A Simple White Girl's Guide to Vocal Training Methods


Maybe you’ve been there: classical singing lessons, learning the rock singing method, the broadway belt, speech level, online singing lessons teaching who-knows-what…

Ever wish someone would just make it simple to tell the difference between what different vocal coaches teach?


Little did I know that 2 decades, studying them all & spending tens of thousands of dollars would still only result in me having to figure it out for myself.

It’s super important to understand what’s behind what you’re paying to learn.

So in this quick flyover, I’m going to break it down for you.

Every single type of vocal training out there belongs to one of these camps:

The Classical Singing Approach

This began with the first big singing contest and the desire to copy a sound of some singing monks. 

It has since developed into a long list of rules to copy that sound….which as it turns out, sounds nothing like those monks.  go figure.

Because it’s been around the longest, this approach is the most widely taught around the world today.

Rock & Broadway Belt Approaches

By the time recorded music entered the scene, many singers didn’t want to sound like some old monk….or whatever sound the other camp ended up sounding like.

So they did what they knew to do:

They found a singer they liked and tried to copy the sound. 

Then came up with some rules to try to force the most uniquely different voices to copy the sound too.

Not to be outdone (& losing tuition like mad), the classical camp decided they must embrace the new sound singers wanted. 

So they did what they knew to do:

They found a sound singers wanted and used their previous rules to make a new copy of a new sound.

These are the Broadway belters. 

Same approach. 

More contemporary sound than classical

Just not as hip as the Rock belters.

Speech Level Approach

SLS (the most widely known branch) & the rest of speech level advocates were the very first in history to start not with copying a sound but by looking at the medical science of the time (1950’s).

By then doctors knew that singers in all the other camps were having problems and getting damage. 

They already knew it was because the voice is already ‘plug and play’ at birth: that copying any sound puts strain on a voice, many times ending in vocal damage.

Speech Level coaches teach a core group of exercises initially developed with a vocal surgeon in the 1940’s. 

They also introduced the concept of ‘the mix’.

The Voice Club Method

As a working working singer for nearly my entire life, I’ve had the excuse to study every method out there.

Over 95% of the available training is from one of the approaches above.  But I found that when I gained something I wanted I lost something I didn’t want to lose.

And none of them could answer any of the questions I had.

As a professional voice talent who had done the research to develop a training program for commercial voices I knew that copying a voice (or ‘character voices’ in VO lingo) could be terribly damaging to the voice.

I’d already started adapting my VO training for my vocal work since I went from vocal to VO sessions regularly.  It was surprising how much better I was singing.

That’s how I stumbled upon the Speech Level camp.

I eagerly started training, but was bummed to discover that to have access to any answers I had to spend a hefty amount of coin to become a certified coach.

But I really wanted answers.  So I did.

But in the midst of those highly classified master coach training workshops something became glaringly clear:

No one here was going to answer my questions either.

THEY were there to spout complex pedagogical theories…or trying to nod knowingly when they were as lost as me.

I was just looking to grasp on to anything I could simply understand that would help me sing better by my next gig on Friday.

But then something horribly bizarre happened:


After suffering two separate medically induced voice-ending conditions I discovered for myself the limits of both anatomical vocal instruction and vocal surgery.

What my vocal anatomy taught me through those dark times not only resulted in completely repairing my voice twice & adding an extra half octave, it completely changed everything I’ve ever believed the voice could do.

Ever since then it’s been my personal mission to share all the answers I found to every singer I can; to education and empower them to take back control of their vocal potential…

…& to learn HOW to protect & perfect the only voice they’ll ever have.

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