I CAN'T SING MUSICAL THEATRE LIKE I WANT TO?!

Hi Stephen! I am looking for someone new to work with my 16 year old daughter. She has been taking voice lessons for about 3 years and although she has a much better range and has learned to count and sight-read pretty well, she is often very frustrated that she cannot sing musical theater pieces the way she wants to, like “Waitress” on Broadway, which is what she wants to do!! She has never been taught to use her mix or how to ‘belt.’ Is this something you could help her with?

Thank you, Kelly.

What is your daughter's name? :)

What she wants is to be able to speak on pitch, this is how you ACT the song and sing pop/rock. You are correct when you say MIX,  but "belting" doesn't really exist. Belting is more like controlled screaming. Think of driving a stick shift in the wrong gear. Can you imagine going 65 mph in 2nd gear?! While it may be an exciting sound, the flame fades quickly because the pitch is shrill, dull, often flat, and can even lead to permanent damage. The good news is there is a way to get that sound with correct technique and it is my specialty, unleashing her authentic vocal timbre. I do things very differently than the Bel Canto world of singing (especially no diaphragmatic attack), but I will use her previous technique, just simply clarify/refine it. Through my vocal conditioning everything will become even and consistent, no note gets special attention and yet every note counts.

In a nutshell, my TIYA vocal training method is like going to the gym for your voice. It requires an athletic mentality. I am a vocal technician and trainer; that is different than a run-of-the-mill voice teacher, and/or "vocal coach," which is unfortunately, usually just a piano player coaching rep pretending to teach voice.

There will be no gaps in her training with me. That being said, while we will sing many songs, I don't "work on songs." I build her voice and show her how her instrument works, so she can sing songs- in any style, freely and with emotion. Ultimately I want to teach her to teach herself through awareness of my TIYA concepts and muscle memory. Hence, TAP into your artistry. Trust the Awareness and Play.

We will always work on whatever she would like, vocal training, ACTing (the song), etc. -but she will see/feel/hear immediate results if she one, has the discipline to practice often, and two, mostly focuses on her technique. My exercises are safe and systematic, and more like silly sounds because the goal is Coordination: to unleash her authentic vocal timbre, while developing a released resonance to sing in any style. Tone quality not volume.

I offer a $57 introductory lesson here.

Consistency is key

Hi Stephen, my name is Franco Giacomarra and I am a college student living here on the Upper West Side for school. I’m trying to find the right way for me to improve my singing and take it to the next level. I play in a band for which I am also the lead singer, and we have started having some increasing success in the past year or so; releasing an EP, playing more shows, traveling farther etc. However, I feel like my current level of singing ability is quickly going to be something holding me back.

I have decent tone and adequate range as well as a pretty good ear for harmony and such as a musician, but I am very inconsistent, need to expand my range, build more technique, and learn how to properly maintain my voice and practice so that I can keep getting better and expanding with our music. I think training and learning these things is an investment I really need to make right now, considering I plan to sing and play music for the rest of my life. I know you said you offer trial lessons through your business and this site, so I was wondering if we could talk and see if there’s anything you can offer me, even if it just ends up being some advice since my funds aren’t great right now. Thanks and look forward to hearing from you!

Nice to meet you, Franco. Sounds like your band is doing well and congrats on the EP. You should always follow your gut and right now yours is telling you to step up your game. Consistency is key. "Decent tone" and "adequate range" is not enough, especially as you said if you plan to become professional and sing and play music for the rest of your life. This means you have to make an investment of both time and money for your craft. This is why artists often work multiple jobs and as you continue along your path you will continue to invest more in yourself to get to where you need to go.

I offer an introductory 1 hour lesson for $50, and also have a 4 TIYA lesson package designed to save you money in exchange for committing to your lessons once a week. These private 1 hour training sessions with me may be used in any combination of my services: Vocal Training, ACTing coaching, Show-biz consultations, and to Explore Songwriting.

I also have an online course for $49.88 which will get you started and walk you step by step to teach yourself how to sing and begin refining your vocal technique. An excellent alternative especially if funds are tight, but a start to investing in yourself and committing to your craft.

You can check out my YouTube channel as there are lots of free videos to watch and learn from my TIYA members working with me. 

And if you want, you can send me a link to a video for one of your band's songs or even just you singing a part of a song you need help with and I can give you a quick vocal evaluation to point you in the right direction.  

 

How do I create my own sound?

Hi Stephen! My name is Dylan Knowlton. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a deep interest in music, playing alto saxophone from second grade till ninth, and then was a member of our high school choir from sophomore year till graduation, alongside being a member of our select vocal ensemble. I’ve considered myself to be a capable enough vocalist, spending most of my free time singing along to my favorite artists and trying to improve my technique. Once I had left school, I let myself slip and although I’m still constantly singing my actual technical capability has definitely declined. Within the last few months I’ve been making a few songs here and there with all my music department friends, specifically hip hop, and realized that some more formal instruction would do me wonders. On top of that, I’ve been attempting to get into solo musical production, leaning more towards alt rock and industrial/electronic metal as my targeted genres. Of course, I’m not looking to emulate a vocal style but create my own, but that being said my primary vocal inspirations are the legendary Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame and Matt Berninger of The National. I’ve read nothing but great things about your instruction, being specifically interested in your passion for storytelling in music. I’d love the opportunity to work with you to refine not only my vocal capabilities but also my songwriting and my ability to truly convey emotion through music. Can you please point me in the right direction and let me know how we can get started? Thank you for your time!

Thank you, Dylan.

Sounds like you are on the right track, you just have to "hit the gym" for your voice and I can certainly help you do that.

The next step is to sign up for some TIYA lessons and we can go from there. Where do you live? Are you in NYC? If not, we can work online via FaceTime/Skype.

I love that you want to create your own vocal/style and sound. This will take time. First we will build/explore your voice, giving you the technique and freedom to Sing Like You've Always Imagined. Then we will dive into emulation and study those masters you aspire to sing like (Trent Reznor), etc. --and then we will Tap Into Your Artistry.  

I look forward to meeting/training you. I can already tell there are many exciting things happening with your music. 

P.S. As for your songwriting, check this out:

Does online training really work?

Hi Stephen, my name is Camisha and I would like to start acting. I am a beginner and live in Portsmouth VA. I came across your website and I am very impressed with your credentials. I wish I could attend your school physically but my question is: do you really think you could teach me online and help me with finding jobs ?

Hi Camisha,

Yes, we can certainly try. I can work with you privately on monologues and also TV/Film scenes. This will rapidly take you to the next level. That being said, ideally, you would still want to be in some kind of scene study/group acting class in VA.

As for jobs, no acting school can guarantee you will book work, that also depends on business skills, networking, marketing, etc. -- but I can promise to teach you all I can about the Craft of ACTing. (Admit, Connect, Trust).

Bottom line: the more work you put in, the faster/further you will go. It all comes down to discipline and consistency. Next step is to sign up for a few lessons and we can work together online via FaceTime or Skype and go from there. :)

 

 

How do you memorize?

Hi Stephen,
Thank you for answering this question. My name is Kaylyn and I really want to be an actress. I am only 14 years old and I need help learning and memorizing my lines. How do you do this?

Hi Kaylyn,

Nice to meet you. That is exciting you want to be an actress and an excellent question. Are you currently in a show?

As for memorization, the best answer is: practice. The more you memorize, the easier it will become and the faster you will get at it. You will also be able to memorize longer sections of material. One thing to get you started is what I call ABC: A, AB, ABC.

Start with one section. This could be one line, a few lines, or even a small paragraph. This is A. Memorize these words by repeating them both out loud and also, imagining yourself say them. (but don't make any sound). This is a very powerful tool to develop the inner ear and imagination. Keep alternating back and forth saying them out loud and imagining yourself saying them until you have learned them. Their meaning will also begin to sink in and you will know you have them down when you are no longer looking at the page. That's A.

Now you are ready to move on to section B. Simply repeat the same process...but now add in A before B every time. This begins to solidify A while also learning B. That's AB.

Finally, section C. Start with A, then say B and add in C. That's ABC.

Here is a quick example of this concept. Kaylyn, let's pretend you are playing Jennifer and need to memorize this scene:

Jennifer: Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first?

Gary: You changed your cell phone number.

Jennifer: I switched providers.

Gary: So? You can still keep your number even if you-

Jennifer: I really don't think my phone number is the problem, do you?

-Let's break the scene into sections:

A: Jennifer:  Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first?

Gary: You changed your cell phone number.

B: Jennifer: I switched providers.

Gary: So? You can still keep your number even if you-

C: Jennifer: I really don't think my phone number is the problem, do you?

Say out loud and internalize A: "Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first?" 

"Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first?" (out loud).

"Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first?" (imagine)

"Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first?" (out loud)

"Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first?" (imagine)

When you have that down and no longer need to look at the page, add in B. --but start with A first, so AB looks like:

"Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first?" (A) "I switched providers." (B).

Repeat the same alternating process of out loud/imagination as needed until you are "off book."

When you have that down and no longer need to look at the page, add in C. --but start with A and B first, so ABC looks like:

Well look who it is. Do you ever think of calling first? (A) I switched providers. (B) I really don't think my phone number is the problem, do you? (C)

ABC. Think of it as building one line or small sections of lines gradually. It is always easier to learn something by breaking it into small sections. Then all you have to do is link the sections: A, AB, ABC.  This is just one tool to help you memorize, Kaylyn. There are many more I can teach you as you learn to ACT. For example, it is also very important you Listen to your scene partner before you say your line. Using a smart phone to record the other person's lines is one way to do this. 

Source: https://tapintoyourartistry.com/blog/

Can you please come to Sacramento?

Hi Stephen,
My name is Kiara and I am an actress studying Musical Theatre. Can you please come to Sacramento?

Hi Kiara,

Although I live in NYC remember we can always work together online via FaceTime or Skype. I do this all the time with my TIYA members who are on National Tour and performing regionally. I teach many people all over the world this way, just ask Isti from Budapest. :) 

I also have an online course to help guide you every step of the way. 

Can you help me sound like Johnny Depp?

Hi Stephen, my name is Dillion I have been singing on my own for a while now. I wrote my first musical at age 12. I have won many school talent shows, singing in front of my class many verses from “Sweeney Todd.” I really want to nail the vocal range, pitch, volume, etc. that Johnny Depp hits in the movie. (I realize we all have our own voices), but can you help me sound exactly like Johnny Depp?

Hi Dillion,

Congrats on writing your first musical at age 12 and winning some school talent shows. That is excellent!

It sounds like you love to sing and really enjoy Stephen Sondheim's musical, Sweeney Todd. Why do you want to sound exactly like someone else? While I understand using imitation as tool to explore your voice, ultimately wouldn't you rather sound like the first Dillion? I watched the video you sent and I think what you are really looking for is to be able to sing freely, and not worry about "hitting any high notes." I also think you want to learn how to ACT the song. In order to achieve this, you must first develop your voice through daily conditioning exercises to increase your range, agility, and unleash your natural vocal timbre. Over time this will feel less like singing and more like you are "speaking on pitch." I can help you with all of this. The more you TAP (Trust the Awareness and Play) and embrace that concept, the more your voice will reveal itself and simultaneously, the character will find you.   

Stephen, can you help me improve the consistency of my music?

Hi, you are awesome!!! People call me Jazzy Jade. I’m interested in improving the consistency of my music and sound as well learning more in depth the power of my voice. Will you be able to help me with that ?

What's up, Jazzy Jade? Cool name. YES, Absolutely. When you say "consistency of my music and sound" do you mean genre? Are you also a songwriter? If so, who are your musical influences?

As for the power of your voice, it is not about how loud or high you can sing, it is about the quality of your voice and enhancing the natural resonance and overtones. It is also about agility, musicianship and phrasing, and ultimately, connecting to your audience. First step is to sign up for some lessons. I will pinpoint if you have any gaps in your vocal technique and also where you are in your vocal journey.

As for "consistency in your music" we can discuss and clarify a "home" for your voice, which resonates within you, and exemplifies your musical influences. We can also discuss the song structures you are using, production elements, and arrangements. 

Will I be able to sing R&B?

Hi Stephen, my name is Terry and thank you for answering this question. I wanted to know, if I would be able to learn to sing R&B love songs well with your lessons? I see you have various styles and I do want to learn many myself. But really I want to be able to sing the music my family normally listens to as well as the music I am passionate about. If you need examples, I dream of singing like Az Yet and Dru Hill.

Thanks Terry,

Yes, my focus is on building, strengthening, and conditioning your voice to unleash your authentic vocal timbre. Once we have that, we can begin to explore any style. Technique first, then artistry.

Ultimately, it is how you choose to focus your resonators, pronounce the words, immerse yourself in the musical world, etc. -- combined with your musical influences, in this case Rhythm and Blues (Az Yet, Dru Hill), etc. that will result in that particular sound. 

The deeper you dive, meaning the more you learn/study from these masters and listen with awareness, the more you will sing/perform in that style. I can help you with all of this. One of my favorite R&B singers is Brian McKnight:

 

 

Can anyone sing?

Hi Stephen, my name is Gary and my boyfriend likes to sing at piano bars. I would like to surprise him and be able to join him at the piano. Do you think I really can learn to sing? How does it all work, I’m nervous to begin.

Hi Gary,

No worries- I can definitely help you, especially if you practice every day. My exercises are really simple, safe, silly sounds designed to build, strengthen, and condition your voice. For example, this is called a raspberry and it's designed to help release your voice and expand your range. It's also a great way to warm up your voice. Check out this video of me working with David, a TIYA member:

You just have to play!  You will be carrying a tune before you know it because I will teach you how your instrument works, and most importantly, how to practice correctly. Also every time you work out (your voice) with me, we will lock in muscle memory and your voice will change/grow.

 It's okay to accept you are nervous to begin. It's not okay to stay passive and not take action if this is something you really want to do. I will help you every step of the way, Gary.  First step is to sign up for some lessons and I will contact you to schedule a day/time that is best for you. We can work in person in NYC or online via FaceTime/Skype

I'm 44, is it too late to become an actor?

Hi Stephen, my name is Bruce and I’m a 44 year old novice looking to learn the basics of acting with the intent of becoming a professional actor. I’m hoping to begin lessons with you immediately, unless you think it is too late for me?

Thanks, Bruce. 

First off, it is never too late to study the craft of Acting. Whenever you watch TV, a movie on the big screen, or a Broadway/Regional play you will notice all ages and all types. Not all of these actors began as children or even in their 20's. I know many performers that started late in the game (some series regulars) and you can too--if you put in the work. 

And I can help you there: with scene study and character exploration, text analysis, finding emotional flow; and also with Show-biz stuff: headshots, auditioning, how/when to get an agent, etc. The first thing to do is to build the product before you try and sell it, or at least know what you are selling.

Bruce, that simply means you have to commit to the Craft first before you "try to be professional," and get paid to perform as a SAG-AFTRA and/or AEA actor. So keep your job while you open this new chapter of your life and enjoy the journey of honing a craft. If you do this and trust the Universe, being older may even give you an advantage depending on the timing of the market, as you will have less pressure on yourself financially, bring rich, life experiences to your characters/auditions, as well as a different perspective/approach to this business.

How long does it take?

Hi Stephen, I want to know how many classes it takes just to get the basics. I don’t want to become an expert like you, just my own self-satisfaction. Thanks, Oscar

Hi Oscar,

This is a great question. What I think you are really asking is: how long will it take until I can sing well, or at least carry a tune? 

When you say "self satisfaction," you need to be more specific about your vocal goals. Are we talking increased range, better tone, better ears, posture, musicianship, breath control, singing a specific song or in a certain style, etc.  The list goes on and on because singing is a Craft and a journey

You get out of it what you put into it, and you have to put in the work. I love to sing and I'm always learning about the voice and challenging my voice to do more things every day. I still warm up every morning and work out my voice every day, just like my TIYA members- it is a part of my life, and the key is: discipline and consistency. Check out this inspiring Denzel Washington video:

 

Awesome, right? Oscar, I show you some cool things your voice can do. I give you very specific exercises to build/condition your voice, and most importantly, I teach you how to practice correctly. I also give you an awareness of how your instrument works. I tailor each lesson to achieve maximum sound with minimum effort. The rest is really on you, and just like Denzel says it's all about discipline and consistency. Here are a few things to get you started:

1) How often you train with me--Is it once a month, once a week, or 3-4 times a week? The more you train, the more you practice, the easier/faster it all becomes.

2) How often and how long do you practice on your own without me? -15 min every day will take you much further than 1 hour crammed once a week, and 1 hour of practice every day is where you will see the best results.

3) How measurable/achievable are the goals you set, attain, and build upon?

Another option for you is my online course, "Sing Like You've Always Imagined." Here you can teach yourself and you will also gain an understanding of the "basics" just by reading the TIYA manual and watching each of the walk through videos/explanations/demonstrations with me.

There are no shortcuts, Oscar.

Do you teach kids?

Hi Stephen, my name is Molly. I see you teach online. My daughter is 11 years old, and she wants to try out for a play at school. Unfortunately, we just found out its a musical and her tryouts are November 2nd! I have no idea how to help her or what kind of song she should choose. -Or how to tell her to stay in tune. Is this something you could help her with online?

Hi Molly,

Absolutely. What is your daughter's name?

I teach kids often. I taught many when I performed on the National Tour of Whistle Down the Wind. 

What is the musical she is auditioning for? :)

I teach online via Skype/FaceTime all the time. I can definitely help her find a song and also start to build her voice introducing her to some vocal technique. That being said, it will be up to her to practice every day.  One week is not much time to prepare, so the next step is to sign up for some lessons so we can begin right away. Then I will contact you to schedule and we will find the best day/time.

Lower Price?

Hi Stephen,
My name is Enaya and I love to sing! I really want to work with you but I don’t have much money. Do you have a lower price?

Hi Enaya, 

Aside from the one-time $50 Introductory lesson  and/or committing to me as a TIYA member for one month with 4 TIYA lessons for $340, my hourly rate is $99/hour. Remember with the 4 TIYA lesson package you save money and you will see immediate results because I have this down to a science. Check out these testimonials. I will build, strengthen, and condition your voice. I will also show you how your instrument works so you practice correctly without me and tailor each lesson to your specific needs depending where you are in the course of your vocal journey.   :)

Another option for you would be my online course, Sing Like You've Always Imagined. Many of my TIYA students use this in addition to their lessons as it perfectly compliments my private training. You can teach yourself how to sing in the comfort of your own home, any time you want. It's $49.88 for the year, and it walks you step-by-step, including a manual, videos, and vocal training MP3's.

One last option would be my free vocal training tips/videos which can be found on my YouTube channel here

From DeeDee Caldwell:

Hi, Stephen. My name is DeeDee. I have no acting experience besides a few years ago when I auditioned for a stage play on a whim and I got the part! I’ve always had a passion for acting and at 40, I’m ready to pursue my dreams. I also sing, therefore, I would love to have some vocal training as well. How do we begin?

Hi DeeDee,

What was the play/part? I can definitely help you. Next step is to sign up for a few lessons and then I will contact you to schedule your first lesson. Looking forward to meeting/training you. 

KINGSLEY WANTS TO KNOW...

Hello my name is Kingsley. I’m Haitian, 19 years old, and I live in Queens, NY. I would like to be an actor but I don’t know where to start?

Hi Kingsley,

That's great you have a passion to act and tell stories, I do too.  :)

Can you please tell me a little bit about your acting goals? Have you been in any shows yet?

Acting is both a craft and a business. There are many things involved and I would be happy to help get you started. The best thing to do would be to sign up for some lessons and we can explore a monologue/scene as well as some career consulting.

? from Rena'

Hi, I’m contacting you in regards to voice lessons. I am very shy when in a group and sound like I lack complete confidence. I also stutter a little and mix up my words. It’s also sometimes very hard to hear me. I’d like to take voice lessons and wanted to know if you could help me with my array of issues. Thank you

Hi Rena'

Absolutely, I've helped many people with similar issues. We will build your voice, which will build your confidence. These simple, safe exercises will give you the ability to sing, which will also help reduce stuttering. I will simultaneously teach you how to be in "your body not your head," and put the focus on "them not you," which will help you perform/speak publicly.