Voice Lessons Using the SLaS Method
For the best Atlanta voice lessons & online vocal training, Sing Like a Star is the place to go!
Want to know more about the Sing Like a Star method? At Sing Like a Star, we offer both in-person and online vocal training. Our Atlanta voice lessons will get you to your goals- fast!
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN AT SING LIKE A STAR STUDIOS
You will learn to sing stronger, sing higher, and sing with complete confidence, in any style you prefer including gospel, blues, rock, pop, jazz, musical theatre, country and R & B. We tailor your instruction to make you the best singer possible in the music styles you love!
You will develop amazing high notes, power, control, and flexibility to sing licks, runs and vocal riffs, just like your favorite artist. You will develop your own unique style. At Sing Like a Star Studios you will become a confident singer because you know your voice will work correctly- every time!
You will experience dramatically increased vocal range, power, and control. Your voice will be healthy, strong, and beautiful, and you will experience freedom from vocal strain. You will be able to sing through a range of at least three octaves. You will eliminate voice breaks by learning how to bridge. Bridging is the art of transitioning through the passaggio, or passageway between lower register and upper register. You will learn to sing with soul, emotion, and flexibility.
This is world-class training for contemporary and popular styles of singing, based on scientific research. We train the muscles that need to be coordinated and efficient in singing (these are called intrinsic muscles), and we teach you to stop engaging the muscles that get in your way, (these muscles are called extrinsic interfering muscles). We build brand new neuromuscular responses that, with practice, become life-long good habits. Over time your voice begins to function effortlessly; things that used to be hard for you to sing become easier and easier with SLaS training!
Your vocal development is planned, logical, and organized. It is based on specific objectives. It begins with your initial GTKY (Getting to Know You) introductory session with your Sing Like a Star instructor, where your voice will be professionally evaluated and you will receive a lesson plan tailored for your voice based on The Eight Steps of Vocal Development.
Each week, as you work through The Eight Steps of Vocal Development with your teacher, you are increasing skills while progressing toward becoming the singer you always wanted to be – one skill at a time. The Eight Steps of Vocal Development begins with the foundation of good singing- breath management, otherwise known as appoggio. Then we build and develop the lower register of the voice, followed by the upper register.
Then we begin connecting those registers together so you have one smooth and strong unbroken sound. The higher steps of development emphasize things like vibrato, dynamics, and flexibility. These steps build a reliable and efficient vocal technique, so you can focus on performing and singing from the heart!
In Step 8: Style you will even learn to sing great riffs and runs, becoming a creator of your own improvisations rather than just an imitator. But even more important- you will very quickly be able to apply your new skills to the songs you would like to sing!
The Spiral Learning Concept: SlaS instruction is based on the Spiral Learning concept- we constantly re-visit concepts, but at higher skill levels with each repetition, if the student has done the required practice between sessions, consistently progressing to higher and higher skill levels by creating automatic habits.
Why We Are Different
You will follow a specific path of skill development, so you know how you are doing. That path is The Eight Steps of Vocal Development, from the book You Can Sing Like a Star, by Tricia Grey, MM.
A question for you: Have you ever taken a voice lesson and left that teacher’s studio wondering what the purpose of the lesson was? Have you taken numerous lessons without seeing the improvements you were looking for? Does the process of improving your voice seem mysterious? Has your teacher ever explained exactly what is going on with your vocal folds and the rest of the vocal mechanism when you sing?
Often vocal training is presented with undefined objectives, vague feedback, and no plan for developing specific muscular coordination. These ineffective lessons typically consist of a random “warm-up” followed by numerous repetitions of a song. They deliver little actual vocal improvement because they are not targeted at improving specific muscular coordination and efficiency.
At Sing Like a Star we have a better method. Our SLaS training is grounded in cutting-edge research in vocal science applied to contemporary singing styles; the method is based on defined, specific objectives and measurable outcomes, known in education as quantitative assessment. Rather than ineffective and random warm-ups that have no meaning to the student and result in little change, The Eight Steps of Vocal Development is a specific plan of musical and vocal skill building.
We start with an assessment of your current vocal strengths and weaknesses that tells us your vocal category. This happens at the introductory Professional Voice Evaluation Session. Then your teacher designs a specific lesson plan for you, which is updated weekly. As you progress through The Eight Steps of Vocal Development you are building efficient muscular coordination, eliminating your old bad habits and replacing them with good ones.
Anything you want to achieve with your voice can be done- one step at a time! With this method you will soon be able to sing like you never dreamed you could sing! You will suddenly find your voice doing things you never thought it could do- things that formerly seemed impossible are now easy for you because you have trained the vocal muscles to function efficiently. AND we teach you how to sing with style- how to sing great riffs and runs- and the scales those riffs and runs come from, so you can learn to create your own improvisations rather than copying another artist’s licks.
You will learn to mix: Mix is the preferred singing method of major popular recording artists in R & B, gospel, country, pop, rock, Broadway, and musical theatre singers throughout the world. It is the most sought after singing technique in the music industry. Mix is the ringing, brilliant, powerful quality a contemporary singer has when singing high notes; it sounds like they are taking their “chest voice” all the way up to the highest pitches, but they are not- they are mixing! Mix is powerful- it sounds strong but it feels easy and unforced. Mix enables singers to transition from the lowest notes to the highest notes with a consistent, connected, natural sound.
Every singer needs powerful high notes- but without the strain of pushing the chest voice upward. Every singer needs to develop the mix. The contemporary mix sounds like belting, but feels easy! This is an exciting sound, and is the vocal quality most in demand in today’s music business. Whether you sing pop, R & B, rock, gospel, country, or Musical Theatre, this is the sound to get- and Sing Like a Star Studios is the place to get it!
Singers who have great mix voices include Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, John Legend, Adam Levine, Katy Perry, Sutton Foster, Shoshana Bean, Sam Smith, and Bruno Mars.
Tricia learned the mix technique from one of the most famous vocal coaches in the world- Seth Riggs and Speech Level Singing. Studio founder Tricia Grey, MM was trained in the Speech Level Singing (SLS) technique by Seth Riggs, who also taught Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Barbra Streisand, and many other stars. Tricia was very active in the SLS (Speech Level Singing) organization and was a Level 5 (highest level) instructor. She wrote a Speech Level Singing training manual that was used to train SLS teachers all over the world. She incorporates many aspects of Speech Level Singing in her teaching and online courses.
You will also learn to perform! in addition to world-class singing lessons and vocal instruction we offer performance opportunities at SLaS. Our Sing Like a Star Singers’ Showcases held in in a beautiful state-of-the-art professional theater, enable students to combine their new vocal technique with performance skills. We have performance coaches and choreographers who work with the students to get them performance-ready. Our SLaS Singers’ Showcases are just the place for singers of all experience levels from beginner to professional to evolve and grow!
What are the Eight Steps of Vocal Development?
THE EIGHT STEPS OF VOCAL DEVELOPMENT is a dynamic, sequential, logical, organized, and effective method that trains singers in the vocal techniques and methods used by today’s contemporary recording artists. It provides a step-by-step sequential, comprehensive training method that develops every area of your voice, eliminates voice breaks, develops power, pitch control, flexibility, and amazing high notes. With the SLaS method you will learn to sing higher and stronger than you ever could before. You will sing with a consistent vocal quality throughout your entire range, rather than sounding like one singer on low notes and a completely different singer on high notes. You will learn to “mix” in the upper register to create a contemporary vocal quality, to eliminate vocal breaks, and to create powerful high notes with a natural tone and quality.
SLaS training develops mix and balanced registration and will enable you to sing in any musical style healthily, with increased stamina, confidence, strength, flexibility, and freedom.
The SLas Method replaces limiting vocal habits with effective habits, building a reliable vocal technique and a balanced, functional, strong, and healthy voice through a process known as sequential skill building. As you work through the 8 steps you will be consistently increasing efficiency and coordination; each step develops a new skill, providing the foundation for the next level of development.
The Eight Steps of Vocal Development is a comprehensive vocal training method that develops powerful, even, consistent singing by changing your incorrect habits, one step at a time, to successful habits that serve you.
The Sing Like a Star vocal training method is based on the following concepts:
- Activating and developing the lower and then the upper registers.
- Connecting the registers with a smooth transition (bridge) between the register
- Developing balanced registration and mix; eliminating vocal breaks and developing a consistent, unified and strong sound.
- Developing skills such as vibrato, dynamics, flexibility, and style for riffs and runs.
- Applying your new vocal skills to songs- making the transition from exercises to singing
- Focused practice and self-evaluation to create automatic habits.
- The Spiral Learning concept- practicing with focused attention on a specific goal creates automatic habits; each time you practice a new skill you are on a higher level, spiraling upward to success.
- Sequential Skill Building rather than random “warm-up” exercises; The Eight Steps of Vocal Development is a comprehensive vocal training program designed to increase skills and eliminate incorrect vocal habits.
In Step 0, which is the Professional Voice Evaluation (PVE) session, we analyze your voice by taking you through a few scales and having you sing a song. This allows us to determine your Vocal Category. We determine your category by listening to the difference between your lower register (chest voice) and upper register (head voice). The ultimate goal of voice training is to create balance between the lower and upper registers so both are equally strong. Some singers are too heavy in the lower register, and they strain on high notes. This category is Unbalanced-Pulled Lower. Others are weak and breathy in both registers (Undeveloped). Every category has a specific series of exercises designed to address those specific issues. Your teacher is trained to guide you through these exercises. You must practice the vocal exercises daily for the muscles and coordination to develop.
In Step 1, you will learn all about Breath Management and Appoggio, the foundation of good singing. In this step you learn how to properly support the voice with the muscles of the lower torso, so you can relax the muscles of the throat.
In Step 2, you will be developing the lower register (chest voice), learning to project your voice with a clear tone. The chest voice is created with a predominance of TA (thyroarytenoid) muscle. You will also learn the basics of vibrato and pitch accuracy.
In Step 3, you will be developing the upper register (head voice). This area is usually weaker than the chest voice and it takes time to make this area as strong as the lower register. The head voice is created with a predominance of CT (crycothyroid) muscle.
In Step 4, you will learn to alternate between TA dominant and CT dominant vocal production.
In Step 5, you begin to mix the registers. This is where we begin to develop a unified sound from the extremely low notes to the extremely high notes of a voice. We also begin to extend the range, both lower and higher. This step is where most singers spend the greatest amount of time- it takes awhile to develop a great mix!
In Step 6, we work on Staccato and Advanced Vibrato exercises and continue to balance the registers, focusing more extensively on the upper register.
In Step 7, you will learn the advanced skills of flexibility, increasing power safely, and singing with dynamics, which are important for developing musicality.
In Step 8, we get to the fun stuff- riffs and runs. You will learn all about the blues and pentatonic scales where most contemporary riffs and runs come from and you will learn how to execute exciting riffs and runs, from the basic to the very advanced. You will apply these riffs and runs to a song ‘O Holy Night’, and then start making up your own riffs and runs on the songs you sing, rather than simply copying another artist.
As we work through the steps we practice the concept of Spiral Learning- we visit the same concepts many times, but always at higher and higher levels of skill and development (if you are practicing the recorded lessons every day at home).
This is a step-by-step plan of vocal development that will give you all the skills you need to succeed in today’s music business. It absolutely will work- if you practice the exercises daily!
In your welcome packet you will receive an Assessment Form that your teacher fills out to let you know what category you are currently in, The Eight Steps of Development sheet, and the Vocal Categories sheet for your reference.
Why You Need This Training
1. You need this training because you can’t teach yourself. Very few people can teach themselves to sing correctly. Most self-taught singers unknowingly incorporate extrinsic muscles, particularly the digastric strap muscles used for swallowing; these muscles pull the larynx upward. When you muscle up, you tend to stay stuck in your chest voice- straining to sing higher notes- until you crack. That can be so embarrassing! Then if you want to sing even higher, you have to do it a breathy, weak sound called falsetto. This vocal tendency or habit is categorized as Unbalanced- Pulled Lower. That means your lower and upper registers are not equally strong and you tend to take the chest voice or lower register up too high.
Or you may be the opposite type. You may be a timid singer that sings everything with a breathy, barely audible sound. This might be due to the fact that you have not sung much, or because you have not learned how to project your voice correctly. This category is what we call Undeveloped. If you are a female choral singer who has sung classical or choral music, chances are your higher notes are much stronger than your lower notes. You were probably told to avoid the chest voice, so you bring your head voice all the way down. We call this vocal category Unbalanced- Light Lower. Your lower register is weaker than your upper register.
At Sing Like a Star we teach balanced registration- the lower register and upper registers are equally strong, vibrant and ringing, and you learn to transition smoothly between the registers so your voice sounds like one voice instead of two totally different voices with a big break in the middle.
2. Teaching contemporary singing and mix is a highly specialized skill– one that requires many years of intensive training. This is not a skill taught in University programs, where the emphasis is on classical singing. A good teacher needs to be continually involved in ongoing education in order to stay abreast of recent scientific developments and research; there are many facts about vocal function unknown to most of the vocal community only a few years ago that have changed the way we develop voices. Studio owner Tricia Grey, MM has made it her life’s mission to research and study new developments in vocal training and to make those new developments available to her readers, Associate Teachers, and students.
Often, vocal training is presented with vague or undefined objectives, little feedback, and very little if any real skill building. Typical voice lessons consist of a random and ineffective “warm-up” followed by numerous repetitions of a song. This is not going to do much for your development.
At Sing Like a Star we have a better plan. Your vocal development is based on specific objectives for skill building as you work through each of The Eight Steps of Vocal Development. We believe in Spiral Learning- each concept is re-visited many times, always at higher and higher skill levels, until correct vocal function becomes automatic!
About Practice: You will only improve if you commit to regular daily practice!
The SLaS technique is the best vocal training you will find. It will work the fastest, and will give you the range, power, and artistry that you want- but only if you do your part! Your part is a commitment to daily practice (or as close as you can come to daily) and consistent weekly voice lessons. If you commit a year to this process (which really is not that long) you will see amazing results. You will actually see amazing results within the first six months if you really work at it.
For good results you need to:
a) Be consistent and daily about your practice routine.
b) Become a dedicated learner who schedules practice time as a priority. This means eliminating other activities.
c) Be accountable- learn to follow through.
Keep your commitmentsyourself, your future, and your talent.
d) Practice by singing along with your recorded lesson, standing in front of a mirror, with focused attention. This is far different from singing along with a CD in the car. You need to focus.
We want you to know that we require 30 minutes per day of practice,on exercises, for anyone over the age of 8. You can break this up into two sessions, one morning and one evening. (10-15 minutes each session- of exercises for a total of 30 minutes daily! AFTER you have completed a vocal workout by singing along with the recorded exercises from the lesson, then you can work on songs if you have time.)
That is the only way change and improvement occurs. To create a habit you have to repeat an action with focused attention many, many times, creating a neuropathway in the brain, a kind of groove that means you don’t have to think about the action any more. Singing will be fun and easy someday, we promise! But… at first, trying to change a bad habit or learn a new habit takes attention and focus.
Please know that:
Music lessons of any kind require daily practice. You are going to have to eliminate some activities to make time for this. Establish priorities.
Magical thinking will not improve your singing! In many people’s minds singing lessons are all about singing songs. They indulge in magical thinking– that singing like a superstar is magically going to happen because they are taking voice lessons, and that if they could only get on a talent show like The Voice they would surely be discovered and become famous. No work involved.
The reality is that NO ONE who is a successful singer got there without being really disciplined and possessing an exceptional work ethic. It’s like being an athlete! It takes that kind of commitment. If your goal is success, you need to practice daily, preferably at the same time each day, for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, on the exercises we give you. Singing songs happens only after you do the exercises!
In the magical thinker’s mind, voice lessons are just singing songs. In the magical thinker’s mind just taking a lesson once a week will make them great. The reality is: you have to work specific muscles in a specific way consistently and daily to see results. You build skills, sequentially, one on the other. We are developing muscles, efficiency and coordination, one skill at a time. That is the premise of The Eight Steps of Vocal Development. If those muscles are not exercised daily with the correct exercises (by singing along with the recorded lesson) the muscles do not change and habits do not improve. You need focused and consistent repetition to create new neuromuscular habits. You have to do the work to see the results.
*Parents: Please do not over-schedule your child’s activities, leaving no time for practice, and then quit because they haven’t practiced. You need to be very pro-active at scheduling and monitoring your child’s practice time. Do not expect them to have the maturity to consistently do this. You have to be involved, all the way through high school; even if they really like singing, they may not love doing the exercises. That is the nature of the developing brain. Be pro-active to ensure your child’s success.
A good way to encourage a habit is to start small- even 10 minutes a day will result in change and improvement. The key to creating good habits is daily consistency, preferably at the same time every day- even a 10-minute session daily is better than inconsistent practice. Then start increasing the time by 5 minutes weekly until you hit the 30 minutes/day mark.
Three books to read about this are Talent is Overrated, The Talent Code, and Outliers.
So-called “talent” actually means very little. How hard you work at something, and how many times you repeat a skill with focused attention, determine your success- or failure.
Practicing for 20-30 minutes practice daily with focused attention is the only way real change and improvement occurs. We will give you the tools- but you have to put in the work to see the results. It’s a partnership!
Why Singers Need a Voice Teacher
Singers cannot teach themselves to sing correctly, for three reasons.
The first reason is that we don’t hear ourselves accurately. Most people who hear their recorded speaking voices for the first time are astounded- the sound they hear in their head is not at all the sound that the rest of the world hears!
Secondly, the vocal apparatus is inside the larynx, so we cannot see it working. Therefore, the intelligent student or artist knows that keeping the voice aligned correctly requires consistently working with a specialist- a professional who understands the science of the voice and the art of vocal development. Most people who try to teach themselves to sing habitually engage incorrect muscles- the extrinsic swallowing muscles- acquiring incorrect vocal habits or tendencies that prevent them from achieving the range, coordination, and power they need. You need an expert vocal technician to properly develop your voice. You also need the discipline to practice and vocalize daily, with focused attention, singing along with your recorded lesson, in order to overcome previous incorrect habits and to coordinate the muscles.
Thirdly, and most importantly- the teaching of singing is a science. Would you take your expensive car to someone who never looked at a manual? Why would you take your easily-damaged voice to someone who claims to be a vocal coach but has no understanding of the real science of vocal development? Be aware of vocal coaches who may be able to sing fairly well who do not have an understanding of the science of the voice. They are simply passing on outdated and incorrect information that was passed down to them. Be equally wary of teachers who have education but cannot sing and demonstrate well. Working with unqualified individuals or trying to teach yourself to sing is a slippery slope to vocal problems.
Incorrect Teaching Methods
Most incorrect and vocally damaging teaching falls into the two following categories:
Belt-Only (Yelling): These methods of teaching encourage pushing the chest voice too high, creating strain and trauma, vocal abuse, damage, and usually a very short career. This is the typical Broadway belt method and the way many gospel church choir members sing. Young singers can sometimes get away with belt-only singing for a short time but most singers trained this way eventually get hoarseness leading to nodules, polyps, hemorrhages, or other gruesome evidence of vocal abuse that require surgery and complete vocal rest for several weeks. As soon as the singer goes back to the old incorrect vocal habits these problems inevitably return.
Breathy Singing: This incorrect method is the norm in school and many traditional church choral settings; it encourages airy, breathy and weak vocal production in order to blend and discourages the use of the chest voice. Singers cannot use this type of vocal sound for commercial music such as rock, R & B, gospel, or Broadway styles because it is too weak, especially in the lower register. A strong lower register is essential in all styles of popular singing and musical theatre.
At SLaS we teach balanced registration and mix.
At Sing Like A Star studios you will develop a strong and powerful chest voice, AND a strong, powerful upper register. You will be able to connect your lower register to your upper register smoothly; your lower and upper registers will be equal in strength, volume, timbre and quality. Your voice will sound consistent from the very lowest notes to the very highest notes instead of sounding like two different voices. You will no longer strain as you sing high notes, your low notes will be strong and powerful, and you will have the control to sing riffs, runs, and licks for R & B and gospel styling. SLaS vocal training enables you to negotiate the transitional areas or bridges of the voice, known as passaggi, easily and without muscular tension.
For all questions about lessons at SLaS please visit this page: LINKS TO REVIEW BEFORE BOOKING