I often hear self-trained singers claiming they wish to improve their singing, but without sounding “too good”. They want to improve, but not “too much”, as if having a beautiful voice was something negative. Curious, isn’t it?
Yet, I totally get what’s behind: they are concerned to lose their uniqueness, becoming unimpressive and boring. They want to be themselves, not having someone telling them which genre they should sing, and how their voice should be like. That’s why they are skeptical of voice lessons.
Well, you know what? They have a point.
As a vocal coach, I believe my role is not shaping everyone’s vocals in the image of an imaginary “ideal voice”. When coming to singing, there is not such a thing as a right or wrong sound. There is a healthy or unhealthy way of making a sound, there are appropriate and inappropriate sounds for certain styles, indeed. But there are not absolutely positive or negative characteristics. Certain “flaws” in the voice can be what makes you interesting, your distinctive mark. That’s why valuable voice classes should guide you through the discovery of your own voice capabilities, showing you different paths and directions, in respect of your personal taste and peculiarities. They will help you to mindfully use your voice, finding or highlighting characteristics that you like, and softening or even getting rid of those you don’t like.
What’s crucial is that any of these characteristics must be your conscious choice, not something just happening without your control. Now, that’s where technique comes in: it gives you a strong self-awareness. Even if your singing was naturally perfect (lucky you), knowing how your voice works will get you more and more self-confidence, leading you to naturally explore new horizons.
Indeed, when you have no conscious control of your voice, you’re so focused on just “staying in tune” or “sound good”, that you forget the real significance of what you’re doing. The artistic part, the message to convey, the feelings, are all put aside. At the end of the day, you probably did sound good, but this is not the same of singing well.
With an higher control of your voice, instead, you just don’t need to worry about your pitch or tone, because you’re sure of what you’re doing with no need to think about it. You can release yourself and enjoy your performance.
In short, a good vocal technique won’t entangle your artistry. On the contrary, it blows out the walls, set you free to experiment and create, and finally to express yourself like never before.