Can Voice Teachers Actually Agree?

Lisa02_02There are so many methods, but there are common themes –says Lisa Popeil

Since voice training has always been more of an art than a science, it is not uncommon for student singers to get confused by the panoply of contradictory approaches and methods available.

So, what can voice trainers agree on? Not much probably, but here are a few things that pop to mind:

If you raise and twist your head when singing, you’re deforming your vocal folds and your larynx’s ability to control them. This results in tight, strained and/or out-of-tune singing.

If your chest heaves up when inhaling, the resulting sound will be audible and visible and may dry the vocal folds. Once the chest has lifted for inhaling, it is likely to drop while singing, affecting the last notes of your phrase in a negative way.

It’s easier to sing high notes with a more open mouth, particularly in the downward direction.

Speech habits have a huge effect on vocal health in singers. Speaking too low in pitch, speaking with poor posture, speaking too often and too loudly, not putting enough air through the vocal folds when speaking all will lead to vocal fatigue or worse in singers.

Posture effects singing. Standing up straight and not slouching makes you sound better.

It’s easier to sing while standing than sitting.

Most singers don’t sing well first thing in the morning.

Very few singers know their absolute range (true low and high notes).

Almost all beginning singers have problems with high notes and think it’s a unique, personal failing.

-Lisa Popeil

Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vids from Gina Latimerlo

Nic Nelson – The A Team (Cover)

Nic, you have an easy and engaging presence. You have a charming tone and are generally supporting your voice well. I like how your larynx (voice box) stays in its speech position while you sing, and I appreciate you keeping it there on the high notes. Now, just keep your chin from popping up on those higher notes, and they’ll be even easier. Your enunciation is a little too musical-theatre-y for pop, so lazy up your mouth. It’d be great to get your face out from behind that screen, as well, so we can see this truthful performance more.

Shaneel – California Gurls (Cover)

Shaneel, your set up looks and sounds very professional, and I love the bravery of doing something unexpected with a popular piece. You have an appealing tone and you control your voice really well, especially your flips from full voice to falsetto. You’ve clearly put a lot of work into this piece. When performing it, I recommend that you find and communicate a very specific emotional reality to make this slower version feel truthful to an audience. Maybe a California Gurl broke your heart? Choose and emphasize specific words in the song to help convey this new meaning.

-Gina Latimerlo


Lisa Popeil, MFA in Voice, is a top LA voice coach, voice scientist and researcher, contributor to the ‘Oxford Handbook of Singing’, is a voting member of NARAS (Grammys®), creator of the Voiceworks® Method, the ‘Total Singer’ DVD and a new book ‘Sing Anything-Mastering Vocal Styles’ and has taught voice professionally for over 35 years.


Gina Latimerlo is a polished performer of over 20 years. Teaching and directing since 1995, she opened The Latimerlo Studio in 1998. Her students have performed on Broadway, in touring companies, and have signed with talent agents and record labels. In addition to the main studio, The Latimerlo Studio oversees private voice teachers in over a dozen cities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lisa Popeil and Gina Latimerlo are co-authors of ‘Sing Anything: Mastering Vocal Styles’. Gina will be commenting on our Peer Review Videos for the next 8 weeks.