A Little Back Story…
I started performing at a young age. At 15, I was hired as a performer at a local theme park in Memphis, and shortly thereafter was awarded a full tuition vocal scholarship from the University of Tennessee. While things looked good on the outside, I had always felt very limited in what I could do vocally. A lack of range and vocal freedom dramatically limited my ability to sing the songs I wanted, and I felt like the more I learned, the harder it was to keep my voice relaxed.
Even after graduating with a degree in vocal performance and 7 years of classical training, I still had not found what I was looking for. I just knew there had to be more out there. So I started looking…
During this time I read everything I could find, joined various different teaching organizations, and eventually worked with a handful of teachers that train singers you’ve undoubtedly head on the radio. At first the process was slow going, but I learned a ton, and slowly started discovering a few things that made all the difference in my voice. But then something crazy happened after I started working one on one with those master teachers… in a short period of time, I went from having a 2 octave range on a good day, to predictably being able to sing connected 4-5 octave scales. I also discovered much greater vocal freedom and ability.
I know if you’re reading this, you’re probably expecting at this point I started jumping for joy, but honestly, my reaction surprised even me. I was frustrated. I thought, how could it be that I had studied voice for over a decade and was just now figuring this out!?!
At that point, I made a decision. I was going to learn how to get other people this type of results and fast! So, I decided to have a little sit down with my vocal mentor in Nashville, Brett Manning. Fortunately, he agreed to open his world up to me and share his methods. So I spent 8 or 9 months going back and forth between Memphis and Nashville every week so that I could watch him and his associate teachers work their magic on every day students. It was the Biggest Vocal Nerd-out Festival EVER, and it was Fantastic! I must have spent hundreds of hours there taking lessons, observing teachers, doing co-teachings, enjoying discussions, and listening to these coaches pontificate on what they had discovered to be the greater aspects of helping their students achieve greatness. After that, I did a couple of test lessons and was made an associate myself.
Before this, I had taught for nearly 10 years, but during these months, I saw students that I had worked with for years make huge leaps vocally. One of them gained almost an octave in range, while another grew leaps and bounds in the development of her own style. Heck, I even had a 10 year old warming up nearly 4 octaves of her voice.
I guess it’s like my old mentor would say…
“You can grow a year in a day, or a day in a year. But sometimes, you can grow a decade in an hour.”
It took me over a decade to discover vocal freedom. But, I believe I took that journey so that you wouldn’t have to.