What can you do to become a better singer today

By Chris Glyde 

So when I decided on this topic and thought about what I’m going to say, I laughed. This particular advice will probably strike most of you as contradictory to my typical line of thought. 

So, first I’m going to discuss what lens I’m making this decision from. I’m thinking of the person who would ask the question “how can I become a better singer today, right now?” This person either has a performance coming up and never looked into training or they simply want a quick result. Basically, I envision them as having zero experience. That’s who would ask this question.

I’m not looking at this from the angle of what’s best in the long term. I’m answering this from the short-term frame premise this question was asked. My suggestion is this: go to YouTube, go find a speech level vocal coach, and see what tips they can give you to relax your voice. Most people who have zero experience in vocal training have massive amounts of tension. We’re talking you-should-see-a-massage-therapist-for-your-throat tension. The quickest way to improve your voice would be to simply learn how to release some of that tension. 

I am personally Bel canto trained and I will go to the ends of the earth to fight its effectiveness over speech-level. However, that is in the long-term. In the short-term, I think speech-level singing does a great job giving you those beginner gains much faster. Others might also think it contradictive that I suggested YouTube videos from speech-level singers. Most speech-level exercises aren’t dependent upon each other and their purpose is simply to relax the voice. I don’t believe it to be harmful to look into speech-level techniques right in the beginning.

For those of you that are unsure what you’re looking for – you can try speech level singing techniques. Traditional speech level singing involves some sort of weird exercises or sounds to help you relax the voice (specifically the larynx)

If you’d feel more comfortable with certain suggestions, I would suggest you check out Per Bistrow, Brett Mannings, or Seth Riggs. I’ve worked with all of these methods online and with teachers who run them.  

Real quickly, for those that don’t know me, I’ll go over why I would run this material long-term. There are many reasons why I wouldn’t suggest speech-level singing for the long haul. I find speech level singing to be dangerous and in the long-term I believe it hurts the voice more than it helps. It neglects a lot of very critical steps in vocal training. It doesn’t believe in proper diaphragmatic control. It doesn’t involve proper sounds that are necessary for the voice to grow.

If you’re looking for a quick improvement in your voice, I would go speech level. If you’re looking for long term improvement, I would go bel canto.

About the Author:


Chris Glyde is a Bel Canto training vocal coach based in Rochester, New York. He spent many years training in speech-level as well, but prefers a bigger, boomier voice.  If you’re looking for voice lessons in Rochester click on the link.