Transform Vocal Training By Recording

Transform Vocal Training By Recording
Recording your voice will lead you to the greatest insights on your vocal performance -says Michael Ferraiuolo.

How many times have you heard your voice played back to you and said, “That’s my voice? I don’t really sound like that do I?!”

That reaction is to hearing the natural sound of your voice, un-muffled by the rest of your body.

A young woman had come to me after taking lessons for several years with little improvement. She walked into the studio and looked worried at the sight of the microphone. “Am I going to use that?”

Recording and listening back to your voice while you exercise will lead you to the greatest insights on your vocal performance

In all her years of lessons, she had never recorded her voice.

My response – “Every session”.

As a vocal coach, I feel that recording is a necessary part of every singer’s training.

After this singer was able to truly listen to herself she was better able to understand the problems she was having and how to arrive at the solutions.

Recording and listening back to your voice while you exercise will lead you to the greatest insights on your vocal performance.

How To Begin

You can go to a studio or record at home if you have a good set-up.

Choose a song that feels comfortable to sing and make sure that you record yourself without EQ or effects like reverb.


You can go to a studio or record at home if you have a good set-up

While these are great tools, they won’t give you an accurate sound of your natural voice.

When you listen back to yourself, there are two characteristics I want you to listen for one at a time:

“Breath” and “color”.

The Questions You Need to Ask

“Breath” refers to control and support. How resonant is your voice? Are you sustaining notes as long as you’d like? Do you have a wispy or raspy sound to your voice? Does your voice sound full and rich or lightly and airy?

Take note of these things and decide whether you like what you hear or if you want to change things.

You may need to strengthen your breath or in some cases you may be over-supporting or pushing too hard.

“Color” is just one word to describe tone. Start by asking yourself if what you’re hearing is bright or dark.

If your tone is too bright or too dark for your liking you’ll need to work on how you form your vowels, where you place your lips, tongue, cheeks, and larynx and how much breath you’re employing.

Your next step is to experiment with the different ways you can alter your sound by making physical changes

Moving Forward

Once you’ve spent time with these questions, your next step is to experiment with the different ways you can alter your sound by making physical changes.

Finding a vocal coach who can help you make these changes is highly recommended.

Learning how to listen to your voice is a skill that will you put you on the path to singing with accuracy, individuality and most of all, confidence – so start recording yourself today.


Michael Ferraiuolo is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and the Owner of Iron Works Studios in New York City. As a vocal coach Michael teaches and advocates for artists worldwide. His music has appeared on film, radio, and television and at #1 on the Billboard charts.

Ironworks Studios

  • Anonymous

    Great insight! I’ve recorded my voice and listened and it has been a big help! I definately am insecure about my voice, but wow, hearing it has definately helped me work out some bugs.
    In addition to recording during practice, I am also trying to see how I sound/look during a live performance. This last weekend, I video taped part of my performance at a gig. Wow! I do some annoying things! Now I can modify/correct those nuances.
    In the end, I have a lot better idea how I sound and how I look. Now I can focus on what to fix and what I want to accept.

  • Pete Mickelson

    Better than that, is to study your own voice directly as you listen to it, using HearFones. Listening to a recording is great, but learning by it is not great. Many studies of how we learn new habits show that the best feedback is “real time” feedback — as you are singing. A series of books called “The Inner Game of …” by Tim Galwey explain how this works in your motor neuron system. Imagine learning how to return a tennis ball, or how to launch a golf ball, by watching a recording of your results instead of seeing them as they develop. Psychologist Raymond Miller, a singer, vocal coach and composer himself, instantly recognized HearFones as the “learning tool” that they are, and today thousands of singers, vocal coaches and teachers around the world are spreading the word on how they work. An international study at the University of Tampere concluded that people simply “sing (and speak) better” by simply donning their HearFones. No wires, no electronics, no reverb . . . simply you and your brain. Better!

  • Eric Marsh

    The HearFones look interesting. I just ordered a pair to try them out.

  • Eric Marsh

    I have experimented with recording my practice a number of times and most of those attempts left me wincing at the sound.

    At first I noticed how things like space in the room, different mics and different speakers affected what I heard. After experimenting for a while I realized that much of what was putting me off was changes in how I sound caused by these factors.

    Eventually I settled on some equipment that is good but not prohibitively expensive. I’m currently using a Shure 58 (not Beta), a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 to plugged via USB into my laptop where I capture it with Audacity. What I found is really important for a realistic sound is good speakers. I’m an opera person and my ear is pretty sensitive. Most speakers muffle the sound, add too much bass or just sound trashy. I plugged into my home system (again through the Scarlett) using my Yamaha receiver and 4′ Kenwood towers and suddenly I stopped wincing. Headphones aren’t quite as good but are still better than most speaker systems.

    The other thing that I found makes difference is practicing in a nice open space. Fortunately I have a large living room with high ceiling that works pretty well. My previous practice space was a small room and it never sounded good to me.

    I’ve just ordered a pair of the HearPhones. They look interesting. I just do this as a hobby for fun, but if I’m going to do it I want to sound as good as I can.