Training here is based on a few different sources, but mainly on my study of Speech Level Singing (SLS) technique. SLS technique has been used by elite pop and Broadway singers in New York and Los Angeles for decades (over 120 Grammy and Tony winners), and is also taught in Canada by a handful of teachers. Over the years, I've incorporated what I've learned through my study of vocal science into my teaching, as well.

I'm now a certified level III teacher with the Institute of Vocal Advancement (IVA), which has roots in SLS technique (all of the top IVA teachers were formerly SLS master teachers), but IVA technique is also more scientifically up-to-date.

Key Components:

The technique of singing, as taught here, centres on developing various skills, via exercises and song work. In some ways, what we do may look fairly standard, but it's also quite different from typical voice lessons.

Here are the three main skills we work on here, technique-wise, and how they differ from traditional voice lessons:

  • Tone control: Improving tone control through entire range, via vocal cord closure and breath control exercises.
    • What's different, here? Sometimes, while working on this, you'll be asked to blow a little more air. Often though, breath control here involves learning to use much less air, until you've found a more efficient coordination for producing tone.
  • Pitch Adjustment: Improving range and subtler aspects of tone through exercises that isolate and adjusting specific pitch control muscles
    • What's different, here? You'll make some pretty weird sounds, as you figure out how to sing high notes without any strain. These sounds are used less and less, as your coordination gets better.
  • Resonance: Improving stability and volume control and through strategic vowel modifications.
    • What's different, here? Instead of focusing on placement--trying to manipulate where we feel the tone resonating in our face/neck--resonance here involves using different vowels to learn to shift registers.

      Shifting registers when singing is a very important concept to unlocking easy high notes. When we feel strain on a high note, it's often because we needed to shift, a few notes earlier, but didn't know how.

      Learning to shift registers is hard to describe in words, but it's similar to learning to shift gears on a car or bike; Or more even more similar to playing a wind instrument: Woodwinds have octave keys or register keys; brass players shift registers by adjusting their lips and tongue every five or six notes.

Results:

After working with this method for a while, most men discover they are tenors of some sort. Men who were already able to access their tenor range discover a new way of singing up there that still sounds strong, but feels surprisingly effortless and sustainable. 

Most women discover they can sing much higher and stronger, and with more ease than they thought possible.

These may sound like bold claims, but they're just the logical result of learning to really "play your voice" like you would any other musical instrument--many singers just never find a method that reveals to them how to do this effectively.

More on the Method:

Feel free to check out "what I'm reading" and "training and experience" for a glimpse of some of my background and academic sources.

Also, feel free to get in touch with any questions at:

Thanks,
Courtenay