Don’t Get Lost in Vocal Terminology

It’s time to understand your Larynx a little better to release your desired sounds – says Dane Chalfin

Vocal rehabilitation specialist Dane Chalfin demonstrates how singers can maintain their vocal connection to their body & emotions without getting lost in the vast array of terminology used today.


See more on Dane’s Approach to Primal Singing – Babies Screaming & Singers Singing


Dane Chalfin Portrait Picture

Dane Chalfin is a leading industry vocal coach and voice rehabilitation specialist. His clients include well-known artists and actors and his teacher training courses attract professional vocal coaches and singing teachers from around the world. He is also Principal Lecturer in Performance and Artistry at Leeds College of Music. www.21stcenturysinger.co.uk


  • Nice video Dane. I think you point is… to understand that just about any sound, especially sounds that are produced or you want to produce as a result of how you “feel” and emote in a song, can be made and should be pursued. It would seem you are also trying to emphasize that technique training is a means to an end. I agree with your points, it is very pragmatic. I would be careful to communicate the notion that any sound someone wants to make, is going to be obtained relatively easily. That I would have to say, would not be true. Some sounds people want to make, are not easily obtained and require lots of practice and training. Perhaps you agree with that point as well.

    In regards to how training and singing involves the change of physical configurations in the larynx and/or the acoustics of singing, there happens to be a great discussion going on right now on this topic at The Modern Vocalist World forum. Your point in that regard, reminded me of this. I think people would enjoy reading this. There are some real smart people in here. Click the link if you are interested. http://www.themodernvocalistworld.com/topic/9049-powerfulchestybelty-high-notes-like-this/?page=3#comment-99326

  • johnonthespot

    Dane – agree 100%. The overuse of vocal terminology in my 25 years of experience tends to be more confusing than helpful.

    The human brain goes by two things in producing sound correctly – sensation and auditory reference. aka “what you feel and what you hear”. That is the basic road map in how children make sound so effortlessly without fatigue. It’s also down to a lack of thought about how to make the sound. Children are ‘end result” orientated.

    I used to teach from a terminology based perspective, but have really swayed more toward a more primal sound way of teaching. EVERY sound a singer makes within song – in every genre – they have made without thinking sometime in their early lives. Go to any playground and you will hear kids screaming, growling, belting, shouting, singing, speaking loudly etc – all without fatigue or damage.

    Why is this? Because children have no preconceived notion of how sound is made – they lack the intellectual curiosity – so they just make the sound they hear in their head. No fear, no hesitation, no worry of social scrutiny. This “relaxed brain” function allows the body to produce very aggressive sounds with damage.

    Too many coaches get hung up on the terminology, the physiology of the voice – the minutia of it all – and don’t stress enough about balancing what you’re feeling with what your hearing. We can’t see what’s happening when we sing so focusing our brains on all that is pointless. It’s akin to thinking about all the muscle coordinations it takes to walk across the room. Your walk would be clunky and slow if you did. We don’t so its smooth and effortless. We don’t ramp up the thought process when we run or walk up a flight of stairs, so why do this when we sing?

    Now, training this organic process is also very important but its not the “be all end all” of singing. The voice only has a basic roadmap to do what it does, so it doesn’t always know the destination of the best way to get there – and that’s where voice training comes in.