Why Do I Need Voice Lessons?

speaking voice lessons the vocal instrument voice lesson
I am the Voice Coach of a Mime asking me about Voice Lessons . . . mimes don't talk

Why Do I Need Voice Lessons?

Rosemarie Ballard: Best-selling author, writer, Creator of Imagination Express Mime Company, Interviews Joni Wilson for the San Diego Theater Monthly on a subject  requested by popular demand: 

Rosemarie asks: Joni, does everyone really need  to take Voice Lesson?

JONI:"Performers are constantly asking me this question regarding the importance of taking or NOT taking voice lessons. The answer, of course, depends on who you ask, as the answers can go from; "Yes voice lessons are important." to "No, voice lessons are a waste of your time and money."

Here is My Answer To That Never Ending, But Always Perplexing Question: As a voice trainer, I get telephone calls and e-mails at all hours of the day and night from people searching for answers to those success-robbing voice dilemmas that seemed to pop up at the worst possible times. The problems, which ranged from chronic vocal fatigue to total voice loss, can happen often. for no apparent reason.

But the truth is . . . There is Always a reason! 

 In my years of teaching voice, I’ve worked with teachers, lawyers, politicians, speakers, singers, business executives, media professionals, American Idol contestants, and even stay-at-home moms, all experiencing voice problems caused by straining their voices as they tried to be heard above life’s boisterous noise and chatter. 

 I understand their frustrations, because I also lost my voice at a pivotal time in my life, and that catastrophe almost ended my singing and acting career just as it was about to take off. I was twenty years old, singing in Las Vegas with the world by the tail, when my voice problems began. I had just been booked as an opening act for Elvis (the real one!), and I had wonderful opportunities flying at me from all directions and a secret fear—that I could not trust my voice to be there when I needed it most!

This fear kept me from acting on any of them, and like most people with voice problems I just kept pushing my poor, abused voice by tightening, forcing, and strangling it into submission. In my ignorance, I actually believed that I could make my voice perform by pushing it harder and forcing it to be louder. The frustrating result of all that pushing was, when I pushed it too hard, my voice would wisely say, “Enough is enough, Joni,” and completely shut down. I had to cancel gig after gig and miss opportunity after opportunity because I had no voice.

I was like Aristotle searching for the meaning of life, going from voice teacher to voice teacher searching for the perfect voice method to solve my problems. Nothing worked and as I turned down those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and watched my career sink like the Titanic. On top of all that, at 22 years of age, a leading throat specialist dispassionately told me, “Forget about singing Joni, your voice is shot. Go find another career.”  . . . Fortunately, I DID NOT take his advice.

But it wasn’t until I became a voice teacher 20+ years ago that I realized this problem was not mine alone. I knew there had to be an answer, not only for me, but for everyone whose career depends on a strong voice that has to last for more than a few hours, even if your overworked and tired.

Rosemarie: "I know exactly what you mean Joni, I've had that same problem. Can you tell our readers how you found the answer for yourself?"

 JONI: Well, I've spent the last 22 years watching the answers to MY Own Voice Problems unfold before me, student by student and lesson by lesson. Each person became a link in a chain of events that, I’m happy to say, completely re-solved my voice problems as well as those of my clients and students.

 YES Rosemarie, my never-ending search for answers paid off because today, my voice is stronger than ever. So, here (at last) is my answer to your original question:

"Does everybody REALLY need voice lessons?"

Knowing that your voice will be there when you need it most eliminates fear and builds the self-trust so essential for a singer, speaker or business executive to be successful. I have witnessed shy, soft-spoken students perform minor miracles once they learned how to use their voices properly. Sharing this important information is the reason I teach voice, write books and speak to anyone who will listen on the importance of using good voice technique, and that's my answer to the "nay-sayers and the skeptics" who tell you voice lessons are a waste of time.

When it comes to voice lessons, One Size Does Not Fit All. If you sing pop style, classical training is not for you. If your goal is to sing at the Met, pop training is not for you. Country is not the same style as R&B and American Idol auditions are not the same as your musical theater auditions. In other words, singing styles are as unique as playing any musical style on any instrument.

The good news is:  When YOU know how to play YOUR own unique vocal instrument correctly, style is just that. . . style. Voice lessons are supposed to teach YOU how to play YOUR vocal instrument so YOU can decide which style of singing or speaking YOU choose for Yourself.

Can you sing and speak in more than one style? Of course, just like a piano is not limited to playing only Salsa, once you learn how to play your vocal instrument you can sing many styles. It's the same with speaking in business or show-business. In my training I give my students a list of 36 voice to play with; different voices for different situations. The key words here are: "Learn how to play your instrument.”, and that takes the guidance of a good voice trainer because you can NOT hear your voice like others hear your voice.

Rosemarie: What do you mean by that Joni? Is there a reason why can't I hear my own voice?

JONI: I love that question.  The answer is simple; it's because of the resonating chambers in your head. The truth is, you are hearing 65% more sound in your head than we are hearing coming out of your mouth. And if you don't believe that, just record your voice and see if that voice sounds the same as the one you are hearing in your head. Singing or speaking, a well-trained set of "3rd party ears" can teach you how to hear your voice and correct any voice problems you may not even be aware of.

Rosemarie: So bottom line, what IS your advice to performers of any age regarding voice lessons?

Good voice training can be a blessing because your voice can make or break your career or audition, period! Your voice is the most amazing, God created, instrument on this planet and it is mechanical. I said in the beginning of this interview that voice problems are NOT random events. There is always a cause to the effect and a good voice coach can help you find the cause and solve the problem so surgery and medications, are your last result.

Rosemarie: Thank you Joni, This has been very interesting. Can you give our readers one more thing to help them take better care of their voice? What would you suggest they do to keep their voices in good working order?

JONI: I would say. . .Please to keep your voice healthy so it will last your lifetime, and that means always warm up you vocal cords before you sing or speak. Just like an athlete would do before a big game, or a dancer, or a musician. And again, Take the Time to Learn How to Use your Voice Correctly. Taking a Voice lesson should be Fun, and it will give Your Life and Your Career a Huge Jump-Start.

 If your readers will go to my website @ thewinnersvoice,com and give me their e-mail addresses, I would love to send them a free copy of my e-book: Creating a voice That Lasts a Lifetime and please visit my site @www.virtualvoicecoach.com for more information.

Joni Wilson is an internationally recognized voice expert, singer, professional speaker, entrepreneur and best-selling author with over 20 years experience training both singing and speaking voices. Her clients include top executives and 2 American Idol, and 3 The Voice finalists. She is the creator of the amazing 3-Dimensional Voice® Training System, a cutting-edge voice method so effective it is changing the lives of speakers, entertainers and business professionals all over the world. 4 of her voice books have reached the #1 position on amazon. Joni's mission in life is to prove to her clients that the human voice is "ageless' and to teach them how to actually LOVE the sound of their own voices. 

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