Smoothing Your Vocal Registers

Become aware of your vocal folds as you blend your notes –says Lisa Popeil

One of the goals of singing is to create the illusion of one even sound from the bottom to the top of our range.

Learning how to lengthen and stretch your vocal cords or shorten and “squoosh” them will help you move smoothly up and down your range.

As you sing higher, imagine stretching your vocal folds from the back of your voice-box and as you sing lower, imagine “squooshing” them toward the front of your voice-box.

This horizontal movement can be felt by most people with the goal being that every note you sing should be a different ratio of the front and back feelings.

More back feeling as you sing higher and more front feeling as you sing lower!

Gina’s Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vids:

Danielle – Falling For You (Cover)

Danielle, I love the ukelele arrangement (but I think this song is actually “Falling”). You have a spontaeous emotional feel to your performance, and your voice has a cool raspy edge. Your midrange and higher range notes are full and energized, but you lose some volume on the lower notes. To get more presence down low, imagine the sound narrowing and coming through your nose (this will increase the volume out here, although you may hear it less internally). Feel like you are biting the words, as well, and overenunciate so that your sound will ring out more.

Matt Clark – Your Biggest Mistake (Cover)

Matt, I like how you begin by responding to the music you are playing – even before you begin singing. You have a very interesting quality to your voice – it’s both clear and a little airy at the same time. This makes quality you feel authentically communicative. Just keep your eyes open more to let us into your experience. Also, try to keep your chin down on the higher notes – they’ll be even warmer than they are already. For your next song, push yourself and try something more vocally challenging. Very nice, Matt – stay on this musical path!

Julia Brossard – Tip Toes (Cover)

Julia, you have a sweet voice and a sweet face. Your voice is well-suited for styles like country or country-pop, as your singing has a young, fresh, innocent quality. Your jaw is pretty tense while you are singing, though. Always keep it relaxed while you sing, and be sure to open it up more on the higher notes for a slightly warmer sound…and, definitely, a more comfortable-in-your-throat feeling. A good rule of “thumb” is to open your jaw at least as wide as one finger-width. Memorize your song, too, so that you can really focus on communicating with your audience.

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. www.popeil.com

Co-author with Lisa Popeil of Sing Anything: Mastering Vocal Styles is Gina Latimerlo. Gina will be commenting on our Peer Review Videos for the next 8 weeks.

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. www.latimerlo.com


  • Yep! But I just don’t actually feel this vocal fold movement. I am becoming more and more convinced that one cannot discover all this voice control standing alone in front of a mirror. I suggest that It needs the guiding voice and knowing ways of the likes of Lisa and Gina to bring it out while in close proximity.

    Some days I feel I can sing smooth……….other days…..well…those are other days.

    If only there was a way to have a foolproof vocal folds lube-up prior to performing or rehearsing that would ensure friction-free folds !!!

    Zheesh! when I was a kid we all just used to sing as it came……none of this high-tech voice grooming and training of the intercostals and pharynxiators or whatever they are called !

    And these ladies look so healthy and fresh!….I think they are really living a healthy lifestyle and the taking of a potent elixir that us other mere mortals have yet to discover as the secret to gaining a fabulous singing voice.