Shapely cartilage

So you have cartilage in your knees, right? You need that connective tissue for support when you walk.  You also have cartilage in your larynx that supports your singing.  The larynx cartilages form distinctively different shapes when singing in different modes. Complete Vocal Institute has mapped the patterns of these shapes, given them names (called ‘vocal modes’) and published a peer reviewed scientific paper on two of these modes, Overdrive and Edge:

Overdrive and Edge as Refiners of Belting

Belting has been a much argued term in voice teaching, where sometimes singers are singing loud and shouty, sometimes sharp, sometimes quiet.  Complete Vocal Institute shows us that these sounds are different settings of the vocal tract.  The larynx cartilage (along with other helpful larynx tissues) have different shapely settings!


Scientific proof

Great news from Complete Vocal Institute.  Two peer-reviewed articles got accepted for publication in Journal of Voice, which is one of the most prestigious journals in the field of voice science. This article refines the much-argued term “belting”.  Subjects were recorded singing, and the shape of the tissue inside the vocal tract (“laryngeal gestures”) was analyzed.  It was then corroborated with EEG waveform analysis.

I love to teach my students to approximate these laryngeal gestures.  They are loud and powerful, and HEALTHY when you learn to do them correctly. Yes you can learn to sing loudly like Adina Mendel and Freddie Mercury!

Read the full article here

Complete Vocal Technique

For the past year, I have been teaching Complete Vocal Technique to my students.  It’s the most scientific singing method I have seen in my 15+ years of teaching and performing.

I love Complete Vocal Technique because it demystifies singing – if you learn and follow the acoustic ‘rules’ EVERY BODY CAN LEARN TO SING.  I will be sharing posts from the Complete Vocal Institute here, as well as my own learning experience on the way.  I am currently in a 3 year training course to become a Certified Complete Vocal Technique teacher.


Why British singers lose their accents when singing

In our most recent Every Body Can Sing workshop we found out one reason why British singers lose their accents when singing.

It partly has to do with the articulators and resonators f the vocal tract. Specifically, your lips, tongue, palate, the space inside your mouth, the space behind your nose, and the space in your throat (pharnyx) itself. When you speak, you change the shapes of these structures and spaces to create language.  And when you sing, your words get stretched out, so the vowels get longer and the consonants generally get shorter, strung together, or dropped.

British standard dialect has a lot of ‘articulate’ speech, which generally goes away when singing.   Other countries like Sweden (ABBA) and Australia (Keith Urban) do the same, and we perceive the sound as ‘General American’ dialect, because general American is one of the most ‘neutral’ languages.

Here’s an article if you want to read more about it.


Old School 19th Singing tips on Posture and Respiration

The 19th century Italian schools of singing had alot of cool things to say about posture, and how it affects singing.

In the Noble Posture, the sternum is raised along with the upper chest ‘like a soldier in a relaxed position’. This frees the lower ribs and subsequently the lungs for maximum outward movement when inhaling.
All the muscles concerned with the action of healthy balanced singing are now ready to engage. If this Noble Posture is maintained as long as possible during the action of singing an unexpected benefit occurs: the muscles of inhaling are not allowed to ‘collapse’ during exhaling but act as natural antagonists to the muscles of breathing out. This antagonistic relationship or ‘vocal struggle’ (called La Lotta Vocale in the Italian School) has the exhalation resisted by the inhalation muscules and a controlled stream of breath at the larynx is possible. The breath is kept alive by ‘leaning’ the breath against the nobly raised front wall of the chest (called appogiato). 

noble posture 1


Every Body Can Sing!

How is singing like dance? This workshop will help you find a new connection to your breath, body, and voice. We will explore the physical foundations of healthy vocal production, in all genres of singing. If you’ve been afraid to sing you will see that it’s simply a learned physical task, much like dance, and if you’ve sung for years you will learn something new about your voice.

For dates and location check out meetup!



Do you have bunged up sinuses? Just sing NOOOOOOO

Why do we sing those crazy ?/mi/ and /ni/ sounds in lessons? Image

Here’s some really cool research on humming and sinusitis:

Healthy sinuses have a high concentration of NO (gaseous nitric oxide) production.

NO is known to be increased 15- to 20-fold by humming compared with quiet exhalation.

NO is known to be broadly antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial.

One case report shows that a subject hummed strongly for an hour at bedtime the first night, and hummed several times a day for the following 4 days as treatment for severe chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).

The morning after the first 1-hour humming session, the subject awoke with a clear nose and found himself breathing easily through his nose for the first time in over 1 month. During the following 4 days, CRS symptoms slightly reoccurred, but with much less intensity each day. By humming 60-120 times four times per day (with a session at bedtime), CRS symptoms were essentially eliminated in 4 days.

The article hypothesized that strong, prolonged humming increased endogenous nasal NO production, thus eliminating CRS by antifungal means.