VoiceCouncil will no longer be updated. Articles will still be available for some time.

10 Ways to Destroy Your Delivery

Sing well night after night by doing the opposite – says Rachel Bennett

The life of a top singer might look glamorous but the likelihood is that their manager ensures they maintain a very strict lifestyle so they can ‘deliver’ on stage every night of a grueling tour!

They say “you are what you eat”; for singers it’s more than that – you sing what or who you are!

So, here’s a little reverse psychology for you:

1. Hang out at the bar and drink after the gig.

(drink dehydrates and tires the speaking voice and after parties or just carousing into the early hours! Get a good night’s rest)

2. Rely on nasal or throat sprays when your voice is sore or tired.

(Rest and explore alternative remedies such as … decongestants including Olbas Oil, Eucalyptus Oil and Tee Tree [or a mixture] in a steam bath. The sage remedy is great! This is a fresh sage with chopped garlic and ginger in an infusion)

3. Pay for expensive teachers just because of who they have sung with.

(Look at their website to see how they are selling their skills – you should be reading about their anatomical knowledge and where they have trained their own voice and learned vocal pedagogy)

4. Have only vague goals for your singing lessons like “becoming a good singer”.

(Go to lessons with a clear objective that is short term. This enables you to book just one or two lessons so you can check out their techniques and your results (of course you have to practice and give it time!)

5. Over exercise the voice before a gig or a show – so that you’re fatigued and your adrenalin is used up….

(Do breath support work and stretch the folds with ample scales games to prepare for performance, ready for that rush of adrenalin that will occur as you get on stage.)

6. Exercise during your performance and at the breaks.

(Do your exercise program outside of the performance arena – preferably in a quiet space where you can really relax and focus; if you maintain this, you’ll feel all the right muscles kick in when you’re up on stage.)

7. Eat candy, chocolate and dairy so that your throat can be nicely coated and full of phlegm for your performance.

(All of this will cause irritation and likely coughing spasms that can tire and inflame the vocal apparatus. Seek alternatives to dairy such as rice milk, soya milk or goats cheese etc; there are great natural sweets on the market – even sugar and dairy free chocolate!)

8. Ignore constant tension, pain or scratchy sensations in your larynx.

(These are often signs of vocal strain; you may need regular tuition, a natural remedy or even specialist attention – seek advice from your singing teacher)

9. Ignore a whistle or rattle in your voice.

(Seek advice from your teacher. She/he may be able to help you get an appointment at a specialist.)

10. Revel in a chaotic lifestyle that ends up with you jamming late into the night with loud instrumentalists.

(Ask your band to play with reasonable volume levels; set clear beginning and end times to your practice.)

-Rachel Bennett

Rachel Bennett is a London-based vocal coach and singer songwriter. She is the lead singer / songwriter of RAIE and a Musical Director for theatre, television & recording studios across London. She has associations at WAC Performing Arts and Media College and Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. You can learn more about Rachel on her Website or Facebook. You can see more of Rachel’s writing here.

  • joyous

    I have a kind of a croak that creeps into my throat sometimes. It’s never on the same note, or type of song, it isn’t a burp but it’s almost like a creaking door! Can anyone explain it?

  • Poppa Madison

    Joyous………be happy with your creaking croak……….it is your vocal hallmark and could be reserved for “Froggy songs” and Special Fx. ?

    e.g. ♫ There once was a Frog who thought he was a Toad
    And that was Toad of Toad Hall
    Croak!♫ Croak!♫

    and…. for the “Creak”……

    ♫ Listen to me good if you’re in my neighbourhood.
    No matter what the key or what I sing
    With my burp on any note You’ll know it’s me for sure,
    You won;t forget me quick, with my special vocal trick.
    I can back a horror movie like no-one has before,
    With my sound like a creaking door !
    Dah! Dah! Dah! ♫
    Creak! ♫ Creak! ♫ Creak! ♫

    Seriously though……you might be able to cash in on it by selling online Fx loops of what you can do that others can’t.

    Be Joyous with your talents!

    Does that explain it I wonder ?

    You can keep the lyrics as a freebie…..but I would have to make a mercenary charge for composing an arrangement for you……….it’s the money you know….


    © ♯♪♫


  • bob

    Is reverse psychology a successful strategy? It feels like sarcasm and condescending to the listener. To me it’s not a good teaching technique – distracting – detracts from the point. It’s harder to take you serious if you make a point of not saying what you mean.