice the posture things earlier. I just want some visual cues that everything is okay. Like I said, my neck "spasms" have gone away and I am getting mobility back in my shoulder-blade. God, what a tense wreck I ahd become. I am concentrating on the less-effort the better now. I just Turned 20 on Thursday (sep 29th) Let me know what you think, I have wanted nothing more than to sing well, Andrew

Answer.
Absolutely no damage to your larynx Andrew -- you're just a ball of tension. As you unravel you'll find more and more vocal ability. At your age there's plenty of time to get things just the way you want them.
Mark

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Question. Hi Mark,im 13 and im in a band and everyone says i sing out of tune and i know i do,they say i cant hold note very long and i cant hit the right notes.I try to sing like bon jovi because i really want to learn to sing like him.Do you have any tips to sing like Bon Jovi or do you think that its to hard for me to start singing like Bon Jovi straight away? Thanks.

Answer.
I'll bet the guitar player in your band can't play like Richie Samboa! You're very young. I grew up in New Jersey and know those guys. Believe me, Jon sounded just like you when he was 13. Stick with it.
Mark

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Question. I've been singing since i was very little and was very good. I had singing lessons once and up in till last year i could sing almost anything. i stopped singing more challenging music and didn't really sing that often and now if i sing higher notes or louder notes i crack and my voice cuts short. Is there any exercises i could do to regain my voice ability?

Answer.
Don't worry about the cracking -- it doesn't hurt your voice. Just start revisiting what you used to sing and your voice will rebound. It will take the year.
Mark

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Question. Hey Mark. I am a Christian Country recording artist with a single out on radio at this time and it is on the charts but my problem is not my voice it's my timing. I don't know how to improve my timing. On most songs I don't have any problem but some high tempo songs I just can't get the timing correct. How can I improve that? The other question is when I do something stupid like go to the football game to support my daughter in band and yell and scratch my vocals and have to sing the next day how do I repair it quickly? Thanks for your time and help

Answer.
Both subjects are covered in my new CD, "Sing Like an Idol."  It's not about country music but it is about singing at your best.
Mark

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Question. If you have a woeful voice at the age of 17, is there any chance of developing one to at least a decent enough level to maybe record home demos for your band when you right songs? I mean a have a slight history as a musician...but I am a realllly bad singer.

Answer.
I know people don't believe me when I say I was an absolutely terrible singer when I was 17 -- but I have the demos to prove it. You can improve greatly but it will take much practice. The gift of singing is overrated. It's the love of practicing that makes the difference.
Mark

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Question. I only just came upon this site and have read alot of questions and answers posted on the website. I used to sing alot when I was a young child and when I was in a band 2 years back, I could also scream quite well, however, it's been 2 years since I stop singing and I'm starting to get back in to it again. The problem is that when I sing now it sounds far more like it's coming out of my nose and with nowhere near enough tone (this is obviously from growth of my vocal chords through puberty), are there exercises or techniques to sharpen the sound of your vocals?

Answer.
There are plenty of exercises you can work with to sharpen your vocals.  There organized very nicely in my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual."
Mark

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Question. I am 17 and a bass (quite low as well), but i have noticed that most songs (i mostly listen to classic rock) are very not bass...in fact, i can't really think of too many songs i could sing without transposing it down many keys or up a few so i could sing it down an octave, i was wonderin'if i could actually be able to keep my bottom range and learn how to sing higher (i can sing high, but it's all head voice and not pretty)to where it sounds at least decent? Thank You very much!!!

Answer.
I hate to disappoint you but if you are truly a bass then there is nothing to learn. You're vocal folds are very large and therefore support low notes very easily. Try starting a Crash Test Dummies tribute band!
Mark

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Question. Hey dude nice site,well my question is mostly a question of a plea of help.Im a huge metal fan and that's good and all but i want to start my own band and be vocals.This is where my problems begin.What i want to do is be able to reach the heavyness of corey taylor(slipknot).I don't want to sound like him or anything because my voice is way off of his.The only reason i am comparing to him is because he seems to be able to sing heavy yet he can then turn it down to a soft beat anytime.Practice isn't doing much and im getting disgusted.Please help and thankx

Answer.
Just reverse your last sentence . . . Getting DISGUSTED isn't doing much for you so start practicing. Singing like Corey is not for the faint of heart or conviction. If it was easy to sing like him then there would be hundreds of guys out there doing it.
Mark

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Question. HEy Mark, this is Sandman again, thanks for responding to my previous question about passion, and the Elvis debate was cool too...you said the world would be the same without his voice after i compared my work to a world without Elvis if i don't succeed...but i made a valid point of the world not being the same without any of our voices because we're all unique special individuals. Now i did say Elvis wasn't revolutionary enough for the black community (which at only 12% of the population and 78% of prison population, we're being crushed, without notice of the other 88%) but i realize it wasn't Elvis's job to provide black resurrection, it would take a black man....then maybe we can see a more peaceful society, when everyone has a chance, even the meek. But my question is this: I'm a partially disabled veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and i live off my small disability checks, which just pay the bills...i can't afford to cut a demo tape or studio time right now...how does someone without the financial means, get someone to put their music on wax err CD? For those less fortunate. Thanks man, God Bless! Larry "Sandman" Sanders

Answer.
Every single recording artist you can possibly think of (including Elvis) was dirt poor when they started out. Odd jobs, favors for recording time, speculation deals at studios, etc. Basically, no one with passion let a few dollars stand in the way of the world hearing their music.
Mark

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Question. what are exercise that im suppose to do to make my falsetto un-noticeable

Answer.
Practice in the register often and make sure you don't behave any differently then you would in chest voice. A change in behavior is what makes the change in registers stick out.
Mark

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Question. i wanted to know if it was possible to just learn the method used by opera singers to improve my vocal range? how long does it take to perfect that method? thank you

Answer.
Of course it's possible. The standard time line for training to sing classically is seven years.
Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I've never had as much trouble singing as I have in the last 3 weeks. I am having constant sore throats and my voice sound rough and cuts out on certain words or tones. Do you have any advice on what I can do to fix this. Please let me know Thank You

Answer.
Seems like a quick visit to the doctor is in order. Afterwards, you can make a better plan for recovery.
Mark

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Question. my first question is, i was wondering if i could get a personal critique from you over the phone possibly if not maybe email you a wav. file?? it would mean alot to me, see i plan to got to american idol on sep.16,2005 and was hoping you could give me som last minute advice?? my second question is, well i have gained alot of confidence over the last year in a half boot i still notice im not operating at full potential mostly in my vocal range (high notes to be specific) im a 2nd tenor very similar to RL of next or Musiq and i listen to them and try to match them on a good day i can hit it perfectly on other days im truely at a lost, my voice will drop to a falsesuttle all its own, and also breathy- i personally think its my control and lack of practice i have less then 2weaks to get it together any quick advice you kan throw at me...........

Answer.
My advice is to relax and enjoy the spectacle of the audition.  There will be hundreds of nervous singers wandering around warming up.  There's nothing that will make a change in your singing two weeks from now -- so go with what you've got.  It's always the vibe of the contestant that gets the first nod.  Take your love of singing to the audition.

http://www.voicelesson.com/home.htm
Mark

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Question. Hey Mark...well i have been singing in a band for about 3 years and im 15 years old. But my band is just telling me that i have to sing more in key. Like i understand it guitar wise...cuz i play guitar too..but i just dont kno how to get good at singing in key, if u had any suggestions or how to get better could you please help a brother out hahah....thanks dude

Answer.
Play the melody you're suppose to sing on guitar -- like it was a solo. Then sing with the guitar to program in what you should be singing.
Mark

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Question. I really want to sing like kelly clarkson but i can't because i sing like i have dust in my throat

Answer.
The dusty feeling is muscle tension restricting your saliva glands. Throat tension is the same as if you couldn't blink your eyes. Your larynx needs constant re-lubrication. Staying loose as you sing is vital. That's definitely one of the great things Kelly has going for her! You can do it -- it just takes a little training.
Mark

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Question. Congratulations for your work mate. Thanks a lot. I have your book and your DVD and they're wonderful. My question is about a physical thing I've noticed that even my teacher hadn't seen something like that and don't know what it is. Whenever I sing lower pitches the left side of my throat, just under the chin, grows (I don't know how to explain it very well, it's like a ball coming out). If I turn my head sideways the pitch changes. If I inhale, holding my lungs full and bend my head to the right I can feel a stretch inside my throat that goes up to the eye. It is SO weird. I've noticed my tongue tends to be unbalanced (one side lower than the other), are these things related? Any ideas? Although I've been singing for a couple of years already I still didn’t have the click. The main problems are with the tuning and flexibility. Thanks a lot Mark for your attention. Hope I'm not being too complicated here. Cheers.

Answer.
The ball is a saliva gland (possibly infected -- definitely swollen). As you sing the muscles are tensing and shifting the gland to the visible position. The stretch which goes up to the eye is compression on the spine. As muscles contract around the spine they compress the disks and pinch the nerves which exit through. The eye is the end of the nerve chain to the particular disk you are compressing. The tongue and the pitch change when turning the head -- all your observations actually -- are all related to muscle tension. I recommend a masseuse or a chiropractor to get things in alignment.
Mark

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Question. First i would like to say thank you so much. I have been working on my voice for over a yr now. im am a 16 yr male. My main focus and curiosity right now is playing acoustic, and the band Dashboard Confessional. I have been working on opening my range for a while. I have gotten a great improvement. Right now, i can hit G# above middle C in my chest voice alone, and mixed voice also. any higher, and i would just need to switch to head voice, which for me, is alot weaker than my chest. I have noticed Chris Carrabba sing his high notes, and he mainly focuses on singing no higher than Bb for the climax of his songs, which is 2 notes higher than my range. And i notice he gets really puffed up, uses alot of force, and it looks like he has to try very hard for that Bb. I can emulate his G# but, not any higher so far. I have 2 questions, first, does he sing those notes in his chest or mixed voice?(because of how high they are). And second, if he does sing those in his chest voice, is it possible that my voice can train slowly and reach that height also in the chest, or is he just born with that flexibility? as in your analogy of doing the splits, you start training slowly until you can stretch em that far. So mainly, can vocal cords train to stretch to reach higher notes in the chest, such as i see Chris Carrabba belt out his climaxes of the songs? Thank you so much

Answer.
Famous singers aren't famous because they have good technique. I'm confused why you think Chris is flexible when your watching him work his butt off to hit those high notes. Yes you can train to gain more flexibility and reach that Bb much easier than Chris. Your only 16 and have not been at this long.
Mark

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Question. I have a problem when I sing, and it is that I have to swallow frequently because if I don't, it feels as if my swallowing muscles tense up, and then it cuts off the note and word that I am singing. I don't know if it's tension or something to do with saliva production. If it wasn't for this problem, I would be able to sing long phrases, but because of the frequent need to swallow, I can't. It even happens when I speak, especially if I am nervous. Please let me know your thoughts on this. I would greatly appreciate it.

Answer.
This is just a nervous habit -- tension based. You should practice by singing single vowels, like AH. EE and OO. Hold them through the reaction no matter how bad it sounds. The only way to break the habit is to experience a long held note in a "laboratory setting." After you are successful while practicing single notes, you will be able to apply the ability to songs.
Mark

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Question. I have a fairly wide range. I can comfortably sing alto, down to the E below middle C, (on good days I can go a full octave below middle C) and I can also easily sing soprano up to the soprano high E (after warming up) and I'm working my way up higher. My problem is that I have difficulty singing the notes higher than A above middle C and lower than the second E above middle C. (mezzo-soprano notes?) I can hit them, but I have to either belt or go directly into my head voice. The notes up to D sound okay when belted, but after that it sounds strained and cracks. And the notes below E don't sound right in head voice. Sorry if this sounds jumbled up or confusing at all. I have a very basic knowledge of music theory and professional singing. But could you possibly give me tips on how to hit my off notes correctly? Thanks in advance if you get this.

Answer.
Your approach to those middle notes is off -- that's all. Best to slide through that area with complete attention on form -- not performance. Allow the area to sound bad but develop the ability to maintain a consistent volume. You are driving the air pressure too hard and turning on neighboring muscles. It will take time to break the habit but well worth your effort in order to bridge this gap. It's very common.
Mark

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Question. I forgot to mention I often use Antares Autotune on my vocals when I'm singing into the PC, however if I ever perform live is there a direct Autotuner pedal or something that I can put a mic into?

Answer.
Yes, but I think its a better idea to just learn how to sing. Then you won't be a slave to the gadgets.
Mark

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Question. I'm in a band that plays music in the style of beatles/doors/simon and garfunkle kinda stuff. I was wondering if singer's voices every changed for the better after they went through puberty?

Answer.
I would say every one's voice improves after puberty -- except Michael Jackson's.
Mark

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Question. Hey Mark, Im 15 and the guitarist in a band that plays late sixties/ early seventies style music(the good stuff) I have a semi-decent, jim morrison style voice, (I don't impersonate him or anything though) and I am thinking about taking the role of the singer. Im a big fan of Paul McCartney and I was wondering if you knew if he had a great voice when he was my age? Did everyone consider him to be a great singer? what about Steve Tyler?

Answer.
Paul was always considered a great singer. Steven had to earn that title because his stage antics always overshadowed his vocal abilities.
Mark

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Question. Hello Mark...I have a question for thou. I have been singing in a modern rock band (think The Strokes) and taking singing lessons for about 3 months now. I recorded a sample of me singing this song I made up and my friends thought I sounded amazing, however, it is the only song I can sing that well. When I sing other songs I can hit the notes and everything but I just doesn't have that really good sounding singing voice that I do when I sing the song I'm good at. I suspect that I may need to find my voice as I just started singing, but whatever the problem may be...What are some things I can do to help get that singing voice I have in the one song? Thank You, Vincent

Answer.
What you can do is stay right in that area where you good song is. Lots of singers do this and they always sound great. No one can sing everything well -- stick with what you do best.
Mark

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Question. I have never sang before and in my eyes dont think i can. i heard u can learn to sing even if u cant naturally. is this true? if so what should i do

Answer.
Yes it's true.  I think you should learn to sing.  Then you will be able to help me dispel the belief that you have to be born with it.


Mark's Book & Video
Mark

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Question. I sing pretty well, but when it comes time for a high note i sometimes choke. I also want to know what I should do physically, ex. drinking cold or hot water...

Answer.
Learning to relax those high notes is exactly what voice lessons are all about.  If you can't afford them, then my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual" is the next best thing.  It outlines everything to do physically as well.   Mark's Book & Video








Mark


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Question. i'm only 14. when i grow up i want to be a scientist, but my younger sister, katie, keeps telling me that i should be a singer. i have always thought of myself as a good singer, and i wrote a couple of lyrics for songs, but i'm still not sure. i'm gonna try 2 record my songs but i'm still not sure of what i should do. become a singer or a scientist? please reply. Brianne

Answer.
Scientist -- then, hopefully, you can invent a pill that will make your little sister stop giving other people advice! All joking aside. You can be a scientist that sings as well.
Mark

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Question. I have recently started singing and I am having a hard time with Harmonizing.. I want to lead and that is where all of my effort has been put . What is the cheapest way to develop my inner ear for harmony..I know just listening and finding my part in one do you have any other advice?

Answer.
Sit down with a piano and a music theory book and understand what harmony is. It will be easier to hear once you know what you're doing.
Mark

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Question. Hey my name is Sean, i am into hardcore/metal (avenged sevenfold, atreyu, mudvayne ect.). I just started singing about a month ago and im looking into lessons now. i was wandering what things would i want to know in order to get a good voice for the particular kinda of music i like. A problem I'm having is that my voice seems too high and i was wandering if you have any tips that i can use that would help my voice maybe get lower? Would it be a good idea to wait a year until im 17 to start exercising my voice because maybe my voice is still dropping or will it still get lower even with the exercise?

Answer.
You don't need to wait but you do need to realize that everybody has a genetic code which determines the range of their voice at birth. If you have a small larynx then your voice will be high. You have yet to fully mature so I wouldn't panic. You will need to build strength and flexibility to sing the music you want. Start building that solid foundation now -- without so much focus on style.
Mark

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Question. howdy! i hope your having a great day. I'm a bass and i have taken voice lessons from Tom Blaylock i don't know if you know anything about him. anyway, i have a few questions if that is ok. first off I'm 19 almost 20 and my voice does these really weird changes. one day i can be a bass and hit a solid low C and i have been able to hit the last note on the piano with a witness to hear me. but then lately i have been wanting to cut my own CD so i have tried to sing up higher for my solo songs. so now i go from being a bass to a tenor that can hit the E or F above middle C and that is not with my falsetto. with falsetto i can reach the next D. and it is all clear and controlled. at least that is the way it sounds to me. and to those who listen to me. the thing i don't like is that it happens random for the most part. i have learned that if i work my voice low at night before i go to bed and i do that for about three days in a row. i will get my bass back. and man is it nice to sing bass! but then if i do the same but sing higher i will get my top end back... but then there are days that i can't seem to control it at all. and it just goes where ever. so i sing there and when it changes i sing with it.. is this ok? or am i doing something that will hold me back later on? i want to be a bass in a singing group. but i also am a soloist. so i try to work with them both. also do you think that it is bad to sing along with a CD player wearing headphones? i kinda have to do that here cause i have no other way to sing with anyone. in a organized group setting. so i sing with my CD player. but to hear myself i cup my hand over my ears so i can really hear what sound i am putting out. one more thing. for bass singers. when i listen to singers i really listen. i try to figure out just how their vocal folds must be working in order to produce the sound that i am hearing. i hear some basses that have alot of power but their voice has the same quality as fry. then other don't have as much power but they can just drop. and it sounds like what they are doing is just totally relaxing and just letting the air come out... does that make sense? now i know the different kinds of basses. but i can copy anything that i hear. i tend to sing better with more power sounding like I'm using fry... and for those singers who do sound that why when they go and hit like a low A it really really sounds like they just slid into fry. but I'm sure that they didn't. it's just that they are so power full that it sounds that way.... any how if you could let me know what your thoughts are on these things.. it would really be great. so hope to hear from you. and take care.

Answer.
You're a bass/baritone. Tenor's sing the C above middle C with ease. You're also still maturing, which is why you get some random reactions sometimes. It is fine to sing with whatever your voice gives you that day. It's also fine to sing with CD's, as long as you're singing your own harmony part and not just following along with the vocal already on the track. Better to sing with a karaoke CD if that's the case.
Mark

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Question. Hi, I'm asking this on behalf of my friend. She has been singing continuously for many months, almost everyday for 3-6hrs each day. Recently she went to the doctor and an operation was suggested to her. Apparently her nodule has hardened. My question is, will anyone, using a proper correct technique get nodules, especially after long hours of singing? How can we prevent this from happening, especially if singing is your career and you cannot afford to take long breaks? Thank you so much!

Answer.
There is plenty you can do to sing for long hours and not get nodes. The most important is to respond to the early signs of fatigue. Your friend ignored the signs as she sang for the past months. Nodes don't harden overnight. It takes months of irritation to get them to the point where an operation is necessary. The other thing to remember is that the operation isn't going to remove the behavior that caused the node in the first place. Tell your friend to take the speech therapy that follows the procedure very seriously.
Mark

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Question. I am interested in increasing my vocal range and quality. I have a limited time frame as I am in a musical. I would like to feel more comfortable in my upper register and ensure vocal quality when singing high notes. What can I do to expand my range?

Answer. The quickest way would be to work with my instructional CD, "Sing Like an Idol."  There is an exercise routine specifically for expanding your range.  
Mark

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Question. Some performers seem to sing mainly in certain keys, Peter Gariel seems to favour E. I would be really gratefull if you could point me in the right direction as to identifying where my range is in order to keep a solid cut through the mix tone. My voice is very thick but seems lacking a focal tone. Sorry I hope you can understand my inadequate discription. Thanks John A

Answer. Usually, songs are placed in certain keys so the guitars will sound best. Keys like E, A B and D work best for guitars so bands tend to write there and force the singer to adapt. I would hope Peter is way past that -- so I'm sure he feels best with the songs in E. To find your range simply stand by a piano and sing your lowest comfortable pitch. Peck around until you find the note on the piano. Do the same for your highest note. Knowing your highest and lowest notes doesn't determine the best key for a song -- that depends on the melody. But knowing what they are will allow you to ask if the songs melody goes past what you're able to sing.

Mark

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Question. I don't have a problem with high notes, but I can't sing them really loud and really high. How can I do that?

Answer. "How" to sing loud is not the issue -- I'm sure you could create some volume if you were yelling for help in a burning building. Singing "well" is the real issue, and that doesn't come over night. Let your voice crack and sound bad as you explore more volume. I know it seems like a back step but you have to learn to be loose and loud before you can be good and loud.

Mark

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Question. I've been told by two separate music teachers on two separate occasions that I am a soprano, and I've done research on Liza Minelli, and I've found out that she is a soprano as well. If we are both sopranos, why is it that I can't hit those high notes with all the power she does? Also, when I try to hit the notes I try to use my diaphragm and the notes come out, however they are strained. After I finish the note and I pause, I feel pressure in my hose and the bridge of my nose... is this normal? I hope I'm not doing any permanent damage to my vocal chords!

Answer. Absolutely no damage. You just aren't coordinating things properly yet. Power comes from a balance of forces. If you push too hard with your air you'll tense the throat and feel pressure in your nose.

Mark

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Question. AM A TENOR SINGER IN MY CHURCH EACH TIME I SING I GO OFF PITCH AND I FOUND IT TOO DIFFICULT TO USE MY HEAD VOICE IN SINGING.WAT CAN I DO TO GAIN BACK MY VOICE

Answer. Practice with exercises rather than songs. The only reason you feel head voice is too difficult is that you are not pleased with the sound of it in song. It needs time to coordinate without the pressure of performance esthetics. Allowing yourself to sound bad (cracking and breathiness) as you explore your potential will speed your progress immensely.

Mark

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Question. Hi mark, i seem to be having a bit of trouble with my high notes. its sometimes sounds like im screeching and when i listen back is rather painful, how do i make my high notes less painful to listen to?

Answer. You've got to release the throat muscles when singing high notes.  You may sound a little funny when learning how to do this.  Read through the free lesson on my site titled, ""Maximum Range" ." 
 
www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question. im 14 and have been singing all my life. My voice is quite strong but i have problem creating vibrato. How do i do this? and how can improve my overall singing to make my voice sound better? thanks nat

Answer. You are equating strength with push. The air pressure you use to sing is too strong so its locking up your throat and killing off the chance for vibrato. You'll have to back off your air pressure and sing softer in order to trigger vibrato. Once you get the feel you can turn the volume back up and maintain a better balance of pressure.

Mark

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Question. Mr Mark. I have a problem that my voice in middle range of mine got shake,even in higher notes shout perfectly like axl,but mostly have problem with vowel ee,u&sometimes a-in word car and call

Answer. You are using the larynx, tongue and jaw to manage your air pressure. So when you need to sing an EE the tongue must move and you loose a crutch. Practice at a lower volume until it sounds smooth. Then gradually bring the volume back up.

Mark

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Question. 1. I quit smoking March of 2004, and have nothing but trouble with my range. What gives?

See question two.

2. Does sinus drainage from allergies wreck you in the morning, and what to do without drying up?


Answer. It wrecks you all day. This is why you're having problems with range. I've been told by doctors that Claritin absolutely will not dry you out. Try it and see.

Mark

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Question. I've taken vocal instruction in the past. I am considering ordering your instruction video. I came across a spray product for the throat on another site called "singer's friend." I was wondering if this is something a singer should use. Thank you.

Answer. A "singer's friend" used to be called a groupie. (just kidding) There nothing wrong with the product but it's not going to help you. Your vocal problems are due to uncoordinated technique -- and the spray is not going to fix that. I think it's important to be able to sing your show without any aids. Be well hydrated, rested and skilled and nothing can stop you.

Mark

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Question. I am going to be singing Jake in the Blues Brothers and my plan for now is to imitate as closely as possible. I have 19 days to get ready for a 5 song set and have not been singing regularly for many years. Can I permanently damage my voice if I practice for two 30 minute sessions per day. Jake's voice is hard to imitate and I am left with a slightly sore throat after giving it my all. I do warm up before going for it. I have had no professional voice training but did get to sing with a college choir and song and dance outfit. Do you have any suggestions or warnings?

Answer. No damage to worry about -- just some soreness. It's no big deal -- no different then the soreness if you played a game of basketball after many years. My only suggestion is to really ham it up and have a blast.

Mark

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Question. I made an error. In the question I sent you I kept asking about rhythm. I meant pitch. I pick up a piece of music and have no idea what those notes should sound like. Is there a method that could help me with this?

Answer. Written music looks like Chinese to all those that don't read.  It's a system just like any language.  The obvious answer is to learn the system -- just as people learn how to read Chinese.  There is a basic pattern, though, that is instantly recognizable.  When the little black dots go up that means your vocal line goes up in pitch.  You don't have to know exact pitches and still get a feel for how the melody is shaped.  I recommend reading along as you listen to make the connection and then buying a basic "Learn to Sight Sing" book.  

Mark

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Question. hey im jeff... im in a punk rock band and im lead vocals ... they're not that great .. is there any way that i could make them better at home by my self so i wont make a total fool of our band on tour this summer? thanks alot

Answer. If you're booked on a tour this summer than your vocals have to be pretty good -- meaning getting the point across. If you're worried about losing your voice -- get into the habit of warming up and down. Vocalizing will make you more consistent.

Mark

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Question. I am 15 years old and my voice is very light. I was wondering if you had any vocal/ physical exercizes that I can do to strengthen my voice. Also my voice doesn't have a vibrato. What can I do to develop this. Thank you!

Answer. There are plenty of exercises you can do to build strength. As a bonus, the stronger your voice is the easier it is to create vibrato. I recommend finding a voice teacher first off. If that's not an option then purchase my new CD, "Sing Like an Idol." There are exercises for power and flexibility -- including vibrato.

Mark

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Question. first of all i just want to say that i think its amazing you worked with Steven Tyler..i am absolutely in love with his voice. anyway...my question goes something like this: i like to sing and i think i have a pretty good voice. well there is a musical i want to audition for but i know that in order to get the part i need to be louder when i sing. what can i do to make my singing voice louder without seeming like im stressing it? thanks for your help!

Answer. Swing your arms wildly as you practice the song. Pretend like you're doing a swimmer's back stroke as you stand there and sing. The freedom in your torso will unlock hidden power. Keep you neck and jaw loose as you do this and you'll be as loud as you can be for now. Do this right up until the audition so you are very familiar with the ability. Then stand still but loose during the audition. Break a leg!

Mark

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Question. I can sing (without falsetto) as high as a G played on the bottom e string (on the 15th fret of bottom e) How many octaves high am i singing?(if this makes any sense) Thanks a lot for your help

Answer. It doesn't make sense because you don't state how low you can sing. Counting octaves requires a starting and ending point -- and includes falsetto.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, If I just use the vowel "ah" to sing a melody, and combine that with lowering my larynx just a bit, I can get a tone and control that I'm 100% happy with. However, when I sing actual words my voice jams up every day and often strains. Obviously the "ah" sound opens up the throat area a lot, but if I use that same throat posture on other vowels or words the tone and pronunciation does not sound quite natural. How can I get the same level of tone and control on other vowels and words that I can get so easily when I sing "ah" with a slightly lowered larynx? Thankyou. Jim.

Answer. Stop worrying about your larynx when singing. If you've released it enough when practicing your tone will deepen. I recommend using just a single consonant as a bridge before turning that melody into a full out song. Sing "Happy Birthday" using just AH, then LA LA, then LA GA LA GA, then complete gibberish, then the regular words.

Mark

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Question. I want to learn how to sing but I have no idea how. I want to learn how to control my voice and breath before getting lessons because I'm a bit shy. Can you give me some tips??

Answer. That's like learning reading, writing and arithmetic before you go to school. Lesson are all about how to control your breath and sing better especially if you're shy! Working one on one with a teacher is the best way to break out of that shell.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark, i recently found the site and wanted to know how i can emphasize passion in my voice...i believe I'm a great songwriter and the world needs me to take my place in the industry, imagine if Elvis never made it...imagine the world with no Elvis songs...i don't think he was revolutionary enough for the black community, but he still had a place in music...i feel God has made a place for my work but how do i put my all into the songs without overdoing it or breaking up? Thanks man, I'll be sure to give you a shout out at the Grammy's! hehe! Larry a.k.a. "The Sandman"

Answer. Hey Sandman, The world would look exactly the same if Elvis never made it. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Elvis, but there are hundreds of singer/songwriters passed over each year just as incredible. That said, don't look to the industry to take your place in the world -- start spreading the word. Just as God has made a place for your work, He will show you how to put just the right touch to your songs. You'll see it in the faces of those listening. It only takes courage to sing for others. Once singing, it only takes respect and love to care enough about your listeners' to read their faces. If you're not touching them it's not their fault. Go back to the lab and re-tool. After many trial runs you'll find exactly what works and then, like everyone else, you'll thank God at the Grammies -- not me.

Mark

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Question. Well first off, I think you're awesome. I've read through your FAQ and even the answers to questions that don't apply to me are very inspirational. So here's my question. I'm 20, and fairly experienced at singing, songwriting and performing. Some people have compared my singing to that of Layne Staley. Comfort range, intonation - pretty similar. But there are certain notes he hits that are above my reach. (Unless unwisely forced.) My mother is an experienced singer and tells me it's all in the face... I honestly don't know what that means. But I think it's true. I saw the AIC Unplugged show, and Layne doesn't show any strain; not facially, and his jugular doesn't even pop out. So at this point, I'm trying to strengthen my falsetto or face register and I'm taking warm-ups very seriously. But honestly, I don't really know which is which that I'm feeling. I can do falsetto - though it's BeeGee-esque. Not quite the sound I'm after. Does it change? Am I on the right path Grandmaster Baxter? :) Thank you sincerely for your time and Rock On.

Answer. Ahhhhh Grasshopper. Your mind spins in circles. Look not to the register to create tone -- look to tone to create register. Your voice has many blends of registers, so targeting one will deny others. Sound has its own laws. There are cavities in your skull which are small and therefore vibrate only during high notes. There is as much need to target this as telling water to seek sea level. Let sound seek its optimal resonator by leaving all open and available. Take warm ups seriously but do not fear falsetto -- or the Bee Gees. Both may serve you well some day when you're decked-out in a leisure suit fronting your very successful wedding band. Sorry, my crystal ball is fading -- more on that wedding band later . . .

Mark

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Question. From what you write I would say you are on a good track and should keep working on your own. Once you get a band going you may feel some limitations or get reactions that don't go away in a day. That's when you should get some instruction. thank you for responding to my email i really appreciate it. i know you get alot of emails and i dont want to abuse the privilege but i wanted to know what you meant by "get reactions that wont go away in a day". As of right now there are no reactions at all even after singing in the harsh voice. The only limitations I honestly feel for what im doing is my range, and remembering the throat muscle positions for notes which I have heard and just need practice to get right everytime. Also, I have never sung before this in my life really and is there a way of knowing the absolute potential of my vocal range. meaning is there a point when i know i should stop trying to hit that one note higher and know that there is no room for practicing to make me hit that one more extra note. thank you.

Answer. You'll know you should stop trying to sing higher when your throat chokes off -- or it hurts. The reaction I'm writing about is swelling that comes from competing with loud guitars and drums -- unable to hear yourself. You have yet to road-test your technique. All that throat placement stuff for each note will go out the window when performing. Singing is reflexive. There's no need to micro-manage the mechanics of the voice. Join a band and make a song come to life!

Mark

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Question. hey mark i am just terrible at singing what can i do to get better please could you help me

Answer. I am just terrible at skiing, roller blading, hockey, playing guitar, left handed lay-ups, riding a unicycle, juggling and riding a unicycle while juggling. I was terrible at singing, playing drums, piano, song writing, drawing, right handed lay-ups, building furniture, painting and sailing. Guess what I did with the second list that I have yet to do with the first?

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark. Up until I was 14, I was a pretty good singer. I could hit a lot of high notes. However, my voice started changing...and now I don't sing very well. I can't hit high notes any more. If I try, my voice cracks, and I'm so frustrated. I record my singing on a computer microphone, and it sounds horrible, but maybe it's just the quality of the software (that's what I would like to believe). I've always dreamed of becoming a singer, but now people are saying I need to find a new dream. But I'm not giving up. I'm 15 now, and I want to start getting parts in musicals again. What do you suggest me to do? Is there any chance at all I will ever hit those high notes again like i used to? Please help!

Answer. You may never hit those high notes again because you're growing -- but that certainly doesn't mean you can't sing any more. You can't roll up into a little ball like you used to either. It's time to start exploring what you can do with your voice. Keep singing. The cracks are only coordination problems which you need to work through -- not run away from.

Mark

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Question. hi Mark, firstly id like to thank you for providing an opportunity for us to ask you questions regarding our voice. My name is Mattew and im currently 15 years old (male) i have been singing since i was 10 and i have had no problems what so ever until i turned 14 i had a few difficulties with singing that i didn't use to have. for example..i cant hit high notes(when i do i feel dizy and after i sing the note my throat tightens) i cant do long notes (same reason as high notes). ive never had lessons, nor problems..and since last year it gets worse and worse. ive purchased a few books and cds recently with vocal tec. on them and i haven't improved. the only time i sound good is when i sing along to my favourite cds, but when i record it i sound too shaky! it would be great if you can provide me with a few warm ups or vocal tec. that i may use which may resolve this problem. p.s ive entered many completions before and have made it atleast past the auditons, but 3 weeks ago when i entered a competition i was told that my voice is too stiff! and it sounds like I'm pushing too hard to let it out. thankyou

Answer. You've got to work through this period Mattew.  You're going through puberty and things are changing rapidly inside you.  The nigh notes that were available were because your larynx was small.  It has grown quite a bit in the last year and you need to adjust yourself accordingly.  Just purchasing a few books and CD's isn't enough -- you need to actually work the exercises for a long time.  I think you bailed out on them too soon.  There are good tips on my site, especially the warm up lesson named K.I.S.S. <http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/kiss.htm>
That would be a good place to start.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark,I've got TMJ ,are there any restrictions for singing?is it safe to sing ?if my ear hurts wheni sing,is there any treatment you can recommend me? Thanks. Trevor.

Answer. I had TMJ syndrome when I was in my late teens and early twenties.  I went to every imaginable professional and found the best relief was vocal exercises.  Singing is too performance related -- so we tend to turn on too many muscles.  This irritates TMJS.  But vocalizing is placing the focus on releasing muscles while making sounds which encourages the jaw and tongue to release.  It's helped me tremendously.  I recommend starting with the warm up routine I've outlined on my site:  http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/kiss.htm  and then perhaps taking a video lesson or two so I can show you what I'm talking about.

Mark

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Question. my question mark is to how to not tighten my throat and to just let it all come out. im 17 years old and I've been trying to sing for not even a year yet. everyone says that i have a good voice and if i got singing lessons then i would be good. i play the acoustic guitar too. yes i can play and sing at the same time. and that's good. i just wish that i could sing better and get higher. my voice i think is fine its just that i need to let everything loose but i need to know how to. i listen to a guy named howie day and he sings and play guitar too. if you want to know how i would like to sing just go to vh1.com and type in howie day. he is an artist that is great. and then click on more videos and click on... she says live@vh1.com its really good. well I'll let you go and hopefully you can help me out. thank you mark. -mike-

Answer. You already know how to relax your throat Michael --you doing it right now as you read this. The problem is that you taught those throat muscles to get involved whenever there was a chance your voice would slip or lose control. It's the same reason why you used to squeeze the pick too hard when you first started playing guitar. How did you learn to let your hand relax? The answer is that you trusted that the pick wouldn't fall out and as you relaxed your playing sounded better. When you release your throat and sing your voice will sound out of control -- and that's not a bad thing. Let it. Get used to singing with a loose throat no matter how bad you sound (not for others of course). In a short time you will start sounding better. You have not been at it very long at all -- give it time and let it suck. You'll be better faster.

Mark

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Question. Dear mark, im an 18 year old guy and i love singing, mostly to mariah carey, whitney houston, aretha franklin, you know..the divas of music! i sing ALL THE TIME, and i mean everywhere and anytime..my friends say i have an OK voice but they are just saying that..i mean my family tells me to shut up when i sing but anyway, whenever i listen to myself singing i sound as if ive got a blocked nose when i actually don't! and its really hard for me to hold my breath to a song like "i will always love you", what shall i do to improve my voice? because i know that if i do then i can accomplish alot! please help me!

Answer. First of all start singing songs by guys -- or at least Clay Akin (just kidding Clay-mates). You are always pushing the limits of your range and developing bad habits in the process. The only way to really establish what your instrument can do is to step away from the performance mentality and sing some exercises to develop better coordination. You should also consider changing the keys of the songs you're singing. All this and much more is explained and demonstrated in my new CD, "Sing Like an Idol." I think it would help you a lot.

Mark

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Question. well i had just turned 15 and i am training my own voice for opera... at first i didn't know what my voice was meant to sing...first i tried kelly clarkson..then i tried Amy Lee's voice from evanescence, which sounded better, now, after i heard Emmy Rossum's voice from phantom of the opera, I've been focusing on singing the high soprano notes Emmy Rossum sings (i am also a soprano in my choir). in every song i can hit all the high notes.... all except one song...the song the phantom of the opera...at the very end where the phantom says "sing my angel of music" and she sings a higher note after he says it...well...i can sing the first two notes okay...not great but okay..then the rest...i can sing them but my voice starts to get " tinier" and i know i strain it...once an ex opera singer who had thought our class one day said the higher the notes to sing the less air you need because too much air makes it crack...but the thing is if i breathe in less air...the shorter the note i sing goes because then im straining my voice to do it...how can i sing those higher notes stronger and sound more like my idol Emmy Rossum?

Answer. That opera singer didn't mean take a smaller breath for higher notes, she meant use less to sing them. Take in the same big breath but hold most of it back -- not against the throat. Your folds need to thin down to sing high and they can't if the pressure is too strong underneath them. You are very young so your voice is not even close to developed yet for opera. You've got a good ten years of training ahead of you. The rules are completely different for classical singing. I strongly recommend you get signed on with a teacher who specializes in classical technique.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark I've no trouble singing aretha franklin style but when it comes to the rougher soul music, I just cant get the sound i want. Im trying to sing with a hoarse quality, like grunting and growling, kind of like 'gravel'- eg 'I'll take you there' by the Staple Sisters. I realize by doing this I can cause damage, but I don't want to sing like that all the time, and regardless- I'd still like to be able to do it. Can you help me out? thanks

Answer. Hey -- love your name! A gospel choir always has a clear voice belter, a raspy voiced powerhouse, a riff machine and then everybody else. Mamma Staple couldn't sing with any other voice but that deep throated rasp if her life depended on it. You can visit a raspy sound but it won't be as authentic as the real deal. Those that sing with husk have conditions which don't allow them to sing clear. You can practice by gradually increasing the volume of your voice on a single pitch (AH vowel). Once you get loud start pushing down inside you tummy area (like you're going to the bathroom) The extra pressure will distort the sound while leaving the throat open. The clock is ticking when you do this. Sing too hard too long and the area will swell up. It's not permanent but it will change tings for the rest of the night. A thorough warm up and warm down are essential when flirting with this threshold. Make sure you're completely hydrated as well.

Mark

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Question. Hello. I have just within the past couple of years had a new problem with my singing voice. It cracks. It's not the normal crack that may happen if my voice is dry and I go for a high sustained note, and it doesn't happen in any particular range, like on my break. It just happens whenever and wherever, and I seem to have no control over it whatsoever. I can usually tell when a normal crack is coming if even a millisecond before it happens, but this new phenomenon is completely without warning. I almost want to call it a glitch instead of a crack. I thought at first it was related to stage jitters as I hadn't performed for a few years, but it happens even while practicing by myself at home. Also, I have this persistent mucous in my throat that I often have to sing very loud to break up. It can sit in my throat during an entire performance while I am trying to somehow "sing around it literally". These are both new problems and I don't know how to deal with them. Please help. Also, one more thing, when singing live my throat and mouth get so dry that I have to drink water between every song. It becomes a little awkward sometimes for the flow of my set.

Answer. Things change as we age -- especially after time off singing. Extend your warm up. You may have to give yourself an extra hour to deal with the rigidity and mucous in the area. The tension you're using from singing before you are properly warmed up is causing your glitches and the dryness.

Mark

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Question. Lately I have been listening to a lot of Faith no More. The vocalist, Mike Patton, will usually hold back, but sometimes he will let out these beautiful parts. You can tell that they are felt, such conviction is behind it. I really, really want to be able to do this. My question is: How do you push your voice like this? (not screaming) I have heard things about singing from the diaphragm making a more powerful tone, but when I have tried to I only end up singing from my throat. If you have some advice, I would really appreciate it. Thanks

Answer. To sound like Mike, over-articulate your words. Open your mouth as wide as you can and spit (literally) out your words. He also has a very staccato delivery in the verses, which means cut the lengths of the words really short.

Mark

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Question. hey mark, how r u? me I'm fine. well the thing is that i can sing, but when i get around people i get to self conscious, as, is my voice going to crack, what r they gonna think. but the thing is i can hit high notes all the time when I'm by myself. i only feel comfortable around my friends, sometimes my boyfriend.but my family-thats another story they always want me to sing for them everytime we get around each other, but i back out b/c I'm afraid i might mess up. how do i overcome that knowin down deep inside i got what it takes to sing, and that i can see my self a big time singer.i guess i feel like i got something missing to make my voice a whole lot better. i really wish i could find someone who could put me in the right direction with my voice so i can get more confident in public. I've had people tell me that i have a good, beautiful voice, but i just get shy. I've performed in school talent shows b4, but i was with friends, I've never really performed by myself persay, but thats what i dreamed of all my life. what can i do to improve my voice and self? thank u for ur time and i hope to hear from u soon. nicole-

Answer. Having a beautiful voice (which you do) is like having a beautiful guitar. What matters is your ability to play it when the pressure is on. That's what divides the pros from the amateurs. That's why there are plenty of famous singers that don't sing all that well. They're famous because they're not afraid to risk everything. That's their talent -- not singing. I work with countless singers everyday who have much better voices then half the singers on the radio. The difference is that, like you, they hold back when people are listening because of fears. So if you really want to hit the stage and be famous, force yourself to sing in front of anyone and everyone. You don't have to fix your shyness -- that's who you are -- but you don't have to let that run your life. Be brave.

Mark

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Question. Mark I love what you're doing, I've looked for singing advice free of charge, and you've been my only find I can sing, not exceptionally, but well enough that people enjoy listening to it. I've had no singing training, and I have no idea about the concepts about "pushing from your stomach" or what have you (I learned to sing by first mimicking other singers). Now I've turned to Screaming, because I'm a metalhead, and I'm not too bad at that, but my throat really really hurts afterwards. Please, how can I perfect my scream, and please describe it in terms that I can understand :) I also love old 80's pop bands like Simple Minds, Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, ect. and I would LOVE to be able to sing like that ! The big thing is, I know you say to everyone "warm and practices the exercises"...the thing is, I don't know how to warm up or any exercises !! My parents don't wanna buy me the book, and they don't want me to buy it, but I'll get my hands on it somehow eventually...Is there anything you could send me in the meantime just to get me started please? Singing (if not guitar) will be my career list as music is my passion and I'm already in a few bands...please help me get started Cheers, Geoff

Answer. Hey Geoff,

How is it you can afford a guitar but not a book?  I'm not saying you're being cheap -- you could ask you local library to order the book -- I'm saying you're not be industrious.  I have free lessons posted at <http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons.htm>.  Read through them.  That will set you on a good path.  It's gonna take a lot of practice and patience.

Mark

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Question. hey Mark i was wondering if u could help me? im a good singer but sometime i get kinda nasally when i sing but i cant tell i try so hard to keep my throat open and tongue out of the way but now im scared to sing in my real voice so i just stick to soprano but i love to belt out notes please help me i need to know what to do to keep myself from singing through my nose thank you very much

Answer. You've got to let yourself sound bad as you experiment. It doesn't hurt your voice to crack and let the pitches wobble -- it just hurts our pride. What's keeping you tensed when you belt is the desire to control the sound. Let that go and you'll sound bad for just a little while but you'll also discover a much better way to sing. Loose and loud!

Mark

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Question. how much do singing lessons cost gimme a price range

Answer. Anywhere from $20 to $200 an hour

Mark

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Question. hi,im 15 years old and after singing for all my life without voice training, i would like to start but recently ive been getting alot of mucus in my throat, which gets me worried, and i drink alot of water, but how do i keep my voice healthy and what things disturb the voice to produce mucus. can you help me please email back please

Answer. There are many many things that can start to produce mucous as we age. The first things to cut out are dairy, sugar, coffee and spicy foods -- which for most people is everything they eat! So it's really a matter of subtracting one suspect for a week and see if things change for the better.

Mark

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Question. I've been singing Elvis songs all of my life along with Bon Jovi songs, poison songs, B.B king songs,Eric Clapton songs, Styx songs, and lynard skynard songs because these bands are within my reach but my band wants me to cover more modern day rock bands such as hawthorn heights,green day, and nirvana, i can sing these bands songs fine but feel like i don't have the same type of screams, I'm hitting the right notes but sound more like the old artist i covered, so i guess my question is should i continue with the way I'm singing and not worry about sounding just like these newer bands or try to change my voice to sound just like these newer day bands

Answer. I wouldn't worry about trying to cop the exact sounds of the new artists you're covering. You'll just hurt yourself. Since you came of age in the 80's you won't have the conviction in your voice for the newer stuff. You gotta mean it when you scream or it just calls attention to what you can't do. If the band is good, all you need is to get close to the singer's sound and the audience will take it the rest of the way in their heads.

Mark

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Question. I'm ten turning 11 and me and my friend have been in professional singing competitions and we REALLY WANT A SINGING CARER but... we need a manager and the other stuff. please help us

Answer. Hey -- I need a manager too. Maybe we can go halfzees on one. Then we'll only get ripped off half as much! Just kidding. Keep entering the competitions and getting heard. If you're good managers will find you. Anyone you have to ask to manage you will not work as hard as someone who approaches you.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark, I'm a guitar player who does a lot of backup vocals. By far my alltime favourite musician is Richie Sambora, as hes an amazing guitar player and also a very good singer, both with backup harmonies and in a lead capacity. When I try and do backup vocals like Richie does them however, I have a lot of trouble. Whereas Richie can sing at a higher pitch than Jon Bon Jovi to harmonize, without braking into an ultra high pitch, I have trouble doing that. I can sing the same notes, but they come out too high. I cant seem to find that "spot" thats above the lead, but without sounding too high pitched. Any tips on how to keep my voice from going up to high when doing backup vocals? Thanks Ryan

Answer. I'm glad somebody recognizes that Richie sings better than Jon.  Back in the day we use to play the same clubs and he used to sit in with my band a lot.  I tried to talk Richie out of joining Bon Jovi.  I told him he'd do much better on his own!  And to think I get paid for giving people advice!    Anyway, you should shoot for the 3rd above the lead line.  That is the closest interval and usually where Richie hangs around when he's singing in that band that's never going to amount to anything. 

Mark


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Question. I am 15. I have been trying to get good at singing, for about 4-5 months, to me it has worked some, but not extremely well. Some of the high notes that i can hit people say sound bad, but others are saying that i am better being a higher singer. I am starting a band and want to get better. I am extremely dedicated to getting good, but i also want it to happen fast. Many people say i suck, even friends and family, they may just say. "Don't sing ever again." I listen to a yellowcard and noticed he's not anything amazing, but has been very sucessful, and people say he's good. What is the big boundry between me and him. I listened to myself and do not hit the wrong notes anymore then he does. Sometimes i am called good, but i don't even know if they are telling the truth. I know how i sound from countless recordings ive done everyday. Please help me. I play guitar around 3 hours a day for the last 3 months, when i got it. If i could email you a recording of me i would be extremely thankful, however i realize the countless reasons why you wouldn't want me to. I am trying to get my voice more powerful and increase my range to where i'm comfortable singing high notes. The amount i've been singing i think made me sound a lot better, but everyone else disagrees. There is nothing else i'd be satisfied doing for life. I can see you were in almost the same position before, how did you do it, because it all is starting to seem hopeless to me. Is anyone honestly born with natural talent above others in their singing, because my sister is very good and has sang for her school graduation,small contests, or even an american idol audition when they visited here , but i don't remember her putting much effort forth like me. I just really want my effort to pay off. I feel like i'm giving it everything in vein. This is my first attempt to ask someone else for help who would know what they're talking about.

Answer. Yes I was in the same position as you. How I did it was by not getting restless after 4-5 months. Not even after 4-5 years. I stuck with it until I could sing the way I always wanted to sing. It took a long, long time. There's nothing more I can do for you but what's already written in this section. Take a step back for yourself and make a decision that you will stick with this for the long run.

Mark

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Question. Every time i start singing ..it sounds different but when i record my singing, my voice sounds so much different,why does that happen? What's your opinion on the best way to concentrate while you are singing?

Answer. Your voice sounds different to YOU when you record because you're used to hearing an internal vibration along with what's leaving your mouth. The rest of the world only hears what's leaving your mouth -- so the recorded voice is really what you sound like. That's why the best thing to concentrate on when singing is the lyrics and what they mean to you. Then your sound will always be heartfelt.

Mark


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Question. Hi,I used to be able to sing quite high and comfortable, but for years never bothered much.Now with playing guitar I have started to sing again, but find That notes around E,F,G, above middle C are thin and sometimes I do not reach them. I have read the Q&A on this website about regaining flexibility in the vocal cords, but at over 50 is it to late to regain my former range?. If not your advice on how to proceed would be most welcome.

Answer. It's not your age as much as the years of non-use. Those that practice yoga in their twenties stay flexible through their eighties as long as they stick with it. You've got nothing to loose by trying to regain that elasticity. A warm up routine like the one outlined on my site http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/kiss.htm would be the best place to start.

Mark


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Question. Well, I am now 16 and I have saved this email to look at when I do get discouraged. Right now, I am not really discouraged, but I don't know how to sound natural. How do I sing my own way. I try to mimic their voices. I try to sing like all of my country music favorites. I want to sing professionally, and I can't do that if I am trying to sound like someone else. What is your advice?

Answer. Stop listening and start writing your own songs. Turn off your radio -- hide your CD's. It's time to show the world what the "new" country music is gonna sound like -- the Rob Meyer sound.

Mark


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Question. I am a 15 year old male, and I have always loved to sing. When I was little it sounded bad, but around 10 or 12 years old, it started to sound good. However, I can only sing like the professional who makes the song. I try to sing like them. It works for a while, but then it starts sounding bad. I am a huge Clay Walker fan, and I do some of his songs well, but it still sort of sucks. I want to go professional in Country music, but I have a social anxiety, and I question whether I sound good. What should I do, because I get discouraged, and it sends me into a depression?

Answer. Don't get bummed out Rob. The thing that's hard to realize when you're 15 is that Clay Walker also sounded bad when he was 15. He went through some bad times where he doubted his ability and still doesn't think he is as good as you think he is. If you keep singing, whether you think your good or not you will develop into a singer. People assume that every professional singer out there think's they're good. They don't. They sing because they love to sing -- not because they think they're great. And should you pick up some fans along the way . . . well that's just a nice bonus to what you would be doing anyway.

Mark


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Question. is it true that honey can improve your vocal's when you sing ?

Answer. No. Honey just coats your throat and you don't sing with your throat -- you sing through your throat. Regards, Mark Baxter

Mark


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Question. hi ya mark, so heres my problem, i really really love singing but i don't know weather i can actually sing. i don't think i have a particularly bad singing voice, and singing is the only thing that im really interested in. im only 15 so it's hard to be noticed and i was wondering if you had any tips on how i could be? also im really self conscience and i don't like to sing in front of people that i know, like family, because im afraid that they will think i sound awful. please please help me, thanks alot lucy xxxx

Answer. Yes you do have a problem Lucy. Not with singing, that just takes work. The problem is that countless 15 year-olds have the same desire as you and some are way more forward about it. So naturally they will find opportunities and take advantage of them where you would let them slip by. My advice is to work on your voice. You can't just turn on a different personality and become out-going but you can become such an incredible singer that people will push you out in front of others. Start working on that voice. Let it take you to places you would be too afraid to venture on your own.

Mark

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Question. My dream is to really want to impress people when I sing and get them to a complete silence and listen intently. That is along way away I know but my question is: i feel kind of embarrassed to have singing lessons because I can't really pronounce my "r's" to well therefore they come out in a "w" sound when i say them. When i usually sing covers i just change the words and no one notices, so that isn't a factor but what would a vocal teacher say?

Answer. A teacher would say, "Welcome to your first voice lesson."  Fixing problems is what voice teachers do.  No need to feel that you need to perform for your teacher -- what would the point be of taking lessons if you were already good.  Sign up and fix those R's. www.voicelesson.com

Mark


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Question. Dear, Mr. Baxter I've been having trouble with my diaphragm breathing as well as singing with a clear, speaking-like voice. It often sounds more like I'm whispering. But when I sing "clearly", I completely loose control over my voice. Is this just something that will take a long time to overcome? Also, I've read many websites on diaphragm breathing and how to do this. I understand how to do this, and have done it, but unless I strain, I can only release air for 6 seconds. I don't feel like I can take much air into it at all. Is there something wrong with my diaphragm or is that also something that time and practice has to do with? Thank you for your time and help! -Bonnie

Answer. The problem is never JUST the diaphragm. Your breathy sound comes from the vocal folds not closing properly. It is perfectly fine for you to loose control while exploring new behaviors. People are usually way too impatient and don't develop good coordination because they sound bad in the process. The goal for the released hiss should be at least 30 seconds (I make people do 60). Your diaphragm is just underdeveloped -- it has nothing to do with taking in a bigger breath. You should be able to hold your breath for a minute. If that's so, then you should be able to release it slowly for the same length of time.

Mark


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Question. I am 28 years old and an elementary school teacher. I have been singing on and off for 6 years. I had a really critical voice instructor in college and every time I sing I hear his negative comments in my head. He criticized my breathing technique. How do you become a tough SOB? How can I improve my breathe support? I think I am finally ready to stick my neck out and take a chance on a side career. I have to keep my other job too. I have taken voice lessons but I still have horrible breathing technique. I The artist I most sound like is Jewel. I have a deviated septum and was wondering if that would help my breathing? Also, I am terrified to sing without a mic or audition for anything because of my breathing. I would appreciate any advice or suggestions you may have. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Answer. Your first question is address to the wrong person! I had the same professor in college and I think that's why I became a teacher -- just to counter the SOB's out there. Your professor was a bitter and jaded ol' fool who takes out the frustration of not becoming the celebrated singer he dreamed he'd be on poor students. He is forcing the same antiquated breathing technique on you that was forced on him. Classical breathing methods are for classical singing only. You don't sing classical music so you have no business evoking those behaviors. They will only make you sound contrived -- just like he does when he sings. Your deviated septum is not affecting your breathing but is a part of your sound. Unless it robs you of sleep and fosters infections I would leave it alone. I recommend you pick up a book or video that focuses on contemporary singing. The breathing is far more reflexive and conversational. No one in the popular music audience gives a hoot about your breathing. All they care about is how you feel. They want to know what you're thinking, and if all you're thinking about is breathing while you're singing some sad love song the signals will be very confusing. So take a deep breath (any ol' way you want) and notice that professor is not around anymore. You're free. Sing like you want.

Mark


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Question. Well ive been singing for just over a year now im 17 years old i tend to sing along to linkin park and green day but the problem is that when i sing along my voice doesn't seem as clear as there's are and ive tried clearing mucus also i don't really understand what is meant when you say = back off with air pressure on higher notes. A small problem really i recently went to an audition recently and i got there and tried to sing my heart out but what happened was i didn't get the notes i can normally hit with ease and my voice was in a constant unwanted vibrato can you help?

Answer. When you're riding a bicycle too fast and loosing control the first thing you should do is back off the pressure on the pedals right? Well that's the same thing when singing high notes. Back off the push until you regain control. If it's not loud enough for you then practice until you can do it. The same solution is the answer for your audition mishap. You'll need to audition more so you don't freak when people are listening critically. I know you're saying to yourself that you weren't nervous but that just denial. The goal is to audition as many times as it takes until you feel no different whether you're alone or in front of people. It took about 5 or 6 auditions for me to get into my first band.

Mark


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Question. what is the basics for singing harmony with another person? do you use thirds or fifths?

Answer. Thirds are the best place to start. If that sounds to happy or just wrong for the song, move to fifths.

Mark

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Question.
Hey man what can I expect from my first singing lesson?


Answer.
A change of perspective mostly. Like your first day in the gym, you'll discover a lot of things that you can't do very well. Don't get discouraged. If you did everything great at your first lesson you wouldn't need lessons. Keep an open mind. Sometimes the ideas laid out won't seem like they apply to you or your kind of singing. You don't have to use everything you get at lessons, but the knowledge will allow you to make choices later on.

Mark


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Question. hey, i am trying to become a kid singer with a cd or my own. my dad said that i need lessons because i make up my own songs but i don't have a good voice. what should i do?

Answer. Tell your father you think he's right . . . and then ask him to hook you up with a teacher.

Mark


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Question. Is singing dangerous can you have an esophagus seizure or have the throat close all the way shut or am I just the victim of an over active imagination, I have been feeling a little edgy since the tsunami warnings.

Answer. A tsunamis is a terrible natural disaster. A throat seizure is a terrible health disaster. The likelihood of either occurring is incredibly remote. Singing will not trigger either to happen -- so sing and keep that overactive imagination focused on something more productive.

Mark


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Question. I have no clue what a vibrato is could you explain it to me please?

Answer. Read my free lesson entitled "Vibrato." http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons_07.htm

Mark

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Question. I am a vocal coach. One of the children I teach can not seem to find the center of the pitch when she goes down. She is find when she moves up but always misses it when she goes down whether she is flat of sharp. Do you have any exercises besides intervals that I could use to help her re-center her tone when coming down? THank You, CJ

Answer. Have her prefix the notes with an S. It will help coordinate the airflow which could be the culprit. If there still is an issue, have her play piano along with singing the notes. Even the most rudimentary scales and piano skills will make a connection in the brain.

Mark


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Question. Hello I've been reading your question and answers and I want to learn to scream sing I know anyone can learn to sing and I know anyone can scream but I have tonsillitis and it affects my voice causing it to almost crack and/or cease at times how badly will this affect my screaming? and also could you kinda explain how exactly to scream vie read so many diff ways and I don't know witch is best thanx for taking your time to read and answer my questions (as stupid and lame as they may be) it means alot Josh

Answer. Don't scream with tonsillitis, laryngitis or any other "itis" ailment. It's like running on a swollen ankle. Things just get worse. There's no best way to scream. You can read all kinds of things where singers try to describe what they do to get certain sounds -- but the bottom line is: they do what they do because they can't do it any other way. The key for you to survive a career based on screaming is minimizing the friction. That means get the most aggressive sound you can with the least amount of physical effort. Most people will just throw everything they have at their throat figuring it's necessary for a cool sound. It's not.

Mark


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Question. Dear mark I have always wanted to sing but no one seems to want me to sing its not that I sing off key but my voice they say isn't natural but sounds squeaky and too soft how to I project my voice so that it is much stronger and how do I know if its natural

Answer. Stand in your bedroom closet when no one is home and make the loudest sounds you can. You don't have to scream, but imagine you are trapped inside and need to yell for help so someone can hear you outside. If that were a true situation the volume you would produce would be very natural but because you're shy you think it's bad to be that loud around others. Get used to it at home and then one day you'll come out of the closet . . . vocally speaking.

Mark


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Question. hi, I'm having real trouble fighting through the break in my voice. im finding it hard to sing along with bands like funeral for a friend because of this, can you help?

Answer. Stop singing along with CD's and start exercising your voice. Singing songs is not a good way to develop your voice. Too much emotion can complicate the mechanical issues. Just sing a scale on a plain AH vowel sound through that cracky area and look for the air flow to remain the same. Keep your face, neck and jaw real loose. It will still break up for a while -- allow it to sound bad. Remember what you're looking for is to coordinate the air through that area. It's too hard to concentrate on that when rocking out to a song.

Mark


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Question. I am 16 years old and I guess my voice is still changing... but anyway I love singing but I have a baritone singing voice and I want to hit = those high notes from the first F to B above middle C easily or unstrained at least like many male stars do like USHER, CLAY AIKEN, and JOSH GRABAN. I really like singing but I am discouraged because my range is not like I want. I can hit the G# above middle C every blue moon, but it is still strained. But recently I've heard that as long as you don't = strain to the point where it hurts, that the strain is actually like picking up something heavy, the more you pick it up the easier it will become. Is that true? Thanks alot if you are able to help me because I have been singing for 2 years now and I am starting to think I am at my peak and therefore I am getting discouraged. PLEASE DO NOT GIVE ME AN ANSWER THAT JUST SUGGEST THAT I GET A VOCAL COACH because I will I just want something to do at home right now. Thanks again.

Answer. I've been singing for 38 years and I think I'm just reaching my peak so you have a little ways to go Ryan. I won't suggest you go to a vocal coach but I'll just causally mention that WORKING WITH A VOCAL COACH IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR SINGING. Next best way is with some instructional materials. I do suggest you pick up my new CD, "Sing Like an Idol," because it has everything you want in one package. If that's not an option for you right now then read through my free = lessons at http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons.htm. There's one entitled, "Maximum Range" that's all about raising your high notes. http://www.stagepass.com/markbaxter/

Mark


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Question. I am a kid and my life long dream is to sing! Can someone sing at different tones I 1 song?

Answer. You can only sing one note at a time. There are monks in the hills that can sing harmony with themselves -- but they're monks.

Mark


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Question. I experience constant blockage in my throat when I'm singing as if I've got cold I've tried using ginger and warm water but yet it wont clear. what do I do?

Answer. See a doctor to get a definite answer that there is nothing blocking your throat. Sometimes it feels that way when it's just muscle tension. Once you really know what's going on -- you can exercise the tension away.

Mark

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Question. I am from Africa..Nigeria actually. Right from my primary school days every believe that I have a very good voice, but my problem now is that I want to improve my voice (I will love to start as a starter). Secondly most times when I sing phlem or saliva makes me not to sing well.

Answer. You become the best by exercising your voice along with singing songs. There is a good program for this on my new instructional CD, "Sing Like an Idol." You can also read over my free lessons. http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons.htm

Mark

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Question. My name is Ray and I am very interested in learning how to sing. I guess you could say my voice is pretty normal, but I believe with work I can make it much better. That is my problem though... I don't know were I should start. The problem I have is I have no money to get lessons or books or things like that. If you could give me some references to places with free information on how to learn to sing I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

Answer.
You definitely can improve with practice.  I would suggest to keep singing and surf the web for tidbits of info.  My site (www.voicelesson.com) has quite a bit of free info and I know there must be other sites as well.

Mark

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Question.
I really want to be able singing these high notes as Ian Gillian, Robert Plant and Ronnie Dio do. But it doesn´t seem to fit my voice very well´.When I first started singing I could sing an A note, and know when I´ve practise song in three months I´m only able to sing the B note.How many notes can a normal person get out from exercise?Can I blend in my falsetto with my regular voice? I only got three notes to Led Zeppelins Black dog(high E) !!! Do you think I can do it with alot of practise?


Answer.
Ian Gillian never blended registers. His high screams were always all falsetto. Plant didn't need to and Dio mixes a little to keep those high notes thick. None of these guys are thinking about this stuff when they're singing. They're just singing the best they can . . . and so should you. Practice will make you a better singer -- that's for sure. But better doesn't mean higher. Singing is not a sporting event. Each one of the singers you mention sounds great but none of them sound like the other. What you can do has yet to be discovered.

Mark

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Question. hey mark, thanks for doing the site im pleased I found you. im 23 years old and have been singing all my life, in secret!!! my parents and two select friends had been privy to hear my capabilities until such a day that they dragged me kiking and screaming to a local beach bar where a live band, shack attack were playing. pleaded with the band and condemned me to sing! nervous and shaking I took to the stage and was amazed not only by the reactions of the crowd but the band too. they really did enjoy it so I carried on song after song. I do feel I have a good vocal range growing up hearing led zeppelin and rock legends to my own love of soulful low tones yet im comfortable hitting the high notes aswell. my problem is being heard. how do I find out if I really am any good? please, what do I do

Answer. You already found out. You're good. Now you'll have to stand in line with everyone else who wants to be on stage. If you want it bad enough -- you'll be up there. If you don't -- there's nothing wrong with singing for your own enjoyment.

Mark

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Question. Im trying to find out the correct answer to Mariah Careys true vocal range. Speculations are all the way up to 7 octaves. Would you be able to help me clarify this? Here is a link to where someone sounds like they know what they are talking about. http://popdirt.com/article17793.html Is this person correct?

Answer. I was on that MTV show, "The 22 Greatest Singers," talking about Mariah. The guy in the popdirt article is correct, they did show her singing that high note in Emotions. I agree with his assessment of her range except I have heard her sing above the piano (C8) -- so I would put her range at a full 5 octaves rather than four and four notes.

Mark

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Question.
HI, I sing alto in the keys of Linda Ronstadt, Shania Twain and Patsy Cline. I recently joined my church choir (only 3 of us) The leader sings in a high soprano and the keys of all the songs are in her key. I don't even know what key I sing in, yet she keeps saying I'm not blending and I sing well if I was "solo", but in a group I need to blend. I'm starting to sing higher and I don't like it and my voice is getting sore. Is this going to ruin my voice and my singing ability? I have won contests and sing fairly well. I've never had a lesson, and have no clue how to "blend" with those high notes. Help!!!!


Answer.
Welcome to choir politics 101. When your leader says, "blend," what she really means is, "Sing like me." If you want to continue in this choir just listen to her voice and imitate her sound. You'll get a nod that you're doing better. It doesn't seem like a good situation for you though. Singing this way won't harm your voice -- just your ego.

Mark

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Question. I have two questions. first of all, my band has recently changed our style of music to a more metal genre and I want to be able to scream like underoath, atreyu, unearth etc.... I've tried to callous my throat be screaming until I lost my voice but I still am not getting the raspy sound I want. how can I learn to scream???? also I would rather be able to scream in the higher pitches but it seems easier for me to do it lower. how could I change that?????? thanks and please answer!!

Answer.
I don't recommend trying to beat your throat up until it's raspy -- that's why you can't sing high pitches.  To scream with control it's going to take some skill.  A good place to begin is by reading through this article, http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/screaming.htm

Mark

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Question. Mark I need to know how to breath when singing I am in the choir at my church but I don't know how to sing from my stomach and not my head please can you help me.

Answer.
There is a whole chapter dedicated to this in my book.  I recommend you pick it up.
 
 

Mark

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Question.
I use to be a great singer. now I can still sing but it's not as good as it was. I don't scream either. Do you have any idea y this happens?


Answer.
This happens because you were expecting to be able to sing rather than thankful. Now you're going to have to work for it. Are you still interested in singing? If so, there's plenty you can do to get your voice back but it starts with dedicating yourself.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark!I seem to be having recording in the studio as I'm under the impression that I'm not producing enough vibrato and become more nervous.Please help.

Answer. That's kind of like saying that you're not wearing enough denim. How you stylize your singing is just as personal as how you stylize your wardrobe. You don't seem to be sure what you want -- which is the first thing you need to know when heading into the studio.

Mark

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Question. when I sing in pubs on the karaoke I can't hold the high notes is there something I,m doing wrong please help me

Answer. You are definitely getting tangled up when singing. I recommend you purchase my new instructional CD, "Sing Like an Idol." It will help you sort out the issues that are getting in your way

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark. I was wondering if there is some material you could give me to work on my pitch, tone and overall sound. When I sing it sounds off and terrible, I haven't had any practice singing. Do you have any recommendations or movies or books on how I could improve everything? thanks alot


Answer.
Start with the warm up routine outlined on my site (www.voicelesson.com) called K.I.S.S.  After that I would buy a tuner (for guitars) and sing into it so you can "see" your pitch.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark, I'm 19 and I write my own songs. My singing voice is mono tone and dull. I was wondering if there was a way I could sure this?

Answer. I don't know what you mean by "sure this" I assuming you mean make your voice dynamic and exciting. The first question you should ask yourself is if you are a dynamic and exciting person. If not, then it would benefit you to write a dynamic and exciting song. Something with big sweeping vocal melodies to bring you out of your shell. The other option is to write lyrics that challenge you emotionally. Reveal a secret you don't want anyone to know and you'll sing it with a different approach then just any ol' lyrics.

Mark

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Question. I am an aspiring singer who regularly sings karoake for fun, I sing at church and also have sang a few times with different bands. I have a wonderful higher range but I struggle a bit at the lower octaves. Is this normal? What do you recommend for me to do in order to open up this range? Thanks in advance.....I appreciate the info! Nicole

Answer. It's normal for people with high voices. Where your voice sounds wonderful is where you should be singing. No one gets all the notes. What great singers do is make sure the songs they sing stay in their strong range. That way they always sound great.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark. I was just wondering if you could give me vocal techniques for singing high. I practice everyday and keep drinking water between signing but I still crack out.


Answer.
Back off the volume and make sure your neck and jaw stay loose. Just like playing fast rolls on the drums, high notes require freedom. Most people tense up and squeeze the sticks while good drummers know to loosen their grip on the sticks. Same is true for the voice. Loosen your throat and jaw when singing up.

Mark

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Question. I really really love singing but I am very nervous and worried about what people think of me so I don sing in public please help im scared that if I tried then I would get stage fright or something

Answer. Start singing where you know people can hear you but you don't have to see them, like they're in the next room or something. You should also join the choir at school. If you're nervous to sing for other people, then you should sing with other people

Mark

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Question. Im 14 years old and I have been in a choir for 3 years. I've always wanted to enter our schools talent show and people tell me I can sing but im not comfortable because I don't think I sound good. MY main problem is that when I hit the high notes I scream them there is no control. THe also say my voice is too "raw" and doesn't sound smooth. What to do?

Answer. Keep practicing. It takes time to smooth things out. Voice lessons will speed up your development but sometimes they are too expensive. Ask the choir director for some pointers. Ask if you can sing a solo. Don't worry about the talent show. It doesn't seem like you're ready yet. You have plenty of time.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark. I am 13 years old and I have always had a dream to be able to sing. My whole family thinks I'm well on my way but we don't have enough money to pay for lessons. I was wondering if you had any ideas of how I could teach my self just off the internet without it costing money? Thank you so much Mark... Tonia


Answer.
Sure you can. It's the hard way to go about it, but if that's what it has to be then that's what it is. I recommend reading through the free lessons on my site for starters and then surf the web for more.

Mark

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Question. Hey,im a 14 yr old in a rock band.We have been looking for a singer in the eband for a long time and I have decided to give it a go.we have a big gig coming up in june and I need to learn to sing better!please help!I am thinking of buying you're book.does it really work?? Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer peoples questions. Mike smith:)

Answer. Do you think you could learn to play guitar or drums by June? Nothing will make the dramatic changes you're dreaming about by June. So stop dreaming and get to work. I'm assuming you're planning on doing more shows than one. So buy the book, or don't, but start taking singing seriously and you'll get a little better every day.

Mark

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Question. I'm in a band and I think we produce decent music, but I think that my vocals are killing my sound. My friends say that my vocals sound fine and point out that "everybody hates their own voice". I listened to one of our songs, and needless to say I hated my voice. I was on key the majority of the time (it's a demo so there are a couple of mess ups) but there was some thing about my voice that just drove me crazy! Maybe I sound too nasal, maybe I'm not projecting enough, or maybe I just haven't hit my personal "sound" that I'm capable of. Could you please go to www.myspace.com/thesuitors , listen to "Jeremy", and tell me what you think I could change about my vocals? And does everybody really hate their own voice?

Answer.
It doesn't matter what I think of your voice -- or any one else for that matter.  If you don't like the sound of your voice then you should work to improve it.  The only thing that matters is that you are able to sing with the sound you intended.  That way if anybody ever says you suck you can brush it off.  You can change a lot about the sound of you voice.  I recommend looking into lessons or checking out my book

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, love the site - have enjoyed reading all the questions and tips! Feel like I'm not alone in my vocal journey! My question is: I have been singing for 16 years, from Gospel choir to classical training so I could do competitions in "opera" style singing etc. Getting over my fears and joining a band to sing modern/rock music was my goal as I entered my 20's and now that I'm in my late 20's I am still on that side of the path. I started going to a vocal school and they told me the classical training I have is in the way for the "pop" sound and I have to "belt" my chest voice to get that middle sound that ALL singers have. Now, I'm no idiot and have been singing for long enough to know that not ALL singers do any one thing - but after going for that stronger middle range sound with belting, I keep losing my voice often now, even when not singing - ahhh! Never happened while I was singing classical and now I seem to not use my soprano at all and mostly stay in the "pop" range of lower to middle voice. I used do Tori Amos and Bjork covers, now I feel stuck in the Melissa Etheridge range - can I do both without losing the strength in the higher or lower areas? I am learning to thicken the folds to get that belting sound, but will it weaken the lovely higher voice I love to sing with as well? I have a fantastic holistic vocal teacher I see - but being more technical I was wondering if I can do the fun diva singing of Emotion like Beyounce as well as the grittier sound of rock chick (like Shirley Manson)? Thanks for your response!


Answer.
There's a reason why you have to name different singers as examples of different vocal styles. No one can do everything well. Driving the voice hard will thicken your folds and make them less flexible. BUT, you don't have to sacrifice one for the other. If you want multiple styles you certainly can retain enough flexibility to sing your soprano stuff. Just know that singers on a professional level have to choose a single style and develop it into their identity. Focus and excel in one category. Otherwise you'll seem like a vocal schizophrenic.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark. I am 19 years old and have had prior experience singing Jazz, and I have noticed lately that when I try to sing louder, I get a tingle in my throat and start to cough so hard I almost gag. . . I was just wondering what I could do to prevent this, and also was wondering why this is happening. If you could get back to me that would be great :). thanx. - Rachael

Answer.
The muscles just above your larynx are tight to begin with.  Your gag reflex resides in these muscles.  When you attempt to sing loud you drive your air harder and so the muscles brace and tighten even more against the pressure.  The tension restricts the saliva glands which are responsible for lubricating the vocal folds.  It only takes a few seconds for the folds to dry out.  It's the same as not being able to blink your eye.  The solution is to relax your throat and practice keeping those muscles independent of singing.  At first this means you will loose some control.  However, in the end it means having dynamic control separate from pitch and tone -- a huge benefit for expressing yourself.

Mark

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Question. I hope I'm not breaking any rules by posting more than once. On recordings I often here professional metal singers produce a kind of "vibrato" while screaming (that's the less aggressive on pitch scream, not the atonal hardcore stuff). Is this a purely faked thing? Or is there a way to pull off a true vibrato while singing like this? Thank you

Answer. It's faking by classical standards -- but who cares about classical standards. Any movement during a scream is a good thing. It's when we lock it up tight and push a rigid note out that things get beat up inside.

Mark

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Question.
Hi, I have just started singing but I have a big problem, when I sing it feels like I'm afraid of anyone hearing me especially if I hit the wrong note; how can I break out of this habit? and is it normal for your stomach muscles to feel sore when you first start singing? Thank you for your time.


Answer.
Lots and lots of people go through this Marissa. Of course we would all sing out if we knew that it would sound good. The problem is most of us don't sound good right off the bat -- we need training. In time you will be less afraid of wrong notes and people hearing you. Just think back to when you were afraid to go to school. I'm sure that seems silly to you now. You would also be much better off if you took some lessons. Your stomach shouldn't be hurting.

Mark

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Question. I have been singing since I was about 5 in church. I still sing today and have watched my voice change over the years. My most recent change came after a long bout of coughing associated with a severe cold. Prior to this particular cold I had a fairly large voice range. I could hit high, middle and low keys and seemed to feel comfortable with any song. After the coughing, I believe I injured my vocal chords because for weeks/months after I could hit nothing very well. I began to worry and purchased a voice tape and did it in my car on the way to work. I noticed my voice became stronger but seemed to have a different range, more toward middle-low. Although this eliminated many of my songs, I felt comfortable singing and didn\'t feel tired or have a sore throat after singing. Lately I find myself struggling once more and even spoke to a doctor about my vocal chords. He was willing to examine them but advised I try other alternatives first. What went wrong? I am very hoarse, even when I talk, and my throat is always dry and hurts on each side up to my ears. I have taken antibiotics but have had no relief. Is it just a matter of conditioning or could there be something wrong with my vocal chords?

Answer.
I am very surprised the doctor suggested alternatives before looking at your chords.  The visual observation from a doctor is the best way to know what course of action to take.  He can (and should) look down and see if there is anything wrong.  I doubt there is damage but it would be so simple for him to look and confirm.

After the doctor says there's no damage, there can be many causes for the issues you're struggling with.  The coughing most likely set a series of events in play.  Due to the swelling from coughing, you started pushing a little more air pressure to sing.  This extra pressure tightens muscles around the larynx and denies high notes.  Instead of reducing the pressure you settled for lower notes -- never really addressing the underlying issue.  This extra tension has now worked its way into your speech and is cause irritation there as well.

There are plenty of exercises specifically for tension around the larynx.  My book and video are filled with them.  But first I would go back to the doctor to get scoped -- arm yourself with the facts.

Mark

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Question. HI MARK. I HAVE BEEN SINGING FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS;AND EVERY THING IN YOUR BOOK I HAVE LIVED THROUGH AT LEAST ONCE OR TWICE.YOUR BOOK MADE ME REALISE I AM NOT CRAZY. THE LAST FEW YEARS IT SEEMS MY SINISES HAVE BEEN GETTING WORSE.WHEN I AM OUT IN THE COLD AL DAY,I LAY BRICK FOR A DAY JOB I HAVE BEEN DO THAT AS LONG AS I HAVE BEEN SINGING I HAVE BEEN HAVING A PROBLEM SINGING THROUGH MY BREAKS INTO MY FALSESETTO.THE THROAT DOCTOR SAID MY PROBLEM IS THIS THE SINISES ARE DRAINING BACK ON TO MY VOCAL CHORDS AND THE MUCUS IS CAUSING ME TO PUSH HARDER CAUSING A LITTLE SWELLING ON MY VOCAL CORD. THE DOCTOR HAS GIVEIN ME A INHALER CALLED QVAR-80.MY QUESTION IS DO YOU KNOW ANY OTHER WAY I CAN GET THROUGH THIS WITHOUT ANY KIND OF DRUG USE, THE DOCTOR SAYS ITS NOT A BIG PROBLEM.BUT ERVERY TIME I GO TO SEE HIM IT COST ME MONEY.THANK YOU FOR YOUR GOOD WORK KEEP IT UP SEAN FINLEY

Answer. You can do this without meds. Make sure you're drinking 2 liters of water per day. Start honoring a warm up before singing. Try the one on my site (Free lesson: K.I.S.S.) www.voicelesson.com or any other you know about. You've got to get the chords thin before singing. It doesn't matter why their thick, singing very low volume higher notes on an EE vowel will help thin them down. Don't push as you warm up -- even if nothing comes out at first. It's just like working through a stiff shoulder. Easy does it.

Mark

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Question.
Mark - I bought both the book and video and they are great. I don't ding much rock, mainly old music at nursing homes, but it's really helping me improve. Thank you. The main reason I'm writing is to ask about harmonizing. I've never given much thought to this, but I'd like to record some harmonies on a couple of bluegrass backing tracks I use. I'm finding it more difficult than I'd have expected. Can you recommend any good instructional books, cd's, and/or videos on how to develop harmonization? Thanks much, Brad Richard


Answer.
I don't have a copy of it, but Harmony Singing and Background Vocal Arranging, Vol 1, seems to have what you're looking for. Available at www.pennynichols.com or from Stagepass.com The Nashville Bluegrass Band - Vocal Harmony Workshop Homespun Tapes / $29.95 U.S. / BUY Published by: Homespun Video Video. Width: 4" Length: 7" #641160. Click to see more...

Mark

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Question. Hi there. I was wondering is it possible to learn how to have a voice like freddie mercury's? Can anyone sing or is it a natural ability? And also is recording your voice on a tape/minidisc a good idea, does it playback accurately? Thanks

Answer. Your question is like asking if it's possible to play basketball like Michael Jordan. Yes it's perfectly possible to play the game but comparing yourself to the best is a sure way to become disheartened. Why let everyone else have all the fun? Sing with the best of your ability and work on your skills. You'll get better every time you sing.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I have your book and I think it is wonderful. One (of the many) problems I have while singing is I have no vibrato. I don't understand how it works and therefore I cannot create it. I don't recall seeing much in your book on this. Can you help? A Fan, Jim Ouellette

Answer. Hey Jim, You problem is that you are looking to create vibrato when it is an automatic result of natural fluctuations. You are tight and driving the air too hard when you sing so the change of vibrato occurring is snuffed. Vocalize at incredibly low volumes and read the free lesson on my site by using this link: http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons_07.htm

Mark

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Question.
I feel that one of the strong points of my voice is my control of vibrato, though I use my diaphragm and not my throat, is this right or wrong?


Answer.
If you feel your vibrato is a strong point than it's right for you to sing that way. Singing is an art form -- there is no right or wrong. The techniques that teachers like me offer are suggestion to help you coordinate your behaviors so you can sing the way you want. If you like something about your voice -- there's no need to question it.

Mark

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Question. hi mark, I love your site and have your book and video. my question is that I am a harmonica player and singer! I get alot of throat tension when I play harp and then sing, any suggestions. thanks.

Answer. Stop blowing your voice like it's a harp. I know it seems like a close relationship, but the influence of your mouth, tongue and air pressure are very different for a harp. Think of singing like you swallowed your harp. Now you can't push against the pitches -- everything is before the mouth and tongue.

Mark

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Question. how do I sing the "ry" in "glory" in the high A. I have a really hard time with singing "ry" I don't know how I can relax my throat, to sing it. my throat feels like closing. Is there another sound I can make in this kinda choir music that sounds like I'm sing "ry". before that I have to sing "glo" in D and then G.

Answer. If your throat is closing it's because you are denying a register change. Let things go to the point where your voice is cracking and shaking in order to get things released first. Then look for a lighter register that allows the note without the strain. In time, you can raise the volume up to performance level. It all comes down to focusing on the overall sound you're looking for rather than a register.

Mark

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Question.
(1) In Hapkido class that I just took up over the summer they teach you to concentrate on the abdominals hardening and chest expanding while breathing in through the nose, on the exhale they teach you to hold and let your weight drop to your abdomen (which I figure is no good because that probably causes glottal shock) and out flowing through the mouth, is that helpful at all for singing?
(2) I've been practicing using their inhale advice, and just thinking of the air flowing out my nose on the exhale, I don't hear the breathing at all which is good. Other times I just close my eyes and think about releasing. One problem I have is lack of sleep just because I can't, I have too much running through my head. Lack of sleep can leave my voice tired sounding. I feel like I have some obstruction in my adam's apple sometimes. Sometimes my voice naturally shouts out. I'm having trouble with my breaks on glisses not so much on scales and occasional breathiness which really messes with my falsetto. My speaking voice also has an irritated tone to it alot of the time which I'm not sure is healthy for my voice.


Answer.
(1) Not at all.
(2) Your larynx (Adam's apple) and throat muscles are simply reflecting the irregular nature of your air flow. The breath should act reflexively to the needs of the larynx -- not the other way around.

Mark

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Question. Hello, I am 18 and have been singing in musical theatre and in choirs for a couple of years now and am interested in developing a broader range and more powerful sound. My singing voice from middle c upwards is quite powerful, with fair amount of vibrato and a classical sound. I am about 4 notes off the top soprano note. My trouble lately has been that my lower range is weak and breathy with almost no vibrato or power. I have been seeing a contemporary voice coach for a month to try to overcome this problem. He has started teaching me to sing from the phalanx in the low range and while my voice is significantly more powerful in this style, I lose the quality in tone. Not to mention when I come home from my lessons my voice feels strained and cracked. I just wanted to know if this is normal or should I look into more classical training? I want to stretch my powerful upper range across my entire range but I don't know which way to go? Is this a problem I can remedy myself without training? Thanks for your time Angela

Answer. Classical singing is very different from contemporary. So you have to decide which way you want to go. That said, you are overcompensating when singing low and engaging more muscles than necessary. You're looking for change too quickly and stressing your voice. It's not permanent, but it will not lead you to anything you'll be able to rely on.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, how are you. I was just wondering, everytime I sing for a while or like everyday, I get a weird tickle in my throat, like that feeling you get before you get a sore throat, what gives? It just tickles and it is difficult to swallow. I practice for about 40 minutes a day everyday. Is it something I am doing like putting stress on my voice?!?

Answer.
The tickle is stress related.  You are lifting your larynx when singing high notes and that tenses the muscles in the throat.  It's like lifting your shoulders to play piano -- it would hurt after 40 minutes.  Since the throat is tight swallowing is affected.  It would be a good idea to explore some warm up and vocalizing routines to create some freedom in your singing.  My book is a good place to start.
 
Mark
 
Mark's Book & Video

Mark

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Question.
(1) To expand the range means that I can go from being an alto to a mezzo?
(2) the exercise you recommend consists of singing higher notes in falsetto, for a period of time, every day?
(3) How can I link that head voice with my chest?


Answer.
(1) That would depend on your genetic code and how much tension is presently restricting your voice.
(2) Sure. Why not?
(3) By selecting a single volume and exercising through the change. It will be awkward at first, which is when most people overcompensate the adjustment. It takes time to coordinate through the break, but your reflexes will make the switch perfectly if you let them.

Mark

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Question. hi im 16 years old and I want to start singing for my band. anyway I find that I can hit really high notes like justin hawkins from the darkness and I can sign normally at an average sort of pitch but when I try going from low to high there's like a note which I cant hit and my voice breaks, how can I hit that note because I find that its the note that all my favourite bands sing in

Answer. Everybody has to deal with that stinking middle note. The problem is you are pushing too hard when you're singing below it or above it -- yet those areas sound good. So nobody ever backs off and then cracks when they hit the middle. If you were to sing with a little less push you would smooth out the middle. After that, you could develop more power throughout the voice by practicing exercises to keep you consistent.

Mark

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Question. I've had classical Indian vocal training for about 3 years about 6 years ago. About 6 months ago, I started singing rock and figured I was really good at it. Recently , I've restarted my singing and have been practicing stuff like Iron Maiden and Van Halen. Now about 2 days before ,I had a hard hour and a half of practice. The next day I found my voice was more rigid around the low notes and I simply could not hit the high notes and worse of all I couldn't even go into my falsetto. All that came out was a low audible squeal-scream. However , yesterday and today I found I could go higher (although not as high as I could go before) but I felt that my throat was much stronger than before.Does this mean in a couple of days I will regain my original range with a the ability to sing with lesser effort and more volume? I must clarify that I'm 17 years old and I take singing lessons. I really feel that my voice has improved dramatically since this has happened. I would like your opinion on this matter.

Answer. You irritated your vocal folds when you sang hard at practice. They swelled up as a result and muscles surrounding the larynx became stiff. Because of that condition, high notes were not available next day. High notes, especially falsetto requires your folds be thin and flexible. A few days later your vocal folds were still a little swollen but the surrounding area had relaxed. That's what allowed you the high notes again but it is the swelling (thicker folds) which gave you the sensation of strength. It's also why you couldn't sing quite as high as before. This is not a good strength building routine. Let your teacher show you how to build that strength without the stress.

Mark

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Question. I am just starting out and my parents wont pay for me to take lessons. I am only 15 years old so I dont have a job. I would like to know if you have any pointers for me to start off on the right foot? P.S. I am not a very strong singer!

Answer. Don't worry about singing strong yet. Keep your neck and jaw as relaxed as possible when you sing. Get used to things feeling very easy. Trying to sing strong before your body is ready will only cause bad behaviors to start. Strength comes when things are coordinated -- not from pushing.

Mark

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Question. Hi, I just thought to tell you - I went to a masterclass for Mamma Mia here in the West End London, fantastic - loved every grueling minute of it! - I got a chance to work with the musical director who helped me as I didn't have much voice as I had exhausted it before hand doing warm ups etc the day before - well I went to see a throat dr. he recommended and got to learn there is such a thing as a warm-down - never in all my years heard of that, other than to just relax and be done singing and drink some water or tea- anyway I'm off to the next phase as I see an Osteopath to show me how to relax the throat and do a warm-down. It appears as though they have worked on a technique to help singers/voice with these problems of overworking/exhaustion and tension. Have you heard of this therapy? After a couple sessions with the osteopath, I will visit a speech/voice coach to help me with my placement to avoid strain. So if nothing else comes from this, I will have learned a whole lot more about the voice as seems to be an ongoing study as I aspire to be a singer!

Answer. Did I know? Uh . . . what you are describing is exactly what I've been doing for the last 23 years. I'm glad you know, though. No more blown voices for you!

Mark

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Question. Dear Mark: Congratulations. You are an excellent teacher. After reading your book and your website and think I understand why your voice cracks however it is still unclear to me as how to prevent it. Thank you very much for your help. You are an inspiration to all singers!

Answer. Allowing your reflexes to adjust the air pressure is the surest way to prevent cracking. There are a multitude of calibrations that need to be made every split second we're singing. Anticipation and muscle tensions deny the reflexes a free environment to make the subtle changes necessary. The down side of this answer is that you have to allow yourself to crack to discover what I'm describing. Freedom first.

Mark

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Question. Hello Mark, Cheers on the informative site. I have long admired and tried to replicate vocalists associated with the heavier fields of music (Black, Death, Melodic Death, and Gothic) And by far the most common method of vocalizing used by these artists is "grunting" or "screaming". I have recently started singing and exercising my voice in hopes of producing the aforementioned styles of vocals, and feel I have become marginally good at it. I have in particular a favorite vocalist by the name of Stian Thorensen (Shagrath) of the band Dimmu Borgir which I feel I can effectively replicate while staying in my comfort zone. I have read through your site and while finding some references to some semi-metal artists (Linkin' park, Disturbed) was wondering if you could impart some information on these truly darker styles of singing as I wonder what's going on physically when people sing that way, are they are in reality a healthy means of vocalizing, and are there some/any proper methods for achieving similar styles. Apologies for the massive, multi-faceted question, but the net just can't cure my curiosity , Thanks Paul

Answer. It's not what's going on physically that matters -- it's what's going on mentally. The singers you are inspired by, or any singer that's made it to a professional level, is more focused on creating a vocal identity. It's a crowded field so anything to distinguish you from the pack helps. What usually makes a singer unique is genetics. We all have a fair amount of imitation in our singing, but it usually doesn't sound like the guy we're thinking about because we don't have the same size or shape to our instrument. Even if you did exactly the same thing these guys are doing you wouldn't be satisfied -- because it would still sound like you. There is no harmless way to grunt or scream. All things being proportionate though, your body can take a fair amount of abuse -- especially when you're young. Every singer that incorporates these sounds has found a way to survive by either reducing the push to a minimum, reducing the volume and sucking on the microphone, using the throat just above the larynx like a constant clearing motion, or just blast through and deal with the repercussions.

Mark

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Question. Im 17, and I used to do vocals for a few of my friend's bands, they were mostly punk, or classic metal. Lately ive been working on some of my own stuff in the Sythnpop/Darkwave style but im having trouble singing low notes. Is there anything I can do to be able to hit the lower notes?

Answer. Your range is determine by genetics. How big your hand, your head, your larynx, etc. will be as an adult is already mapped out at birth. You can encourage more range by developing more independence. Relaxing your throat would be key for accessing low notes.

Mark

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Question. Since I started trying singing at High C6 more frequently ,I am having trouble flowing into F5, G5, and A6 but I can easily jump to B6 also I cant sing words with B6 is that normal ? and what can I do to hit the G5 and A6 as easily as the B6 I am scared that I am ruining my head voice and my singing ego is kind of suffering cause I feel like the bad soprano in my school choir. Can you please help ?

Answer. Your body does not approach singing in the same way you have mapped out your voice. It's just vibrations. We use a Western tonal scale in the US but not because the body is set up that way. Every pitch requires a separate relationship between your air and larynx. If the relationship is balanced the note sounds fine. If it isn't there can be lots of issues -- but the bottom line is still a bad relationship between forces. It would be better for you to train with glissandos (slides of pitch) rather than stepwise scales. You are too focused on the pitch and not enough on the relationship creating it. Keep the feeling consistent as you rise through your range and you will notice areas of change. These are natural points where the body should re calibrate the relationship. Your reflexes can do a much better job of this then your conscious mind. Stop targeting pitches. Instead, create a reflexive environment that self regulates throughout your range.

Mark

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Question. I HAVE A 9 YEAR OLD SON AND A 13 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER AND THEY BOTH HAVE A GREAT SINGING VOICE BUT I'M NOT SURE WHERE TO GO FROM HERE TO FURTHER THEIR TALENT. CAN YOU HELP THANK YOU LAURA

Answer. The best thing you can do for their talent is to allow them to sing and explore their voices without pressure or criticism. They are both too young to really develop their voices. 15 years old is a good time to start with lessons if they beg for them. Otherwise, leave them alone. The love of singing does not have to lead to anything. If they want to pursue something in the entertainment field they should announce their desire and you should be a supportive parent but not a manager. I'm assuming you would not usher them willingly into a traveling circus if they showed a talent for juggling -- because that's exactly what a career in the music industry is like!

Mark

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Question. I have a deviated septum and chronic sinusitis. do they interfere with high-pitch singing?

Answer. Yes. When we sing higher, the smaller resonating cavities in the head need to contribute. These are blocked for you and so the higher pitches won't be as resonate. This doesn't mean you can't sing high, which is the result of the vocal folds stretching, it means the sound won't be as bright. You also should be watchful that you don't drive the air too hard due to the blockage above.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark, I'm a 14 year old female, and I was wondering how I could make my voice really mature, so that it sounds strong and powerful, I.e. JOJO & xtina Aguilera.If I can't take lessons is there any way I can make this happen?

Answer. There are natural factors at play with what makes a mature sound. When you're young the larynx sits high in the throat, so there is less space to resonate. As we age the larynx sinks down and provides more space for a richer tone. Both singers you mentioned sound young to me, so I think what you are hearing as "mature" is their control . . . and that comes from practice, practice, practice!

Mark

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Question. Can large tonsils affect your singing?

Answer. Not if they have always been large. However, if they become swollen due to infection then the area will be affected by the activity. Mark

Mark

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Question. first off, I have an ok voice. I can hit notes, but theres no volume behind it. alot has to do with learning the correct breathing. so even though I can hit notes, they waver a bit and are not smooth. so singing alone or with an instrument sounds horrible, but to the radio its ok cause the voice on the radio has the volume and power behind it. however, whenever I sing, my nose tends to start getting stuffy. I wanted to know whether this will still be a problem after learning how to breath. thanks scott

Answer. No it will not be a problem. The stuffiness is a reaction to air pressure.

Mark

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Question. Hi, I've been asked to sing in a band, a rock band believe it or not. I sing very well at home and along with CD's, but that's about it. I understand that I'll need more volume and power when singing with a band. Is it pumping out more air, or using your throat that gives volume? I will sing with them for a good year or so before I play a gig. I can sing Chris Cornell stuff at home, but in a mic, hmmmmmm. I'm not after range (for a while), just from home volume to reasonable practice room volume (I can't buy your book, I don't generally have money, sorry).

Answer. The problem with volume is thinking about it. People tense up in anticipation of making the voice louder. As you practice with the band you will automatically respond to the need for more volume. The real challenge is staying loose and not over working muscles to the point you get headaches and blow the voice out. Over-compensating is way more of a problem then under. I would show up at the first rehearsal and just sing the way you normally do. Over the next year you'll develop more volume. Your job will be to maintain control.

Mark

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Question. I have two questions: 1--I have a good, on-pitch singing voice, but I find there is a nasal quality to it--how do I get rid of that? 2--How do I develop more power? I'm on key when I sing at a normal volume, but when I try to put any power behind my voice, I can't make certain notes, particularly in the higher range. How can I improve this? Thank you! Tara

Answer. To reduce nasality you must release and open your jaw when singing. You are channeling air pressure up into your nose (ironically to help control pitch) and closing up the jaw allows you to do that. Place a finger on your tongue and sing AH. Practice until your tongue remains absolutely still throughout your range. This is also a good exercise for power. It will take lots of practice, but a powerful sound is a combination of a relaxed throat and jaw along with the increase of air pressure. You are pushing too much on those high notes that cut out. The practice is to find the balance.

Mark

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Question. Hi Ive been reading all the FAQs on you site and they all seem pretty helpful and I think its great you spend you time trying to help people. Ive always wanted to be able to sing properly, just so it sounds good but I cant seem to do it and I listen to my friends and their all good at singing. Im 14 and have quite a deep voice for a girl and I want to be able to sing high and low but my voice always sounds strained and sore. I wondered if there is anything I can do to be able to sing how I want. Could you help please?

Answer. Generally we all want what other people have. The trick in life is to appear like you're happy with what you've got. Then other people will want what you've got and you'll be cool. Every popular singer has learned this trick. No one can sing everything great. What great singers do is let you hear just what they do well. That way, it seems like everything they do is great. You're very young and can open your voice up quite a bit but it would really help if you didn't target things that were outside your immediate ability. Make lots of small steps inside of wishing for giant leaps.

Mark

Question. Hi Mark! I seem to be having trouble with my vibrato.I have a fairly good one but I want to increase the speed and get it going at any part of the song or a word in the song . Is this possible?I'm at present under the impression that vocalists who have more vibrato sounds more impressive and distinguished.How important is incorporating vibrato into a song?By the way I sing rock.Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer. Vibrato is the result of a free environment around the larynx. The more you think about it the harder it is to control. I recommend you do some vocal exercises for flexibility. There's an outline of some good ones in my free lesson called, "Vibrato." You can find it on my site. www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question. Hey, just like to start off by saying great site and great FAQ section, your answers to other people have helped me along way as well! Anyway my question is this...when I sing in my head voice it seems very weak, not airy but it doesn't sound like Steve Tyler's head voice (eg) Im not sure if you know what I mean but say for instance you turn the tone knob half way down on an electric guitar...the sound is er more thicker than with the tone on full. if you understand. And after a while my voice seems to go really quickly, and the tone keeps getting thicker (in terms of turning the tone knob on a guitar). I\'ve only been singing for a short while so is this due to my voice not being strong enough? I\'ve been told I strain my voice aswell because im trying to get an Axl/Steve tyler type sound out of it. Any help is much appreciated if you have any idea what im talking about! Cheers bud...Chrisi Stradlin\'

Answer. To continue with your guitar analogy, think of vocal folds as guitar strings. (the throat and mouth are more like the tone knob) If you use super slinky strings, they are easy to bend a play but don't offer much sound. If you use a thick gage they sound great but take real finger strength to play. In order to hit those high notes your folds must thin down -- in order to have a beefy sound they need to be thick. See the problem? One goal counters the other. Keep singing and you'll develop more strength which will allow you to thicken up your folds and still stretch them for high notes. Cheers

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, First of all I'd like to say thanks for offering the FAQ. I have learned a great deal of information from it. I am a serious amateur/pro pop piano player and tried to start singing 6 months ago. I began taking 1 hour per week lessons and practiced between 30 minutes and 3 hours per day. My goal was to do billy joel songs and accompany myself. I improved alot and after a while, my teacher said he thought I was ready to do a vocal demo to hand out to restaurants and bars to market myself vocally. Mark, the resulting cd was horrifying. I simply could not believe that I had studied music my whole life and could not sing in tune. Don't get me wrong, it was 80% on, but my 'good ears' make me very sensitive to the tiniest pitch miscalculations and they are numerous. I can sing down to a low e or so but the songs I was singing, New York State of mind for example, sounded comical, almost like a woman. As I began analyzing this disaster I wondered if I was singing too high for my range. I can certainly hit a high G without too much of a problem but it just sounds bad if the song hangs around it, which alot of Billy Joel songs do, or even higher... . My best analogy is playing a standard bowed contra bass but notes waaaay up on the fingerboard, yes, the high notes are there but it doesn't sound good. I transposed the song 5 half steps ( a minor 3rd) and my intonation improved by about 35% AND it sounds much more relaxed, more like my speaking voice pitch. Thanks for any insight, I would be happy to send you an mp3 clip of myself doing New York State of Mind if you promise not to laugh. Believe it or not, it sounds better I think anyway, when I transpose it down.

Answer. You simply have too many muscles involved when singing around that G. So did Billy in his early years. Just listen to early albums compared to later. I think you're transposing down too far. As soon as you start performing, you're going to wish the key were higher. Each step in a performers career takes practice. Yes you can sing but singing in the studio requires practice -- meaning go back in there and record again. That's what Billy and everybody else does. The same thing will occur once you start gigging. You're bound to get a few train wreck gigs in the beginning stages. Being a pro means nothing more than learning how to smile when you think you sound horrible!

Mark

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Question. Dear mark, I am a soprano singer, I'm alright I guess. but I just wanna know how I can sing real high without straining my voice. I wanna be able to sing a solo whether high or not and feel that am really singing. I sing in the choir, and my teacher just gave me a song to learn, which we will be singing very soon. The lady on the cd's voice is so lovely. She is singing on a high pitch but I can hear that she sings "naturally" unlike me sometimes. How can I sing on a high pitch without "cracking" my voice? thanks.

Answer. If you're straining on the high notes than you may not be a soprano. If you stick with singing as long as that lady on the CD has been at it, chances are very good you'll sing like that, too. The cracking is a signal that your air is not coordinated. The lady on the CD is relaxing her throat as she sings and you should too. Only when you do it these days your voice cracks. That doesn't mean you should tense your throat -- it means you should practice keeping things loose while you're cracking and looking for the right coordination. It's hard to work that way because you'll sound horrible for a little while -- but it's the quickest way to get where you want to be.

Mark

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Question. dear mark I am a male singer and have tried to improve my voice all these while and there have been tremendous improvement and I have come to discover that I can sing a soprano voice which gives me alot of joy but I have come to discover that each time I sing with the soprano my male treble voice cracks I find it difficult to sing with it but after resting the voice for a few days the male treble voice returns and the soprano disappears unless I force it out after which the male treble cracks could you tell me what is responsible and what I can do to overcome this I like the two of them thanks from canice

Answer. Tension and air pressure are responsible for the cracking and the disappearing. You are driving too hard to access those female high notes. If it gives you joy then that's cool but it makes singing more of an athletic event instead of an artistic one. Your body has a genetic code which determines how big your vocal folds are. Their size determines what area of pitch is comfortable to sing. Higher is not better; it's just higher.

Mark

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Question. hey, im a 14 yr old male, almost 15, I was wondering if you could help. I cant do falsetto. I try but nothing comes out or I get a huge crack in my voice, People try to explain how they do falsetto but I just cant do it. I was wondering if it is my age? perhaps cause my voice broke recently its stopping me from doing falsetto temporarily. thanks for your help

Answer. It's a strange period you're in for the voice. Growth spurts occur overnight and change things dramatically. Depending on how big your genetic code says your larynx will grow, you probably have the ability for falsetto hidden underneath a lot of awkward behavior right now. It's okay if your voice cracks and cuts out. Don't push to make the notes come out. Instead, play around with sea gull sounds or pretend you're a kitty cat. Random noises like those are more likely to let you slip into falsetto as opposed to higher notes that have a lot of push and tension behind them. Keep messing around. You'll stumble into falsetto by accident.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, sometimes when I vocalize, I activate my gag reflex! what am I doing wrong and how do I correct it?

Answer. You aren't doing anything wrong, you're just tight. The gag comes from extremely protective muscles that line the upper throat area. They are the same ones that rob us of tone and flexibility. When you trigger a gag reflex, it means you are trespassing into that area with your singing behaviors. It's best to continue challenging those muscles by backing off slightly. Hover around the area without triggering another gag. The more you visit there, the more permission you will gain to release the throat. Better tone and flexibility await.

Mark

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Question. hey im a 24 year old male ive been playin guitar about 10 years ive been trying to learn to sing but I feel like it doesn't sound well my greatest influence is kurt cobain if only I could sing his notes my voice is middle range not high or low either when I try to sing some of his screaming song it hurts and I know that isn't good how could I get my voice close to his what exercises do I need to try I am clueless at singing I just want my voice to sound good where I could sing in a small band just a good all around voice like pearl jam, nirvana , creed singers of that nature if u have any suggestions please write me back Robby

Answer. Dear Robby, First off: How 'bout throwing me an occasional period or question mark -- okay pal? Second off: What makes you think Kurt wasn't hurting when he screamed? That was the whole point. Notice, though, that Scott and Eddie get their point across just fine without torching their throats. It's really all about honesty -- especially for rock. You should exercise your voice so it becomes a stronger instrument and then sing from your heart. A good start would be the stuff in my book. Please be aware, though, there's nothing in there about how to scream -- just how to survive it.

Mark

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Question. first off I would like to say your website is great!!!! you can bet I will recommend this to friends. well my question is I now that I have singing capabilities, but the problem is I cant keep enough air in my lungs. I am a female and ii smoke. also when I sing my abs hurt and my neck and head feels like it has alot of tension. please help me im working on my chest voice right now, but I can seem to keep air flowing so my voice can vibrato?....right? I am recently starting to get back into singing again . I am 19 yrs and I have not sang seriously in about 4 1/2 yrs not to mention I smoked at that time but I have QUIT! . Please give me some tips on rejuvenating my voice, but there is one other problem im having a problem finding my correct pitch. Because I can sing Shania twain but at the same time I can sin Alicia keys (on my good days) . please help me figure out where I can start and who to use as a guide.

Answer. It not that you need a lot of air in your lungs to sing, it's that you need to be able to hold on to what you have. Your abs are getting tight because you are dumping all your air out too quickly when singing. Part of that is due to poor singing habits but mostly it's because your body is not getting enough oxygen out of the air in your lungs. Years of smoking have damaged the ability for the lungs to transfer oxygen into the blood stream. The result is that you need to take many short breaths to equal what a non smoker gets when breathing slowly. I recommend you start a program of cardiovascular exercise (running, aerobics, swimming, etc.) Do it slowly and build up to more vigorous work outs. This will encourage a healthier relationship between heart and lungs. Then you can "barrow" the lungs for singing. The question about singing on pitch is tangled with the breathing issue. So any vocal tips will not be effective until your aerobic capacity improves. You are young enough to completely turn both your health and your voice around. Get busy!!

Mark

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Question. I just found your site and I think that it is awesome. Do you offer any music lessons and where do you live? Anyways...my question is that I am into bands like Mae (www.purevolume.com/mae) and I want to sing like the vocalist but I can't find a way to sing like him. If you could help, it would be a big help. I am not that good at singing but I always try to improve by looking at tips on the internet. I try singing high notes but it seems to sound like a girl that is singing bad. If you can help, once again...thanks. ...sorry if I'm asking too much but is it possible if I can maybe send you how my voice currently sounds like and you can tell me how to improve. If that's possible...thanks.

Answer. It seems that you haven't built a foundation for your singing yet. Read through my warm up lesson entitled, "K.I.S.S." on my site (www.voicelesson.com) and start building up your basic skills. The high notes and drama can come much easier once that's in place.

Mark

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Question. Hey, I just came across your site and thought it was way cool of you to answer all of these questions but I got one of my own. Im 16yrs old, have terrible breathing problems, and I know its bad but for the last year ive been usin the Reefer. But my question is this... I have been singin my whole life and used to sing flat out like a girl in my early days and could hit any high note out there. Then the puberty monster struck me now I sing PRETTY low but can still barely manage to hit some high notes (Dave Gilmour,Layne Staley) pretty well... It takes a lot of effort though :( How can I get a more developed High Range like Chris Cornell(Audioslave)? I know this is long but I need the help man.... Any answer would be well appreciated THANKS

Answer. I have a free lesson on my site called, "Maximum Range." That would be a good place to start. www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question. hi mark all my family think I have a brilliant voice and want me to start having singing lessons but I don't really have loads of money and my mum cant really afford to pay im still in school at the moment im in my last year and I really would like to have singing lesson can you help at all please I would really appreciate it I having been singing at my school since I started in second year I also do kareoke for a while my dad said he would really like me to sing at his funeral when he passes away hopefully not for a long time yet so please help me I love singing all I do is sometimes I drive my mum crazy because I don't stop singing thank- you for your help

Answer. Do you want me to send you money? I don't understand how I can help you take singing lessons. I recommend you finish school and find a job and settle in. Then you will know how much time and money you have to spend on things like singing lessons. You don't need to stop singing until then -- just keep doing what you're doing. You also don't need lessons to sing at your father's funeral. He loves your voice right now. Try my free lessons on my site www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question. WHEN I SING MY VOICE CRACKS WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THAT? HOW CAN I HIT HIGH NOTES?

Answer. You can learn to manage your air flow better -- that will stop the cracking. There are many ways to approach high notes. It all depends on what kind of tone and power you want along with the note. All this is explained in my new CD, "Sing Like an Idol."

Mark

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Question. sorry to bother you once again. but your a great teacher and mentor. I went to a speech pathologist and singing teacher(one person) and a laryngologist. the doctor said I have very good looking vocal cords. but said im using to much muscles in my throat since im feeling a weird feeling in my right side when I sing. the pathologist singer gave me some relaxing exercises and said I do not need to stop singing at all. is this true.(back in history I was singing and heard a click in my throat and then voice quality was a bit worse that day the next even worse). also, when I do sing now I get a clicking sound in my corner of my right jaw and sometimes in my left jaw. and sometimes a weird feeling in my right ear or like soft soft sharp pain. the pathologist says this is more than likely form excessive muscle use in throat, is this true? even though my voice does sound much better, almost like a clear wind breathy breeze with easier transitions than even before I was singing. and ive only been doing the se exercises about 3-4 days, but the pathologist said it takes a while for the exercises to actually stay longer without tension. is this true also? also, sometimes when im not even talking or singin I get a tension in my throat. thanks

Answer. Your pathologist is correct. You will be fine if you stick with the exercises. The clicking and weird pain are due to muscles tensing that should be. As you become more coordinated, you will feel less of that activity.

Mark

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Question. hi ! first off all I'd like to say that this site is very good for learning about singing and all , well the thing is I'm 15 years old and I'd like to start singing what are your tips for me should I do special exercises and where should I get them?? many thanks

Answer. The best place to start singing is in your school. Join the choir or drama club. The special exercises are called vocalizing and they will make it easy to control your voice. A good beginning routine is outlined on my site (www.voicelesson.com) called K.I.S.S.

Mark

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Question. I was a really good singer.I sounded like Martina McBride kinda,But now I can still sing but its not the same it's not a good as it use to.

Answer. Unless you define what it is you don't like about your voice these days you'll be running in circles. Things change as we age so you'll have to keep up the fight if you want to maintain. Just think about the body. Lots of people look fit when they're young but don't do anything physical. Then as they get older they really complain about having to work out and exercise to keep what they had. Start a vocal exercise routine, my new CD, "Sing Like an Idol" has a good one.

Mark

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Question. Mark, I love to sing and people usually say I am a good or ok singer (no ranting and raving though) however I am apparently only a mocking bird. as in I can only sing songs and vocalists I have already heard. I have no idea what my true voice is or how to just sing what I write (lyrics) without hearing music. any help??

Answer. Sing scales instead of songs for a while. Use simple vowels like EE AH and OO. The scale will tell you what notes to sing but not how to sound. After a while your "sound" will become evident. Keep in mind there's nothing to do to promote this sound. It's just the natural result of your genetics.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I have problem with being very airy and it's very noticeable in the monitor. How do I not let so much air out when I sing? Nikki

Answer. Start by taking in smaller breaths. You'll have to train some in order to teach the folds to be more efficient. Right now you're caught in a cycle, the harder you work the breathier you'll sound. Practice sustaining a low volume hiss sound for 60 seconds.

Mark

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Question. Hi there. I was wondering is it possible to learn how to have a voice like freddie mercury's? Can anyone sing or is it a natural ability? And also is recording your voice on a tape/minidisc a good idea, does it playback accurately? Thanks

Answer. Your question is like asking if it's possible to play basketball like Michael Jordan. Yes it's perfectly possible to play the game but comparing yourself to the best is a sure way to become disheartened. Why let everyone else have all the fun? Sing with the best of your ability and work on your skills. You'll get better every time you sing.

As for recording. Practise your skills first. Otherwise you could be disheartened again because of what you hear. Recording is for tweaking not learning.

Mark

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Question. Dear Mr. Baxter I am 16 years old, and I have not been taking voice lessons or singing for very long, but I have been making every effort to improve my voice. I practice daily, have joined school choir, and gotten a part in the school musical. I have two questions for you, the first being, how do I relax my throat? When I sing my high notes I can feel it closing up, and the note either sounds strained or flat. I know it's because I'm tensing up, but how can I stop it? My second question is about the quality of my voice. I sing soprano, and my voice has a very little-girlish quality. I was wondering if there's anything I can do to get a more mature quality to my voice, and if there is and I do it, will I lose the little girl sound? I would like to be capable of using either quality of the voice as it suits me. The key to doing this is probably experience, but I would still like to know if there is anything I can do. Thanks! -Jaz

Answer. These two questions are related. Your throat is closing up because you are lifting the larynx, tightening your jaw and then driving the air pressure underneath those high notes. To open up you've got to back off the pressure, open your mouth and let your throat feel like you're yawning. The yawn feel counters the lifting muscles. All of this will be very uncoordinated at first so you'll have to forgive yourself as you sound bad experimenting. The little girl sound comes from the same physical scenario and because . . . well, you are a little girl. An adult has a mature sound because the larynx has dropped down the throat quite a bit since the teen years. As you get older, and as you practice that yawn feel, you'll develop a richer mature sound. The good news is you'll always be able to raise your larynx, tighten that throat, and sound like a little girl again.

Mark

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Question. how does one open the I guess you say, pallet? Does this make the sound stronger?..thanks Maddi

Answer. The pallet is the name given to the roof of your mouth. There is the hard pallet up front and the soft pallet in the rear. The term open the pallet means raise the roof of your mouth in order to provide more resonating space. It makes the sound richer, brighter and more focused. Stronger would refer to the way the sound is produced at the vocal folds. I not a fan of concentrating on raising the pallet when singing. It rises naturally when you sing. If it's not it's due to tensions holding it down or lazy muscles not doing their job. Both issues are better addressed with separate exercises rather than policing them during a song.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I found your web site and wondered if you could help me. I give hundreds of speeches each year to senior citizens and tell them about programs to help them. The problem is that after 10 minutes or so, my voice and throat gets dry and its hard to talk. Do you have any tips on how to keep the voice lubricated. I've tried water and its a short term fix. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Kris

Answer. Tension is making your throat dry. You are pushing to make your voice heard. Warm up your body with some aerobic activity before speaking. Duck out of the room and do some jumping jacks or jog in place until your heart rate elevates. Stretch out your body by bending and reaching to the ceiling. Suck on a lozenge (any kind) right up until you are speaking. When speaking wear a single ear plug to make you more aware of your internal behaviors. Oh yeah, and tell your audience to put fresh batteries in those hearing aids!

Mark

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Question. Mark, Hi! I'm forming a band with a few friends from school, and we are all really eager to get this thing going to full potential. I know singing comes along with practice, and consistency, but is there any ways to hopefully get to where I need to be the quickest way possible?(I'm the lead singer). I listen to Incubus a lot, and I love the style of vocals used by Brandon Boyd. I work hard practicing with the cd's, and there are many different scales used throughout the songs, which is sometimes challenging on the higher notes. I was just hoping you could give me some pointers, and guidance about what I can do. cheers, aaron h.

Answer. Hey Aaron, Like the rest of the guys in your band, you need to practice the basic skills required to play your instrument. That doesn't come from singing songs -- it comes from doing vocal exercises. My book and video have lots of different ways to challenge your coordination in order for your voice to develop to its full potential quickly.

Mark

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Question. I've been singing 20 years and playing 30 years. But still to this day, I get very nervous when I have to sing. Please understand: I have sung a lot, in church, in prisons, in shopping malls, at fairs, I've even done mini concerts by myself and am working on my first CD. I've also been to music school for composition and I've had 3 months of formal training (to learn proper breathing and use my diaphragm). YET!!!!! just the other nite I was asked to sing for a small group, and I was so nervous my voice became "shaky" and weak and I even lost intonation at times. Lately, it has become a real problem again and I feel like quitting altogether. Overall, people tell me I have a nice voice. When I sent a demo recently to a very active producer in the D.C. area, he said my voice was exceptionally good. BUT, I get so nervous at times, I really CAN'T sing and I ruin my performance. Is there anything I can do about this? I really need some help. I've wanted to become more of a professional but I can't count on myself. Thanks so much.

Answer. There's nothing wrong with being nervous -- it means you care! The problems we all have to deal with is short breaths and shaky breath control. Address those symptoms in your warm up by extending very long buzz sounds, hums and lip trills. Deal with the physical requirements of singing and stop trying to pretend you're not nervous!

Mark

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Question. Hello Mr. Baxter, I understand there is a spray that can be used to keep your vocals/larynx moist so you don't lose your voice. Is this true? If so, what is it and where can I buy it? If this is not true. Is there anything that can help? Thanks Joaquin

Answer. Thayer's makes a throat spray that moisturizes. If you are a speaker it may help you last longer. If you are a singer, there's nothing better than training for keeping the voice healthy and avoiding blow outs. I quick Google search will provide lots of outlets for the spray.

Mark

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Question. When I sing to a CD it sounds fine and then when I record it and listen to the playback it sounds different and off. Can u please help? thanks Brian

Answer. There is a false sense of ability created when singing to a CD or the radio. It's like using training wheels on a bicycle -- you're not really in charge of your balance. Continue to record your voice and work through the things you don't like. Vocalize with exercises to build and develop your instrument rather than just sing songs. There are a lot of exercises to get you started in my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Manual."

Mark

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Question. Greetings , My name is Anisha Washington but go by the stage name of Moon. I could imagine that you receive a sufficient amount of e-mails daily. If you take the time to read mine and offer your assistance I will be most grateful. I am the lead singer of an Abstract Rock band called Uninterrupted. I first read your manual last year and saw your video. My dad gave it to me after he heard my bands music. I do my best to follow the rules so that my voice is in good shape but I do not have a routine work-out for my voice. Our band manager sent me to a jazz vocal coach and she saw nothing wrong beside pronunciation of words but when the music gets going , I find myself screaming to compete with them. When I hit high notes ( if I can hit them) they are short and uneven. I move around alot onstage but at times breath control is weak . When I sing often my voice sounds tinny and thin and other times its full . Transitioning from low to high notes seems a little rough and inconsistent. When I sing songs that are slow and are meant to be soft they still sound hard. I have a problem with volume ( I am a loud singer) . I need help in remedying these issues. I know what the problems are and I hear it when I play back the tapes. But I don't know how to fix it. The problems are
1. Lack of voice Control
2. Volume
3. Breath Control
4. Transitioning in between High notes and low notes
5. Voice Fullness ( how do I get rid of the thin sound)

Thanks alot I really appreciate this.

PS. What would be a sufficient daily workout for my voice. I already work-out my physical with yoga and pilates. ( I don't drink or smoke or do drugs so I'm pretty much in good shape)


Answer. The remedy for your issues, and you have lots of them, is voice lessons. There are too many factors involved with the way you sing to target any one thing. I don't understand why the teacher you went to didn't hear these issues -- since you do. Right off the bat I would recommend wearing ear plugs when rehearsing and gigging to stop competing with the volume of the band. It feels weird at first but you'll get used to them.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark. I'm into Progressive/Power Metal -- I've played guitar for around 20 years (I'm in my early 30s now), and just started singing seriously about 3 years ago, at which time I started voice lessons with an opera singer. I don't have any problems with pitch, and I feel like my voice is much stronger and more accurate now than when I started, and I'm even developing the "tenor resonance" as my teacher called it, but my voice still sounds really thin and weak, even when I feel like I'm putting a lot of power into it. I recently posted some tracks to GarageBand.com, and while most reviewers complimented my guitar playing, they universally trashed my voice performance. Am I just working against my physiology? Some of my friends have been telling me that I "just don't have it" and that if I'm gonna sing I'll have to do it with softer music for which my weak-sounding voice is more appropriate. Maybe I have unrealistic goals, as my singing heroes are guys like Russell Allen of Symphony X and James Labrie of Dream Theater (who must have been singing since they were kids), but I'm still hanging on to the hope that with practice, one day I will have a powerful voice -- Do I just need to practice longer and/or differently? Whaddya think? Thanks, Henry

Answer. Tenor resonance vs rock music is like golf vs hockey. The power play of harmonics coming from guitars, bass and slamming drums will body slam you out of the mix like Tiger Woods on skates. Classical training is for classical music. They have separate ideals which cross over as smoothly as Tony Twist playing mini golf in full gear. Set your goals for what you want to sing like and deal with the hurdles as they come. Without hearing your singing I already know you are singing "correctly" which is why everyone is trashing you. Rock fans want you to spend more of yourself when singing. Only you can answer the question of whether it's right for you. You won't really know until you try.

Mark

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Question. first off I would like to say your website is great!!!! you can bet I will recommend this to friends. well my question is I now that I have singing capabilities, but the problem is I cant keep enough air in my lungs. I am a female and ii smoke. also when I sing my abs hurt and my neck and head feels like it has alot of tension. please help me im working on my chest voice right now, but can seem to keep air flowing so my voice can vibrato?....right? I am recently starting to get back into singing again . I am 19 yrs and I have not sang seriously in about 4 1/2 yrs not to mention I smoked at that time but I have QUIT! . Please give me some tips on rejuvenating my voice, but there is one other problem im having a problem finding my correct pitch. Because I can sing Shania twain but at the same time I can sin Alicia keys (on my good days) . please help me figure out where I can start and who to use as a guide.

Answer. It not that you need a lot of air in your lungs to sing, it's that you need to be able to hold on to what you have. Your abs are getting tight because you are dumping all your air out too quickly when singing. Part of that is due to poor singing habits but mostly it's because your body is not getting enough oxygen out of the air in your lungs. Years of smoking have damaged the ability for the lungs to transfer oxygen into the blood stream. The result is that you need to take many short breaths to equal what a non smoker gets when breathing slowly. I recommend you start a program of cardiovascular exercise (running, aerobics, swimming, etc.) Do it slowly and build up to more vigorous work outs. This will encourage a healthier relationship between heart and lungs. Then you can "barrow" the lungs for singing. The question about singing on pitch is tangled with the breathing issue. So any vocal tips will not be effective until your aerobic capacity improves. You are young enough to completely turn both your health and your voice around. Get busy!!

Mark

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Question. Hello Mark, My name is Valerie, and I'm a 16 year old girl. I'm not a professional singer or anything like that, and to be honest I don't really intend to become one. However, I do love to sing, and I'm in choir at school and stuff like that, and I occasionally get solos. Anyway, my question is this- some days I can sing really really good. Other days, notes that seemed easy the day before are almost impossible for me to hit. Some days I can hold notes for a fairly long time and it sounds great, while other days I can barely hold a note for 2 seconds without my voice wavering or cracking. Is there anything I can do to be more consistent in my voice? I'm a bit worried that one day I'll have a solo at a choir concert, on a day that my voice decides not to cooperate. And I also just want to keep my voice healthy. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance, Valerie O.

Answer. The human body is never exactly the same day after day. Little changes inside us mean a lot to the voice. Professional singers need to count on things sounding good and so they warm up and vocalize every day. The exercises allow them to reset the voice to what it was when things were sounding great. Even if you're just singing for fun, predictable results come from a good warm up every time you sing. Information on warming up is available in my video, "The Singer's Toolbox."

Mark

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Question. I've just started a band and we are trying to find a singer. I think that I could do it, but we want someone who can sing-scream. No matter how hard I try I cant go about being able to do it. Ever time I go to scream no sound comes out. Is everyone capable of singing like that? If so where does the sound come from? I also like the raspy sounding voice, I know that is the worse thing that you can do to you vocal cords but is there anyway to achieve that sound? Every time I try to scream nothing comes out. Does every one have the vocal capability to sing like that? I was wondering if its possible for everyone one to sing-scream. Because when I try to nothing ends up coming out. Where does the sound come from and how would you go about trying to develop my voice to be able to do that. I also like raspy sounding voices, and I was wondering if there is any kind of techniques to achieve that sound. I also really like the raspy type sounding voice...even though that is suppose to be the worst for your voice, is there anyway I can achieve that sound? thanks, Bre

Answer. You don't say what instrument you play but I find it interesting when absolute beginners compare their voices to singers who have years of experience. Every time I pick up a guitar it sure doesn't sound like Hendrix -- and I know exactly why. I have never spent any time to develop my guitar playing. I don't in part because I know so many great guitarist that when I listen to my pitiful attempt at playing I get frustrated and give up. Learning to sing is just like any other instrument. It takes a couple of years of basics to be able to do the fancy stuff with conviction. I'm sure you don't go mute if you're screaming at a baseball game -- you're just clamping off your throat in anticipation of the shock. Learn to sing a little first. Stay in pitch, increase the range, improve the non scream tone -- then you'll discover how to add a little edge.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark I wonder if you could answer this question for me, our band decided recently to move on from our own material and start adding covers songs to our playlist. While doing this myself and the other guitar player decided we would need to sing some songs as well, we were just backing our female lead singer up till now. Once we selected the songs we had a session to see who could sing what song the best. But a strange thing was happening in that some of the songs I felt the key was to high so we transposed it down only to find it was worse but when we transposed the key up it was more suited. Is it normal for this to happen or are we maybe getting something wrong, we normally try the songs in the original keys first but nearly always have to alter them. Is there a simple way of finding the key or is it trial and error. I have your book and I am now reading it for the second time but have not came across anything to help with the above. Thanks Again

Answer. Finding the right key is trial and error -- something which gets easier the more you do it. The only thing that doesn't matter at all is whether most people lower or raise keys. Just make em fit and start rocking.

Mark

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Question. hi mark, thankyou for answering my previous question.im noticing an improvement on my vocals simply by following ur tips.my questions are, -will cheer leading once in a while and shouting damage my vocals?

Answer. Yes -- on the day you cheer lead. The damage is temporary.

Mark

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Question. -what are the effects of whispering?

Answer. Depends on how you whisper. It can be irritating if you're pushing too hard; the folds can become dry. Again this is temporary.

Mark

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Question. -how can I take caution not to damage my vocal fold now that im singing loud,im training for rock.

Answer. Warm up every time you sing. Vocalize every day and learn as much as you can about your instrument. I just so happen to have written a book that will help you in this quest. And, it just so happens to be available on this web site!

Mark

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Question. Mark, It was great to hang with you and your wife at Pete's nuptials. It is certainly a small world with our connection to the Cape. You stirred my interest in taking my act from behind the wheel of the truck to the big time. Not sure if it is a worthwhile idea - let me know the deal for your perspective. I'll look forward to hearing from you. All the best. Thanks.

Answer. Hey Buddy, Just getting back from LA, so sorry for the delayed response. Here's my perspective on going for the big time: Sell the house, leave the wife and kids, move to Allston, place ads in the Phoenix, sift through the Bozo's that respond to your ad, start a band with guys half your age, kiss ass to get gigs at local clubs, pray that people start coming out, kiss ass again so some snot nose record guys come down and check out band, get record deal so you can try and survive on 50K for a year (I'm talking split between five guys), kiss ass one more time so MTV says you're cool. Rinse and repeat if first time doesn't work.

OR:

You can start something in your basement with guys like you who just want to play some fun songs. You could book some local bars, get together once a week to practice, it would be a blast. And you get to keep the wife and kids. If I see you on MTV, I'll know which way you chose!

Mark

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Question. Hi mark,you are incredible in the way you answer questions. im an accounting student interested in singing.my problem is guys can't stand the noise I make when I'm practising.is there a way I can practice quietly?I dont have a place to practice plus I'm a begginer and I dont know much.please give me some opening tips.thankyou

Answer. You can practice quietly for a while. But, not being in a band means you'll have to stimulate your vocal muscles by singing loud (after warming up) at least twice a week. If you don't have a car use the closet and put a pillow over your mouth. Find out when no one is around and schedule your practices accordingly. See if there's an empty room at school to use. In general, you can't develop you voice without singing loud -- and you can't be self conscious about it. Find a place to sing horrible for a while!

Mark

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Question. Hi! Really helpful site... My question is how do I make my voice louder during gigs without straining myself? I can sing okay but my projection may need a little help...

Answer. Projection is based on the overtones in your voice -- not the loudness. Ironically, pushing to be loud usually cuts off the potential of the voice to carry. A very good exercise for power is included in my new CD "Sing Like an Idol."

Mark

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Question. When I sing I tend to sing out of my nose, how can I prevent that?

Answer. Close your nose off with your fingers and sing scales on an AH vowel without causing any vibration up there. Keep playing with your options until you feel nothing in the nose when you hold it. Start with a deep yawn-like sound and then try breathy if that doesn't work. Work a lot with scales before you try to apply this to songs.

Mark

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Question. im 17 years old at the moment with a bass voice in a choir. I don't have much high range, at most I can sing is high D on bass clef and usually I have to take a deep breath and think down to get it, other times my voice just breaks. is there vocal training to increase male range? or would it be just natural to switch into falsetto? I know I may be still developing, but I've been trying to train to get those high notes for a while now with some advice from my high school vocal teacher.

Answer. There's absolutely nothing wrong with switching into falsetto -- it can and should sound exactly like your chest voice. The other issue is that you may in fact be a bass. Genetics plays a role in determining range and you may just have two enormous thick vocal folds. No need to despair. You can do plenty with an instrument like that. As soon as you stop trying to sing like every one else!

Mark

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Question. hi mark, I absolutely love Karen carpenters voice. and I am trying to achieve it even if it is somewhat close. could you tell me how someone can never have a singing lesson and sound as good as she did. boy, what luck huh? I would love your insight on this. thank you

Answer. Karen had big thick vocal folds, which gave her those deep lows. She also had a very relaxed and independent approach to singing, which allowed that tone to remain consistent throughout her range. So one aspect is genetic and the other is behavior.

Mark

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Question. hi mark, I'll go straight to the question. I've been singing all my life. I am now 25 years old. until like 10 years ago, I don't have any problem catching very high notes in falsetto. I can did it with no problem, anytime. I use to imitate Mariah carey's song at that time. somehow, oneday, after a long usual flu that I had, my voice didn't fully recover. I lost my falsetto! entirely. these days, I have to try really hard to sing in falsetto. anyone would see that I'm struggling with falsetto when I'm singing. can u help to find ways to have it back? I'm willing to try anything. even surgery if it's needed. this problem has always kept me from being a professional singer. thanks in advance!!!

Answer. This problem has absolutely nothing to do with you becoming a professional singer and it wasn't caused by the flu. You went through puberty a little late, that's all. Falsetto requires you to back off the air pressure -- there's no struggling involved. Explore it at the softest volume you can produce.

Mark

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Question. hi Mark I'm a 20 yr girl from Boston with big dreams I taught myself how to sing but the one note that I cant always get right is the high e that u here christina and Mariah hit soo effortlessly and I was wondering if u have any tips or any advice where I should start my career

Answer. One note does not make a career . . . not even two notes. In fact, range couldn't matter less. Who is remembered is the one who captivates your imagination and emotions. Mariah and Christina do that for you and you associate their magic with that note. Yet, I could line twenty singers in front of you who could all hit that E just as effortlessly but won't move you emotionally. My advice is to forget about that note and dial in what makes you want to sing. Let that passion out in a song and others who agree with your passion will come running. And the bonus is : once you take the importance away from that note -- it comes.

Mark

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Question. hey mark awesome website. heres my question ima in a band and we've been around for a little over 5 months my troubles are with my singer. I guess ive never noticed it when we gig but we recorded a little demo and when he sings his voice sounds really deep and I know his voice is not naturally that deep . I was looking for any advice you have ..........thanx and keep rocking

Answer. My advice is to talk to him about this issue. He may like that sound and you may have what's commonly called a creative difference in your band (translation: the wrong singer). If he doesn't like the sound, then he should be the one seeking advice for change, otherwise you may have what's commonly called a lazy front man in your band (translation: the wrong singer).

Mark

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Question. I'm very shy, but I love to sing. how can I overcome my fear of singing in front of people?

Answer. Sing with people instead of in front of them. Join a choir or church group where you're not the only one singing.

Mark

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Question. I really would like vocal training. I cant afford to much. Can you help me? I really can sing, but I really want to hit notes that I am not confident in myself.

Answer. The most important ingredient for making a killer voice is patients. It takes years of practice to get things where you want them. Get what you can from the web and keep working at it. You'll gain that confidence.

Mark

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Question. I am 23 years old and I sing in a heavy metal band called motograter.We have toured on ozzfest and we have played locobazooka an the U.K.'s Download festival.I used to be able to sing good but im having breathing problems from all the late night smoking.I am working on a new project called Ghost machine and the studio sessions just don't seem right.:( Is there any good exersizes you could explain to me to help me with this problem? thanks sincerly Ghost

Answer. I'm not sure what the problem is. Are you the one doing the late night smoking? If so, the solution is obvious. If others around you are smoking I would separate myself from them for a while before singing. It might be that the new material is challenging in a way the old stuff wasn't. I would recommend exploring vocal exercises in general -- just to build some foundation. My book and video would be a good place to start.

Mark

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Question. Recently, I was not accepted into an elite choir as I had intended. In order to help myself and someone else, I am currently 'coaching' a good friend of mine. He was kicked out of our Select choir because he was unable to reach the high notes. School lets out for the summer in 9 days. He has until then to impress the Choral Director in order to get a re-audition to get back into the choir. I really would like to help him sing I'm asking if you could give me some tips to help him reach his goal. He would take vocal lessons w/ me but there is not enough time and he doesn't have the money to invest. Please help me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank-you Mike

Answer. Read through the free lesson on my site, www.voicelesson.com entitled, "Maximum Range."

Mark

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Question. I have been singing for 6 years now, and I have a broad range. I can hit high notes so I never needed to learn how to sing in falsetto. I like the way it sounds and I would like to know how it is produced and how can it be developed. Thank you.

Answer. Pretend you're a kitty cat and "meow." Make a sea gull sound. Jump up and down and wriggle your body to get real loose and then make police siren sounds. The problem is that you've been blocking off the vocal folds from thinning down. Neck muscles have been trained to deny falsetto and your air pressure has always increased to sing higher. So you're going to have to discover that register by fooling around rather than taking a serious approach. Once you let it crack out, you can develop it. But play first.

Mark

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Question. Hello Mark, This is James. My question has a lot of parts to it, but after reading your FAQ's you seem to have quite a bit of knowledge. In the late 80's & 90's I was a recording artist with a rock band on a major label. I had a very strong range and lots of stamina. We toured quite a bit during that time and I never had any problems with the tour schedule or losing my voice. Since then. I have not been performing on a regular basis, but for the last ten years I have noticed some very strange things going on with my voice. One thing in particular is everytime I try to sing, My chest cavity burns so bad, I have to stop. I am also feeling that the air is trapped in the chest cavity and I end up burping for hours. Now the strangest part is, I have NO air to push out any notes in the mid-range area. It feels like a wall in my chest is stopping anything from reaching my vocal chords. It is very frustrating as I cant's get to any of the midrange notes with this problem. I know my voice has fatigue because I do not use it like I use to, but I know many singers who have stopped singing, but still when asked to sing can still get through a song. It is at a point now where you would never ever know I was a professional singer and was regarded as one of the best at one time. I have been to doctors and they tell me that I do not have nodes and they really do not see anything wrong. I have also been to a Pulmonologist and everything looks good there as well. Why is it that I can't find the breath or the place where I was able to control the midrange in the voice? HELP

Answer. Seems to me like you've developed Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in the last ten years. When you sing you are compressing your digestive organs and it is putting pressure on the esophageal valves. The acid backing up the esophagus is causing the burning and burping. Takes some Tums and make and appointment with another ENT and ask if there is any evidence of GERD around your larynx.

Mark

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Question. Umm, I don't sing, I don't have a singing voice cuz I don't really sing, but, I don't wanna go get lessons, just in case I suck, I just don't wanna do this...but, I wanna try to sing, so my question is how?!?!?! I haven't ever tried to sing, well I was in choir, but I just mouthed the words, lol, but I had to sing in front of the teacher alone to get in, and I got it, but that was in elementary school, 4 years ago, so...help??? Any exercises to build my voice? :-) I'd really appreciate it!!!

Answer. It's really simple. You don't need exercises right now -- you just need a change of perspective. Your shyness is stronger than your desire to sing. When your desire to sing becomes so strong that it keeps you up at night, then you'll figure out a way to let your voice out. Some people don't overcome their shyness until they are in their forties -- that's when it hits them that it's silly to rob yourself of something you want to do because you think you'll suck. Of course you'll suck. Why wouldn't it? It takes training to organize your behaviors in the right way. So it's completely up to you -- but you can't make any progress until you are willing to suck.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark. I am 13 years old and I have always had a dream to be able to sing. My whole family thinks I'm well on my way but we don't have enough money to pay for lessons. I was wondering if you had any ideas of how I could teach my self just off the internet without it costing money? Thank you so much Mark... Tonia

Answer. Sure you can. It's the hard way to go about it, but if that's what it has to be then that's what it is. I recommend reading through the free lessons on my site for starters and then surf the web for more.

Mark

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Question. when I sing I get out of breath real easily

Answer. You're singing too breathy. Sing louder and things will clear up, which makes you more efficient with your air.

Mark

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Question. Hey mark im 11 yrs old and im in grade six I think I could sing good im a fan of mariah carey but my problem is I want to know how do I sing louder im a soprano singer.

Answer. Don't try and sing louder yet -- you're too young. Just sing the way you do right now and enjoy it. As you get older you will develop more power in your voice.

Mark

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Question. Do you think its possible to learn to sing like robert plant or any other singer like him by singing along with your cd's all day every day without taking singing lessons or warming your voice up? I've been doing it for about 2 months because I'm a lazy f$%? and cant be bothered warming my voice up but I have noticed a huge improvement (eg I can sing really high and for longer periods each week) Also what would you recommend more, your book or dvd? I have no job and can only really afford to splash out on 1. I sing rock music but don't know anything bout warming up or any basics. Thanks

Answer. You've already answered your first question. I recommend the book sense you're not in a band yet.

Mark

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Question. I am a classical singer. I am usually a soprano. My lately I have been singer alto or lower. What can I do to bring my voice back up.? And also, how can I improve my range of singing?

Answer. I have a free lesson posted on my site, www.voicelesson.com entitled, "Maximum Range."

Mark

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Question. I've had classical Indian vocal training for about 3 years about 6 years ago. About 6 months ago, I started singing rock and figured I was really good at it. Recently , I've restarted my singing and have been practicing stuff like Iron Maiden and Van Halen. Now about 2 days before ,I had a hard hour and a half of practice. The next day I found my voice was more rigid around the low notes and I simply could not hit the high notes and worse of all I couldn't even go into my falsetto. All that came out was a low audible squeal-scream. However , yesterday and today I found I could go higher (although not as high as I could go before) but I felt that my throat was much stronger than before.Does this mean in a couple of days I will regain my original range with a the ability to sing with lesser effort and more volume? I must clarify that I'm 17 years old and I take singing lessons. I really feel that my voice has improved dramatically since this has happened. I would like your opinion on this matter.

Answer. You irritated your vocal folds when you sang hard at practice. They swelled up as a result and muscles surrounding the larynx became stiff. Because of that condition, high notes were not available next day. High notes, especially falsetto requires your folds be thin and flexible. A few days later your vocal folds were still a little swollen but the surrounding area had relaxed. That's what allowed you the high notes again but it is the swelling (thicker folds) which gave you the sensation of strength. It's also why you couldn't sing quite as high as before. This is not a good strength building routine. Let your teacher show you how to build that strength without the stress.

Mark

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Question. do people who love to sing but just don't have the voice. do they still have a chance at singing?

Answer. Sure. What do people do who love to play guitar but just don't have a guitar? Just because you don't have a good instrument doesn't mean you will never sing. You can develop what you have if you're willing to put in the time. It's the same dedication needed to save up and buy a guitar and then learn to play.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I'm 17 and I was wondering if there is any way to get the cracks out of my voice when I hit high notes or, is practice is enough to solve the problem? And another question if I start singing even to the radio like after 2 or 3 songs I will start yawning uncontrollably is there any way to help fix that? Thanks for your time!

Answer. To get the cracks out you have to reduce your air pressure as you sing higher. You are tensing up and pushing too hard. To solve the yawn issue you'd have to get more exercise. The yawns mean the air in your lungs has been stationary too long and singing triggers the body to try and play catch up. Run around the block a few times before you sing.

Mark

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Question. Mark, I am having trouble with my posture how exactly am I supposed to stand while singing? I am scheduled to sing in about five weeks at my high school graduation and I have just had an epiphany where I've realized I don't know how to sing the proper way I can do some crazy voice crescendos that sound great, but I never actually learned the proper way to sing. Can you just give me the basics... Breathing, Posture, etc.

Answer. The best advice I can give you to sing in five weeks is to remember that you were asked for a reason . . . because you can do it. Your epiphany is called stage fright and it's extremely common. Now you're doubting every thing about your singing. Don't. Just stand the way you normally do and breath the way you normally breath. Read through my site for some quick tips but basically anything you try to change will be for future singing engagements. Be brave. Be bold. Be the singer at your graduation. You'll be so glad you did when it's over.

Mark

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Question. Dear Mark: Congratulations. You are an excellent teacher. After reading your book and your website and think I understand why your voice cracks however it is still unclear to me as how to prevent it. Thank you very much for your help. You are an inspiration to all singers!

Answer. Allowing your reflexes to adjust the air pressure is the surest way to prevent cracking. There are a multitude of calibrations that need to be made every split second we're singing. Anticipation and muscle tensions deny the reflexes a free environment to make the subtle changes necessary. The down side of this answer is that you have to allow yourself to crack to discover what I'm describing. Freedom first.

Mark

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Question. Hi. I sing in two bands. One band is mainly heavy metal with "normal" vocals, higher parts and lots of melodies. The other is a genuine deathmetal band where I have to "grunt". Where in the first band I manage considerably well, without having a sore throat or losing my voice after practice or concerts, in the second band my throat gets restricted pretty fast and I'm losing my voice after a while. I still manage grunting, though, but it really affects my upper register. With both singing-styles I try to use my stomach and diaphragm as well as possible, which works fine for the first band as I'm able to sing for a pretty long time without noticeable "voice-loss". With the second it's much harder 'cuz I have to scream more. Am I pressing too hard?

Answer. You're not pressing too hard -- you're splitting yourself in two. One of your bands is not right for you. Can you guess which one?

Mark

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Question. First off, thanks for even glancing at this question. I came from a catholic school, and was basically forced into choir until 6th grade...where I pursued choir until high school. I am now 20 and trying to start a band (we don't have any idea what type of music.) Given my history both of my guitarists and my drummer find that I would be a worthy candidate for singing...unfortunately I have 2 problems. I smoke. I can't stay away from pop. I need to know from you as much as possible. I am a poor man with some poor band members...no one I really know has money actually. So I am looking for cheap, but preferably free help on strengthening my voice and myself. Any words of wisdom would help....thanks a bunch mark. Aaron

Answer. I love it when people smoke and talk on their cell phones about how poor they are. You must be a millionaire if you smoke these days! Seriously, you already know I'm going to say to quit the butts -- so quit. Pop is slowly weakening you by fooling your pituitary gland into thinking glucose is coming down the pipe. You already know that you should be exercising your body (running, stretching, lifting weights) drinking water (not pop), vocalizing every day (singing scales and warming up) and get rid of the smokes. So my real words of wisdom are that the games we play with ourselves are the real enemy. If you and your boys want to take over the world with your music you've got to tap into your passion. Plenty before you have and no amount of cigarettes and pop could stop them. So get passionate about music and then the games you're playing with your diet and habits will either be a non issue or a convenient excuse. Either way you win

Mark

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Question. Hi, People say that I have a really nice voice and I believe that.But everytime I try to sing high my throat gets closed what do I do?

Answer. Learn how to relax. This is exactly what singing lessons are about. Just like when someone tries to play guitar, they will tighten up and choke the instrument. Lessons provide you with exercises that train the muscles to act in a certain way.

Mark

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Question. thanks 4 the reply but I still don't know what to do u advice me since it gives me joy to hit those female high notes to continue or nor but I love soprano thanks waiting for your reply canice

Answer. You have a decision to make -- one that I cannot make for you. Those soprano notes are a little out of your range, so when you sing them it "costs" you control of the lower notes. My point was to explain that even though there are limits to the voice there doesn't have to be a limit to the joy we experience. There would be no problem if you let yourself feel joy when singing lower.

Mark

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Question. dear mark I am a male singer and have tried to improve my voice all these while and there have been tremendous improvement and I have come to discover that I can sing a soprano voice which gives me alot of joy but I have come to discover that each time I sing with the soprano my male treble voice cracks I find it difficult to sing with it but after resting the voice for someday the male treble voice returns and the soprano disappears unless I force it out after which the male treble cracks could you tell me what is responsible and what I can do to overcome this I like the two of them thanks from canice

Answer. Tension and air pressure are responsible for the cracking and the disappearing. You are driving too hard to access those female high notes. If it gives you joy then that's cool but it makes singing more of an athletic event instead of an artistic one. Your body has a genetic code which determines how big your vocal folds are. Their size determines what area of pitch is comfortable to sing. Higher is not better; it's just higher.

Mark

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Question. hi mark my name's Emma I'm 17 and for years I've been singing by myself at home when no one else is around. I play the piano and acoustic guitar and sing while playing sometimes. I think I can sing ok but I don't know because no one else has heard me apart from my younger sister who always tells me to stop. I am dying to sing in front of someone just to know if I have an alright voice or not but I am too scared and I don't know how without looking like I think I'm good, because I don't want it to look that way. I am so frustrated because I am constricting myself when I could be enjoying singing with others because I love singing so much! any advice on how I can go about it cos I've been trying to figure something out for years. by the way your site is awesome, I just found it! thanks

Answer. The best way to get over the fear of performing for others is to perform WITH others. Join a choir or music class where they will be singing. On top of that you can bring your guitar somewhere that you know people can hear you but you're not looking at them. If there is a practice room at school that would be perfect. Find somewhere you can go to play and start as softly as you need to. In time you'll loosen up.

Mark

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Question. I have two questions. First about a year ago, I was misdiagnosed with a vocal nodule. My second-opinion ENT told me that it wasn't a nodule because it wasn't bilateral and that it wasn't due to singing because of its location. He said, it could be from trauma, perhaps from one time I was choking on something. Well, this thing, which he said that if he looked closer might be a cyst, is not affecting my vocal production at all. I vocalize everyday for at least an hour at low volumes and virtually have no problems with range, dynamics or phonation in general. This "thing" scared me for a while, and I guess I don't want to find out exactly what it is. I'm scared it might be something bad. Do you think that it is my responsibility to find out exactly what this is even when it's not really affecting me? Even if I don't want to find out?

Answer. I guess I'm a little unclear as to why you were examined in the first place if you have no problems with range, dynamics or phonation in general. It certainly could be a cyst, polyp or hemorrhaged blood vessel, the only issue being that any growth on your body, including moles, should be monitored to insure they are benign. A yearly exam would be enough if you are not experiencing any vocal problems.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I have a problem about how I sing certain songs. Now as I've told you in the past, I like to sing to Linkin Park (my band is based on them). Now the singer (chester bennington) sings in a kind of high pitched voice (not really high)and he goes both softly and loudly. Now I can sing softly really well, but when it come to singing loudly and raising my voice, well in a normal singing voice (not yelling) my voice can only take so much then it gets tight, and then nothing really comes out, it's like I'm singing off key. Linkin Park's song "Numb" is a great example. What's the problem????? Can you just tell me my faults?? and I'll just have to work on them. Thank you. JOE

Answer. I've already told you your faults Joe. You're very impatient. What makes you think Chester could sing the way he does now years ago when he was starting out? Those guys struggled really hard. They had no idea that what they were doing then would be studied so closely by guys like you in the future. They were just doing the best they could with the skills they had. Over the years (notice I wrote years -- as in multiple 365 day periods in a row) Chester has become a strong singer. He has gained control over volume and pitch and he is able to push the limit of his voice without it breaking down on him. I've written to you before Joe that you have just as good of an opportunity to be there like Chester in a few years -- or you may get too frustrated and cash in. That will be up to you, but building the strength and coordination it takes to sing like someone who's been singing for years . . . takes years.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, Thanks for your site, and I will be ordering your book/video! I used to sing, then had voice problems. On going to a Dr.who worked with opera singers in my area (he did a scope on my folds), was told that I had very heavy scar tissue and he could not believe had been able to sing with it. Also said I should stop singing permanently or lose speaking voice. Also said nothing could be done to help me, then prescribed Prednizone. The whole experience was devastating. Being stubborn as I am, after a six month rest, I started taking professional voice lessons and found that with proper techniques etc. I COULD still sing. Here is my question: Since it is obviously difficult to "thin" my scarred folds, is there a way you can think of for me to acquire just one or two higher notes? I am happy with the range I have most of the time but sometimes really could use two more notes! Thanks for any advice you might have!

Answer. I wouldn't mess with your second lease on your vocal life. Scar tissue is rigid and inflexible. The most you could do is a thorough warm up and vocalizing routine to prep the voice each day. It may give you the extra note or two, but I would remain very aware of how much effort you use to sing if I were you.

Mark

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Question. Hi, I'm currently working on my head voice.I'm doing exercises like singing & high note at a quiet volume,slowly increasing the volume,while retaining relaxed facial muscles & allowing my head to freely move as I'm holding the note.My question is about volume.Do singers such as Rob Halford,Geoff Tate,Bruce Dickinson etc sing at loud volumes? or are they actually singing at a spoken/conversation type volume & let the mic do a lot of the work?

Answer. The three different singers you mentioned sing at three different volumes. Geoff Tate would be the one that sings closest to speech volume -- but even then there are times he's ramping up for emotional impact.

Mark

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Question. Hi,Mark, I'm writing from far away (Romania). For years I've been singing the blues with different local musicians in different bands,at festivals,jam-sessions,etc. And I'm modest when I say I was very successful. Then,due to a number of reasons,I quit singing, but even now,after a couple of years,people keep asking me why I haven't continued. And I really don't know what to answer.Maybe it's the age. I'm kinda scared to restart at 35,although I will always feel like 25. But all this time the wish to sing again has remained in my soul and I consider that it if I got this gift, I must continue. Please,tell me,is it possible? Yet,my voice (alto) needs to improve,to get higher.Can you give me some advice or maybe recommend some books? I would really appreciate it, All my best thoughts to you, Waiting for your answer, Mirela, Romania

Answer. I'm glad BB King, Etta James, Sunhouse and Muddy Waters never thought that they were getting too old to sing the blues. Of course you can sing at 35, and no, your voice doesn't need to get higher. That's just an insecurity of yours. My book would be a great source for regaining inspiration and exercises for getting you back in shape. Glad to have you back in the ranks of us singers!

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark. First off, I want to thank you for writing your book and making your video, because I have learned so much and my voice has improved greatly. I'm a 21 yr old female metal vocalist..A few months ago, I quit smoking because I knew it was horrible for my voice. But, for some reason, my voice was terrible when I quit. My mucus was worse, my throat was sore and I couldn't sing well at all. I even came down with a cold that I couldn't shake off. But being weak, I started smoking again. I wanted to ask, since I'm ready to quit smoking again and to be smoke free for good, regardless of how long it takes for my voice to get back to normal, would nicotine patches or gum mess with my voice at all? If this is a dumb question, my apologies. Also, I've been reading up on different herbs I can use for my voice and a lot of suggestions came from your book. I'm also going to start drinking a "detox" tea to clean out my system. There is a herb called IGS2. I read that it strengthens and repairs your voice, and KCX &Kelp, that's said to help voice delivery. Also, I came across a website that sells a product called "Vocalzone" that is supposed to help your voice Here's the site info.. http://www.vocalzones.com/product_info.html.. Would you recommend the use of these for helping with vocal problems? Also, I want to thank you for your previous answers on your site when it comes to screaming. I've been working hard to find a way to "scream" with the least amount of pressure and my throat doesn't get sore or feel swollen after screaming now. I make sure I drink throat coat before and after jamming and I warm up and warm down. I make sure to drink a lot of water everyday and I've noticed a huge difference from that. But just to be sure that I'm doing as much as I can to protect my voice, is there anything else you feel that I need to do? I appreciate your time and also, I'm looking into doing the "video" lessons you offer on your site sometime soon. So thank you once again for being so dedicated to helping vocalists reach their full potential! Take Care :)

Answer. Your questions aren't dumb at all. In fact, what you went through the first time you quit is very common and the biggest reason why people pick up smoking again. It may seem strange at first, but your health (and your voice) will always get worse right after you quit. This is due to the cleanse the body goes into and there's no avoiding it. The soreness in the throat is the cilia growing back and the extra mucous is what the body produces to rid itself of all the accumulated resins. While there's nothing wrong with all the products you're investigating nothing is going to make you a better singer more than becoming an x-smoker. Six months down the road you will reap the benefits of being smoke free. Once you are smoke free, nothing will protect your voice more than developing the strength and conditioning necessary to pull off your gig. Vocalizing, warm up and down and using your head when screaming is what's going to allow you to sing for many, many years.

Mark

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Question. How high and low can: Steve Taylor(aerosmith)Robert Plant(led zeppelin)Dio(Rainbow)and Freddy mercury sing? I´really need to know Thanks !

Answer. I don't know about the other singers, but Tyler can still get up to a G above high C. He does so on the latest album. To find the others, you would have to listen to all their material to spot the highest pitch and identify it.

Mark

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Question. I have been a female pro singer for 15 years. I have your book, & it is great! I can sing most anything, but I can't seem to get the most common vocal run... a three or four note scale running high to low, then ending on a different final note. It seems sloppy or "glazed over". Any suggestions to tighten-up vocal runs?

Answer. Turn your volume down. Singers that can do really fast runs .....don't sing loud.

Mark

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Question. hi mark, I was wondering if you had any tips on how to keep your voice in tune all the time instead of it wavering off into all sorts of noises. also, I was wondering how to make your voice sound stronger? Regards

Answer. The answer to both questions is the same: Vocal exercises. Your vocal folds will respond much better (stay in tune) if they are exercised on a regular basis. Just like athletes will train in the gym to make it easier to control their sport, singers need to train separately from singing songs. There are plenty of exercises for strength and flexibility in my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual."

Mark

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Question. I am a 16 year old male and I consider myself to have a very large range, I can hit the highest notes the lowest notes and in all kinds of weird ways (kindof resembling mike pattons vocal style of mr. bungle and faith no more) my problem is that after singing a couple songs I lose my consistency with my normal singing, I can still hit higher notes and lower notes fine but singing normally creates a dryer feeling in my mouth, tongue and throat and causes my singing at that level to become inconsistent and even crack sometimes.it feels like I need 103823 glasses of water or something... and sometimes makes me feel like ihave flem in my throat .. ive never had any singing lessons and I was just wondering how I could correct this and what my problem was. thank you, aspiring vocalist

Answer. The problem is that you're blasting away at your larynx for all you've got. That's usually good for 15 minuets tops -- then the area swells and the surrounding muscles become rigid to stop you from hurting yourself. Swelling makes you inconsistent and the tight muscles make you dry. Your technique is kind of like a guy who can punch really hard and fast for about one minute but then his arms tighten. That's okay for a street fight but to be a pro you got to have control and stamina throughout every round. Training is how the fighters do it -- and pro singers too.

Mark

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Question. #1 -- I stumbled on this site, and am gonna get either your book or DVD -- which would you recommend?

Answer. The book.

Mark

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Question. #2 -- I'm a semi-inexperienced singer, and am working on a record for a small British label..It's punk type stuff -- more growling than pure screaming. While trying to imitate Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers vocalist who sounds like he gargles with rocks), I was doing his guttural growl for about an hour. It\'s now 5 days later, and I'm still somewhat hoarse. Of course, I can't hit the top high notes, and when I even approach them, it feels very constricted, and it's almost the effect of blowing up a balloon, as far as feeling the pressure when trying to sing. (Yes, I know, I probably shouldn't be singing at all, and that's why I decided to get your book -- realizing I'm pretty ignorant about the basics). My question, I guess, is how long should I lay off, and also, I'm hoping I couldn't have done any permanent damage from just an hour of this growling, which wasn't even at full volume most of the time ...

Answer. No permanent damage -- but if this is what you want in your singing then you'll have to learn to strike a balance between what the throat can handle and what sounds you're looking for.

Mark

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Question. Hello, I've read your FAQ's, and I still have one question. I have this problem with what I call vocal shyness. I can't sing loud at all. It doesn't matter if I'm alone, and I know no one else can hear me or anything, I just can't do it. Is this common, and how can I get over it? I'm new to the whole singing thing, I've been self taught guitar(10 years), bass, and drums, now I'm trying to get into vocals. but I can't break past my vocal shyness no matter how hard I try. Please help!

Answer. Guitars have volume knobs and great big amplifiers, drums have sticks which can be slammed down with force. Voices come out of people that have personalities. Your personality is putting a limit to the amount of volume you produce. It usually comes down to either a perfectionist thing or an intimacy issue. Either way, the first thing to get over is trying to sound good at the same time you're trying to produce some sound. If the house was on fire you'd have no problem yelling for help . . . loud. The point is you wouldn't care how you sounded yelling for help. I suggest you get in your car and drive out to a remote place and scream as if you're being murdered. You will probably feel a tickle in your throat and cough and your eyes will water. You may get husky or hoarse for a little while afterward. This is only necessary to break your internal restrictions -- it's not how to sing loud. If you do this a couple times a week you will notice at the end of a month that it takes less energy to produce a yell. That's because your not stopping the sound -- you're letting it out. That would be a good time to start on a regular vocal training program.

Mark

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Question. I am having SOOOOOO MUCH TROUBLE VIBRATING!!!!! PLEASE help me out! I recently recorded a demo and after listening to it, I realized that my vibrato sounded really weak, weird, and just not good. I drink plenty of water every day and sing every day, but I don't know what else to do. Please tell me what I should do. It would mean a lot to me! :)

Answer. You should record every day. Obviously there are things about your singing that you are not aware of because you've been singing every day and only noticed the problem with vibrato when you recorded. My suspicion is that you were nervous. Either way, singing into a very cheap cassette deck is all it takes to get used to the pressure of making a performance count. When you relax your vibrato will too.

Mark

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Question. Hey, just like to start off by saying great site and great FAQ section, your answers to other people have helped me along way aswell! Anyway my question is this...when I sing in my head voice it seems very weak, not airey but it doesnt sound like Steve Tylers head voice (eg) Im not sure if you know what I mean but say for instance you turn the tone knob half way down on an electric guitar...the sound is er more thicker than with the tone on full. if you understand. And after a while my voice seems to go really quickly, and the tone keeps getting thicker (in terms of turning the tone knob on a guitar). I\'ve only been singing for a short while so is this due to my voice not being strong enough? I\'ve been told I strain my voice aswell because im trying to get an Axl/Steve tyler type sound out of it. Any help is much appreciated if you have any idea what im talking about!

Answer. To continue with your guitar analogy, think of vocal folds as guitar strings. (the throat and mouth are more like the tone knob) If you use super slinky strings, they are easy to bend a play but don't offer much sound. If you use a thick gage they sound great but take real finger strength to play. In order to hit those high notes your folds must thin down -- in order to have a beefy sound they need to be thick. See the problem? One goal counters the other. Keep singing and you'll develop more strength which will allow you to thicken up your folds and still stretch them for high notes.

Mark

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Question. Actually, I have a lot of trouble with my vibrato EVERY DAY. It always sounds so shaky, what should I do?

Answer. I don't understand why you would go in to record then. It's going to take some time to develop a better approach. You should back off your air pressure a lot for starters. Vocalize much softer than you usually do -- until you can control the vibrato. Practice sustaining long single notes on AH, EE and OO throughout your range. As the single notes become easier, sing simple scales very slowly to listen for the control -- still keeping the volume down. Gradually, and I mean over the course of a couple months, increase the volume.

Mark

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Question. I have a NEW proplem. When I sing high notes for a certain amount of time my throat gets tight and then I can't sing anything unless its at a low tone. Example is songs from Linkin Park, I have to sing songs by them because my band is doing covers. Is there like a throat excersice that I could do to prevent my throat from getting tight???????? THANK YOU.

JOE


Answer. Joe, Joe, Joe. I like your heart and the fact that you are very curious and seek out advice. But you've got to start to see the bigger picture here or you will bail out of singing as quickly as you entered. The guys in your band have been working on their instruments in private for a couple years now. Musicians practice the basics in their bedrooms for as long as it takes to get decent. Then they tangle with songs until they are presentable. Then they look for a band. Singers are often cast into the role of singer by accident or sheer swagger. What's missing is the year or two it takes to build a foundation of skills. Every single one of your questions, which you are looking for immediate results, is relating to basic skills. There's nothing wrong with copping those skills while singing with your first band, that's how most people get it down. But you have to realize that you are behind the eight ball and will pay the price by less control and more tightness.

What you need are exercises which build the strength and conditioning of your voice. You need to do those exercises in private and stick with them for months. A slow improvement will occur. This improvement will not need you to think or worry about what you're doing when you sing. You'll just be a better singer. Until you make that commitment and get vocalizing, you will have a million questions and no good answers. I think you have a great desire in you. Unfortunately, it takes more than that.

Mark

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Question. I'm almost sixteen years old and in my opinion, I have a fairly high vocal range. I haven't taken any lessons or voice classes as of yet, but plan to next year in preparation for what I'd like to do in the future which is thus - I'd love to play the role of Christine from Phantom of the Opera. I only have one problem. In some of the songs, I can hit the extremely high notes that the music calls for, but they sound more like I'm screeching than anything else. Is there any way that I could extend my range a bit or make the notes sound clearer?

Thank you for your time Tori


Answer. If high notes sound screechy than you don't have the necessary range at this time. Just reaching a high note is not enough. To say you have a high range means it sounds relaxed when you sing up there. Regardless, there's lots you can do at your young age to promote better tone on your high notes. Lessons will show you how to release your throat and send up the right amount of air pressure.

Mark

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Question. I'm a 14 year-old male and I've been singing my whole life...but my problems started when I joined my band/revealed to my friends that I was a good singer. Up until then I had a great voice...with lots of control and the ability to do those octave roll type things, the ability to hit fairly high notes...and I've never taken a lesson in my life: I practiced by singing along to my favourite CD's. But my singing ability is a fair bit lower now than it was before...and I don't know why...a few possible reasons could be: That my CD's to sing along to have changed to less vocally talented artists(I've been listening to Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix), or that I don't sing along to CD's as much as I did because now I've got nothing to prove. Whatever it is, my vocal range has decreased(I can't sing very high at the moment), and my control has lowered. How can I regain my great singing voice(sorry if that sounds self-inflated)? P.S. could you tell me how Robert Plant sings so high on Immigrant Song, by Led Zeppelin?

Thanks, from Clancy Morrison


Answer. Another possibility is that you're going through puberty! Growth spurts in teenage males occur over night -- literally! The larger the larynx grows the lower your voice will be. In combination with the physical changes going on, singing with CD's is not a good indication of your vocal ability. It's like riding a bicycle with training wheels. Tracking along with a recorded voice guides us through some difficult areas. When left on our own, we tense up and strain through the same sections. Singing with a band also throws your vocal technique a curve. All of a sudden your drowning in volume and can't hear a thing you're doing. The natural reaction to push just tightens up the throat and reduces range and control. I think it's time to think about lessons.

P.S. Plant was a bad mutha back in the day. Nobody better. He had a high voice when he was young and he used it well!

Mark

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Question. My daughter has been singing for several years and has always been told that she should go professional. I love to hear her sing and since she has moved out of state, I asked her to make a CD for me for Christmas. It is really good, but I detected some flat notes in her singing and she also sang flat during a Christmas program at church recently. Could you tell me why this would happen when she has never sung flat before?

Answer. Flatness is a symptom of either too much air pressure used for a note or too much tension surrounding the larynx (tongue, jaw and neck). If it's only at random moments, it's no big deal. If it's becoming a habit, it's best to have her visit a vocal coach before the behavior becomes ingrained.

Mark

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Mark's Advice on SCREAMING
Question.
Hey Mark my name is Ben,I am 17, and posses a voice midway between Tenor and Baritone. I have been singing on and off for about 5 years and have reached a stage where I am beginning to approve of my own voice. I have taken some vocal lessons but the exercises my teacher gave me seemed to be based on building a classical/pop voice, i.e wall exercises, body positioning, belly flops. Can these techniques help me to expand my range and consequently scream those incredibly high vibratio riddled notes that singers such as Axl Rose and Sebastion Bach were capable of? Or should I be using different exercises to help me obtain this style of singing/ wailing?


Answer.
To sing rock you'll more strength and conditioning then technique.  I recommend you check out my book.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark this is Rachell. I've recently takin an interest in hardcore and emo music. I find it fascinating on how the artists can screamo the music so well. How would you define how to screamo like in the songs? For a girl? I heard that it's different when i guy screamos but how does a girl screamo?


Answer.
Girls physically scream the same way but it sounds different then a guy because of the size and shape of the larynx.

Mark

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Question.
Dear Mark, I'm 15 years old and have been playing guitar and piano (guitar being my primary instrument) for a very long time now. I'm well known in local blues clubs for my guitar playing, but i have the chance to expand from that. My first question is would it be better for me to practice on a keyboard, acoustic guitar, or electric guitar on clean when i can't practice on my grand piano because it's too late? Both my parents sang in chorus and my mother went to UC Davis on a singing scholarship. She has been helping me out with my breathing and what not but she can't help me out with the kind of classic rock/hard blues sound I want, any advice on what practices i could use to get that slight rasp (without getting ridiculously trashed every night and wake up finding out that I cheated on my girlfriend 3 times)? Also, what kind of scales and/or modes would you recommend for me to practice? And finally, I was recording the song Tuesday's Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd on some cheap microphone, and though according to everybody present and what I thought of myself, I hit every note perfect, but when I listened to the recording my voice was 1/2 a step down. Could the mic have caused this? Sorry for the long question (well, questions) ,Zach


Answer.
Hey Zach,

Cheatin on your girlfriend 3 times in one night is what MAKES you a legend!  Seriously, you don't have to get trashed to sing with rasp.  It doesn't matter what scales or modes you practice, it's all about dialing in just a little more drive then what it takes to sing clean.  My MP3 lesson, "Five Secrets to Screaming" is exactly what you need.

Mark

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Question.
hello mark i need to learn how to scream somewhat close to lamb of god i can do cannibal corpse but not lamb of god. i've done it before but that was in a room with a lot of noise and it actually hurt the crap out of me. so would you have any ideas? quiet exercises?


Answer.
I disagree. I don't think you need to do a scream like Lamb of God. I think you need to do a scream like you. There was nobody out there like Lamb of God when they were just jamming and getting their sound together. What did that guy use as a target? It certainly wasn't Lamb of God. He just did the best he could and gave it his heart and soul. You should to. Then some day I'll get an email from some guy needing to scream just like you.

Mark

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Question.
I'm 20 years old and i sing in a Rock n' Roll band. I've been told i sound like Axl Rose and have been singing for a year aswell. My question...or problem is, when i am at home i can sing very fluidly (once warmed up)but my voice is pretty quiet and i am unable to scream. However, when i sing with my band on stage my voice is really high and raw but there is a horrible jump from Chest to Head voice when i sing. For example, singing songs like You Could Be Mine by Gn'R are very simple at home but when im on stage and screaming really loud it sounds terrbile. I think it's a problem with my middle voice. Also when i scream on stage its more like power screaming not singing. I have trouble performing vibrato or melodies but at home when im singing without screaming i find them very easy. Help!!! Thanks!


Answer.
You got it right. It's not so much a middle voice but a middle pressure. You're all or nothing. You've got to allow yourself to sound bad at home and increase the volume when your vocalizing. You'll crack and sputter and sound like an alley cat but that's okay. As you work through the trouble spots you'll find new control at the middle volume.

Mark

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Question.
Hi, I was wondering if there is anyway, any video, any book, any... THING that could teach me how to sound like Brian Warner from Marilyn Manson, because he's my favorite musician ever, and a lot of people tell me that when I'm screaming I sound like him, but I can only do it quietly and would probably have to have a microphone to amplify it or something, lol. I hope that you can give me some advice, or at least give me a push in the right direction. Thank You VERY Much!! Sincerely, Nate


Answer.
What's makes you think he isn't doing it quietly also? He's always right on the mic and the mic is HOT. I'd say you're already there. but why do you want to sound like him? The record industry is not interested in another Marilyn Manson...they already have one. Why not sound like NATE and have people sending emails to me asking me how to sound like you.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, >I was wondering how i can scream like alexi liaho from children of bodom, if you aren't familiar with them go to www.myspace.com/childrenofbodom and take a listen. I can't really get your 5 secrets to screaming dvd so is there any way you could teach me or i can learn for free?


Answer.
There's nothing wrong with figuring stuff out on your own. Don't be afraid to explore and let yourself sound bad. In my experience, it's patience that people really need to learn -- not how to do this or that. With patience and practice almost anything is possible.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I've been playing bass and guitar for about 4 years, and singing for about 6 months to a year... and people say i'm not that bad at singing... I'm not incredibly good...but I don't suck....and I was just wondering what i could do If i want to scream...i heard about something that said when you scream under your breath...just try and use your diaphram and push it up your throat...but i've also heard things about people having their voice hurt... I don't want to hurt my voice.. but i would really like to scream...when i scream it either comes out really low, or Sounds like someone is dieing or something lol....please help


Answer.
My MP3 downloadable lesson is just what you need.  It's called, "Five Secrets to Screaming."

Mark

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Question.
Hi, I am in a metal-core band, and I play lead guitar. I also do some backup vocals occasionaly, but I want to learn to do a "falsetto scream". I have been told this is what it is.. Though M not too sure, its like a higher pitched scream that I am after, like marilyn manson does sometimes, and I can't for the life of me figure out how its done!! can you help?? Thanks, chris.


Answer.
Forget the scream part for now and get used to accessing your falsetto. Start very softly and imitate a kitten or a sea gull. Just play with sounds so you can stumble on that register. Once you're able to call it up you should sustain notes in it at a slightly louder volume. Play with this for a while and then gradually add more force. Take it one step at a time and you'll have yourself a scream.

Mark

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Question.
Hey there, Mr. Mark. I found this nifty little page from a Google Search and am in the middle of reading just about every single question and responce written here. Currently, I love singing. I joined my school choir and practice at least two hours a day. I'm happy to say that my voice has greatly improved since beginning to sing a lot, but I would really like some kind of training in this. Unfortunetely where I live, there is no singing teacher available. I've looked everywhere for the past 6 months with no success whatsoever. It's very difficult to find an English speaking singing teacher in a foreign country. My question for you is if there is any kind of singing course online I could possibly take that you know of or could recommend, preferably free. So far I have not found any free courses or courses worth taking that you have to pay for. It would be really useful if you could recommend something for me. Anything that teaches me how to sing each note and what it is (e.g. learning to sing a C+), and also something teach teaches me new techniques and how to reach higher notes and breath limits. >I read your article "Screaming Shakespeare" and am looking into purchasing "Five Ways to Scream" (err.. I think that's the correct name) and am hoping to be able to scream well in a few weeks or so. Thank you. :)


Answer.
Sorry but I don't know of any free singing courses available on the web.
The reason there's no free information out there (except what I offer on my
site) is that supermarkets charge for the food they carry.  Since most
voice teachers I know need to eat, they have to charge some money for the
service they provide.  So blame it on the grocery stores!  Seriously, I
offer a video correspondence program that is simple to set up but not for
free.  There's information about it on my site.
Mark

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Question.
well im 14 coming up to 15 now and well im quite a good singer when i want to be but i want to be able to do that scream singing like the dudes in trivium do but how......


Answer.
Push more -- till it tickles -- then hurts -- then sounds good -- then back off so it doesn't tickle or hurt but still sounds good. It should take you about a year.

Mark

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Question.
hey do you think that the best way to learn how to belt/scream with out hurting your voice is to get lesson, buy a book or video or take an online class ?


Answer.
hmmmm . . . this is a trick question isn't it? I offer all of these options and you're asking which is the best. Actually, the best depends on you. People learn in different ways. Some learn better when reading, some by hearing and some by one on one. That's why all those options are out there. I recommend you go with your gut on this one. no one knows you better than you.

Mark

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Question.
Hello Mark, my name is Tim and I'm 17 years old. I sing in a rock band that does mostly covers for the moment. I have the exact same vocals as axl rose. His normal voice level is low and mine is the same. When he screams and makes the raspy high pitched sound I can follow along with ease. The only problem is that after I do a show, that could last up to 20 or even 40 songs, I wake up the next day and my throat is as sore as can be and my voice is sometimes gone. I just started singing recently with my newly discovered axl voice, so which means my voice has just been recently soar and a minor 2 to 3 day loss of the scream occured only, the low voice I have no problems with because its my own. My question is, I wanted to know if I have to just get used to my newly discovered axl scream with practice and then my voice won't be soar after gigs? Also if soarness is going to always be the case with these types of vocals how could I reduce the risks of getting severe soarness and pain or loss of voice after a show? Last quetion: What is good for a quick recovery of soarness and loss Of voice, or that scream I refered to? Thank you for your time.


Answer.
Since you have the exact same vocals as Axl, now you have the exact same problems! The trick is to send up the right amount of air pressure -- you are over-driving the air. experiment with backing off just a bit so you get the same sound but less fatigue.

Mark

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Question.
Hey my bands asked me to do screaming vocals but i cant scream or sing for jak infact ive never tryed until now and i cant even project my voice and i don't want to let them down i know there all behind me but i dont no how to start you got any advice to help project my voice and to scream id like to scream like chimaira or devildriver or hatebreed check them out if you dont no them please help!!!! all the way from the UK


Answer.
What if your band asked you to play saxophone? Or any other instrument that you had no idea how to play? Would you keep it inside that you didn't know how to play or tell them you're into it but haven't got a clue at the moment. Take the pressure off yourself and let them know you don't know how to scream but you're gonna work on it. Then start exploring your voice without the stress of having to be good at it. Get some control with singing first -- then push it just a little bit to flirt with screaming. There's no way you're gonna hit it like Hatebreed any time soon so just get real and get to work. You can do it -- just not tomorrow.

Mark

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Question.
Can you give me a few tips on heavy metal screams? i have one but it's very shaky. (ps: i can sing, if it helps)


Answer.
I have five tips -- clearly laid out in an MP3 lesson you can purchase.
It's called, "Five Secrets to Screaming."

Mark

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Question.
Im the lead vocalist for my band, and ive been wondering how metal singers get that graveled scream sound with out hurting their throat. I've heard they use tricks like voice boxes, or singing really close to the mic. but some can actually do that, and also im 15 so im kinda young, and my voice sounds young, is there a way to make your voice sound older, i hate metal bands with kid singers, it sounds unmatured, and i dont want to be that.


Answer.
What makes you think that singers that scream don't hurt their throats? Many do and are just willing to put up with it. Those that have lasted through the years have found a proportionate amount of pressure that lets them have the sound at a minimum cost -- not "no" cost but tolerable. I have an MP3 lesson available which explores this idea in full detail.

Mark

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Question.
I have just recentely as of last christmas gotten really into with the used and kind of been introduced to similar music. i really love the way bert sings and screams. im a girl and i'd say i sing pretty average. i sing along to cds almost everyday and practice just singing normally when no ones home. i would really like to gain some kind of harness on screaming and theres one question ive thought a lot about..should screaming come more from the diaphram or more from the throat??? or both??? when i scream from my throat it hurts more and i sometimes feel like i might gag and have to stop. is that normal for someone just starting?? or is that a sign that i should sing more from my gut?? thanks for the time. -hannah


Answer.
Screaming is a combo of both. You'll gag when you use too much throat so it's obvious when you're going overboard. The thing is to think smaller. Instead of stopping when you gag just back off a little and see if you can maintain the sound you want.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark my name is Brian and i am 14 and i am in a band at the moment and i am learning how to scream and it isn't going so well because when i try to it isn't that powerful or loud. I am a Huge Mudvayne, System Of A Down and Slipknot fan and i was wonder if u could tell me the secrets of screaming and how get powerful screams and loud ones to. I know i have to practice but can u give me some tips on screaming .


Answer.
I have an MP3 download called "Five Secrets to Screaming," which will help you develop that scream.  But I'll give you a sixth secret -- it takes time.  All those guys you love are more then twice your age.

Mark

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Question.
Mark i am blessed to find you, i have been singing on my own since 6th grade and have been playing to guitar since the sixth grade, i am having problems with endurance, and the songs that i sing are like Chevelle, trapt, stuff like that, i just about sound like both em, but when comes to roaring or getting a little more aggressive on the chorus i fell like there is a restriction. My endurance level has gotten better from 3 months ago, i sing every day and night and any chance i get to during the day. If u can em ail me back something asap. That will be blessing for me. Thank you for ur time sir.


Answer.
Work more on singing then roaring. The skills you need are all based from singing; roaring is just the icing on the cake. Your throat is stopping you from hurting yourself when it restricts. Since that's a good thing you want to get louder gradually -- I mean over months and months -- to build real strength.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark. I love music and everyhting! I'm ina band and I really want to learn how to scream... Thing is, I don't even knwo how to sing very well! Should I become a better singer first? How hard would it be for someone just tp pink up screaming with no vocal training what so ever? Also, I'm a drummer in my band and I would like to know if it would be diffucult to drum and scream at the same time. For screaming examples, I'm thinking of something like UnderOath. Thanks!!


Answer.
You could definitely develop a scream without learning to sing but it will limit you later down the road. Playing drums is not an issue. There's nothing for you to do but keep experimenting until you come up with something cool you can do without killing your throat. Try and keep the force to a minimum.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, i Just come across this site,becuase i had some questions. Ive been in the same band for 9 years and developed into a great singer i dont have much troubles with pitch or harmoneys actually im pretty good from what i hear,the band is taking a turn to eavier styles of music or i should say vocals but ive always been singing clear and melodic stuff Ive been working on screaming and i heard it was a process that takes alot of practice , my queation is how do i keep my screams not so harsh or higher pitched , in key and consistant is there a secret other then warm ups and cool downs ,breathing and stuff like that. ive noticed that since i started screaming 6 months ago that my voice has become raspier even when im not trying to be raspy, iits something i have been aiming for , am i doing this all wrong is it a bad thing i need some help thanx


Answer.
You got to watch out that your screaming doesn't take over your voice.  There definitely is a way to dial in the right air pressure so you can control the amount of distortion and also control how much abuse you're dialing into.  After a good warm up, I recommend the exercises in my "Five Secrets to Screaming."<

Mark

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Question.
Dear Mark I'm 17, and the lead singer in a band. The songs we're doing are getting heavier, and although i can growl the vocals alright, it really hurts my throat. How could I go about learning to sing metal, like Phil Anselmo or James Hetfield? Thanks


Answer.
It takes time to develop a voice like what you're looking for.  The most important thing is to start warming up before you go for it.  That way you won't destroy things before you learn how to dial it in.  Next thing is to find the right amount of push.  It's not just "give it all you've got".  I take you through the step in my MP3 lesson, "Five Secrets to Screaming."<

Mark

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Question.
I have been trying to learn to scream without hurting my voice too much. I think i have figured out the technique but when i recorded it and listened to it, it does not have a good tone. I think that i need to bring the resonance lower. how could i lower the resonance in my scream or get a good tone without lowering my pitch or hurting my throat to much. I'm going for a scream like seether my range is similar to his. I would also like to know how to scream in the middle pitches of my voice, i can do high screams and low screams but if i try to scream in the middle it hurts too much.


Answer.
The trick for both better tone and to get the middle pitches is to relax the throat a little. At first this will cause cracking but if you stick with it you'll find the right coordination.

Mark

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Question.
Hi mark, i listen to alot of heavy metal, and i have tried a few times, but i don't know how to scream properly and i'm worried about damaging my voice, i can do a death metal growl, when you use the same method as when you sigh, but i would love to be able to scream like matt heafey from trivium or wayne static from static X.. any help would be a godsend, thanks!


Answer.
You can't scream like them and be worried about your voice at the same time. You have to pick one or the other. That doesn't mean you will absolutely damage your voice to make a scream sound - you just can't worry about it.

Mark

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Question.
Hey Mark, I recently started a band a few months ago and started singing. We're a alternative/hardcore band. Alot of singing and screaming. I want to know if theres anyway possible for me to learn an easier way of screaming because it seems that like...sometimes it hurts more than others. Any Advice?


Answer.
Yes I've got lot's of advice -- and it's all laid out nicely in my MP3 lesson entitled, "The 5 Secrets of Screaming."

Mark

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Question.
Mark,I am a lead vocalist and songwriter, and I am starting a punk/emo band. I need to learn how to scream (bello) and I was wondering if you could tell me what to do to go about doing that. Thanks.


Answer.
The best way to start is to just make loud sounds.  Don't hold yourself to any particular pitch -- just let it come out.  Keep your jaw, neck face and tummy area loose.   After you feel comfortable making sounds slowly bring it in to recognizable pitches.  Only after a while (a couple weeks) of making loud random sounds should you focus in and attempt melodies.

Mark

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Question.
First id like to say that im a very big fan of your work and appreciate everything you do to help people with all kinds of singing.
My friends and i have started a band and we would like to sound something allong the lines of chiodos...ive just started learning how to scream and it doesnt sound the same as the other singers i hear, it has no scream sound but sounds like yelling and when i try to change it my throat satrts to hurt...i also cant sing falsetto...ive just started screaming and i dont know where to start for falsetto.
I hear about using the larynx and diaphram but i dont understand how to apply it to my singing. Please help me. Sorry for the long e-mail.


Answer.
First I'd like to remind you and everybody reading this that Chiodos wasn't going for the sound that they have now when they just started out.  Their sound slowly evolved into what it is now by trial and error -- lots of error.  No band is in complete control of what they will sound like in the beginning.  But as you figure out what each member does best a sound will emerge.  If you're going to sing at all with your screaming I recommend building that first -- then develop the scream.  I have a download called, "The Five Secrets of Screaming." that would provide you with a good foundation.


Mark

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Question.
well Im 16 years old and im in a hardcore emo band and we play alot of covers. These will include songs by bands such as Atreyu ( my main favorite ) , Underoath, A7X (avenged sevenfold) and many other screamo bands. well what im getting at is when i try to do these songs I cant completely get the that growl/scream that you hear from Atreyu and after singing for awhile I get hoarse and can scream as loud as i could when i started can u give me some tips to improve my vocal abilities. thanks


Answer.
It's all about building up your strength and conditioning -- not be screaming -- but by exercises that isolate the muscles needed.  I have a good routine laid out in an MP3 lesson called, "The 5 Secrets of Screaming."


Mark

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Question.
So heres the thing. I have deep roar like screams and I want to be able to get the kind of higher. Not permantly but during some parts of the songs my band writes. I don't know if I'm getting confused because we have two screamers or I just can't do it. Like I've pushed and screamed louder and its still deep. Do you think it is possibly that my voice is deep or no? And if you do know any ways to make them just a little bit higher that would be great. Oh and how can i get my roars louder. I know everyone says oh sing more and I sing a lot because I'm a lead singer for an acoustic band and that hasn't really made my roars louder. And I just want to say thank you before you reply.


Answer.
If you already sing a lot with your acoustic band then add some of that to your scream. Think, "sing/scream" and the pitch will be more adjustable. Don't try to get the roars any louder -- you'll only get into vocal trouble. Get a better PA.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark, I was wondering how one can do the whole screamo-thing with out totally f*** up your voice? I'm interrested in learning to "scream" high notes? Thanks:)


Answer.
I have an MP3 available for purchase that runs a whole lesson on this subject exactly.  It's called "The 5 Secrets of Screaming."


Mark

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Question.
I'd like to start out saying that what advice I have read of yours so far sounds right on, so I'm hoping you'll be able to give me the answers to these questiont that I will need to hear.

My first question is about screaming, but not the kind of screaming most people here are speaking of. I'm sort of going for a Chris Robinson/Ray Charles soulful scream (I'm a guitarist and have just recently started singing in my band due to the neccesities). An example of the sort of sound I am looking for would probably be near the end of "Bad Luck Blue Eyes" on the 4th track of the Black Crowes second album. The band lets out and Chris Robinson lets his soul wail. I've tried doing this a few times, and get a somewhat similar sound, but I lack the tone and control he has over his scream. I was wondering if there was any way to remedy this.

Also... One of my favorite singers of all time is the great Rod Stewart, and I always wondered how he acheived that great voice of his. I had always heard rumours that all he did was scream his voice hoarse the night before, but I doubt that was the case. It was probably more of a natural thing. I was wondering how to get that sort of rasp in my voice, like Rod Stewart and Gregg Allman and all different sorts of rasp singers have. Currently the closest thing I can muster up to rasp is a halfway impression of Johnny Winters (another great singer), when I want to acheive the rasp of people like Jonny Lang and Rod Stewart. I hope you can find an answer to my problems, and I'll probably be checking my email every now and then for a response.

Thanks a lot, --Sean


Answer.
Actually I'm very familiar with the type of rasp you desire and my "5 secrets of Screaming," MP3 would be perfect for you.  Rod Stewart's voice has always been that way -- it's just the way it sounds.  This is not the case for Greg and Jonny who colapse their throats and push for their sound.

Mark

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Question.
Hi Mark. I'm about to start a feminist rock band. And I'm suppose to sing, or rather scream! I've checked you free lesson Screaming Shakespear. But I still have one question, when I scream, my voice just goes to this very high girly sound. I want to sound more rough like Courtney Love you know! How do I scream without sounding like a little girl? I would be so thankful for you answer! /Elina


Answer.
The trick is not to push -- the more you drive the higher your voice will go. Try making the sound of a dog barking. It's easier to get the depth in short bursts.

Mark

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Question.
how can i be able to sing like chris cornell when he was in soundgarden, like on albums like screaming life/fopp and louder than love. Is there certain exercises i can do so i am able to scream like that not just hit the notes,but sing exactly like him or atleast as close as possible?


Answer.
There's a reason you've never heard another singer quite like Cornell -- the guy has an amazing instrument. To get as close to that as you can would require lots of strength and flexibility. If you don't have the strength then you should do the exercises I've laid out in my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual." Be patient, it will take practice and experience to get to that level of output.

Mark

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Question.
hey, well ive been in an emo punk band for about a year now and our music is changing alot, to a more punky screamy sound, the thing is every time i try to scream or say something loadly it eaither cracks or just goes off note, ive heard this can really mess up your throught so ive stopped now but is there a chance in hell that there are any exercises i could use? im influenced alot by the band hole if that helps.


Answer.
Courtney never seemed to mind when she went off pitch -- it gave the music more attitude. What you seem to be looking for is more skill, which means you should take some lessons or purchase some training CD's and learn to coordinate. I know you can do it -- it just takes a little practice.

Mark

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Question.
i'm a singer/guitarist for a small band and i've been trying to scream...but i seem to have a problem. Everytime i try to scream i sound like a barking seal! Also, i've been reading other people's questions and your answers and i've been trying to get help through those, but still i can't seem to scream. Can you please help me? -macy


Answer.
I'm sure in one of those responses you read through I said that screaming was an extension of personality.  You sound like a barking seal because deep down you don't feel permission to let it fly.  There's a guard up and you're pushing through it.  It's kind of like driving a car with one foot on the brakes and one on the gas.  People that scream well don't give a hoot if it hurts them or not.  If you want to ease your way into it and see if you can't get in through the back door so to speak, I have an MP3 called "The Five Secrets of Screaming."  There's also a free lesson on my site called, "Screaming Shakespeare."  Check them out. Maybe they'll help break you let down your guard a little more.

Mark

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Question.
I have been wanting to sing/scream in an alternative rock band. Something along the lines of Thrice. I started singing for a band a couple of months ago and we finished our first song, and today I had to lay down to vocal tracks for it. My screaming parts were strong and turned out well, but I found that I was short of breath quite a few times and a lot of the words were not as long as I wanted them to be, when I scream, no words last very long. How can I make my breaths last longer when I'm screaming? Also, when we're just jamming for practice/fun, my voice is fairly powerful. Today, while I was doing the vocal tracks, my singing parts sounded pretty gutless. I was singing to myself in the recording room before the music started, to try and get myself into the proper tune and pitch, but once the music started, it was like I hadn't done that at all. I'd really like to sound more like Dustin Kensrue (Thrice). The way his voice can be so clean and powerful but at times almost have a slight growl to it, but still sounding really good. Thanks!


Answer.
You're just ahead of yourself that's all. The things you want in your singing require lots of practice and skill. Dustin has been at it for a long time. There's no way you can create the sounds he does after just a few months. Stick with it -- keep recording. As you build more stamina and learn to release what you don't need, your screams will be longer.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark. I've been taking singing lessons for about a year now and over the year i've learnt a bunch of songs, all different styles of music. I know that i want to sing rock, and i've told my music teacher this, she knows this as well. She also knows that i am going to persue a singing career that involved screaming. 

I understand that the reason i've been learning different types of songs is to strengthen the area's in my voice that are weak. (I've read your FAQS). When i started taking lessons i thought "Whatever as long as i learn to sing" but now i understand alot more.

I've only recently started working on my scream. A friend of mine can do a very convincing death roar, but when i go to scream it comes out higher pitched which i am very happy with, but i would also like to delve into a speaking pitch scream. We've both noticed that when i scream my mouth is very open (A and I vowel mouth position) and when he roars it's more closed (O vowel mouth position). I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it though, so that's my first question, does the shape of the mouth affect the pitch of the scream?

Also my singing teacher is going to start teaching me the technique called "Belt", she says that it's more of a rock technique compared to "Twang" which i've spent a year learning. I've been given information on "Belt", and i have to keep my larynx slightly higher than normal, sing in speech quality and really "feel the ground beneath me". Do you have any tips about this feeling the ground beneath me stance? My teacher gave me a shove and i lost my footing after which she informed i was doing it wrong. When i try it i feel as if my knees are moving into each other which tenses my thighs. Can you help me with this problem?

Also with Belt i was wondering if would produce a better screaming sound compared to Twang. Keep in mind that in twang i use a mix of chest and head voice but in belt i only use chest voice and get the maximum range out of chest voice without transfering into head. So there's my third question, Which of the two would be better suited for screaming?

Thanks for your help Mark.
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Answer. Unfortunately I can't help you with your questions because I don't aggree with the method your teacher is taking. Different techniques are like religions. There are plenty of them out there and they don't all agree. As you know from reading my FAQ's, I don't think it's a good idea to build the voice by singing songs. So I would ask your teacher to be a little more clear about the stance you should take. The shape of the mouth doesn't affect the pitch -- it affects the tone.

Mark

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Question. I wanna learn to scream but when i try ppl say it well.... can u just help me how to scream lol i wanna be like sorta slipknot/mudvayne help would be appreciated.=)

Answer. I think you should check out my MP3 lesson called "The Five Secrects of
Screaming." www.voicelesson.com "Screaming Shakespeare"
(To scream or not to scream . . .)


Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I'm a big fan of your work. What's your approach to the growling voice Death Metal singers use to sing with? I've been always wondering how those singers can produce that sound for hours, with that much expression in their voices and without damaging their vocal cords. I assume that they (at least the pros like Mikael from Opeth) know how to breathe properly, and that they do their warm up and warm down routines... But there's no way the vocal cords can resist that pressure for so long and those singers seem perfectly comfortable with their gutural growl... so I'd say they're producing the sound with a different organ than the vocal cords (like the false vocal cords or something) Is there a secret technique? Can a normal singer learn to do it right? It's such an obscure matter. There are thousands of singers who can do it but you couldn't find a single person or vocal coach who can describe that "technique" with a "technical" and physiological approach. I'm sure you can

Answer. There's no one secret -- there are many secrets.  That's because each growler does it a little differently.  You're assuming that they are not damaging their voices and suffering just because they do it nightly.  That's not necessarily true.  Lot's of aggressive singers suffer a great deal but feel it's worth it to get their music out there.  Others have found a balance between the force needed and the capability of the larynx to handle the pressure.  I have an MP3 available called, "The Five Secrets of Screaming" which will shed more insight on your options.  www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question.

1) Greetings. After having read the FAQ's page, I'm rather impressed with not only your knowledge on vocal chords/technique, but on your knowledge of various singers. Every singer/frontman mentioned, you had an opinion on. It surprised me, and hopefully will help in the following questions. I'm recently turned 18, and have been singing for... As long as I can remember. At least 16 years =P My style is constantly changing, but it's usually always in the bedroom/house and car. Now, for my first question. Most of what I used to sing (and a lot of what I still do sing) is high-pitched. Chester Bennington, David Draiman, Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance) and Amy Lee (Evanescence) are what I aspire(d) to. As such, I was almost constantly singing in Falsetto, but only realised this after my style changed. As a result, there's no transition ('click') between my normal voice and my falsetto. My question is, is this healthy? Is it 'safe'? Is it possible to further blend my falsetto into my regular range?

2) I've found that, after singing in Falsetto (at the top of my range) for extended periods of time (an hour, more) I'll get headache's, and a severe tightness in my throat. I can still sing the notes, it's just uncomfortable. Is this indicative of damage, or is it a natural reaction to such high levels of tension?

3) As mentioned earlier, my style has changed lately. I've taken to screaming a lot, like Corey Taylor (Slipknot) and I believe I sound very similar to Matt Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold)... My concerns come from the pain the screaming causes me, and the damage/hoarseness to the rest of my range afterwards. Would screaming in the manner of M. Shadows, for an hour or more, produce significant/irreversible damage to your vocal chords?

4) Often when I'm screaming, I'll put that much effort into it that I develop neck/muscular pains and headache's, and a few times I've come close to throwing up by screaming so hard (not good, I assume! :P) I find that my falsetto completely disappears after screaming that hard for extended periods, but my normal/natural range is 'higher'. I can hit notes I otherwise couldn't, yet without using falsetto... Any thoughts on that?

I'm seriously considering forming a band and attempting to get signed. I believe I've a good enough voice to front a hard-rock/punk band, and I'd like to be able to scream intermittently as well, to spice the music up. Having never had any professional lessons, I'm unaware of correct training procedures. I've had a high-profile Australian sing instructor (who's name escapes me) comment on excellent pitch, good to excellent range (good current range, with the potential for excellent), and a generally nice sounding voice, so... Any tips or advice, for how to keep my voice in good shape and... Any other comments on this spiel... Would be greatly appreciated. I apologise for the length, and completely understand if you're too busy or simply choose to not respond to this =) Also, the names I mentioned above (plus Jay Gordon of Orgy, and Jonathan Davis) are my major vocal influences. What're your thoughts on their voice, respective styles, and the percieved length of their career? =) None of the singers you mentioned were professionally trained. Thanks again. Here's hoping. James~


Answer.
1) Yes, falsetto is completely safe and able to blend with your chest register with some practice.

2) The headaches and discomfort are from unnecessary muscle tension and force. You are cutting off the blood to the brain by contracting so many throat and neck muscles. That's not necessary to hit those high notes.

3) You're being dramatic. If you pounded your voice relentlessly for hours on end every night (as those singers you mentioned do) you would lose many options with your voice. Things would become rigid and restrictive. Scar tissue would replace the flexible lining now covering your vocal folds. My point is that your body will send you warning sign after warning sign as this is progressing (like those headaches) and you can make a choice at any time to back off. Damage rarely happens during one show. It can -- but it's very rare.

4) Your throat and vocal folds are swollen -- too fat to produce the thin frequencies of falsetto.

Mark

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Question. Hey, lately I have been listening to alot of death metal, and I love the aggressive, growling vocals. Is it possible to growl out the higher pitches without constricting the lifter muscles surrounding the larynx? I can't figure out how to make those sounds consistently without my throat feeling raw for days after... and it baffles me that singers can make a lasting career out of it. How do they do it? p.s. I got your book, and its awesome!

Answer. For the most part, the singers growling it out just deal with the raw throat and the hoarseness. It's like an athlete dealing with the aches and pains of a season. The sound you like requires some constriction. So it's up to you how much you're willing to use.

Mark

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Question. mark what do i do my gf wants me to scream in songs and i have NO Clue how to do it and i want to impress her so d00d plz help me i really need to learn and how do you scream and play bass at the same time i play bass in my band also give me some help man peace out

Answer. Don't do it Ian!  If you do everything your gf wants now then you'll find yourself watching Oprah later in life because your wife won't give up the remote!  All kidding aside, you have to find what works for your voice and skill level.  As soon as you learn to scream your gf will start to like a different kind of singing.  I have an MP3 lesson called "The Five Secrets of Screaming."  That would be a good place to start.  www.voicelesson.com
 
"Screaming Shakespeare"
(To scream or not to scream . . .)
 

Mark

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Question. Hey im a huge aerosmith fan and i was just wondering if you could tell me what i can do to be able to scream like steven?

Answer. Just give it absolutely everything you've got. I don't recommend singing that way, but that's how he does it. If it works out for ya and you become a huge success, give me a call and we can work out a routine to save what's left of your vocal folds!

Mark

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Question. Hi mark. I have some experience singing in rock bands.lately have developed a certain interest in bands like glassjaw, the bled, alexisonfire. in i really like the way of Singing and screaming the normal lyrics are no problem. but how do they manage to scream like that and sing at the same time ? is there a good way to learn this?

Answer. There's no one way -- everyone screams a little different.  Start out with your regular singing and build as much strength as you can before exploring the dirty stuff.  I have a free lesson on the subject called, "Screaming Shakespeare"
(To scream or not to scream . . .)
   Check it out.

Mark

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Question. hi, I have been working on my screaming/ screaming for the past 4 months. I think I totally suck at singing and have no self confidence. when I scream I have confidence.. im not afraid to scream in front of people but when it comes to singing I wuss out . the people I do sing in front of say I have a sucky singing voice but a good scream. should i just get a backup vocalist for the singing? When I scream I cant get to high. is their any exercises to do to get your scream higher pitched? Thanks

Answer. Lots of people have trouble singing if they develop a screaming style first. I think it's an intimacy issue. It's just feels better to push. Speaking of pushing. Driving harder is the only way to get your scream higher. Watch for the irritation -- it's bound to increase.

Mark

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Question. ok. ive been so frustrated it's insane. i want to know how to scream better. i am 16 in a band that's like screamo. i have been singing all my life and i am now in vocal ensemble(chorus honors) for my school. my singing's fine i guess but i really need to learn how to scream. mine sounds nothing like anyone that i kno. but ya i want to scream like real bands not stupid linkin park or disturbed for the kids that think thats screaming its not. i want to scream like: underoath, refused, the used, senses fail, guns like girls, a static lullaby, alexisonfire etc. anything like that!!!! if u dont know those bands check them out. i need to know are those just effects? or are they really making their voice do that because its so awesome and my band demands it. ive been looking everywhere for lessons on this. i honestly dont care if i mess up my singing voice because im so dedicated to this. i practice in my room and everything where its loud and i can practice i just don't know how to scream like them. i need u to tell me the exact technique to scream like that please. help me out?

Answer. Do you honestly think the singers of Underoath, Refused, The Used, Senses Fail, Guns Like Girls, A Static Lullaby, or Alexis on Fire where taught how to do what they do? They are not just effects Those are guys who really don't care what happens to their voices -- so they explored until they found something cool. You should too. There's no technique. The whole point of Screamo is to be reckless and not give a sh#t. Let your frustration feed your intensity -- or stay with vocal ensemble. There's nothing wrong with that. We all go through this. Keep at it.

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark i would like to learn how to scream like some bands (i.e funeral for a friend, atreyu, bullet for my valentine) i always put it down to my age seeing as im just going on 15, but is there any exercises i can do to help my vocals perform, last night i tried to scream, ended up more a shout =( could you please help me with this, maybe give me a step by step instructions on where to start thanks lex.

Answer. You're right -- it is your age.  The exercises you should do are those that build strength.  Regular ol' singing exercises would be the best for what you want to do.  Everyone screams a little different -- so there are no specific steps -- just things to watch out for.  I have a lesson on my site named, "Screaming Shakespeare"
(To scream or not to scream . . .)
  You should check it out.

Mark's Book & Video

Mark

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Question. Hi I'm 15 years old and I've just started signing and when I sing I'm having trouble reaching high notes. I'm a big Guns N' Roses fan and I'm comparing myself to Axl, but when I try to get up to his high notes my voice goes into falcetto and gets very thin and it seems like it's to high pitched. Does Axl use falsetto much when he goes high pitched or does he use his normal singing voice? (Like in "You're Crazy", "Sweet Child O'Mine" and "Civil War" etc) Because it seems like he uses a middle voice between normal and falcetto. I can reach this for about half a second when I'm going from falcetto to normal voice or the other way around. But if Axl uses falcetto on his high notes how does he keep that fattnes in his voice? I know he sang much falcetto and high pitched notes as a child and I know he pushes the hell out of his voice but is all that practice what it takes or is he born with this voice. Because I know I can get pretty high with my voice compared to my friends (both in falcetto and in normal singing voice) and I'm hoping you can give me some pointers. Thanks a million!!

Answer. You already have the recipe for singing like Axl.  Sing as high and as hard as you can.  Right now your voice falters when you do this -- as I'm sure his did when he was your age.  You're right about him being in between falsetto and chest when he screams.  Right now sticking with falsetto is the best bet for you.  As you get stronger you'll hear a better tone come out.
Mark's Book & Video

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, I'm an 18 year old musician. I want to start singing in my music, as well as screaming. My voice isn't terrible, but often when I sing I sound like a girl, and I need to be able to scream on this new album I'm in the process of writing. Whenever I try to scream on a song, I fail possibly because I'm insecure that my voice will crack and sound even worse than it already does. It's very embarrassing to me, even when no one's around. I want to have faith in my voice; enough faith to eventually belt out a heavy rock song with screaming voices (such as songs like Marilyn Manson's "Little Horn" and "Angel With The Scabbed Wings"). I'm not completely tone-deaf but I'm very insecure about my voice. Is there a way in which I can learn how to sing & scream in my music? Should I take lessons? Or won't that help? Will I be too embarrassed? I want to sing, I think my music has potential and I have a lot to say. Thanks.

Answer. Most singers are insecure about their voices -- but the brave ones sing anyway. You should take lessons and gain as much evidence as possible that you can sing. Overcoming your fear, though, is only going to happen once you get fed up with being afraid. Usually this happens too late for people. By the time they get some courage -- they're too old to pursue a career. I say this not to depress you -- rather to light a fire under your butt.

Mark

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Question. Mark, I have been screaming/singing for about a year and a half and I can only sing well in random instances. My real problem is after screaming for a while my voice loses its screaming sound. I can scream well for about two or three hours in practice, but then my voice starts to alternate into just a projected yell. My speaking voice is high pitched and my screams are usually low so when my screams go out it sounds terrible. Do you have some tips for my screaming and/or singing? P.S.Would a throat coat tea help me before shows. Some people say i should try it, but i stick to water.

Answer. Your throat is swelling up due to the irritation of screaming. Tea won't help you last longer but it will soothe your tired throat. Wear ear plugs when at band practice so you can focus on your behavior. Right from the beginning of rehearsal, try to use less push to scream. The less you use the longer you last.

Mark

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Question. Hi, I am 15, and I am currently a vocalist for a "heavier" band. I like to scream, but it needs work. For a while I had figured out how to put tone into it, but as I scream from my throat opposed to from my abdomen, it's hard to get much practice in before my voice dies. My question is, how can I warm up for screaming properly, and how can I improve my range for the screams/make them more constant/get them more...screamy as opposed to raspy. Any info would be great! :D

Answer. It's all about using the minimum amount of energy to get the sound you want. Most people way over compensate and burn out quickly. I have a free lesson on my site titled, "Screaming Shakespeare," It will definitely help.

Mark

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Question. hey mark well my brother just joined a band and he's the screamer and there really good and two of my best friends joined bands and they scream. ive been get kinda mad that i cant scream so my question is how do i do it ive been practicing for about a month now and it sounds really bad so if u could give me some help it would be great thanks alot

Answer. It sure takes a lot longer then a month to learn how to do anything. Stay with it.

Mark

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Question. I have been singing for my band for some time now, and i have been doing fine. But, we play music that in a way requires me to scream. I was just wondering if there was any way that i could learn how to scream like chester(from linkin park)or make a similar scream. Of course without harming my voice. By the way i have your Secrets of Screaming download, but i don't seem to be getting the results i want (been doing the exercises for over 2 months now). Is there anything else i could do to get a wicked scream?

Answer. Become wicked.  As I say in the Secrets download, no two people scream the same.  Your concern about harming your voice is wise but not wicked.  What makes you think Chester isn't hurting when he screams?  Rather then cop what he's doing.  I strongly recommend you continue with the exercises on the download but open your mind a little to your personal potential.  I don't think you have to suffer tremendously to create a scream but I also don't think you can avoid "who" you are when singing.  I don't think you're a wicked person.  So come up with a scream that fits who you are.  Other than that, you are missing foundational strength and conditioning.  I am in production now on a CD of exercises to build the bottom fundamentals.  Over and over I see this as sorely missing in everyone who's trying to scream.  It's like you're looking to hit the ball out of the park before you've develop a solid basic swing.  More on the CD later. www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question. Sorry, you probably get so many questions... Anyways, I have a really powerful voice and I can yell and scream and everything, the only problem is, I can't seem to incorporate it into my own band's songs. Like I said, I can yell and scream all I want, but my problem is, when I hear screaming in other bands, like Mudvayne or In Flames or Underoath, it sounds like screaming. When I scream, it sounds like it's out of tune. You know? Like, when the guys in the other bands scream it doesn't sound like they're hitting any real note, they're just screaming where I can hear a note in my scream and it's usually not in tune with the song so I just don't bother. I just wish I could scream, I feel like it NEEDS to be in parts of some of our songs and it would sound REAL nice and I'm so emotional about it, but it wont work! Can you maybe explain?

Answer. Sure. Those guys have more noise in their screams so it lines up with any chord. You aren't disturbing your folds as much (that's a good thing really) so there is a pitch along with some noise. Since you're driving hard to break up the sound it throws your folds off the intended pitch. The only reason you think it should be in your songs is because you listen to Mudvayne. There's nothing wrong with being a fan of theirs but your band needs to be original. Everybody is screaming, grunting choking and vomiting out their vocals these days. It's hard to imagine things getting any more aggressive. The first band to do something more creative vocally will rule the next decade. Why not let it be you? Do what comes naturally and you're automatically unique.

Mark

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Question. Hi, I've noticed quite a few questions on here regarding Linkin Park style screaming. That's all well and good but the screaming I want to find out about is more of a Slipknot/Lamb of God style. I think I have tried to scream twice but no more because I don't want to stuff my voice up. Whets your advice on screaming/yelling for a beginner?

Answer. You shouldn't do it if you have the least bit of doubt in your mind. Not only will it sound wrong but you'll cause more irritation due to the bracing from neighboring muscles. It's like a tattoo. If you have to ask if it hurts you shouldn't get one.

Mark

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Question. i am a guitarist /singer but i would like to fully devout myself to singing. im in a band (kind of) and we play hard rock like the used/slipknot. i would really like to know how to hit really high notes without my voice cracking and i would really like to know how to scream in the used style better. the reason i said i am kind of in a band is because i am only 13 so we just practice because we cant get gigs yet. for this reason everyone says that my voice has just not developed yet, which is true, but i am wondering if there is a way to improve my voice to hit those high notes anyways.

Answer. The only way to get your voice where you want it is to be 21 years old. That doesn't mean give up. It means stay with it and when you're 21 you'll be able to do all the things you dream about doing now

Mark

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Question. I am an aspiring metal singer in the style of Pantera, Machine Head, etc... Are there any exercises out there so that i am not hoarse after two practice sessions? Maybye a tip or two on how to achieve that roar without the maximum pain.

Answer. You've got to warm up before each rehearsal and then warm down after in order to reduce swelling.  It's the same thing for any pro athlete.  A slow ramp up is very necessary if you're going to sing all out.  Speaking of which, don't push as hard as you can and you'll reduce the pain after roaring.  If the sound isn't right then push until it is.  The point is that you're over compensating what's need to roar.  You're gonna feel it -- but it could be a lot less.

www.voicelesson.com


Mark

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Question. Hello Mark, I listen to lots of bands with screaming. I've tried doing it but it never comes out right and isn't strong/fluent sounding at all. I know there are manyyyyy different types of screams, so if you want to hear the exact type scream i want to be able to do, go to www.purevolume.com/underoath and listen to the song "It's dangerous business walking out your front door".) Do you have any tips or ways to help me out?? thanks a ton

Answer. Hey Brian, It puzzles me as to why you think that the guy in Underoath is able to scream that way easily. Like there's just a few tips you're missing and then you'll be right there with him. I don't know how long he's been at it but I guarantee you he's been through hell to get his voice where he wants it -- if its even where he wants yet. It takes practice -- meaning singing with bands -- and experimenting and dialing in what is unique about your voice to come up with something dramatic. I think you should jump in and audition for a local band and scrape your knees up so to speak.

Mark

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Question. I am considering buying you books and dvds, but checked out this site first. There is a lot of mention of singing in a # lets RRRAAAAWWWWWK! # style, with a handful of people mentioning Tool, disturbed and the like. But I am curious to know if your products cover the lower end of the scale so to speak? The gut renching sub-vocal grind that black metal bands such as cradle of filth seem to almost bark out. Do you have any advice for I suppose...deep screaming? thanks

Answer. There are so many individual type screams and sounds form all the popular performers out there. Each one has his or her own stamp. What's underneath them all is strength and conditioning. Either by playing hundreds of gigs or by training, pro singers have the strength to push the limits of their voices. This doesn't mean it doesn't hurt -- it usually does. It means to sing passionately and aggressively you've got to respect the body and prepare the muscles you will be using by building strength. Just like athletes do.

Mark

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Question. Hey, I've been reading (and utilizing) the tips on your website. I'm 18 and have been told by several people i have a good singing voice, and I've also heard that singing runs in my family, but obviously I'm not going to rely just on that. I practice singing whenever i get a chance to, which is atleast once a day, even if its just singing along to a CD. Anyway i would love to scream like the singer in Asian Kung-Fu Generation in the song Haruka Kanata. I can't tell if he is just using his own interpretation of screaming, but his voice seems to go into "overdrive". Any ideas what this may be? If so any tips for me to develop my own "overdrive"? Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks a bunch!

Answer. My suggestion for all screamers is to use a proportionate amount of pressure. That means dial in the minimum pressure to make the sound you want -- not the max. The overdrive stuff is on a person to person basis. Everyone has a different sound due to genetics and each singing has to decide how much abuse he or she is willing to endure to scream. It's very personal.

Mark

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Question. I am planning to do some cover shows with my band, and one of the songs is Nirvanas "milk it". Now my question is how does cobain get that genuine tormented tone (if you listen to the song you'll know what im talking about) when he screams. Id like to be able to recreate this during the shows because the song just looses its feeling without it.

Answer. Are you kidding?  You're asking me how a guy who shot himself in the head with a shotgun got his tormented scream when singing?   

http://www.stagepass.com/markbaxter/
www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question. Umm.... That wasn't what i was really looking for, I know the dangers and all of that stuff like warming up and the anatomy is everywhere on this stupid net, but i need like an article that tells HOW TO SCREAM!!

Answer. Umm. . .  so you're saying that if you're in a burning building and your hanging out of the fifth floor window and you see the firemen but they don't see you -- you don't know HOW TO SCREAM FOR HELP?  Bullshit.  What you're really looking for is a different personality.  One that is able to cut loose and let go.  That's not you.  So when you try a scream it comes out half ass and wimpy.  You may notice if you get frustrated with my answer and just let out a scream that it tickles your throat or causes pain.  Do it long enough and you'll get a splitting headache right across the front of your forehead and a sore throat.  Do it all the time and you'll notice your voice getting lower and raspy all the time.  That's exactly what all the singers you idolize go through.  It hurts when they scream but they scream anyway.  So you have a choice.  Dig down deep and find some attitude in you and let it out -- disregarding the pain -- or read through my article again and follow the slow approach to aggressive singing.

http://www.stagepass.com/markbaxter/
www.voicelesson.com


Mark

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Question. I would like to become a metal vocalist, I take influence from vocalists from bands like Chimaira, Ektomorf and Lamb Of God. My problem is that when I sing I cannot get a very loud sound, is this normal? How can I get a louder scream? Thanks

Answer. I have a free lesson on this subject at the following link, http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/screaming.htm

Mark

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Question. Hey, I've been singing in a band for a long time and am able to scream without hurting my voice but it's not as high as i want it to be, i sing more around the artist Davey Havok from AFI does when he's in the studio, but i want to sound more high pitch like the singer from The Used....or Davey Havok Live...i want to know how i can find a way to get a higher pitch without harming my voice. and a faster more easier way cause we are undergoe writing and I'm really in the need for a vocal help fast. could you give any advice on how i can develop a higher screaming voice without harming my voice?

Answer. If the screaming you're doing now isn't hurting you then screaming higher won't hurt either. High notes don't hurt -- friction does. I recommend you practice your high notes without the push first. After you gain some flexibility you can mess with the sound by pushing a little. The feeling in your throat will tell you when you've gone too far. Obey that feeling.

Mark

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Question. I am really into metal and screaming, but i like it clean, i don't like to sing really evil-ish, I'd like to sound like Alexi lahio (children of bodom) and sometimes can, however im holding back my scream to save it, but i can't control it so i can't make it any louder, i can scream fine and it sounds good but i want to make it louder!!, i have been taught to sing when i was 10-12 for songs i played on piano but i stopped and started learnin guitar, i did not practise much since then other then singing along with songs so i am out of shape, i am trying to train myself and get back my voice, i hope i have not damaged my voice from screaming as well. Your help will be greatly appreciated!! thx

Answer. You have not damaged yourself at all. It will take some time for you to get back in shape. You're a lot different now then when you where 10. Give it some time.

Mark

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Question. ok im a 14 year old male bass player in a "harder" rock band (ex. Rise against, chevelle, ect..) and were a trio my guitar player sings lead vocals while playing guitar and we wanted to add backing "screamo" like in the song "Ohio is for lovers" by hawthorne heights and i was wondering i admit i don't have a very good singing voice at all but I can scream ok and wanted to im prove screaming so i could do it back up in my band is there any way to do that with out having to take singing lessons or learning actual singing?

Answer. No. It's like becoming a better bass player without wanting to put in the work. You'll get better at screaming by just screaming more at practice. You're gonna feel tickles and dryness in your throat and you'll have to make a choice at that point if you want to keep pushing. It's not the best thing to do with your voice but you're young and your body will bounce back.

Mark

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Question. I scream for a hardcore band and I can't seem to hold my scream long enough is there any techniques to help my scream last longer?

Answer. Reduce the air pressure as much as possible while still maintaining the sound you want. You're spending too much.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark I was wondering if there's any particular method of training my voice to sing while screaming but still be able to sing well normally afterwards. What are your suggestions for learning how to scream effectively? Thanks a lot! Blake

Answer. Screaming takes a lot of exploring and practicing. There's a very personal line inside you that you shouldn't cross. It won't kill you but you will definitely swell up and not sing very well afterwards. The only way to really understand where that line is -- is by crossing it! So you have to sacrifice some rehearsals in order to feel things out. Warm up every time you sing. Drink two liters of water per day. Get lots of sleep. Scream only where the lyrics demands rather than every word in the song.

Mark

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Question. What's up man? I bought your book and video about 4 months ago, and WOW!! I have been improving so much when it comes to singing. I have a question for you that wasn't deeply explained in your book.. I'm a 21 year old metal vocalist, and I am constantly screaming in my songs. Actually, I have different ranges of screaming. I can go deep to that "cookie monster" growl, to a "natural sounding" scream ( if that makes sense). All of our songs have singing AND screaming in them. I am doing so much better when it comes to my singing, (relaxed muscles and warming up and down) I have no problems with my voice or throat when it comes to singing. But no matter what I'm doing, after I'm done with a jam session with the band after I've been screaming for a couple hours, my throat gets tight and feels scratchy and cloudy.. I do my warm downs, and my speaking voice is fine, but it takes about 3 days before I can scream decently again, without it sounding really strained and weak.. I'm a female vocalist, and I'm always told that I sound like a guy and that I'm really heavy when it comes to screaming, so I know I'm good at it. I have the drive and I want to do this for life. I don't want to end up like my favorite metal vocalists (matt Holt, Corey Taylor) having to suffer thorough pain everyday and having to undergo operations due to throat and vocal damage.. I know I'm doing something wrong, and I keep going through your book, and I only see a little over a paragraph when you are speaking "only" of screaming. And advice you can give me would really help me out. I don't want to completely screw up my voice before we even get signed, so I figured the best time to ask would be now.. Thanks man \m/

Answer. I know I have answers about screaming posted on this site somewhere but I'll add this to your question. There is no right way to scream. The whole thing about screaming is that it is dangerous and reckless. It's like a vocal tattoo. You are getting your various screams by using various muscles in the throat to distort the sound. The ache comes from those muscles. It's like a warning that you are abusing the area. The body can handle some abuse -- but not too much. That line is different for everybody. Your favorite singers didn't listen to their bodies. You can. Quit smoking right now. Keep hydrated. Warm up and vocalize every day. The rule is that you need to reset your throat back to good health before you can pound on it again. Sometimes that may take a day or two. The more you vocalize the quicker your rebound time. As you get more experienced, start looking for less pressure to create the same sounds. Most times we push just for pushing's sake and it causes too much swelling. I always take a long hot shower after a night of singing aggressively. The steam is good to inhale and the hot water releases tense neck muscles.

Mark

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Question. Hi Mark, My band has decided to change the way of the lyrics.I'm not gonna do high pitch scream any more. It's gonna be a combination of singing and like deep tone yelling with some (rock) growls. It's kinda like Slipknot yells, only I won't be yelling during the entire song like Corey (Slipknot) does. But how should a approach a yell????? And is it possible to not blow my voice. I know it can be done because lots of people in rock music can. Thanks for reading this. Hope you can get back to me. JOE

Answer. Has the band decided how much you will weigh? How tall you should be? Has the band decided what subjects will stir your emotions? What girls you think are hot? Singing is an ultra personal thing. The only way to make your band fierce is to find your strengths -- what things you can already do with your voice that are cool -- and let them be the core of the band's sound. All great singers do is let people hear what they can do great. They don't dwell on what they don't do very well. Corey yells the way he does cause he does it better than anyone -- and he doesn't sing because that would expose his limitations. No band meeting. No label discussions. That's the way he does it. Luckily, you and lots of other guys like it. So it seems like it's the thing to do. You've only been at this a very short time. Let your band jam while you experiment. Find your slot and build the band's sound around that. It won't work the other way around.

Mark

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Question. Mr Baxter: I am 18, and have always wanted to sing death metal, but I don't know how they roar out whole songs like that. Or how they roar at all. Some people have told me they do it by shredding their vocal chords, but that seems a bit dangerous to me!(I just know they sing from the diaphragm) I am a female with a strange voice that sounds deep & low, yet very high pitched & childish at the same time. Could someone be able to sing if they were born with very large tonsils? Also, I have noticed I sound pretty bad singing alone, but I sound decent when I sing along with a recording or person by matching their pitch/key by ear. I can sing almost anything that way.(death metal being one of the exceptions)What kind of voice do I have? Any kind of advice on how to sing death metal/how to roar/how to get that gutteral would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your reply.

Answer. You seem to be an alto (have a large larynx) and also have too much throat tension (the girly sound). The tonsils are not your problem. Singing along with CD's is like riding a bike with training wheels. It's not teaching you anything. Read through the free lesson on my site entitled, "Screaming Shakespeare" for suggestions on aggressive singing.

http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons.htm

Mark

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Question. Hey Mark, I am an Emo and I sing in an Emo band. we have been together for 3 years now and were starting to expand our range of music, ie-Hawthorne Hieghts, FFAF, MCR. This involves screaming. I have read up on many different techniques and cant seen to get it right. Would you please tell me some different techniques for screaming and actually getting it right. Cheers Ollie The Promise Unknown

Answer. Read through the free lesson entitled, "Screaming Shakespeare," on my web site. www.voicelesson.com

Mark

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Question. Hello there, my Name is Wyatt and I am putting together a Death/Black Metal band. I REALLY want help on Screaming, I have the growling thing done pritty good, my friend said I sound along the lines of Cannibal Corpse. But I want to Get more of a Hollow sound example is Glen Benton (Vital Remains). I also want to know who to train my voice to get the sounds of Carcass, or Dimmu Borgir. I am 15 and I have tried Looking ALL over the net for some help, so far I haven't really found anything. I also know the Dangers of The sounds I want to get. BUt I don't really care. And I have kind of taken your advice with the whole "Stunt man" answer. So if you could help me out, It would be greatly appreciated. Also no advice on going to a singing teacher because I am found a small town(and lost of people here are "Small minded" and only into pop like Britney Spear). Thnx for your time, and I hope you can help me, or put me onto someone that could. Wyatt.

Answer. Good job, Wyatt. By telling me what not to tell you, you've taken away any possibility of me helping. You want me to suggest someone to train you but don't want me suggesting you take singing lessons. The help you need is not going to come wrapped in a bow with your name on it. You will have to put together little pieces of the puzzle from a bunch of different sources -- just like I did. Consider everything you hear about singing, even from small minded people, before you discard it. Even though they are not into your music, there may be some clues in their info. If you stick with it you will figure things out and settle into a vocal sound you're proud of. As time passes you will see things differently. You've got a lot of fire in you and that's good. The only obstacle in your way at the moment is your 15 year-old mind.

Mark

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Question. I don't have trouble hitting the tone of scream I'm going for but often when I scream my voice kinda just gives out and I sound like a kid going through puberty if that makes any sense lol. Why is this?

Answer. It's an uncoordinated air flow. You need to practice by approaching scream level much more gradually, rather than giving it everything you've got.

Mark

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Question. I'm 15 years old and play lead guitar in a band. I also play drums, bass, and keyboard but not in a band. I would like to switch to playing rhythm guitar and singing/screaming along with me playing. I love to sing when im alone and in front of people but I never get good remarks and never produce the tone I would like. I listen and love The Used, Senses Fail, and Thrice. They all have the kinda of voice I desire. The Used most of all in the song Maybe Memories. I know this is a major jump becuz of his high voice. I have had no vocal training besides what I read online. I was wondering on where I should start for singing/screamin. I have read the faq sheet and did not really find any starting point for what I am looking for. In the songs I would like to sing they do not scream the entire time so I would like to fill the gap with singing. What kind of advice would you offer me or any teens on trying to find there voice and how to scream correctly and get the tone desired. Thanks -- Blake

Answer. I have a free lesson posted on my site, www.voicelesson.com entitled, "Screaming Shakespeare." That would be a good starting point.

Mark

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Question. I've read your tips about screaming...but the problem is, I don't know how to! When I try to sing but in a "screaming" voice it either doesn't happen or it comes out as a "death metal" scream where you cant even hear what im singing. Im after an Axl Rose, Steve Tyler type of crunch (if you think of a guitar amp). Im not really too sure how to "push my voice" either. Oh also I have been getting a lot of phlegm in my voice when I warm up and sing and it prevents me from singing properly. Is there anyway to combat this? Drinking water doesn't really solve the problem. Thanks for your help. Chrisi Stradlin'

Answer. If you were hanging out a 5th story window of a burning building I don't think you'd have any problem pushing your voice to the firemen below. The point being that screaming is definitely not for everyone. Lot's of people have a guard build into their personality that won't let them be so aggressive unless there was a life or death situation. Singers like Tyler and Rose put up with migraine headaches to the point of whiting out every single time they sang. It not necessary to push that hard but their personalities are such that they don't do anything half-ass. That's why their screams are so rock n roll. You should reduce dairy and junk food to reduce your mucous if it's not allergy related. You may also be pushing too hard with a clear sound as you warm up -- which would bring up mucous as well.

http://www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons.htm

Mark

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Question. I was wondering if it's okay to train your voice by singing along? I want to build my voice to have the classical yet dementing clean sound that Peter Steele has, while having the "kick ass" scream John Garcia of Kyuss has. Though I don't necessarily want to rip them off. Should I pop in their cd's and practice from there or should I approach it differently?

Answer. I don't recommend singing along for training purposes. It's fun to do -- but it's like riding a bicycle with training wheels. It gives a false sense of ability. Your kick ass scream is not going to sound like John Garcia's. Close, but not exactly. He's not able to sing exactly like his vocal hero's either. No one is. SO, exercise your voice to its fullest and leave your inhibitions behind when you venture into a scream. If you're successful, I'll get an email in a couple of years from somebody wanting to know how to scream like Kristopher Hall.

Mark

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Question. Those free lessons help me understand more about singing. Anyway. I have improved on my yelling/screaming, it don't really hurt my throat anymore,it just makes it harder to sing the next day. Lately I have been doing songs that have screams that last for about 8 or more seconds, and I can do them, but as soon as I let go of the note I get the biggest headach, it's like it wraps around my whole head, and I get sort of dizzy. So what's the problem???? What can I do to prevent that???? My dad tells me that I have to yell from my stomach, what does that mean????

Answer. You're cutting off the blood to your brain when you tense your neck to scream. When you release, blood rushes up and causes anything from a throb to a pounding headache. You can also get tension headaches along the front of your forehead from screaming all night. Steven Tyler told me he used to white-out at the end of some of his screams in the old days. He would come to and find himself standing on stage and not know what song they were playing! Of course since then he learned not to go all out like that and to find a balance.

Your dad's referring to the use of the diaphragm that keeps the air pressure off the throat. It's up to you. At some point you'll learn to dial in the minimum amount of pressure it will take to get the scream you want. It takes practice. The more you back off the better your throat will feel -- but your scream won't sound very dangerous.

Mark

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Question. I've been singing gospel music for a few years now, and have recently joined a rock band. I am finding, however, that the bands we\'re trying to cover demand me to hit some really high notes (I.e. Hoobastank, Disturbed) and when trying to hit some of their notes, I get it wrong, and my throat starts to hurt from all the effort. This has been going on for a few months now. Am I in danger of damaging my voice? And how does one scream? I\'ve tried to pull it off, but I\'m never successful.

Answer. High notes do not require effort -- not by themselves. When trying to emulate what another artist did, you may often find yourself up against a lot of stress. The other artists choose to sing is their business. We do not know if it causes them pain or how often they're able to do it. What matters is that you honor your body's warning signals. I often get emails from people wanting to sing gospel. They ask me how to sing with more passion and power. I'm sure the answer is obvious to you -- you've got to believe in what you're singing. Well, the same is true with doing Hoobastank covers. That's how one screams; from a belief that the scream is the right thing to do at that moment. Otherwise, your guards will be up and you'll create more stress than necessary. Screaming over and over will cause swelling and may bruise the vocal folds. Unless you're being really abusive, the stress will not be permanent.

Mark

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Question. Lately my band has changed its style we've gone to kind of a more variety style of music we'll play a metal song with lots of screaming one second and I'll be doing fine but then when we go to a softer song with no screaming my throat feels like its closing up.

It really isnt but the muscles around my throat feel like they are closing pushing in, then my neck muscles are all sore. Then I will pretty much lose my singing voice for the next couple of days until practice comes back around then it'll come back. Do you think that my throat may be overcompensating?? How long until my throat muscles stop overcompensating?? What do u think I am doing wrong and what do you think I should do differently?? Also what are some good warm-up and warm down techniques?? Thanks for taking the time to read this and answer my questions.


Answer. You are pushing too hard during the screaming stuff. Your muscles are just doing what comes naturally. The trick is to find the MINIMUM amount of pressure and still sound like you're screaming. Right now you are really loading up before you scream -- the fact is you would get the exact same sound if you delivered half that hit.

Good warmup and warm down techniques can be found in my book and video. It's a little to involved to get into properly in an email.

Mark

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Question. I've been singing for a couple years, and a friend of mine would like to see me sing in his band. I mainly train my voice to Maynard James Keenan [Tool and A Perfect Circle, of course], although I do train toward other singers as well [I can't be Maynard, obviously]. I can comfortably sing most of Tool's stuff, and some of APC, but not so comfortably on the higher soft notes and higher aggressive-sounding vocals. I'm wondering how singers go about, well, singing the way they do in terms of Maynard's "aggressive" voice, and ways to train your voice to hit those higher notes [I.e. increasing vocal range, for instance]. Thank you for your time.

Answer. Here's the deal with screaming. If you're driving a car and take a corner too fast, the tires screech because of the friction on the tires. This is not good for the tires. If you're a stunt man and make tire screeches for a living, you learn everything about your car and the road surface in order to create that sound with the minimum amount of speed -- just enough to get the sound. If you're a drunk teenager and want to impress your friends, you take a corner at dare-devil speeds, screech the tires, and usually flip the car.

Screaming is the sound of over-loaded vocal folds. This is never good for the larynx. However, your body can certainly handle moments of stress and live to tell about it. The ideal is to use as little push as necessary and still get the desired sound. Experiment. Don't let face and neck muscles join in and look for aggressive sounds. You probably will get some tickling and itching in the throat -- maybe even trigger a cough or two. As you get better at dialing in the right pressure, you'll be able to drive your voice and sustain the minimum damage. You are assuming that your favorite singers have this down. They do not. They scream despite all the warning signals their body has thrown up. It hurts every night when they tour. They cancels dates and undergo surgery. Many people underestimate how much it hurts to play professional sports and sing hard rock. Most who play and sing are just willing to put up with the pain. Some take it seriously and develop their bodies and technique to avoid as much injury as possible. Guess which ones enjoy long careers?

So, you're looking for incremental increases in air pressure. Yes, it's bad for the vocal folds. Yes, it's pushing from the abdominal muscles. But when done with a focus on sound rather than force, you can sustain some control. No matter how good you get at screaming, though, it will not be emotional -- unless you are.

Good luck and always warm up.

Mark

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Question. How do singers scream? I.E: Linkin Park, disturbed ..etc.. and how could I learn to sing like that? I have a good regular singing voice, but I would like to learn screaming? Is there any exercises I could do?

Answer. Here's the deal with screaming. If you're driving a car and take a corner too fast, the tires screech because of the friction on the tires. This is not good for the tires. If you're a stunt man and make tire screeches for a living, you learn everything about your car and the road surface in order to create that sound with the minimum amount of speed -- just enough to get the sound. If you're a drunk teenager and want to impress your friends, you take a corner at dare-devil speeds, screech the tires, and usually flip the car.

Screaming is the sound of over-loaded vocal folds. This is never good for the larynx. However, your body can certainly handle moments of stress and live to tell about it. The ideal is to use as little push as necessary and still get the desired sound. Experiment. Don't let face and neck muscles join in and look for aggressive sounds. You probably will get some tickling and itching in the throat -- maybe even trigger a cough or two. As you get better at dialing in the right pressure, you'll be able to drive your voice and sustain the minimum damage.

You are assuming that your favorite singers have this down. They do not. They scream despite all the warning signals their body has thrown up. It hurts every night when they tour. They cancels dates and undergo surgery. Many people underestimate how much it hurts to play professional sports and sing hard rock. Most who play and sing are just willing to put up with the pain. Some take it seriously and develop their bodies and technique to avoid as much injury as possible. Guess which ones enjoy long careers?

So, your looking for incremental increases in air pressure. Yes, it's bad for the vocal folds. Yes, it's pushing from the abdominal muscles. But when done with a focus on sound rather than force, you can sustain some control. No matter how good you get at screaming, though, it will not be emotional -- unless you are.

Good luck and always warm up.

Mark

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Question. Dear Mr.Baxter, I read your article/lesson shades of passion, do you think you could explain that in regular terms. I found out that by exerting a lot of pressure from my stomach, my screams did not hurt my throat. Sometimes I can do it, sometimes I can't, I guess I need practice. Anything else you would like to share on that topic.


Answer. In regular terms, I am saying don't push from your stomach. The fact that you can only get it to work well sometimes is the reason. Can't build a career on sometimes.

Mark

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Question. I am the bass player for a band that is into "heavier" music. In many songs our singer likes to scream. He always gets the desired sound we want but lately we've become worried for his voice because we've heard of people who have permanently damaged they're vocal chords from screaming to much. However, we've also heard that there is a way of screaming that you will not damage you're vocal chords. Do you know how to do this method of screaming.

Answer. It's not so much a method as it is a rigorous maintenance routine. Think of the abuse a pro football player absorbs. It's hard on the body, but they spend all day every day building strength and drilling the basics so their bodies can handle the punishment. My video, "The Singer's Toolbox," explains and demonstrates the necessary steps for preventing vocal blowout - no matter what type of music.

Have your singer read the free lessons on my web site, especially "Shades of Passion."

Mark

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Question. My friend and I were surfing the web yesterday and we came across something called "vocal spray". My guitar player thinks I should get it because we found out that Chester from Linkin Park uses "vocal spray" during a show and possibly in the studio. What does this really do for you?I hear it's good to get if you yell alot in songs (which I do).

Answer. Vocal sprays lubricate the folds -- which is good. However, one scream obliterates any good a spritz or two has achieved. Aggressive singing is the equivalent to turning a blow dryer towards your eyes. Using the minimum amount of force to create the scream and building up the strength and conditioning of your folds is the surest way to control and maintain your voice.

Mark

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Question. Alright, my question is kind of like on that you answered on the site but also different. I have a lower voice which automatically put me in the alto section in my choir. However, I can be a soprano as well. I can go higher than the sopranos in my class and if I try, I can hit a C and an E Flat. However, it is strained. Not to mention the fact that my singing teacher tells me I do something called "hooting" whenever I go into soprano no matter how high. Do you know how to stop that? Also do you know of any techniques to get my voice inside my head rather than in my throat? My audition is this Sunday so I am hoping to get all of this taken care of as much as possible. Thank you for your help.

Answer. The classifications for voices (soprano, alto, etc.) are more about quality than range. You can hit the higher pitches but not without driving the voice harder than the music allows. This is not a technique issue, it's all about genetics. Your vocal folds are larger than a soprano's and therefore you will have to work harder to sing those high notes. While the sounds you make are perfectly acceptable for poplar music, they are not for choir or classical music.

Mark

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Question. I play guitar and sing for house parties occasionally. I use to be able to sing for 4 hours without trouble. For the last year, I find that after an hour, I get a tickle in my throat and want to cough between versus. I also lose my range and know to stay away from songs that would be no trouble the first hour. Any advise?

Answer. Start taking your voice seriously and warm up before you sing. Think of it as setting up your instrument. You wouldn't play guitar before you check the condition of the instrument and tuned it up. The same should be true for the voice.

Mark

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Question. I would really appreciate if you could give me some advice.. I love singing.. I always sing and make my own lyrics and stuff but I dont have the confidence and I dont know if I can even sing so that way when I do sing I don't really know how to improve or what to change as im not confident enough to ask other people.. I think I have a good voice for singing but I want to train myself to become really good and confident.. I really do enjoy singing but I want to know what to do next.. I like recording myself but only when theres no1 else around except my little sister.. is there a way you can help? thanks very much.

Answer. There's nothing I can do other than to tell you that you don't need confidence to sing. You need courage. Many many singers are just as afraid as you are. I was for a very long time. The only difference is we went ahead and sang anyway. There's no magic. Just close your eyes and focus on your love of singing rather than your fear of taking a stand for yourself.

Mark

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Question. I was told by someone that Green Tea helps your voice. That it's suppose to prevent your voice from cracking. I just want to know if this information was true.

Answer. Not true. Cracking is due to a lack of coordination between air pressure and vocal folds.

Mark

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Question. I have been trying and trying for about a year to get down a metal vocals like that of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and even just regular metal vocals like those of Hawthorne Heights. Is there anything to do to make it easier...any secrets...? Do you have to get your tonsils pulled out or something? I'm soo confused and frustrated over what im supposed to do....

Answer. You can add impatient to "confused and frustrated." Basically, the singers you mentioned have been at it for years. There's no trick. Keep your tonsils. Look for what is cool about your voice now and start a band and write songs that highlight what you do naturally. That way people will write me and ask what it takes to sound like Sean!

Mark

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Question. Mark Baxter Quote: "I am less impressed with those singers that come to me already skilled than those who need the most help"

Well, here I am. My problem is I can't sing. Since I was a kid I have loved really melodic music, with good vocals, and I would listen to the Carpenters, Paul McCartney, Led Zepplin, CSN, I really could never function without music. But I remember sitting in the back of the car singing one day when I was about ten, and having my older sister say to my mom "don't let him sing" or something like that. Undaunted I would sing along to the Beatles or the Eagles or whatever in my room, just getting amped up on it.

Unfortunately, the reports never improved. When I would be talking to someone about a song, and they would say... 'I don't know... sing it...", I would not be able to produce anything with confidence, getting the response, 'you sing flat' or once 'why do you sing everything like an opera singer?'

I am forty now. I play guitar, some keyboard, bass, I got into reggae in college, I have had lots of bands, write songs, have a melodic sense but I don't know what to do about my voice. I think I know I need to back off it, having recognized that it doesn't seem to require any more effort to hit higher or lower notes, but I recognise that I have a hangup about my voice in general. I don't go to clubs, because I got disgusted with trying to scream back into someone's ear, and not even being able to hear myself. Well, if you really like questions from people on the low end of the learning curve, you should love mine. What do I do?


Answer. Thank you for trusting me with this very emotionally loaded issue. You have obviously harbored this hang up regarding your voice since you were a child. You have gathered much evidence to support your belief that you have a double curse upon you: born with a voice no one wants to hear yet would love to sing beautifully.

Unfortunately, what you've given me here are observations -- with one big missing item. I don't see anything about what you tried to do to remedy the situation. Voice lessons? Joined a gym? Wrote a great reggae song with only three notes in the melody so it doesn't expose your monotone instrument? Singing songs in your room for the last thirty years hasn't worked. Seems like it's time for a change.

I was told that I had absolutely no chance of becoming a singer by my father, sisters, band mates, friends, enemies, A&R reps, producers and especially my first few singing teachers. The only difference between you and me is that I am a stubborn SOB. The first thing you've got to do is look into the mirror and tell that guy that he's a forty year-old man. You're not a ten year-old in the back of the car. Your sister moved on from that comment 30 seconds after she said it . . . you haven't.

Physically, the laws of sound are universal properties that must be aligned to provide resonate, accurate pitches. You are constricting your throat, clenching your jaw, retracting your tongue and under-energizing the air pressure. And that's just the tip of the iceberg (but all very adjustable). I think the first thing you should do is get physical. Join a gym. Join an aerobic class. Play basketball. Then practice simple scales on guitar and sing with them very lightly -- just to introduce flexibility. Let your voice crack and go into falsetto. Stop demanding that your instrument measure up to the standards of others. Let it do what it can do with freedom first.

I recommend you get a hold of my book (and any other book on the voice) and start becoming pro-active. It's okay to suck at singing. It's not okay to do nothing about it.

Mark

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Question. I am 16 and play bass, I am also in a band,and have no lead singer. My mother sings and she has agreed to teach me to sing, but she sings a completley different genre of music. I want to sing Metallica but dont know where to start, could you help me out?

Answer. This is a very sticky situation. On the one hand it's very cool for your mother to want to teach you to sing. On the other hand, this might put your dinners in jeopardy. Basically, if you could tell your mother (very nicely) that you need to build up the strength and conditioning of your instrument rather than learn a method to sing. There are plenty of exercises in my book and lots of advice on this site. Good luck!

Mark

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Question. I have a question for you, but first off thinks for your advice on sreaming, I will continue to work on that. Now, when singers are on stage (rock singers), they are always running up and down the stage doing their little dances. I do that right now, just not on the stange because I haven't been there yet. But anyway, I would assume they get short of breath or do they????? So how do they breathe on stage at shows. Can you help me with this???

Answer. Jagger, Tyler, Madonna, Beyonce run at least ten miles a day when training for a tour -- and sing at the same time. It takes an incredible amount of stamina (or youth) to put out what those performers do on a nightly basis. Basically, there's no trick, they're just in great shape. The sooner you start those aerobic exercise classes the better!

Mark

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Question. I've got an important, 45 min. show on Saturday. Its Tuesday morning, and I woke up draining, sore and congested. I read your free lesson on singing with a cold, and was wondering just how long it takes (assuming I do EVERYTHING right) to get through the process. Do you think I have enough time to recoup, or am I out of luck?

Frank
Broken Ground


Answer. Your vocal folds are made of mucous membranes. They need to be constantly lubricated (like your eyes). Drinking lots of water gives your body plenty of hydration and therefore keeps things nice and slippery. 2 liters per day keeps the blown voice away.

Mark

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Question. I've been seeing alot of things online about if you are a singer to drink lots of water. What does water do for your voice????

Answer. Your vocal folds are made of mucous membranes. They need to be constantly lubricated (like your eyes). Drinking lots of water gives your body plenty of hydration and therefore keeps things nice and slippery. 2 liters per day keeps the blown voice away.

Mark

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Question. I have loved music all my life and have a degree in music. As I have gotten older, my vibrato seems to get wilder. I now have totally lost control of my vibrato and am no longer able to sing in choirs. It\'s devastating! Is there something I can do to reclaim my voice, or is this just another process of aging that I have to deal with.

Answer. It's common for vibrato to turn into warble as we get older. Fine motor control becomes difficult as muscles loose their strength. Fight back with vocal exercises. Songs alone don't isolate the various muscle groups involved when singing. If it's been a while, I suggest seeking out a teacher and working on some strengthening exercises.

Mark

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Question. Is it possible to be a good singer without pro-lessons. I mean if I just tried to find my own voice and practice with it, would that work too?????? thank you for taking the time to read yet another email from me. but it's really important. Oh, is there anything in your book or video that can help me with the kind of music my band will be doing (hard rock)?????????

Answer. You don't have to take pro-lessons -- plenty of singers don't. Lessons speed up the development of your voice, so it just takes longer if you don't train. My Book and Video are all about improving the strength and conditioning your instrument -- which is exactly the kind of help you will need for your kind of music.

Mark

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Question. just found your website today and read just about every one of the comments, and figured you could answer some questions of mine. 1) I sing in a band, chorus, and in musical theater (3 very different types of singing). As of late, my voice has felt a lot weaker than usual. I can hit the notes I could always hit and another couple, but after a show or a day of acting/singing, my voice feels shot, and I always need a lot of time off to rest it. What can I do to fix this problem, and how do singers like Steven Tyler and Adam from Taking Back Sunday do it?

On a really good day, I can hit a B over middle C. How can I exercise my voice to hit higher notes/make the high notes I can hit now sound better?


Answer. You are singing a lot but not improving your instrument. You'll need to develop more strength and conditioning in order to ask so much from your voice. Vocalize more -- rest less. That's how the big boys do it. The exercises you need are in my book, "The Rock -N- Roll Singer's Survival Manual."

Mark

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Question. My name is Joe Colmenares and I love to sing rock songs from other bands, I have a mic and everything. I have been practicing for the past 2 1/2 years. Now I have a few question that I hope you can answer, b/c I'm starting a rock band call Searching for a Reason. I love to sing songs by Godsmack, but in some songs the lead singer Sully Erna yells, and when I do it I get kinda light headed, so how does he do it???? Next band I like to sing to is Linkin Park but I only sing the parts from Chester Bennington. Now I saw that someone else already asked about him and how he yells, well I have a similar question. I have the live dve and at the beggining of this one song he holds a metal type yell for about 15 seconds or more, how can he yell and yet still keep his voice in such good shape???? I try it and I can maybe hold it for about 5 seconds and then my voice starts to go, is there a way to yell and still keep my voice good?????? Also I like to sing in vibrato but I can't conrol it that well, how is it done?? ?? Please give me advice, it would really help me with my band and help me become a better singer. thank you so much.

Answer. What makes you think it's easy to do what these famous singers do? Their ability/willingness to put out is what put their bands on the map. If everybody could do it then it wouldn't be special. Find out what you do that's unique and you'll get to stand shoulder to shoulder with your idols. Attempting to sing like someone else only highlights what you can't do. Pushing your voice is going to squash your vibrato. When looking for vibrato, back off the power. Oh yeah, even though you didn't ask, I think you should change the name of your band to, "Search for Reason." It's stronger.

Mark

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Question. I have been listening to Dimmu Borgir, for a while now, and I was wondering how I could work on my voice so that I can get near his vocal range. I can sing a quarter of their "Hybrid Stigmata - The Apostacy" but then my throat becomes very hoarse - I am obviously over-exerting myself. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer. To increase range you have to back off your power first. You're trying to get the whole package at the same time. Sing super quiet in falsetto and get comfortable first. Slooooowly look for more power.

Mark

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Question. Ive always wanted to sing like axl rose, as far as I know I do not have a naturally "gravelly" voice. But I don't think Axl does either, but anyway...when I go out to clubs etc where music is loud, shouting makes my voice more rougher and produces a more gravelly sound even when I talk. Is this how Axl sings in his rough voice? I have tried to sing like he does for some time but still no luck. Also ive looked into Falsetto singing but im not really sure how this works. Also I have a deep voice. Will this affect my singing if I try to sing like Axl does (High pitched) although his voice when talking is about the same as what my voice sounds like. Im going to start taking singing lessons but I thought I would ask you first because I want to know if I will be able to sing high pitched and also "rough/gravelly". Quite a mouthfull but any help is appreciated.

Answer. I think you'll figure it all out after you give it some time. Axl sang a lot in falsetto to get those high notes but he also pushed the hell out of his voice, which is why it sounded thicker than a typical falsetto. He doesn't seem to have that same power/elasticity combination these days. You'll either get over the discomfort you initially experience from pushing or the reality will shock you when you realize what it's going to take to sing that way every night.

Mark

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Question. I have both an undergrad and grad degree in keyboard music (organ & piano) but my job requires me to sing almost daily in choir rehearsals both as a part-singer and as a choral director working with children's choirs. Because I was always a well-trained instrumentalist, since high school choral directors put me in the alto section because I could read the parts and the others couldn't. However, I think that I am a soprano (second) because singing alto is really uncomfortable and strained. I don't vocalize well below the Bb below middle C, and to get sound I have to push and force it out and it wears out both me and my voice. I have no trouble singing up to a soprano A or even a Bb when I am warm (and it's a comfortable vowel) but choral directors keep shaking their heads and saying "oh, dear, I think you're an alto". The high notes feel floaty and beautiful when I sing, but am I deluding myself? More than one choral director has had me sing first soprano for performances, and some have told me there is no doubt I'm a soprano. What gives? How can I defend myself, and get to sing the right part without being rude? Would appreciate any advice and guidance - it just seems like such a subjective classification. Thanks!

Answer. Welcome to show biz! As a microcosm of what goes on throughout the entertainment industry, you are most certainly a soprano who is forced to be an alto if you want to sing. Why? Because an alto is what the choral director needs. Talent (or vocal FACH) is never the only criteria for landing a role. Filling a need is what gets people the nod. So, look for a choir that's short on sopranos and you'll be in your glory.

Mark

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Question. I'm directing a community choir for a Christmas Cantata. I'm not sure if the Tenors should stand behind the Altos or behind the Sopranos. Any tips?

Answer. My vote is to put the tenors behind the altos.

Mark

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Question. I am a guitarist and song writer in tampa fl. we recently fired our singer about 5 months ago. our musical songs are written and recorded, all we need is a creative singer who can sing and write sellable vocal melodies to our songs. the problem is, it seems theres no one out there. all the singers who can sing good dont write melodies or lyrics and all the ones who do are horrible singers. personally I am a very good writer for guitar hooks and I think if I can learn to sing I can understand it more and write the melodies, and perhaps have a better singer come sing them on tape. only problem is I am horrible, I am told I have no possible chance of being even an okay singer. the style is hard rock like the disturrbed or tool genre. my question is would I be wasting my time taking vocal lessons, or can anyone really learn to sing? and is it somthing I can do that will help me in 6 months to a year, or will it take years before I can sing and write. its all original and all I am concerned with is writing. should I go for it, or just keep looking for that perfect singer? thanks

Answer. Anyone can learn to sing but not just anyone can sing like Disturbed (or Dido for that matter). The best bands succeed because their music is based on what their singer does best. Creating music first and then looking for a singer is the hardest way to do it. The chances are so slim you'll find someone to fit into your mold. Just imagine if you bought a house, decorated all the rooms, adopted a couple kids and then went looking for a wife.

It took you longer then a year to get decent on guitar so I don't know why you think singing would be any different. I would start looking for a person that agrees with your musical taste first, and then see what new songs evolve out of that relationship. You might have already passed over some really good singers but they just couldn't sing in the keys you have established for the songs. Keep things looser until you find a music buddy -- then let the music solidify.

Mark

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Question. I've already asked a couple of questions, in fact they're the most recent post to this website. I've decided to buy your books, and also hope to get lessons with you soon online. I just want to think you for offering this information online. I have a few questions: 1), Will singing very high notes a la Sebastion Bach of Skid Row (around the 2nd A above the treble staff)using full voice at high volume, without rasp or friction the way he did, damage my voice? If it helps, my speaking voice hovers around a low F, or a standard tuned guitar fretted at the first fret lowest string (I'm not sure if that's an F1 or F2).

Answer. It's not the pitch that hurts the singer it's the behavior. Your body will answer this question. You simply need to approach the pitch without adding any additional muscles. It's when people start pushing against their own tension that bad things happen.

Mark

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Question. This may sound really stupid, but can a woman sing in falsetto? I have a low voice range tenor-alto, but as I go up the scale, my voice changes (around a G). I can sing high notes, but they sound different and feel different from my lower notes. Obviously, I've had no training, but I was told only males have a falsetto voice.

Answer. Not a stupid question. The changes you're feeling are real and necessary to access higher notes. What's not necessary is for the quality of the voice to change. Lower female voices have an extra register change to deal with. It's not usually called falsetto, but it's the same thing. The important point is to address the change with an adjustment in air pressure. As you sing higher, back off your pressure.

Mark

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Question. I have a question all the way from Ireland. I got a viral laryngitis at the beginning of September 2004 and had to eventually go to an earn, nose and throat specialist who told me I have very tiny nodes on my vocal chords. He said they should clear up with speech therapy, which I am having. I sing at weddings and I have one on the 18th of December, I am still hoarse and I am on voice rest. Will my voice be back to normal by then?. Can you recommend anything that I could do to speed things up your advice would be appreciated and as we say here in Ireland "Gur a maith agat" which means thank you.

Answer. Your voice won't be normal by then, but you'll be able to sing. It took a while for you to get in the condition you're in. Therefore, the road back is going to take a while. The best thing you could do to speed things up is to do everything your therapist tells you to do.

Mark

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Question. I have a very nice singing voice but I have absolutely no expression or life in my singing. I sound dead and monotonous in my songs. How can I put life in my music? Please help.

Answer. By putting more life in your life! My guess is everything about you is very nice. While there's nothing wrong with that, it usually stems from someone playing it very safe. Try singing wildly out of your range. Increase the volume until your throat tickles. Start a very personal journal and sing what you write out loud -- especially if you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings you've written about. I know these may seem silly to you but that's the point. Anyone could show you where to sing louder or with more inflection but it makes a much bigger impact if the choices are yours. So, by making it obvious what is NOT you, you will understand what it is that you'd like to express.

Mark

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Question. On recordings I often here professional metal singers produce a kind of "vibrato" while screaming (that's the less aggressive on pitch scream, not the atonal hardcore stuff). Is this a purely faked thing? Or is there a way to pull off a true vibrato while singing like this?

Answer. It's faking by classical standards -- but who cares about classical standards. Any movement during a scream is a good thing. It's when we lock it up tight and push a rigid note out that things get beat up inside.

Mark

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Question. First, thank you so much for offering this information freely.

My favorite vocalists are Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and David Draimon of Disturbed. I recently wathed Linkin Parks live DVD and Chester was doing these amazing ultra-high screams and weird "stuck pig" like bellows. How in the world does he pull this off? I tried to imitate the sounds, and my voice sort of "broke over" into this loud whislting sound instead. It was sore and hoarse for a while afterwards, but I've since found this to be a neat sound effect for singing that, if I don't use it too much and warm up, doens't seem to bother me. But I still can't make those weird death metal cries like Chester does. Also, is there any tip for learning to sing microtones and Middle Eastern scales like David Draimon does? Thanks.


Answer. Chester pulls it off because his voice is a little shot. People always assume that the singer on stage is completely in control of what's coming out of his mouth and that it doesn't hurt. Both are incorrect. Most popular rock singers use quite a bit of voodoo to do what they do. For the most part it's predictable but there's always an element of surprise. They are also almost always sore.

There's no tips needed for learning any scales or modes -- just practice. Listen and learn. Then practice, practice, practice.

Mark

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Question. I remember you from the Boston music scene in the early 90's. There was quite a buzz around you for being the guy that helped fix Steven Tyler's voice, as well as being Gary's vocal coach. You had a really good band - great playing, singing & tunes. What was the name of your band, and is any of the music available?

Answer. The name was Restless Souls. We released a CD and then disbanded. Ironically, the drummer of the band called the other day and wants to organize a reunion gig. It's been ten years. We'll do the gig around Thanksgiving. Thanks for asking.

Mark

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Question. I am a singer but lately I have had trouble with the flem in my throat. No I do not smoke. Is there something out there that would help relieve the excess flem or do you know of a site on the internet that would direct me to a resolution? I perform every Sunday and Monday at our local pub and have just recently noticed the flem. It sits in the back of my throat and I would like to find something that would help remedy this issue. I appreciate any input you have on this subject.

Answer. I gargle with warm salt water and use an Echinacea and Golden Seal root combo that comes in an extract bottle. More important is to discover the cause of the phlegm. It might be allergies, reflux (diet), stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, vocal stress and more. There is a product out there that claims to cut through the stuff -- you might want to do a Google search on the subject.

Mark

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Question. I have, what seems to be, a very strange problem. My tone is nice, full, and something that I am quite pleased with. However, recently I have been doing a great amount of singing and I have become unable to sing without my voice cracking in odd, random places. It can even be a note that I have no trouble at all singing,in terms of vocal range, but at the same time, my voice still breaks. Please give me a clue as to what my problem could be.

Answer. There are way too many factors to consider here. So I'll just say that any time the voice cracks there is a disagreement between the air and the vocal folds. Whether it's conditional or behavioral is yet to be discovered.

Mark

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Question. I am 17 years old, and I have been singing my whole life. I have recieved the highest ratings possible at the State High School Music Festival two years in a row (third year I was in the hospital with mono and strep in my tonsils). I am a mezzo-soprano, and I have a very fast vibrato (ie Snow White). I have trouble matching pitches sometimes, and I think that is because of the breathing. I live in Western Kansas and have horrible allergies, a vocal cord dysfunction, and a deviated septum. Anyways, the only music I have ever sung is the classical music that I learn in school. I would really like to break into something more contemporary like pop, new age, or even country, but I don't know how to sing 'strong.' Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Answer. People that sing "strong" don't know what they're doing -- they just sing. The hardest part with making a shift from classical to pop is throwing out everything you've learned. There's nothing special about singing pop -- no tricks -- no technique. Everyone is allowed to do their own thing. That's the opposite side of the spectrum form the classical competitions you come from. Basically, break every rule you've learned and you'll be in pop world.

Mark

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Question. Could you please tell me what I can do to get RAZOR SHARP (and dependable) vocal intonation. I have your video and have been warming up with your outline, and singing each day for about an hour. It has really helped me with my nervousness and is helping me perform better . . . but I want my pitch to be perfect in every inflection (like professionals) . . . how should I approach this; what kind of vocal exercises should I do? Thanks so much.

Answer. Get Pro Tools for the studio and Auto Tune for live gigs -- just like the pro's do. Seriously, there hasn't been one CD released in the last eight years where the singing wasn't fixed by a computer. It's like photography. We're so used to seeing air-brushed, computer adjusted models that the sight of an un-retouched photo would seem odd.

The old guard who have been singing for years have incredible pitch without the enhancement. Singers like Bonnie Rait, James Tayler and Katie Lang are dead on naturally but also have great soul and feel. It takes time and experience. For now I would worry about the feel if I were you. There are no Grammy's awarded for pitch perfection. There are no songs about pitch perfection. So, perfect pitch is not an end result. What you need is relative pitch and the courage to be vulnerable -- that's who's taking home Grammys.

Mark

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Question. A few months ago I made the mistake of playing a gig with my band when I had a bad cold. We only made it through 5 songs when I said that I couldn\'t go on, it was too exhausting, not to mention I sounded pretty awful --- strained and hoarse. A month later, we had another gig and though I was feeling much better, halfway through the set I completely lost my upper range. Only air was coming out. I\'m terrified that I have done permanent damage. For weeks after my voice was hoarse and upon seeing a doctor she instructed me to rest my voice for 7 days and she referred me to a specialist. Problem is, my band has a CD release party at the end of the month (June). I signed on with a vocal coach to get me back into the habit of warming up and proper tachnique, but she doesn\'t want to work with me until I have seen a specialist and she recommended that I seek out your advice too. My speaking voice has returned, and when I hum along to the radio I seem to be able to reach those! high notes again, but I\'m scared to start singing again. Please help!

Answer. I certainly feel for your circumstances . . . my Mother Nature doesn't care about no CD release party. The voice teacher was right to advise you to a specialist -- just like your doctor did. You may have ruptured a blood vessel in your fold or created a small bruise when you had the cold -- both of which are not the end of the world -- but you would certainly want to know the true condition of things before you progress into more aggressive behavior. The way this email reads it seems like you had also fallen out of warming up and vocalizing so I suspect there are some bad habits in there also which choke off the high notes. In other words, you used to push a lot harder to sing high but now that things are delicate in there, the drive necessary to trigger those high notes seems wrong. See the specialist, find out the deal, take steps from there. I know the CD party is important but if your drummer gets in an auto accident the week before and breaks a leg . . . the event will be rescheduled so he can rehab. You may or may not have the same circumstance.

Mark

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Question. It is great that you help to singers with your tips. I wanted to ask you a tip. I\'ve been studying jazz singing for 3 years. But I suffer from deep emotivity when I sing (even when I work with my singing coach) and it causes me big problems with breath, intination etc. Do you have some useful tip for me? Is there a cure?

Thank you very much!!!!


Answer. Focus more on exercises rather than songs. Sometimes the subject of a song triggers people into their emotions. It is also typical for singing in general to trigger emotions due to the vulnerable state the throat must be in to sing well. Lot's of people feel very exposed when singing and either laugh or cry in response. There's lot's of both in my vocal studios. Sing through it -- there's nothing wrong.

Mark

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Question. I've been having some trouble lately with my pitch control (I tend to go flat and quivery) especially in the lower part of my range. I know that I am breathing correctly and have good posture and emotion, so I think tension is my problem. My question is, what do I do about it? I do neck rolls (which sometimes hurt), shoulder rolls, jaw massages, you name it. Do muscle relaxers help? Should I see a doctor? or could my problem be something totally different? Another issue I'm having is that as a tenor singing rock music, I'm having trouble getting energy in my voice when I sing in the lower part of my range. Aside from grunting, which isn't my style, I don\'t know how to improve this.

Your expert advice would greatly be appreciated.


Answer. I would look into the pain you're feeling when doing neck rolls. That's not a good thing even if you weren't a singer. Breathing is not the direct issue but it's a contributor. You are not breathing correctly if the end result is not a sound you intended. What you're not doing is allowing yourself to become relaxed at the tongue/jaw intersection. Doing the messages before hand is pointless if these areas are then tensed to support a singing program. Instead, leave these muscles completely relaxed when vocalizing no matter how bad it makes you sing at first. You'll need to experience what it feels like to have disconnected muscles. Your breathing should then be re calibrated to the looser arrangement around the larynx. It will surprise you how little air it takes to sing aggressively.

Mark

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Question. First do accept my deepest regards for your knowledge and desire to help others discover their way to success.I am from Ohrid/Macedonia and I am 18 years old.I`m singing in a band (Progressive Metal) and I haven\'t got any vocal experience.So my problem is,I don\'t know wether I must sing with a diaphragme or chest,and I often confuse.Practising for me is problem to,here unfortuneatly there aren\'t teachers with much music experience(vocal) techniques,I am on my own.I need to know before I start sing,what should I practise,and also is it necesary for me to use any drinks like water,eggs honey,after each singing.Its sad that I do not know the breathing techniques,Mr.Mark.I have a great potential wich I do not want to throw it away.My high pitch vocals are almost similar to one of the James LaBrie(The vocalist of the Dream Theatre band)so when I sing I cannot control and often I make mistakes.Please help me solve this problem,I would appreciate much. Thank You very much,for your understanding.
Thanks in advance


Answer. Don't worry. You're biggest problem is that you are 18 years old. You haven't lived long enough to sort out all of these questions. You throat should not feel tight or hurt when singing. Many pitches can be either chest or head register -- it all depends on what type of sound you're looking for. So that means there are no rules other than your throat should not feel tight or hurt when singing. Keep repeating that to yourself and then sing with the sounds you want. There are no special drinks necessary other than room temperature water. Singing is a very simple natural act which we make very complicated. Allow your self to sound bad as you explore your instrument. Just keep repeating what I wrote before and you can't hurt yourself.

Mark

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Question. I am 15 years old and I am a dedicated musician but my dream is to become a great singer. I have no idea where I need to start and what I need to do, but I really want this badly. I started practicing on my own but I really didnt know what I was doing. THen I started reading all of these online things that said they could teach you to sing in a year but I dont know if I can trust it. Please give me some starting pointing because I want my voice to be the best that it can be.

Answer. The voice is like any other instrument. It's best to start by learning the basics. I think it's also a good idea to learn either guitar or piano at the same time you're starting to sing. An understanding of music theory will go a very long way. Take any beginner music book and play the scales on piano or guitar. As you're playing them -- sing along. While learning the scales, keep your face jaw and neck very loose. (Think dumb) This will build the most important aspect of singing -- independence between internal and external muscles. Don't worry about sounding bad. Just like on other instruments, you're going to make lots of mistakes in the learning process. If a note feels too high or low -- don't chase it -- just wait for the scale to come back into what you can sing.

Mark

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Question. Mark, When you refer to a vocal "workout", does it also imply that a vocal "rest period" becomes necessary as well?
When, for example, you go to the gym and do a chest exercise on Monday;
Tuesday is considered a day of rest for the chest muscles.
This gives that specific muscle group an opportunity to rebuild with greater strength than before.

The answer might be an obvious 'YES', but -- Should the same apply to the vocal muscles? .. And how long a rest period is necessary?

The reason I ask is that I want to ensure that I'm not over (or under) doing it!


Answer. The answer is a big obvious "NO." Workouts for the voice are not like going to the gym -- more like practicing scales on guitar or piano. Large skeletal muscle breaks down when challenged and repairs stronger. The smaller tissues within the larynx require constant programming to hone their activities into precise movements. An hour a day is optimum. And never ever should the voice hurt when working out. With the voice it's : No pain -- all gain.

Mark

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Question. Thanks for your time, in advance, should you reply to this letter. I'm aspiring to become a rock and roll singer (as you might imagine, considering I'm writing you) and I had a few questions and problems I thought you might be able to help me clear up.

First off, is the fact that I am decidedly female. However, my singing voice is quite a bit deeper than your average woman. I can hit lower notes than several of my male friends, and some of them can go quite a bit higher than me as well. I have increased my range since I started out, but eventually, if I sing in higher notes for too long, my voice starts to go flat and weak. Is there anything I can do? I don't mind a deeper voice (I believe that such greats as Dusty Springfield, Bonnie Raitt, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks had fairly deep voices, no?) but is there any exercise or technique that would help me to make it sound just a tad more feminine?

Also, could I be damaging my voice by over-exertion (seeing as my tones go flat, after a half-hour of singing in higher notes, or so) or otherwise harming my breathing/vocal organs?

My second question is semi-related: Exactly what is it in deep-voiced female singers (Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks being my main examples) that makes them sound... well, like women?!


Answer. Training your voice with a reputable teacher will allow you to maximize what Mother Nature gave you. It will also prevent you from hurting yourself when singing for long periods of time. What makes your favorite low female voices sound female to you is that you know who they are. I had no idea that Tracy Chapman was female when I first heard her song "Fast Car." Conversely, Steve Perry in the band Journey sounds like a women in their song, "Wheel in the Sky." What matters most is that you establish a consistent identity -- and then let people figure out who you are and whether they like you.

Mark

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Question. Just found your page and found it most interesting and would like to ask you a question if you dont mind. I am a member of a band and we use mostly our own material until a few weeks ago we had two female backing singers but they decided to call it a day and left us with just our lead singer who is also female.

The rest of the band all male would like to provide backing but we are not sure how to do this as we all have lower voices and if we alter the key then our lead singer then struggles with it. Is there a way of keeping the Key the same but with the rest of us singing lower maybe is this a way round it we are all just learning to sing at present need a little help.

Hope you can answer this question or maybe give us a few pointers in the right direction.


Answer. Don't change the keys so the lead singer struggles!! You guys should either sing in falsetto or simply rearrange your parts so they are under her. First try singing the same parts as your backup singers used to but one octave lower.
If that doesn't work, just invert the chords and look for pitches which are comfortable for everyone.

Mark

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Question. Hey. I've been listening to a lot of Alice in Chains lately, and I've been wondering how can I train my voice to sound more like his. Because I truefully don't know anything about singing and I've just had the sudden urge to learn. I'm a guitarist, been playing for 5 years or so now. oh! another thing is, is Layne Staley using a doubler on his voice when he sings or is it just a back up singer or something...well anyways. please write back if you have the time....thanks

Answer. Layne has got a very unique voice, plus there are many layers of voices in those songs. Copying someone else's sound is difficult, especially for beginners, because there are many factors that go into someone's sound. It's like making a Les Paul sound like a Telecaster. You can try but in the end it will never be the same. The point is that there's nothing wrong with the sound of your voice (once you strengthen and develop it) and so there's no need to imitate someone else.

You don't have to sound like him to be as cool as him.

Mark

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Question. How can I tume my guitar to my voice. Seems like songs I can sing fairly easy while listening to a CD become a real strain when I try to sing them while playing my guitar. I tune it with a Fender Auto-Chromatic Tuner LX-12. Thanks in advance for you help.

Answer. You don't need to learn how to tune your guitar, you need to learn how to sing. When you sing with a CD your muscles are driven by the singer on the disk (like training wheels guiding you). Without the guide, you muscles over-react and lose coordination. Put the guitar down and establish your voice as an instrument.

Mark

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Question. I'm 19 and I have absolutely no singing experience. I've taught myself to play guitar and would like to be able to sing while I play. Where would I start with this? Also I can sing very low which I think is strange. I can sing along to Hayden and Nickleback, both singers have very low voices. I try to sing above that but it starts to hurt after. Can you help?

Answer. You had no experience when you first picked up a guitar but that didn't stop you. Just make sure you don't hang around that pitch area that makes your throat hurt and you'll be fine. Keep exploring your voice.

Mark

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Question. Hi, I am a bass singer naturally, but I want to sing even lower. are there any tricks or exercises that I can do to help my low range? email me back please and let me know.

Answer. No one is every happy with what they have! The "trick" to extending you range, whether higher or lower, is freedom. Train so that as few muscles as possible are involved with singing. Watch for facial gestures when changing pitch and deny them.

Mark

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Question. All right, I guess I am going to have to be the one to ask this question. I have read this page several times hoping that someone would finally ask about the proverbial "spit" problem. I am not talking about the thick mucous associated with colds and sickness but the everyday spit that we all make. I seem to have an abundance of it at times when I sing which hinders my flexibility because let's face it, I'm trying not to drool. I have a wonderful coach, I guess I should ask him, but once again, I am trying to save myself a bit of embarrassment :-)

By the way, your site is very informative, thanks so much for all of the information.


Answer. Don't be embarrassed. It's considered a triumph if you get so close to a singer in concert that you get sprayed! Seriously, some people do produce an abundance. Trying to keep it in control will only hamper your singing. I say let it fly.

Mark

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Question. I recently have joined the church choir and sing in the soprano section. I've had some difficulties with sore throat, itching, etc. after Sunday service. I'm not sure I'm even a soprano? How does one know their range????? Any tips to help?

Answer. Warm up your voice. Stand at a piano and sing an AH as high as you comfortably can. Find that pitch on the piano. Do the same for the low end of your voice. What lies between is your range.

Knowing your range is not all that important. If you can hit the notes in a piece, even badly, chances are good you're in your range. What matters is that you learn to warm up and sing with a minimum of effort.

Mark

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Question. Dear Mark, I like singing and 20 years ago actually was a lead singer for a rock band but never thought I had what it takes to be Professional because I was always about 3-4 notes below the high note I needed to hit solidly. 3-4 notes higher would put me almost in Steve Perry's range! Ive tried for years myself to the windsheild to hit these notes but rarely do unless I falsetto. Do you think its possible to gain this upper range with practice somehow? Thanks in advance and Ive already ordered the manual and the toolbox.

Answer. Don't avoid falsetto. Twenty years ago high notes were cool. Ten years ago high notes were not cool. The jury is still out on what the signature sound of the 2000's will be. The point is not to be a slave to vocal fashion.

Mark

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Question. I'm 16 and sing in a rock band but I hate my voice, it sounds flat and dull whenever I record it, yet it sounds good to me when I'm singing, I have real problems with breaking when I go for high notes, sometimes I can hit them and sometimes I can't and I don't know how to exercise my voice in order for it to be consistent, I don't want singing lessons as I would be too embaressed by my terrible voice, can you help me?

Answer. You sound like a person that won't go to the gym because they're embarrassed about their body. Those who are brave enough to go, quickly discover that the people there could care less how you look -- they're completely into themselves! Likewise, I am less impressed with those singers that come to me already skilled than those who need the most help. Helping singers is what voice teachers do. What sense would it make to take lessons after your skills are in place. Suck it up and get some help -- you'll be pissed you waited so long.

Mark

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Question. Hey, quick question for you. You may or may not know the answer, that's o.k if you don't. Do you know if famous rock singers like Axl Rose, Kurt Cobain, Billy Joe Armstrong, etc. took singing lessons and learned the terminology involved with singing (octaves, alto, etc.) or do they just rely on their emotions? Also, do you know if rock stars usually take singing lessons? Thanks for your help in advance.

Answer. Axl - yes, Kurt - no, Billy - I don't know, Joe - yes. Rock stars usually do take lessons, but usually after they're stars. The rigors of the road scare them into learning about warming up and down.

Mark

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Question. I am returning to singing after having not sang seriously for 12 years. There was nothing wrong with my voice when I quit. I am 49 and I use to be pretty good. I am starting by singing in a choir. I am trying to remember what I once knew and I have ordered both your manual and tools video. What I am finding is when I sing my throat gets tight and only after a little while of singing I am horse and my throat hurts. Do you feel at my age I can improve my voice and regain what I had or even better with practice? Why do I get so horse after singing only a little while? If I practice vocalizing will I be able to increase my endurance and be able to sing for longer periods of time more effortlessly even at my age?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Answer. You will be fine once you get back into the routine of vocalizing. Your throat muscles are overcompensating when you sing right. As you limber your vocal folds again, things will fall into place.

Mark

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Question. I thought I might email you to inquire about the "mixed falsetto". I've hear that the mixed falsetto can be used to make your falsetto vibrate like the chest voice and you can produce a much brighter and fuller sound with your falsetto. I guess I am wondering how I might go about developing my voice to do this because I would really like to hit high notes with a full volume. I've heard this is what Chris Cornell from Soundgarden uses so if you know, I'd really appreciate your imput.

Answer. Another term for mixed falsetto is head voice. Either way it's just allowing the vocal folds to thicken up a touch while singing a high note. The best way to explore this is to start singing a high note very softly, so it would be in falsetto, and gradually raise the volume of the note until you're in chest voice. This is called a crescendo and it will make you cross over registers while singing just one pitch. Balancing the air so you don't crack requires patients and practice. It's okay to sound bad while you're exploring.

Mark

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Question. I'm an aspiring singer. I believe I have a decent voice, although I could use some help with hitting high notes, but my biggest problem is harmonizing. How does one learn how to harmonize? Everyone says its all in "the ear", but I think there's more theory behind it.

Answer. Learning music theory is the best way to develop an ear for harmony. There are rules to the relationships between pitches and while it is possible to figure it out yourself, it would be much faster to take a course.

Mark

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Question. I am plagued by a "slow" voice. I cannot seem to move my voice quicly while singing scales. A couple of questions: 1) What exercises can you suggest to remedy a sluggish voice? 2) Could this be a symptom of some dietary habits?

Answer. Slow voice is a symptom of tension. You are too tight in the abs, throat, jaw and tongue. I recommend singing your exercises very softly to develop some flexibility.

Mark

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Question. I have read every article on you site and I love your site - I can't say enough good things about it. anyway, I unfortunately suffer very bad stage fright, I read your tips and they, as good as they are, don't work. I get really nervous in front of large crowds , and in my english debate I had a mental blank for about two minutes - fortunately for me the audience was polite and waited. (this was not as bad as my year 7 debate when I ran out crying). I have a lot of trouble singing in front of just one of my friends - and my singing teacher has suggested that I might be able to sing in front of the whole school... except there is one problem - there is about 700 people in our school. last year when a girl sang for the music festival - the whole audience laughed at her - she was absolutley devestated. this makes me extremely nervous as my voice sounds a lot like hers. it doesn't help that my teacher says that I will never be as good as a professional - only just 'good'. I don't get much experience - because my parents don't approve of my singing lessons - so I am not allowed to sing in estedfords and gigs, etc. could you please tell me some more tips on how to improve stage fright.

Answer. There are no quick tips to deal with stage fright because it is not based on reality. In other words, it's all in our minds. The good news is that we have the power within us to change things. You are scared to perform because you care -- that's another good thing. There is nothing wrong with being scared. 95% of the world's population is terrified of public speaking and singing -- so you are in good company. The problem is that you WANT to sing in front of others -- most don't. What you need to remind yourself is that you love performing. Otherwise, you would have never written to me. Things are getting better for you (you only blanked for a couple minutes this time in debate whereas last year you ran out crying). If you keep placing yourself on stage your fear of an audience will get smaller. If you wait until you are not afraid before stepping on stage you will never see an audience looking at you.

Courage comes AFTER we do the things we fear the most. We sing because we love to -- not because it's easy.

Mark

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Question. When I sing my notes are weak and I don't have a strong tone. I can hit high notes but they seem fragile and flat. What gives? I know the vocal folds need to be strong to sing strong, But I'm confused. How do I make the vocal folds strong? I'm a little scared to sing, because I might mess my voice.

Answer. Don't be afraid of messing with your voice. It takes a lot of practice to develop your voice. Your high notes are weak because of throat tension - so make sure your head can move freely when you're singing high and powerfully.

Mark

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Question. I wanna know how Mariah Carey sings her signature high note. (dolphin singing) currently I can sing about 4 to 5 octaves. I'm only 13 so people think I'm strange to sing these high notes. Is being able to do this make me ahead of the game or behind what normal girls should be able to sing? Can people without formal lessons still sing professionally?

Thanks so much for all of your time, and God bless!


Answer. Mariah's high notes are called whistle register. If you keep visiting those super high notes you sing now the chances are good you'll keep them as you age. That's how Mariah kept hers. Plenty of people sing professionally who have never taken a voice lesson. In the music business, it's not who you know - it's who you are.

Mark

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Question. Hey I'm 16 years old and I love Guns N Roses. The thing that I like the most about them is the way that Axl Rose can get that high pitched sound to go along with some rawness to it. I've been singing their songs on my own whenever I feel like it but my voice is not that high. So when I sing I have to go to my falsetto voice. When I do this my voice looses that power sound to it. When I sing high pitched it also sounds just a little to pretty compared to the way it's suppossed to sound. How can I sing high but also remain that raw powerful sound?

Answer. Axl goes into falsetto on those high notes too. Falsetto is supposed to sound pretty by nature - he pushes his really hard. What you like about his voice is his personality - he is over the top aggressive. I think you are unwilling to push yourself to the degree he does - and I don't blame you. It hurts him to sing the way he does - he doesn't care.

Mark

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Question. I'm a 19 year old male, and I was wondering if you could clarify something for me. My vocal instructor tells me that in order to get an ideal projection of your voice, you want to raise your soft palate to minimize escape into the sinuses, kind of like when you yawn. I definitely see the difference in projection when there's minimal air escape into the nasal cavity, I just have a hard time knowing if my soft palate is in the right place regardless of what register I'm singing in. Is this just something you get used to or that develops on its own or is there some excercise you can do to locate where your soft palate should be. Besides that everything's fine, no neck or jaw tension or anything, just having a hard time with consistent projection. And one other thing, after vocalizing, my instructor says that itchiness in the larynx area is normal, just wondering how long I should wait after my larynx starts itching before I can practice again, because I like practicing to work on form and everything but also don't want to get to gun-ho and damage something either.

Answer. Why don't you use the projection as an indicator of your pallet's whereabouts? I don't agree with the itchy feeling. I prefer to not irritate the area so much. You should be able to sing loud without causing that stress. Again, use the itchy feeling as a guide that you are out of balance.

Mark

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Question. I've been singing for quite a long time now and I have a bit of trouble. When I sing I always feel like I have to cough, and I always do cough after I sing, it feels like my voice is in that high pitch and when I talk normally it sounnds like it's cracked. I started vocalizing after I read your site, but when I hum, it also feels like my throat is starting to hurt. I must be doing something wrong, can you help me? I have a cold at the moment, how do I sing during that?

Answer. Tightness, dryness, tickles and coughs indicate you are way too tense in the throat. This tension is only made worse by singing. Place your finger on your tongue and say "AH" like you're at the doctor's. Then change the pitch of your "AH" but don't let any face or neck muscles get involved. Your tongue should stay at the same pitch while singing many different pitches. This will help you loosen up inside.

Mark

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Question. The other day I was jamming with this dude that I had just met that night, and he started singing and his range went from like, I don't know, bass to alto, or something crazy like that! When I asked him how he did it, he simply replied that he had blended his falsetto and his regular voice together so that they both sound the same. And seriously, there was no auditory difference in falsetto and regular voice. How the hell did he do that??? Also, my voice is very nasal, and that is a pain and also annoying to listen to sometimes. And lastly, my voice only has decent range when I'm singing so loud that it drowns everything out, yet my voice is complemented best by an acoustic guitar...how can I keep my range, yet be quieter...and I guess that would be answered if I could blend my regular and falsetto voices, huh :)? anyway, I really would appreciate it if you could get back to me on this, because you obviously know what you're talking about.

Answer. Your nasal sound and the break between your registers are connected. You have too much tension in your throat and mouth when singing. Once you push hard enough (that means volume) you overcome the tension but become locked into muscle behavior. You would definitely benefit from my video, "The Singer's Toolbox." It has explanations and solutions for your dilemma.

Mark

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Question. I am 13 and I have been singing since I was 7. I love singing and all I can think of is becoming a professional singer and hitting it bigtime on mtv. I know it's what I want to be because I have been wanting it for 6 years. I have won all the competetions I have joined and I am joining one now, but I feel like I have lost my talent or my voice... notes are getting harder to sing and everytime I sing I get this pain in my throat, I practice almost everyday, but I don't think I'm doing it right... I don't have singing lessons. I'm scared that I overblew my voice... I also have alot of flem in my throat everytime I sing... what should I do? I am desperate to know.

Answer. You are creating that feeling in your throat when you sing. I know it seems weird to think you would be doing it to yourself, but you are. Think of it like you are trying to draw something and squeezing the pencil in order to not mess up. In a short amount of time, you're hand would hurt. Obviously, artist who draw all day don't squeeze the pencil. Their hand stays loose and they have great control because of that.

To learn to release you throat -- sing much softer with your favorite CD. Get used to keeping things very casual. Slowly, add a little more volume as you feel comfortable. Don't worry about pitch or sounding good. Trying to be perfect is what's causing you to tense too many muscles. Let it be bad - but loose. The better sounds will come once you can make yourself loose again.

If you feel like mucus is in the way then gargle with warm salt water. Most times, the mucus is just there from pushing too hard.

Mark

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Question. I read your book and it has really made me think about taking care of my voice in a different perspective. My question relates to making a change in career. I am actually working in career based full time IT/Computer job and I find if I get to the stage of getting serious about this then I would have to make sacrifices to maybe getting less pay for a part-time job for more time to practice my singing. Can you advise of some way I can support myself during this transistion period. It is not something That I am thinking of doing at the moment but when the time comes how do I prepare my self for it. I still need to pay for my bills, etc. I've heard that Crystal Waters used be into the computer field and then became a singing star (I guess she had a music background within the family that helps) but for some who's parent's think it's silly for their son to be in this business how can I stay positive and think that hard work and dreams can make it happen for me?

Answer. A career in music is a venture into the unknown. Every musician is self employed. If you're used to working for a pay check, this is a hard concept to swallow. Think of it as opening a restaurant. You have to build it first, with no guarantee that people will like it. The only advantage that a restaurant background in the family provides is the knowledge of how crazy the business is. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of bands I've worked with, I've never seen a smooth transition into the music business. There always seems to be a couple years of chaos and poverty (that sounds a lot like marriage, doesn't it?). As with any venture, you have to ask whether the risk is worth the reward. A passion for music is what keeps people positive. How strong is yours?

Mark

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Question. It's been about a year and a half since I've been basing my singing practices on your free lessons (I can't believe it takes years!). so far I've been able to relax my diaphragm, but maybe not well enough. I can sing quite smoothly now without cracking. I can sing comfortably high but the high notes seem to fade away and it becomes very frustrating. I can sing fairly loud at moderate tones but it seems as if I'm losing texture. I've been visualizing, testing my throat and breathing techniques, and closely listening to how various artists sing, and finally I've come back here to ask you about my particular problem. By the way, I luv Christina Aguilera's big voice, and it's interesting to hear that improving ur voice is just like improving ur body. and I want to be able to pursue a dream coz I know I'm hardworking and a dreamer just like many others out there!

Thanks alot for your help. I truly appreciate your tireless effort in helping others :)


Answer. It's all about striking a balance. Think of throwing a ball. Usually, we can throw pretty well if we do it lightly, but that makes it fall short of a target sometimes. Throwing harder is good for distance but makes it difficult to control. Keep singing. It seems like you're on the right track.

Mark

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Question. I always loved music but never had any talents... and less patience to pratice and become good. When I realized singing can be an instrument too... I decided to pursue where I think is the only place I can be good. While I'm just starting I have one of the strangest problem... when I sing I yawn! Always... why? what can I do? (And that's not only when I'm tired! I just yawn and yawn!!! ah... help me!)

Answer. It's not uncommon to trigger yawns when singing. Your lungs are dormant most of the day - unless you're doing something very physical. The sustained breaths required to sing disturb the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs. The yawn is the body's way of correcting the imbalance. To avoid the scenario, do some aerobic exercises as a warm up before singing.

Mark

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Question. I havent done much singing but it is something that I would really like to be able to do well. I admire anyone that can express themself by singing and I would like to be one of those people. The only attempts Ive made at singing have been by myself because Im very unsure of my voice. I have tried to record my voice several times nad the results have been less than pleasing. Its as if what Im singing sounds good to me, but would not to other people. This is a rather bad situation as far as performing goes. What can I do to better train my ear, or whatever I may need to do, to have a better sounding voice? Obviously since I am basically starting from scratch it would require plenty of practice, but I dont really know how to go about practicing sounding better, if Im apparently not hearing my voice very well. Id appreciate any help you could give.

Answer. It takes years to develop your skills on any instrument - the voice is no exception. What if you tried to record yourself playing a song on guitar if you only play infrequently the results would be the same. Singing is nothing more than muscle memory. Find a teacher you feel comfortable with and take lessons for a while before you judge yourself. You can do it - it's just a question of how bad you want it.

Mark

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Question. I hope that with much practice and possibly some of your help, I can fix what I consider a problem. I am a 16 year old male, and have always enjoyed singing. I love to sing, mainly when no one else is around.
Recently, I joined Chorus at my school, to hope to encourage myself and develop my singing skills. The problem I have though is, that when I sing, it's not harmonic. It seems as if there are just words with a background hum. My singing voice is so monotone and dull. I was wondering if there was anything I could do to"liven" it up. I try to sing higher, yet my voice begins to fade out, and I have to drop back down to Baritone. Any help here, would be greatly appreciated. (I would also be glad to send you various recordings of my voice if that may help.) Thank you for your time!


Answer. You would benefit a great deal from voice lessons. Your muscles are locking you down. This can be undone, but I think it would be best under the guidance of a watchful mentor. There is an emotional component to this behavior (the reason you sing when no one's around) and so I think you would feel better if someone was telling you what to do.

Mark

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Question. I was just wondering why singing in falsetto would help to increase your range? and when I sing loud I have my break around the "A" above middel c but when I sing softly the break is not there, it sort of gets past by.

Answer. Falsetto requires your folds to thin. High notes require your folds stretch.

It is easier stretching something thin then something thick. Once you develop an ability to stretch, you can add a load ( as in thicken your folds for chest voice ).
The bottom line is that falsetto is sung by the same membranes as chest voice. It is not a booby prize.

When you sing soft the break is at a lower pitch point. The reason you pass it by is because you are using the correct air pressure for that moment. When you sing loud, you have a break at the "A" note because you are sending more pressure than necessary. Muscles around the larynx brace and the rigidity causes what you hear.

Mark

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Question. I happened to run across a couple of your articles at Stagepass. I was hoping you could give me a little insight on singing in falsetto. I have sang for many years and I am a tenor. My range is middle c to about b flat above the staff. Often times I hear about singers talking about singing in a falsetto voice. When I ask them to explain how to find it and develop it, they don't have in answer. They act like as if it comes natural. I ask them if they can explain how they change their singing style or whatever to get there and they can't explain that either. It all seems so mysterious like its more a state of mind than anything else. Either you've got it or you don't.

I know that trying to explain it in text won't be easy. I would like to know if falsetto is achievable and if so, how can I discover how to access it and develop it. How much more range could I get?

I'd appreciate any insight you could give me would be great! Otherwise, I just settle for my tenor range as is.


Answer. Tenors, because the vocal folds are small, have less falsetto range than baritones. Notes a baritone would sing in falsetto - you sing in chest voice. The difference between falsetto and chest voice is thickness. There is a muscle inside the folds which contracts to make the folds thick -- this is chest voice. When the muscle relaxes the folds thin and are more flexible -- this is falsetto. In your case, it's more a volume issue. If you were to sing your high B flat very softly - that would place you in falsetto voice.

This is a complex subject which I cover extensively in my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual."

Mark

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Question. I've just started singing in a rock band. I have a fairly good voice, but I can't seem to project very well at all. In order to get louder, I have to sing in a higher octave, which seems to really strain my voice. How can I sing loudly without hurting myself?

Answer. It takes time to develop the strength needed to sing low notes loud. When practicing, try not to add any facial muscles to help you. This will only delay your internal growth. For now, you'll have to let the mic do the work.
Don't rise up the octave - stand your ground - things will get better.

Mark

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Question. I have a passion for singing I have loved to do it since I was liitle girl. I sing really good but not good enough I would like to know how to have a good vocal range. I have a mezzo-soprano voice but I would like to be able to sing in higher octaves if you have any advice to give me please to do so.

Answer. Allow your voice to change registers when attempting higher notes. This will sound shaky and weak at first but will improve over time.

Mark

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Question. My name is Nino, and I was hoping you would help me out with a couple questions about singing. First off, I have a very flat, low voice and when I speak normally, it is sometimes difficult for people to hear me if there is a lot of noise around. And when I sing, it's very difficult to achieve higher notes, let alone a variety of them. What are some things I could do to get more control over my monotonous voice?

And also, when I sing, I seem to be exhaling too much and sometimes even start getting light-headed. Do you have any tips for breathing more evenly and controlling my breath?


Answer. Practice breath control by making a very low volume hiss for one minute. ( sssssssssss ) The sound should remain the same for the entire time. Practice pitch change by singing scales and keeping the volume very consistent. Our voices are an extension of our personality. If you're excited your voice will by more animated. I think you are intimated when you speak and sing. This is at the root of your problem. Keep practicing the scales and things should loosen up.

Mark

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Question. I am a young twelve-year-old girl who is striving to improve her voice. Every day, I practice at least two hours each day, but I cannot seem to master any high notes, and I was wondering if you could help me. Each time I try to reach a high note, such as the high E above middle C, my voice either cracks or falters. Understanding that singing without flaw is a very difficult task to complete, but I would appreciate the help. Thank you. In addition, I would also like help on controlling my diaphragm; do you have any breathing exercises I could try?

Answer. There are a lot of exercises in my book, "The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual." Don't worry, it's not about rock singing. In general, it's better to let your voice crack than tense your throat to fix the sound. It's funny you mentioned your diaphragm also because the two problems are directly related. Cracking is caused by too much air pressure. High notes need less air pressure than you think. Start building your voice by singing the high notes very softly. Gradually increase your volume without letting any facial or neck muscles join in. Let the voice crack until you can balance out the air pressure. Your so young, there is still a lot of growing to do. As things change your voice will settle down. That's when you'll be glad you let your voice crack and stayed loose. People that tense on high notes continue to do so even after their voice matures.

Mark

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Question. I need some advise. To begin with, every time I sing, it sounds as if im singing under my nose, and I sound very funny. I get very frustrated when I hear people sing with a nice, straight voice. I just wanted to ask you how can I sing from my stomach instead of my nose and have a nice voice.

I apreciate you taking the time to help people!


Answer. First off, my book and video would help a lot. For now, try holding your nose to avoid sending too much air pressure up there.

Mark

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Question. I'm trying to learn how to sing on stage better. When I'm in my own home, my voice sounds good. I have a good sense of pitch etc. But on stage, or in rehearsal, things are so different. I have monitors blasting, other musicians next to me playing pretty loudly etc. And often I lose what I'm doing. I'm experimenting a lot with earplugs, but it's hit or miss. Sometimes I listen back to the recordings, and I'm dead on. Other times, I couldn't hit the right pitch to save my life. I've tried one earplug to hear my own "inner" voice, and one ear free to hear the monitors, and how my vocals are mixing with the band. But I never feel very confident. Plus I REALLY want to save my hearing...in BOTH ears. My band plays a lot of gigs, but often the sound systems are limited. Can you suggest simple ways to not only hear what I'm singing, but also be able to tell how it blends with the band?

Answer. Unless you're at the sound board you can't control how you're blending with the band. Does the drummer care how he's blending? Play to your instrument. Wear two ear plugs. It takes a hundred gigs to gain what you're looking for. Make sure you're warming up. My video would help you for that. Stay with it, you can't sing dead on by accident!

Mark

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Question. I am a professional singer living in the long-winter state of Vermont. This year due to a VERY active schedule (just released a new CD) and extra long periods of colds and flu, my voice has been taxed in new ways.

My 1st question is humidifiers - pro or con? Some doctors and experts say you MUST have them to fight against the dry winter heat, other say they just breed bacteria and germs and bring on more troubles that they are worth. If you are "pro", then which is better a steam vaporizer, or a humidifier?

I normally as a singer have always tried to avoid "antihistimines and decongestants" during this time of year because they just dry me out too bad. (voice feels like beef jerky, high-end and falsetto go out the window!) The last doctor I say said, "You don't have a cold - it's seasonal allergies to dust etc." and put me on "Claritin" and a nasal spray "Vacanese" (sp?) The spray was soothing, but once again the Claritn (even though mild) dried me out too much again..... So I get stuck in this weird scenario like this:

I have this constant nasal drip........ That I guess is seasonal or "Allergy" based)

-If I treat it I get dried out. -If I don't treat it, the drip will gump up my throat and make it sore and "heavy" feeling.(and I end up losing my high-end anyway!)

What should I do? What can save me? What is the best way to keep my voice supple, hydrated, lubricated, and happy?


Answer. The best way to keep your voice supple is to vocalize. Supple means flexible. Movement, as in subtle stretches, is what allows any part of your body to become flexible. (Think of vocalizing as yoga for the voice) Vocalizing for your condition would mean very low volume, EE vowel scales or glissando's (siren-like sweeps of pitch) starting in whatever falsetto you have and connecting down to chest voice. The main point to remember is that the focus should be on form, not performance. It doesn't matter how bad you sound as long as you're not pushing to compensate for your drip.

The drip makes your folds swell, and therefore they feel heavy and require more air pressure to sing. With the additional pressure comes additional throat tension, making matters much worse. So we don't want to feed into that cycle. It may take hours, but vocalizing with your attention on remaining loose and not pushing will thin the folds. Rest will not. The worse your symptoms, the longer you will have to vocalize. Incidentally, you can vocalize at a barely audible level all day long at work and do your voice a great service. Just think of it as stretching -- which would be good to do all day as well.

To keep the voice hydrated drink two liters of water per day. Stay off junk foods -- eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. I am "pro" hydrating the air and recommend a steam vaporizer in order to kill bacteria. Ideal humidity would be 60%. If on the road without a vaporizer, run a hot shower in the hotel room with the door open or place cups of water all over the heater.

It's much better to deal with your allergies by vocalizing. The drugs simply squash the symptoms -- the activity of vocalizing stimulates circulation allowing a more natural defensive strategy. Plus, you get to keep your voice! Hopefully, this is a phase you're going through. I went through several myself. It seems these days, because I no longer fear what a cold or allergy will do to my voice, I get very few. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Learn to deal with things naturally and you'll be surprised how resilient your voice can be.

Mark

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Question. My vocal performance suffers during pms and menstruation, what gives?

Answer. During menstruation the body retains fluid. The vocal folds are mucus membranes, which are very sensitive to the body's water level. Just as your fingers can swell during a bad period, your vocal folds are slightly swollen before you sing a note. Not addressing this situation (meaning: no warm-up) will cause you inadvertently push a little harder for notes that are usually easy to sing. A chain reaction begin: throat muscles brace against extra pressure and more effort is applied to overcome the resistance. It's the perfect scenario for a lousy vocal day.

Mark

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Question. Hi. How long should you sing at one time?
How can you learn to hold a note longer?
How do you get to a higher range ?
How do you stop your voice from cracking?


Answer. A typical wedding or function singer routinely sings 4 hour gigs (sometimes two in one day). Obviously, there are breaks taken, but in the studio I've done 6 hour sessions where the time passed like minutes. Vocal stamina is directly tied to proper technique.

To sing a note longer, take a big breath and sustain a barely audible hiss until you run out of air. 60 seconds is a good target. The hiss should be absolutely smooth (no erratic jumps or spikes). This is a beginning diaphragm exercise from my book, Rock N Roll Singers Survival Manual. Control of the diaphragm is crucial for holding notes long.

A higher range is developed by stretching your folds in the same way you would learn to do a split with your legs -- very slowly. Singing in falsetto or head voice without stress (meaning no visible facial tension) at a low volume allows the folds to experience the pitches you want minus the load of volume. Gradually increase the volume once the softly sung high notes feel comfortable. Never sacrifice form for the sake of hitting a pitch.

The voice cracks when the vocal folds are burdened with too much air pressure. There is a point where the mass of the folds needs to increase of decrease (depending on whether you're singing up or down) and this is a vulnerable moment for everyone's voice. A balance needs to be struck at all times between air pressure and the vocal folds. Any imbalance will result in a crack. To smooth the crack, relax your face and sing through the break over and over. By subtracting all other muscular aids, the diaphragm will have to get its act together and coordinate with the larynx. Imbalance usually exists throughout a singers range, but is only exposed at the break between voices.

Mark

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Question. What can l do to be a good singer? l mean how can you get your voice to sound the best? Can everyone sing as good as they want if they work hard enough on it?

Answer. How do you get your body to look its best? Can anyone get the body they want if they work hard enough? The answers are the same with singing. If you work out for a while your body is going to look pretty good. Work hard enough and you can get pretty close to the body you want. The bottom line is, you have to love working out to make it stick. The larynx and throat are made of muscles, membranes and cartilages. Coordination, strength and flexibility are vital elements of vocal control. There are vocal exercises which can isolate and develop specific muscles just like going to the gym. You can speed the process by working with a coach, or, learn by trail and error by singing for years and years. Either way, the most important element necessary to become a good singer is to simply love to sing.

Mark

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Question. I am by no means a professional singer, but have always loved to sing and have even been the lead singer in my church's contemporary band. I have not sung much for several years and guess what? I've lost it! Wow. It never occurred to me that the throat and vocal chords could get out of shape just like the rest of your body. I would like to start singing in the church band again, but many of the parts are too high for me and we have too many altos. If I could just go half an octave higher, I could do it. A whole octave would be better. Right now, I can only go two octaves. Yuck!

I experience the "crack" you talk about when I go for the notes right along the "break." Everyone I talk to (all of whom know nothing about singing) say that there is no such thing as "falsetto" for a woman. But I find that at a certain pitch and above, there is a very different technique to get the notes out. One is from the chest and the other is more from the back of my throat. Is this normal? Or does my range end where I have to switch voices. The higher end voice sounds more operatic, whereas my lower end voice has a rock and roll, gutsy quality. I am currently an alto. With daily practice using the technique you outlined in your FAQ (singing the high notes at low volume until you become accustomed to them,) and if I do this for, say, six months, how much can I expect to expand my range? Half an octave, a whole octave? Of course, I will continue to do exercises even then, but I just want to know what is a realistic expectation for someone with a fairly decent voice and a willingness to practice.


Answer. Technically, your range is the same as it was when you were at your vocal peak. Range is determined by the size of your larynx and the flexibility of your vocal folds. The size has not changed, the flexibility, unfortunately, has. If you are diligent, you should be able to return your voice to its glory days. As we age, it seems that we lose range when the culprit is really flexibility. Think of your limbs. A fifty year-old normally experiences much less mobility in their limbs then a twenty year-old. Normally does not mean naturally. Lack of use allows muscles to atrophy, which burdens neighboring muscles and causes rigidity. Constant stretching and activity, from age twenty on, would allow a fifty year old to retain complete mobility. Same is true for the voice.

The reason you need to approach your higher notes at a low volume is because the rigidity which has taken up residency in your throat will inspire you to push more air than necessary. This is why your chest voice is gutsy. Those same muscles relate differently to your head voice (which is caused by the folds thinning) and therefore the sound is operatic and feels like it's coming from the back of your throat. The same folds produce every note we sing -- a change in behavior is what creates the difference in registers. And yes, females (altos) do have a falsetto. Blending your upper register with your chest voice should be your focus. Bring the light feel down to your lower notes first. Once your entire range feels consistent, then start increasing volume gradually and uniformly.

Let this be a lesson to all of you . . . don't ever stop singing !!! Best of luck Nikki.

Mark

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Question. My name is Paul, and I'm currently in a production of "Pippin" in Montreal Quebec. I got the lead role (Pippin) and we opened last week. I have a show tonight (March 27) and a terrible thing has happened. I have been sufereing from a scratcly throat all week, but this morning I woke up, and It was very scratchy, mucus would just surround my throat when I swalowed, and I found it dfifficullt to get saliva down my throat, it's like something is blocking it. When I sit up, it feels better. But my voice is now part hoarse, Mucus is getting in the way! I can't sing to the level I could before. WHAT DO I Do!!!!

Answer. Drink two liters of water or more to help thin the mucus and flush it away. Gargling with warm salt water helps bring up mucus without constantly clearing your throat -- try and avoid excess grunting. Breathing steam will also help by soothing irritated folds. Be careful when breathing steam, don't inhale too fast. An herbal extract like Echinacea combined with Golden Seal will help the body fight infection. You can find this combination in health food stores -- they come in eye-dropper bottles. I shoot an eye-dropper full down the back of the tongue about every two hours when I feel something coming on.

You'll also need to warm up for a much longer period than usual. Read my tips on singing with a cold and warming up in the free lesson section of my web site,

Mark

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Question. I love acting and want to get involved with some high school productions but my voice is not as good as others involved in the theater but I've never sung in front of any one seriously I'm not shure how my voice stacks up to others any suggestions in learning how to sing and singing in front of others?

Answer. Summon all your courage up and audition. If you love acting it will show. Your singing will improve as you train and challenge yourself. There is no easy way to begin -- just do it.

Mark

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Question. I was wondering where I could find a study guide on hearing the music and matching your voice to the right tones?

Answer. What you are looking for is called ear training and there are dozens of books on the subject on the market. I don't recommend any one in particular. I have always felt, though, that this is the wrong name for this subject. Your ability to perceive whether a pitch is higher or lower than another is only half the battle. Getting your voice to sing the pitch you're thinking is a more common problem and has nothing to do with the ear. It's all about coordinating the muscles involved with singing. For that ability, there are hundreds of books -- but hopefully you'll give mine a try first! (The Rock-N-Roll Singer's Survival Manual)

Mark

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