My mission is to help prospective speakers find the confidence in their voice to deliver their message with presence and authority.
We all have one voice!
“The primary difference between speaking and singing is that when we speak, we separate vowels with consonants. Which consonants and at what speed determines the language.” Thomas Hampson - English baritone
Whether for speaking or singing, that voice is the same, and it soon became clear to me that the techniques used to teach vocals could be transferred to enhance people’s speaking skills.
A lot of the issues that my vocal students have are due to fundamental techniques, such as breathe control and articulation. I discovered that not only were these techniques essential for more dynamic speech, but everything else relating to vocal pedagogy was relevant to speaking.
My approach with my vocal students is from a speech perspective, highlighting nuances within their speaking voice to improve their singing voice. This of course doesn’t necessarily work the opposite way, unless you can sing.
I honestly believe that anyone can sing!
One of my most recent challenges was to teach a group of 42 ‘Rock’ guitarists to accompany themselves whilst playing. I struggled at the beginning to find a rhythm to the workshops, and felt overwhelmed by the amount of people in the group and of the task ahead, which was for them to sing backing vocals in harmony live at the end of the Semester.
To my surprise, what they enjoyed more than just the arrangements I had brought in, and even the live performances were the weekly warm up sessions we did.
It gave them a sense of camaraderie, a consistency and of course some tangible effective exercises to go away and practice with.
How and why I got into vocal coaching...
Teaching started out in my early career as a supplement to my musical endeavours, and has now become a equal player in the game. As my father-in-law said to me only the other day, “Surely, you would drop teaching like a hot potato if you could?’ To which I replied, “yes”, although the honest answer, in reflection, is that I have learnt most of my skills as a performer from teaching and vice-versa. Studying the way someone copes with distraction, anxiety, and lack of confidence has helped me to look at myself in a different light, to question my intentions, and the sincerity of my own performances.
As a singer...
I’ve been fortunate to have had a career as a singer and saxophonist for most of my life, performing on TV with Sir Tom Jones, on a private plane for Richard Branson and recording for both Roger Taylor from Queen and Carlsberg. What I’ve learnt from performing with so many amazing artists and musicians through the years, is that.. what is key is not just being able to entertain and hold an audience, but to sustain that engagement over a lifetime. This comes from firstly a drive and passion for your art, but more importantly a strong and effective technique both mentally and physically.
I realised early on in my career that to sustain a demanding workload and performing night after night, plus the welcomed emergence of a family, as a singer required a healthy and strong vocal technique. I know what my voice can and cannot do, when it’s tired and week and when it’s strong and confident and I know that it’s not always the voice that will let me down. However, when I am on form, my technique will nine times out of ten get me through.
For the past 10 years I’ve had the pleasure to teach vocal technique and performance skills to students from all over the world, helping them to achieve their goals whether it be their first public performance away from their peers, improving their range, how to ‘belt’, or preparing for ‘X Factor’ auditions, I find the journey compelling and the results empowering.
What I do now…
I work with both individuals and business professionals to improve their voice for public speaking and corporate presentations.
If ‘vocal training for speaking’ with confidence is something you or your team might be interested in, then let’s talk…
Qualifications, awards and industry affiliations:
- Post-graduate Diploma in Jazz Performance from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (TLCMD)
- Archers Scholarship (TLCMD)
- Studied Bel canto with Colin Baldy (New College Oxford) and later with Kevin Burke in New York.
- A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
- Member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)