On Being a GREAT Singer

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When you have sung professionally for nearly forty years, have been a vocal coach for 35 years, you've been exposed to a veritable several problems, all of which have begged or screamed for solutions.

Being a student of the voice, music, arranging, composing, songwriting, etc. has become and will be continuously studying the science and the art in the aforementioned. There have been debates through the years as to whether it is possible or even prudent to "mix art with science". In fact, one may well find that the two are inseparable, for the reason that one cannot exist minus the other.

Acoustics, being the science of sound, has played part in the development of better wind instruments. They're better in audio quality and in playability. Just ask an authentic professional musician in regards to the difference between the trumpets with the 40s and the ones nowadays, such as the trumpets of Chris Botti, Wynton Marsalis, or Arturo Sandoval.

Acoustics as to voice is alive and well on many levels. The interior of the singer's pharo-maxo-naso-laryngeal cavities is different from one singer to another and all result in adding to the unique sound of every singer. Inside are many variables including a unique configuration in which will be the absorption, reflection, resonance, diffusion, and reverberation of sound. Many of these affect the tone quality, timbre, sound level, projection, as well as the overtones of the sound that is certainly emitted.


We could say that individuals can ignore all this because we are "just singing" and that is true to an extent. Definitely we have to ignore specific things once we perform because the distraction will diminish our performance in numerous ways. When the problem arises of your singer attempting to sound or sing a certain way which is contrary to the natural "equipment" from the singer, a solution or solutions might be addressed and explored. Science may hold some keys to the solutions.

For decades anatomy, medicine, and physics were largely ignored by singing teachers and vocal coaches. People's tongues, teeth, lips as well as the interior resonating chambers are as individual like a fingerprint. How do you think you can identify the uniqueness of your speaking voice or perhaps a singing voice? These 4 elements all play a part. Singers will often work for or up against the natural equipment they may be born with. Being a vocal coach who may have studied the variables as listed above, I can assist in choosing the natural road of least capacity a person's own unique sound. This can be one area where it isn't nice to try to fool nature. And this is not to say that things cannot be manipulated, such as doing character voices, there is however a right way along with a wrong way to do this. The wrong method may lead to vocal injury.

Singing is a hearing art. The audience hears the art however the singer hears a lot more. After years of singing, many things transcend mere thought and occur with an intuitive level. To find this level, we may learn several things in a profound level along the way.

Singing is musical. The very best singers I have heard know music. They may or may not have in mind the nomenclature or the terminology of music, nevertheless they still know music. It can be purported that the great drummer Buddy Rich did not read music. This hasn't been verified but I recommend searching for some clips for you Tube and tune in to his playing. Musicianship is possible at a very high level without getting past musical illiteracy. Right after if Frank Sinatra could read or write music. Or even, that didn't get in the way of his long career.

Musicianship can be a vast subject, when divided into all the component parts, and so is a subject on its own. It will be noticeable within the results of hearing all the components of music that include: rhythm, time, pitch, dynamics, tone, timbre, style, form, structure and much more. If we could at one time "download" this and the all what makes a great singer, I believe your head would explode as there is much more to this than meets the superficial ear and eye. Musicianship is very large. There is no getting around the importance of it as a singer.

Acting may lead to being able to more easily perform being a singer but if the singer doesn't move forward away from acting, the performance may be like the singer is really a "fake", or even worse, a liar. The sentiments have to be freed up and express-able with appropriate amounts of intensity. Great singers perform on their audiences and are not a "parody of your singer". Still there is the factor of "communication". A great singer will make everyone in the audience feel like he or she is in the conversation, not only observing it. I felt this from a distance of perhaps 200 feet. The singer was, in reality, Frank Sinatra. People do not visit concerts to simply pay attention to a singer. They could do that on an I-pod or which has a radio. Something else happens at a live performance and although lip synching may seem about the same, an almost magical phenomenon happens with a concert and it has something to do with the performance. You cannot scientifically measure it however you can definitely feel it, unless there is something wrong with you at some level.

Your mind of the singer could make or break the greatness of the singer. I saw two famous singers one Year Eve in Sin city practically fall flat. What you know already that their integrity as professional artists and singers could have been sufficient to not affect the performance but they obviously didn't do their best appropriate. It was disappointing, annoying, sad and even just funny to watch them make fools of themselves (when compared with their usual amounts of performance). The disappointment was that the audience paid and the performers were paid to do. They did perform but they brought the effects with their argument to the stage together. I felt cheated. It seemed like they betrayed the crowd. I had seen them often before but not once after that ridiculous and immature debacle of an show.

The overall health of a singer will affect the greatness of a singer. Imaginable examples of this yourself. Tiredness, illness, or injury will all affect singing. We are of the belief that you'll find levels of health that happen to be above what is considered normal or healthy. There are optimal levels of health which, since we use our bodies to sing, is likely to make subtle or even great variants our ability to "do our best".

Talent and intelligence will modify the greatness of a singer because ability and intellect will be the areas from which we draw for singing at a star quality professional echelon. We simply can't pretend that these factors have nothing to do with greatness. We also cannot necessarily create these things of intelligence and talent when they do not appear to be present. We could work harder at developing other strengths and improving weaknesses, though. If an individual has a passion plus an ability for singing, several things can be overcome but there could need to be compromises made regarding how and where singing is performed.

Work which is carried out a diligent and educated manner will produce improvement as long as all other factors of greatness exist in the singer. Work done in a slipshod manner will produce no or little improvement. Work done in the presence of misinformation or false information regarding and of the standards of greatness will produce no results or even bad results. Singers can, have, and definately will injure their voices or maybe if not that, never ever reach their full potential.

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