Valley Vocal Coach – What I Do
Since 2001, I have been the sole owner and vocal coach of Valley Vocal Coach, school for singing. I specialize in the full voice, chest belt that incorporates the passagio necessary for Pop, Rock, Country, Stage and Gospel genres and vocal techniques that develop strong, healthy voices.
I HAVE A FORMULA THAT WORKS! I know how to make singers out of aspiring singers. I know how to make good singers great, and how to make great singers brilliant. And, I know how the voice works, how the whole vocal anatomy works together, and I know what saves singers from vocal problems so they can go on with their dreams and careers.
On top of over 40 years of performing, and still very actively doing so, I have taken my study of singing and the vocal anatomy very seriously. I read and study continuously, pick serious singer’s brains on their individual theories and techniques and warm ups, and I am privileged to have studied with many of the top vocal coaches in California (Steven Williams of Elizabeth Howards Vocal Works, Suzanne Kiechle, James Lugo, Rosemary Butler, Byrd of American Idol, Marquita Waters, etc.) I have learned that indeed, it is not a perfect science and that there are several schools of thought on different subjects regarding the singing and speaking voice.
Being a true alto, singing and performing in a Pop/Rock/Country business that has audiences longing for a soprano’s range, I had to learn to increase my range in a true chest voice while finding my tone and protecting my voice night after night. I carefully assessed everything I learned and put it together with my real life, practical experience and have developed my own tried and true formula that works. Not just for me, for everyone!
As well as stage performance, acting, artist development, song writing, and the business of the music business, I teach all styles of singing with emphasis on maintaining vocal health through proper vocal placement and breath support! My most popular request from my students is for a full chest belt for the pop rock genre and stage musicals, which means, most students need to learn to master their passagio. Working to master the passagio is not easy and takes dedication, but when you do, you feel as though you are soaring and there isn’t anything you can’t sing!
All my students know my three words: Pitch, Breathing, Diction! Are you looking to discover the next level in your singing voice? Is your voice getting tired? Are you losing your voice? Are you wanting to unlock what you know you have inside but can not find the key on your own? I can help you!
I’m going to take you to that place in your voice where you feel an out of body experience. When you are in that place, the success you’re having expressing yourself through a song can feel as if someone else has inhabited your being. But it is not someone else. Rather, it is another part of you that you had not allowed to come out because it would be considered too outspoken, too dramatic, too extroverted for public display. As a singer and an artist, you can let that happen and people applaud you for it!
I am very proud to say I was raised in Northridge in the beautiful San Fernando Valley, very close to where I teach now, in Chatsworth and Hollywood. I was involved in the music programs in every school I attended here in The Valley. I rode my horses and my bikes around this spacious valley and I was a cheerleader for Pop Warner Football and for Los Angeles Baptist High School, here in The Valley. I raised my wonderful children in this valley. I am a Valley Girl! Regardless of where I am teaching, I’m proud to be known as The Valley Vocal Coach.
If you are serious about singing, I want to work with you! You’ll love your voice!
One of the most frequently asked questions when a new student approaches me about vocal lessons is, Can you increase my range? And my answer is always confidently,
Without even knowing the person, if they are asking that question, then there is something they don’t yet know about their own ability, and I know I can give them the knowledge and the training to solve their own mysteries about their voice. It’s terribly exciting to see the light go on in each person’s eyes as they realize their new potential.
I have figured out the logical process for success for increasing your range and I want to show it to you. The first step is getting one’s natural falsetto and chest voices healthy and strong. That alone will result in a growth of range in those registers that is anatomically and easily attainable. It’s a matter of a proper warm up, the right exercises and correct execution. It’s optimal for both registers to be equally healthy as they work in support of each other.
Next is the ability to make the smooth transfer from one register to the other with no audible break. Learning the muscles that shift in the larynx through the break and utilizing the abdominal muscles, etc., that support the shift.
Last is the knowledge and training of the passagio. The passagio is the hardest vocal technique to master and not everyone is able to grasp it. It takes dedication and proper training to get it down and not over work your vocal mechanism to the point of any vocal fatigue. However, if you can master your passagio, you can absolutely bridge the gap between your chest and your head voice in a full belt and feel as if you are flying while you’re singing and can sing anything!
You want to know how to increase your range? Are you serious about singing? Let’s get to work!
Holding An Ssss!
Ssss exercises are ssso great! I teach the use of different types of Ssss exercises for different issues and results, ie: vocal power, breath support, quick breath response, and endurance.
A strong Ssss will engage the abdominal muscles and super support the diaphragm as it rises during exhalation. When you take a breath in, that very strong diaphragm muscle flattens under your lungs and then desires only to help in pushing the air you just inhaled, out.
When your lungs are full of air it is like a balloon full of air. Your fingers holding the balloon closed at the top are like your strong vocal cords tightly closed, not letting any air escape until you relax them enough to allow air to pass through them and out your mouth. Just as the expanded latex of the balloon only wants to relax to it’s natural, emptied shape, so the strong, contracted diaphragm muscle is just wanting to return back to it’s natural relaxed position.
In that way resistance is created between your lungs full of air and the diaphragm that strives to push that air out and return to it’s natural position, which is a dome shape after it has expelled air from the lungs. Your diaphragm separates your chest / thoracic cavity, which houses the heart and lungs, from your abdominal cavity, which houses your liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestines. The breathing response can happen naturally, which is why you breathe even though you are not consciously thinking about it, and voluntarily at will, which why you are able to hold your breath or breathe in and out very slowly or very quickly.
Since I teach that BREATHING is the SECOND most important aspect of singing directly after pitch, I’m going to give you an exercise to help you CONSERVE your breath so that you have enough breath to either get you through a very long phrase or help hold one extended note for a length of time at the end of a phrase. Your breath is the magic carpet that your singing vowels ride upon. To make it a smooth and enjoyable ride, you want your breath to be smooth and consistent.
Exercise 1. The Long Ssss Take a full breath and pretend you are not allowed to let any of your air escape while making a strong SSS sound for as long as you can. If you can go 30 seconds, you are doing really good. If you can go 40 or 50 seconds, you are doing great! You would not be letting very much air escape and you would be utilizing your lung capacity if you are able to do this exercise. Normally, you do not need much more air than the little bit you are allowing to escape in this exercise to sing!
There is no way you can sing and not let air escape. Air moving through your vocal cords is how the cords are able to vibrate and phonate (make sound.) But if you pretend you are not allowed to let air escape, you will find you are able to conserve your air, thus able to sing long phrases and hold long, beautifully supported notes to a gorgeous end!
Exercise 2. The Ten Sssss “ Quickly breathe in and then quickly expel a strong Ssss! Do this quickly ten times! Then, for a count of five, hold a strong Ssss while gently pulling in your abdomen below your belly button. Repeat those two patterns in order three times. This will help with healthy, quick breathing responses when you are singing.
Listen carefully to the best recorded singers and vocalists. Hear them breathing? It’s the second most important technical aspect of singing. You must breathe properly to maintain a healthy voice and produce a wonderful voice that will last!