How Well Do You Know Your Voice?

Apr 04, 2023

Hello all of you beautiful singers and teachers of singing! This is my first blog post of 2020 and I wanted to start it off with a topic that I believe will lay the ground-work for a successful pathway to your complete, healthy voice, a voice that will last a lifetime, and one that others will enjoy listening to! 

How Well Do You Know Your Voice?

Ask yourself the above question and the following ones: How well do I know my voice? Do I know my voice well enough to know exactly what it’s going to be like on any given day? Is my technique reliable enough to get me through the bad days? 

We will come back to this question, but first I want to share a statement made by a wonderful singer I’ve been teaching for several years named Jonathon Moon. Jon and I were in the middle of his lesson and I stated that his voice sounded so much more consistent and was responding more reliably than it was a few years ago. Jon paused for a moment and said “What singers don’t talk about enough is normalizing the day to day practice of singing, because if you don’t know your voice, then you can’t deal with all the new things that come up like a recording session, a performance while your sick, or you have too much time between the last time you vocalized. So the point is to practice everyday to normalize the fact that, from one day to the next, your voice is going to be different. You may have seven different versions of your voice in seven different days, so normalizing that through daily practice is crucial”.

I asked Jon if I could use this quote because I felt it really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the question of “how well do you know your voice?”. By the way, I am blessed to have so many critical thinking singers in my voice studio. They often say things that blow me away when they’ve had one of those “a ha!” moments in a lesson or in their practice sessions and need to express their discovery out loud. When they share these moments, or epiphanies with me, I will often write them down and share them with other singers or voice teachers. After all, knowledge is power and must be shared! 

My Voice Is A Stranger To Me

When a singer comes into a lesson and says “My voice doesn’t feel like my voice”, or “my voice is being really weird, it won’t do what I want it to do”, I will then ask them how often they’ve practiced in the last week or so? Nine times out of ten they will say something to the effect of: “Well not much, I didn’t want to mess it up and just thought I would wait till I see you to figure out what is going on with it”. 

Trust me, I totally understand this and have been in the same situation where I thought “Humm, maybe I should wait to sing when I see David Jones (my voice teacher) to work out this vocal issue I’m having”. 

Finding Consistency With Your Voice

Over my many years of singing and teaching singing, I’ve come to understand that, unless there is some pathology on the vocal cords that require a laryngologist’s treatment or speech language practitioner’s intervention, or a throat doctor ordering complete voice rest, not vocalizing for days on end can cause the voice to lose elasticity, strength, onset-coordination, and beauty rapidly. The voice gets flabby just as our bodies do when we don’t exercise regularly. 

Not Going to the Gym vs Not Going to the Voice Studio

I love going to the gym regularly. There is something so incredibly satisfying to see my body get stronger over the years rather than lose muscle mass as I get older. It’s not always easy to get to the gym, especially as I am teaching singers online and in person at my New York and New Jersey studios, as well as having a church job as a tenor section leader, singing in a band and having a lovely long term relationship to attend to at home. But if I didn’t go to the gym regularly, I’m quite sure a few things would happen quickly. 

First, I would lose muscle mass rapidly. These days I have to workout 10 times harder to have even a semblance of my former “show body” (“show body” is the body you get from dancing and singing onstage for 8 shows a week. Your entire body lengthens and strengthens and your voice is strongest and most powerful it can be from that kind of regimen!). Once the muscle mass deteriorates, so does the coordination to be able to walk over to a weight rack and easily pick up two 35 pound dumbbells, walk them over to the incline bench, and knock out 3 to 4 sets of 12-15 reps of incline presses for the chest.   

There is a strong correlation between being consistent in the gym, and being consistent in your vocal practice sessions. It is absolutely crucial to allow yourself a block of time at least 5 times a week to do vocal exercises, and work through song repertory. Your vocalization time needs to be part of your daily routine to not only build your vocal stamina and learn songs, but to truly understand and get to know your voice better than anyone else. After all, it is your voice, and if it’s anything like my voice, it has all sorts of idiosyncrasies as well as many colors and sounds to paint beautiful aural pictures with through song. Voices are amazing and so very individual, and because of this, we need to spend time with our voices, alone and unencumbered by the noise of the world in order to truly understand it intimately. 

Always Be Prepared/Know Your Voice

Just when I think I’m about to retire from singing onstage, an opportunity comes along that challenges me to get back to daily practice and prepare for a performance. I have actually grown to love the process of preparing for a show, as it not only stimulates me emotionally, spiritually and physically, but also scares the hell out of me! There’s something motivational about being scared to fail in front of an audience! 

Just recently, I was invited to be a guest singer in an 80’s cover band called “Fast Forward”. My wonderful student Karen Masson is the lead singer of the band, and when she found out that the band I had been singing with for many years had dismantled, she asked me if I would like to perform with her band for an upcoming show. I was asked to sing 6 to 8 songs by the 80’s band Journey as well as some other hits from the “hair band” era. I’ve been singing songs by Journey since I was a young singer, but never 7 songs of this iconic rock group’s songs in a row, onstage, in front of an audience! I really had my work cut out for me as I prepared these songs for the first show which was only 4 weeks away. 

Practice, Practice, Practice/Know Your Voice

Everyday I would try to slice out a block of time to work on the songs whether it was at my New York studio between student’s voice lessons, or in my car driving to and from the gym, or at my home studio. 

At first, singing so many songs made famous by lead singer Steve Perry felt like lifting a heavy load, and I would literally have to sit down after running through just 4 of them back to back. With consistent work, I soon was able to get through all 7 songs without passing out or blowing a gasket, and a week later the entire set felt easier and less weighted. I knew that I had to keep my practice sessions going right up to my first rehearsal with the band. That rehearsal went very well and the band was happy with how the songs sounded. By showtime a few days later, I was ready and not very nervous at all because I had put the time into preparing for the performance, and the show was a big success! 

I learned so much from preparing the songs for the show which included: 

“Separate Ways”, “Lovin Touchin Squeezin”, “Faithfully”, “Stone In Love”, “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin”, and that was to be prepared well in advance of the actual show date. Preparing not only meant vocalizing and practicing everyday, but also preparing myself mentally by avoiding anything too stressful or taxing, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding foods that cause reflux, and drinking plenty of water. It also required that I had to listen to my body to make sure no unnecessary tension was creeping into my shoulders, neck and throat muscles. As the songs began to settle into my voice, I felt I had a greater understanding of how it worked than I have in many years. It felt like my voice and me were one! 

Singing Is A Daily Practice

In closing I hope you will take what I’ve written here and use it as a guidepost for knowing and understanding your voice and how it functions at it’s optimum best. Find a vocal coach who can help you build a strong, solid vocal technique that will allow your voice to grow in beauty, strength, resonance and power. If you can’t find a vocal coach in your area, I teach online to singers all around the world. It doesn’t matter what time zone you are in, we will find a time that works for you. If you are in the New York or New Jersey metropolitan area, I have studios in Midtown Manhattan and in West Orange, New Jersey. Check out my website: to learn all that we offer at Voice Soaring Studios. Until next time, 


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