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After my singing lesson today, I was told I have poor vocal technique.

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It could mean a lot of things... but it probably means the way you sing is not particularly healthy. You may have some imbalance in your use of air that causes tension in your singing from extrinsic muscles that shouldn't be engaged. Your tone may be unfavorable to your instructor--too airy or too pressed.

These are all things that can be corrected via training.

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I agree with Bob.

It's not up to any listener to decide if you have poor technique! If you a) do not have discomfort during or after singing and B) like the sounds you are able to make, then your technique is fine. The thing is, nobody can tell if these are true without asking YOU!

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I agree with what Bob mentioned above - It is unprofessional and not the best way to put a student at ease.

I would get the teacher to elaborate (assuming you want to continue with this same person and not find another) in great detail what he or she means by poor technique and what the plan to improve the same is.

Then share that over here, and we'll have a chat about it!


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??? If you go to a gym and work a personal trainer, and he says your technique for lifting weights is poor... is he out of line?? and uncalled for / unprofessional??

Get a grip people.... The vocal coach told NAL that he had poor vocal technique... If he had good technique, half of the stuff he will be doing, won't require a vocal coach and he probably wouldn't be spending money to take lessons..

The OP doesn't want his hand held, instead he is unsure what "poor technique" is for vocals, and is asking what that can indicate...

So keeping in track to what the poster was actually inquiring :

@NAL: Since your vocal coach stated you have poor technique - in addition to what Slow Start posted above for you - , they may be referring to your vocal support, and methods of producing sound. You may be breathing from your chest area, and not from your stomach (diaphragm), and may be squeezing the notes (singing from your throat) too much.

If you watch yourself in the mirror, make sure when you take a breath, that your stomach extends out and your shoulders stay put (don't raise them to your ears)...

Keep your tongue low to the base of your mouth and put the tip of your tongue on the back of your bottom teeth.

Do a "yawning" sensation, where you feel the back of your tongue "flatten" out sorta (this is opening your throat).

Put one foot slightly in front of the other - shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and your head centered (don't be looking at your feet, or looking at the ceiling -- just look straight ahead)...

This will help with proper technique both physically and vocally..

Hope that helps... to the others : please just read what Posters write, and don't read INTO what they write when they haven't said any details... A lot of threads have more crap written in them, then the actual stuff that people need or inquired about. This is a singers forum afterall .

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Sorry, I'm with the how unprofessional arena here.

A coach is there to guide and mentor you. If you have incorrect technique, then the use of words such as, "have you tried this ... Let's give this a try". "Can you hear the difference from when you did that to now".

To tell you just that you have poor technique should have been tackled from the perspective of, "how do you feel when you do that", "do you ever get tired or hoarse" ... etc and, "can you try , x,y, z and how different did it feel, "you have a good voice and we'll work on some technique to improve on that".

From the gym coach perspective, if he told me I had poor technique, again I would "more" expect this to happen.

"Wow I can see you put your back into curling those weights, lets work on a little technique here. Here try these (lighter) weights and lets straighten that stance. There you go!!, do you now feel the contraction in the bicep. Great technique, can you feel the difference". Rather than the words, "maaaan, you have poor technique".

Have a listen to this, http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=3253 with Renee.

Listen to some of the words used. "(There could be) a champion right here (words in brackets not used as I didn't understand)", "lets start out by having you sing", then at 4:27 "good ... you have a beautiful voice" ... etc

"I think I can turn you into an excellent singer". The words, "you have a beautiful voice" are encouraged as well.

I would say, find a new coach that does encourage you and uses the right words with technique. Whilst people above may say, it could be issue x, or y. Once you have a good coach, they'll say, "today we'll work on some scales to secure that pitch, can you hear how a note in the scale has this sound, can you feel how you scoop the note", or ... well you get me!!! - they'll look and have you doing what you need to do to improve with encouragement.

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I am one who jumped the gun. I reacted in an emotional way to the initial statement without concidering the context. It may only have meant that the teacher sees that there is work to do. Maybe more than they expected.

David, you are correct. I did not answer the posters question.

Nalcolmjean, correct technique means using your voice efficiently and in a healthy manner. How to do that is what the teacher is supposed to guide you to.

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a lot (if not most singers) tend to be on the insecure side. i'm sure you'll agree that singing by its very nature is a very vulnerable act. it can stir up a lot of unsecurities, emotions, and self doubt even in the best of them.

you can't compare a singer's mindset with that of a weightlifter...hymm......

i see it all the time in karaoke...you have these singers thinking they are a lot better than they really are, and singers who are clueless as to how good they are.

it's really quite interesting. if i were ever to become a teacher, the first thing i would do is access where a singer is mentally, as this is a key component to their success.

a remark like that shows a lack of empathy ...which is probably one one of the finest attributes a voice teacher can have...

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Bob hehehe. Now imagine that one of these guys who think that are awesome came to you, as an instructor, and you detect a problem on breathing/support, so you direct the person to address the problem, but the person dont want to work on breathing because its too basic. What is your course of action?

Its hard to know the situation without knowing both sides, and sometimes empathy will lead to hurting some feelings, or not being ethical. I go with the first always.

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Bob, yeah, these things are complicated, all kinds of situations appear, there isnt really a type, empathy as you say is crucial, and there is more to the whole psychology of it than trying to figure out types. You really have to know and understand the individual, if this fails, everything else falls appart.

As long as there is will to learn and trust, some trouble may happen but the work will flow.

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hehehe Gilad..

Guys.. all i'm saying is that the OP only wrote " After my singing lesson today, I was told I have poor vocal technique. What does that mean? "...

He did not elaborate on any other details. He did not indicate if it was a direct quote from the coach, or his interpretation... .He did not share other details that built up to that comment, nor did he demostrate any type of progressive responses throughout his training for that day..

My point is that the OP was asking a specific question which was " poor vocal technique. What does that mean? ".. Not... "What do you guys think about my coaches comment.. I mean.. I was nailing everything, and it sounded awesome.. but just out of the blue he said my technique was poor... what do you think of that... what an aS$hole... "...

And then everyone just kept concentrating on the part that holds no basis and neglects proper confirmation of accurate detail (except for a couple)..

Even this response that I'm typing, has turned this thread into a discussion board of non-relivant information for the OP to sort through (or any other person looking for this information), to find very little helpful, and applicable content to apply to a wider range of understanding to a common question they may have " is my technique poor ??? How do I know? "..

You all have great experience and skill levels so it rubs me the wrong way when someone asks something, and then it goes in a totally different direction - although INTERESTING , but no warranted - especially with the lack of viable information from the OP.

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you made a great point felipe...i'd have to throw them up against the wall...lol!!!!

but seriously, i'd never want to break their spirit..if they were overconfident or a prima donna type, i'm not the right teacher for them.

I like it .... full-contact vocal coaching. Someone's gonna get hurt!

I wasn't sure what to make of the thread title. But how many times has Felipe started a review with "I didn't like it." And then, when so moved, mentioned what he thought was wrong, and then suggested getting a coach. (Jens had several coaches, darn it, I said that out loud before I could stop myself.)

So, how is this guy's experience any harsher than Felipe saying "I didn't like it" and "get a coach"? What Felipe says is valid and good advice.

I don't get it. You guys participated in a thread to show me the evil ways of my "sugar coating." And yes, I am the primary offender when it comes to sugar-coating, or at least have been. So highly praised was the blunt approach.

And now some of you think this guy's coach should have phrased it better? Like, finding a way to lead someone rather than bludgeon them? Where have I heard that before? It sounds familiar.

Anyway, when ya'll settle on a set of rules, let me know.


Peace, love, and understanding.

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That's a question for your teacher. "You have bad technique" is not helpful. They need to explain to you what it is that you're doing wrong and how to fix it. If all they told you was "you have bad technique" then I'm with Bob, find a new teacher.

My teacher has indeed pointed out some bad habits that I have and has suggested things I work on to fix them. That's what I pay him for. I don't pay him to just tell me "you have bad technique".

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After my singing lesson today, I was told I have poor vocal technique. What does that mean?

Nalcolmjean: Vocal technique is what we are actually doing when we sing. It can include a bunch of things... using air well, posture, aspects of tension, quality of tone, note accuracy... the list includes many aspects.

If the comment came from your teacher, in the context of that relationship it means that there are some things to work on, and you can likely expect your teacher to guide you through addressing them.

I hope this is helpful.

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