You already own one of the most important tools that you need for becoming a great singer and you might not even know it!

It is rare that I work with a singer who has no bad habits. Who doesn’t raise their chin slightly for a high note or wince their face a bit for a difficult note or let their tongue protrude on a particular sound? It’s something I see everyday in my studio.

A singer often struggles with tension created by these facial contortions but amazingly doesn’t realize it.

I coach a wonderful little Broadway singer who has had several lead roles in local productions. She came to me as a seasoned little performer who was quite experienced in choosing songs, auditioning, and working in professional shows. She knew a lot about her voice including how to protect it and when to get a little help with the notes in her mix or belt area. However, she had a little problem that no one had noticed or at the least no one had dared point it out. It was a bit disturbing. When she got to the bigger notes in the song she closed off one side of her mouth… completely!

Her lips actually touched on one side of her mouth. The amazing thing is that she still sounded pretty great. I suppose that’s why no one had ever asked her not to do that! In one lesson it had improved 90% and by her third lesson, it was all but gone completely.

Fixing one of these anomalies or little quirks is amazingly simple.  In fact, they can make me look like a miracle worker! Sometimes the problems disappear immediately and the singer’s sound is changed and glorious. Most of the time it takes a few times with my trick to clear –up the problem for good.

So, what is this mysterious tip that will clear up so many bad habits, cure tension and weird pronunciations. It’s a little tool you already own. In fact you own several.  The MIRROR. Really, watch your self singing and look for ways your mouth moves that aren’t like the way you would say the word. Watch for your chin rising for the high note, your tongue jutting out, head tilting to one side, your neck tightening, shoulders raising, or even the Popeye face.

There are so many ways we can unknowingly sabotage our sound. A simple look in the mirror can do a world of good for your performance. As I always say “If you don’t know you are doing it, you can’t fix it”.

Marjorie Searcy

Marjorie Searcy brings unique experience to the field of vocal coaching. She is a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville where she studied commercial voice and music education. Having performed everything from classical to country, rock and jazz, her emphasis is on providing singers with the technique to effectually communicate the style they enjoy.

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