Tag Archive: Voice Training


Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Singing As A Rhythm Instrument
by Sally

My singing student Sharon is a drummer. However, her knowledge of drumming and feeling the beat has not yet translated into her singing.

I found this very curious until I realized that she was not using her lyrics rhythmically. She was not saying the lyrics clearly and precisely nor was she saying them on the beat. There was very little energy in how she sang the lyrics.

It’s amazing how much Sharon’s pitch and tone quality improved when she used the lyrics as a rhythm instrument. The improvements in pitch and tone happen because of the attention to clarity and precision of rhythm – plus the new infusion of energy. The she had to listen more closely and get deeper into the music.

The following is the sequence we used in her lesson to get Sharon thinking about the lyrics as rhythm.

1. Speak the lyrics in rhythm clapping with each syllable.
2. Speak the lyrics in rhythm clapping on the beat.
3. Speak the lyrics using consonants to define the rhythm.
4. Sing the lyrics using consonants to define the rhythm.

Yes, the rhythm is in the consonants. Vowels do not have a rhythmic function in singing. We sustain pitch on vowels but we do not create rhythm with vowels. As one of the Sing Like You Speak phrase exercises – commercial for your vocal technique – states, “I sing on the vowels but I get paid for the consonants!”

Consonants define our communication. Consonants are the action of our words. When used with an understanding of rhythm, they can also define the rhythm in a song.

Listen to Jason Mraz. He uses his singing voice as a rhythm instrument. Listen to how he uses his consonants to highlight the rhythm. Plus you can understand every word he sings!

It’s helpful to get to know the potential of each of the consonant sounds and their rhythmic quality. Play around with lazy diction and then over articulating. Careful not to distort your mouth movements when over articulating. Allow yourself a generous opening inhale to activate the low abdominal muscles that are the power behind your consonants.

Different consonants have different qualities. Not just sound quality but also tonal quality. Their percussive impact and use are also slightly different one from the other.

P’s are good to Pounce on the beat
B’s bounce on the beat
T’s articulate pitch well and end words cleanly
S’s get you through the beginning consonant to land on the beat with the vowel
K sounds are sharp
R’s bounce from the R to vowel
F’s clear the way for a strong vowel
M and N are softer more elongated consonants and yet when you listen to the Jason Mraz song he uses his N’s very effectively as rhythmic definition.

Check it out right now using these phrases from Fly Me To The Moon. Play around by varying the percussive use of the consonants. You will notice how the meaning of the lyrics morphs with your articulation.

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars

There are endless variations to how you can articulate and punctuate rhythm. This means that there are endless ways for you to make the song purely your own.

Sing Like You Speak(TM) candle exercises thoroughly embed the muscle memory needed to use your consonants in a powerful way. Get Sing Like You Speak(TM) Power Exercises to learn how.

Have fun! Fill the air with your singing. Music is our best hope for a peaceful planet.

Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Your Body-Your Instrument-is Smarter Than Your Mind
by Sally

Your body is smarter than your mind. Your body is your singing instrument. So why does singing seem to be so difficult? Sing Like You Speak™ is here to teach you it ain’t necessarily so.

Breathing is completely natural. You are reading this, so your breathing is working – you are alive.

And yet when it comes to singing, we second-guess or even doubt the body’s natural ability. We actually override nature by overthinking the process and relying on the mind to ‘figure it out’ instead of trusting the natural process of breathing and phonation. We actually invite the mind to participate in a perfectly natural process.

Does this sound familiar?

You take an inhale and you immediately think, that isn’t enough air to get through the phrase! So you push and pull at the muscles of your abdomen to “help” your singing process.

But guess what? You run out of breath even faster!

That’s what happens when you take a subconscious process – breathing – and make it a conscious process.

The purpose of your inhale is to open the whole instrument. It is to open your resonators, release the jaw and larynx and open all the way down to the lower back and abdominal muscles, thus activating those powerful muscles that will naturally work to propel breath and sound easily through your open instrument.

When I was developing Sing Like You Speak™ my contemporary vocal technique, I could not ignore the fact that singing is natural. And if singing is natural and breathing is natural – what makes singing so difficult?

Makes singing difficult…

Voice teachers who tell you to manipulate and force the physical instrument
Trying to imitate most singers recorded after 1997 where the singer has been recorded (first was Roy Vedas Fragments of Life) and then a sound engineer has manipulated the voice for better pitch, tone quality, rhythm. You are not listening to a voice but to an electronically altered sound that cannot be imitated by the human instrument.
Myths or false thoughts about the effort involved in singing
Trusting the mind and not the body

Sing Like You Speak™ always uses the natural physiological process for simple, healthy signing. Your inhale is to open the instrument. Done right, releases the jaw, tongue and larynx, opens resonators and activates the very intelligent low abdominal and back muscles. That sound like a lot to do but it can be achieve with one thought.

When I have new voice students who has studied voice with another teacher in the past there’s always a conversation that goes something like this.

Student: That’s it? That’s all you do to inhale?

Sally: Absolutely! A simple opening inhale.

Student: But how do I get enough air to sing a long phrase or to sustain a pitch?

Sally: With a simple opening inhale. It seems you want to feel how much effort you are using to breathe.

Student: Of course. The effort tells me that I’ve gotten a good inhale.

Sally: Aren’t you taking lessons to learn how your singing can be effortless?

Student: Well, I didn’t really believe that it could be easy. My last teacher taught me to push out on the inhale and pull in like crazy to exhale.

Sally: Yes, that’s typical old-school teaching. Let’s experiment with a simple, opening inhale.

First step is a simple, opening inhale…

Align your instrument collarbones wide, head on top of the body
Release the jaw and tongue
Feel as though you are opening your instrument all the way to your bottom
Blow the breath out and simply observe how the abdominal and lower back muscles are working – just observe to not interfere.
Use the above breathing process for our experiment proving how brilliant the body can be. No pushing or pulling of belly muscle allowed!

Experiment 1

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying an FFFFFF
Observe what muscles are working

Experiment 2

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying a VVVVV (be a motorcycle)
Observe what muscles are working

Experiment 3

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying a ZZZZZ (be a bumble bee)
Observe what muscles are working

Experiment 4

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale sighing an MMMMM
Observe what muscles are working
What did you observe?

If you were able to perform the simply opening inhale then with each experiment you felt a different set of muscles working. The physical intelligence of your instrument chose which muscles to use. Your physical intelligence simply knows what to do. Your mind cannot possibly figure out how to use different muscles for different consonant sounds.

I love the fact that my physical intelligence takes over the singing process when I allow it to. Taking the process out of my mind and putting it into the body where it belongs lets me focus on the music, on phrasing, on character, on enjoying the massive vibration of my sound and having a blast doing so!

Click here for the best voice lessons on the web!


Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

3 Steps to Prevent Vocal Damage
by Sally

Singers who are not familiar with vocal training or have had bad experiences with a voice teacher who does not understand the natural nature of the voice, have good reason to shy away from singing lessons. I’ve heard horror stories from singers who after these bad experiences find their way to my studio.

So you would rather do permanent damage to your delicate vocal cords than to sound “trained”? Not the wisest choice and so not necessary! Video training.

3 Steps to Prevent Vocal Damage straight from the Sing Like You Speak™ workbook:

Inhale to open the body – your instrument. Use your inhale not go haul breath into the lungs, but to open the airways that breath and sound flow along as you sing. Open in this sequence…

1. Widen the nasal passages
2. Unhinge the jaw
3. Open the throat
4. Feel the opening all the way to your bottom

Note: Focus on opening one step at a time. Eventually the whole instrument will open with one thought.

2. Exhale to release breath and sound. Release mean to let go, not to push or strain or struggle. Release the breath and sound along the open path created by your opening inhale.

1. Resist the urge to push and allow the muscles to strengthen that will make your voice powerful.
2. Consonants connect your to the deep abdominal and back muscles that propel the voice through your body effortlessly. Use them!
3. It can feel like you are releasing so much air that you’re going to die. Not to worry. No one has ever died from singing however the feeling can be very strong. Just keep releasing and you will eventually crave the luxurious release of breath.

Note: Voice training takes time and laser focus on the task. You are changing habits developed over your lifetime. You are challenging the beliefs that you have held in mind about singing. Hint: those beliefs are all lies!

3. Communicate! It’s all about communicating through the music, lyrics and rhythm. Audiences respond to and bond with a performer’s clearly spoke words.

1. Begin by knowing what you want to say with the song.
2. Figure out who you are saying it to and picture that person right there in front of you.
3. Allow the song to speak through you.

Note: When you sing like you speak communication happens naturally. When your focus is on telling the story of the song, it takes your mind away from your “that’s not enough” thoughts and releases breath and sound.

Communication is compelling, captivating and charismatic. It does not require that you hurt yourself.

Incorporate the above tips to begin your journey to vocal health.

What would you like to learn about singing? Ask me a question in the comments section below and I will answer with another blog post – especially you DIY musicians. Get answers before you get vocal damage!

For many more tips and much more practical vocal training, join the Sing Like You Speak™ Academy!


Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Voice Training without Sounding “Trained”
by Sally

SXSW® South by Southwest Conference® and Festivals has asked me to present a Sing Like You Speak™ workshop in March 2018! I will have 2 hours to share the brilliance of the Sing Like You Speak™ technique with 100’s (possibly 1000’s) of singers from all over the world.

This is an amazing honor and a dream come true for me. SXSW® is an iconic global music industry event that attracts more the 30,000 people. It embodies the DIY spirit, ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive.

When I first spoke with Bobby Nall of SXSW® last summer, I told him that I love working with DIY musicians. The challenge as a voice teacher is that this population of singers usually waits until they have some form of vocal damage before they seek my help. It is only then that they realize if they are going to have a career as a singer – any chance at all – then they have to have a healthy technique to heal and prevent further damage.

Bobby said with great enthusiasm that I should submit my proposal – that this workshop is perfect for SXSW® DIY musicians.

My mission, my intention for the 2 hours that I have to present to a very large audience of singers, is to give them a few of my most effective tools to keep their voices healthy and strong.

This is the first line of my proposal to SXSW®:

Sing your songs with the same originality and craft as you write without sounding trained.

There is a revolution happening with contemporary singers. It used to be that they thought voice training was 43618459_munnecessary. They would change their minds when they got vocal damage and came to me in a panic.

Now contemporary singers tell me that they do realize that voice training is not only good, it’s absolutely necessary to their vocal health and to their careers.

“But I don’t want to sound trained! I don’t want to sound like an opera singer. I want to sound natural – like me (only better).”

I completely understand, having studied with opera singers for many years, and not getting what I needed as a contemporary singer. That is why I developed Sing Like You Speak™. I needed the same type of training so I could sing freely and easily without sounding affected or “classical.”

Here’s a video from my YouTube channel with some great voice training that will not make you sound “trained.”

Still have questions? Check out my website and get 10 free voice lessons!

Click here for the best voice lessons on the web!


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