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Vocal Coach in Residence – Lisa Popeil

Vocal Coach in Residence – Lisa Popeil
This month’s coach in residence has just been on her first #1 album: singing background vocals on Weird Al’ Yankovic’s Grammy®-Award winning album, ‘Tacky’.

Lisa Popeil is an actively performing voice researcher and coach who has performed with widely diverse groups from Frank Zappa to the Pasadena Symphony.

She has authored chapters in both the ‘Oxford Handbook of Music Education’ and the ‘Oxford Handbook of Singing’; she’s also received two Lifetime Achievement Awards for Vocal Pedagogy

You can see why we’re happy to feature her wisdom on VoiceCouncil! We’ve given Lisa a sentence or less to give us her Top Tips!

Always be friendly and generous – even when you don’t feel like it

Best Tip You’ve Heard on Performing
It’s not about YOU, it’s about the audience!

Vocal Health Tip
My new favorite trick is sucking on a zinc lozenge at the first sign of a cold.  Nips it in the bud!

Promoting Your Music Tip
Be shameless when promoting your music.

Relating To Fans Tip
Always be friendly and generous – even when you don’t feel like it.

Relating to Fans on Facebook/Twitter Tip
Be appreciative and responsive no matter how irritating and demanding ‘super fans’ can be.

Venue Tip
Scope it out beforehand, walk the stage, see how much space you’ll need to fill with your voice and energy.

Vocal Warm Up Tip
If you know how to sing, use minimal warming up. Save your voice for the stage!


Get a massage. Even a quick neck rub from a good masseuse can make all the difference

Getting Into Performance Mode Tip
Open your mouth, smile like an idiot, reach up, walk around flailing your arms, making yourself feel as large and expansive and charismatic as you can.

Rescuing Yourself After a Mistake Tip
Keep going and smile. Pretend you meant to make that choice (aka mistake).

Response to A Negative Comment Tip
Act like you appreciate the input.  Try not to be defensive.

Relax and Chill Out Tip
Get a massage. Even a quick neck rub from a good masseuse can make all the difference.

Keeping Spirits Up Tip
Being able to do music at all is a blessing.  Be grateful that you even have the chance to have your shot at success. Gratitude keeps bitterness at bay.

Family and Friends Tip
Make happiness your goal; family and friends can’t help but support you if they can see how happy you are.

Working With New Instrumentalists Tip
Work harder to make their job easier.  Write charts, make recordings, equip them amply so they can please you more easily.

Being good means being better than your competition

Staying Interested in Daily Practice Tip
Being good means being better than your competition.  Mastery takes time ‘in the saddle’.  Ever heard of the 10,000-hour rule?

Best Tip You’ve Received on Singing
Being vocally expressive means getting the audience to have an emotional response, not necessarily yourself. I can’t sing well if I’m really choked up!

Lisa is our Vocal Coach in Residence for December – sign up now to receive her weekly insights through our Coaching Insights email.

Next Article: 5 Essential Facts About Your Vocal Range


Lisa Popeil is one of LA’s top voice coaches. She is the creator of the ‘Daily Vocal Workout for Pop Singers’ CD download (for Male and Female) as well as the Voiceworks® Method and the Total Singer DVD, conducts cutting-edge voice research, lectures internationally and is a vocal health consultant. Lisa is a voting member of NARAS, the Grammy® organization, ASCAP, AFTRA and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. www.popeil.com