Vocal Exercises are Mandatory: A Lesson Learned

Beware the voice coach!

A former student, a professional, called me about coming back soon.  The situation was this is a pro, working a lot, and studied for a few months. When  he left, we stayed in touch. I saw how busy he was.  What I did not know was, he stopped doing the vocal exercises, and didn’t give himself vocal rest. We are athletes, we need to work on our vocal health constantly.  Would a runner compete without training?


This includes the way we Speak  also.  The way you use your Vocal Folds and your Muscles in your stomach, are as important as the way you sing.  You must exercise the tongue also. Everything needs to work in Harmony.

His phone call,  was not good news. He wanted to come back… after his vocal surgery!

He had developed bleeding nodules from over usage and not enough correct singing. He was sorry he stopped training.  I felt awful for anyone going through that.

I look forward to the day his doctor will clear him for more study.

Lesson is…

Don’t think you know it all. Even if you study once or twice a week , it is better than not at all…

A very common problem for us is Dysphonia.  Muscle tension, or Spastic Dysphonia. A very serious condition when your Vocal Folds are getting too much air, and you become raspy, and hoarse. You may notice this in your speaking first. You Must get this checked. 

I went for too long, working 7 days a week, and 4 nights,,,, I never gave myself a rest.  It may be simple like blowing bubbles , and a lot of massaging the the throat.   Dr. Salinas and Erik landry are helping me learn to speak higher, and softer, so I can work as long and much as I desire without harming my health.   Professor Ingo Titze..is an award winning Vocal pathologist and Voice production expert.  He explains WHY we do these exercises, and WHY we need to keep doing them. He says,’ When the pressure for the lips is the same as for the vocal folds, it must equal the Lung pressure.’  This takes practice, with an expert.   Choose wisely…. We must keep our muscles in and around our throat relaxed, and with the world as crazy as it is, That can be very hard. 

I have stretches, and massages, to help you with your throat and mouth tissue.  To loosen up you lactic acid and have a healthy relaxed voice.  How to seamlessly go into your mask from your chest ,,,  so much to do and learn.  I will never stop going to my coach and Dr.  I will always be on the hunt to be better, and so should you!

Maintaining your vocal health

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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Superb Vocal Training Testimonial

When I received this vocal training testimonial from Jeff Lavigne, it overwhelmed me. It embodies so many elements making up a successful coach-student relationship. Please enjoy it…

 – Jessica Marciel

Jeff Lavigne - Singing Student, Las Vegas Vocal Training

Jeff Lavigne

“I have struggled with my singing for ten years now (I am 28 and started when I was 18). It is my passion. Everywhere I go I sing my little heart out. For a long time my problem was that I just wasn’t that good, and people let me know it. I quickly got discouraged and stopped singing in front of other people.

Eventually, this led to a frustration so profound that I thought about quitting singing altogether. That is what led me to Jessica. I made a deal with myself that before I could quit, I had to make one last effort.

I was skeptical of voice lessons because I tried them before, and by the second lesson my teacher basically said that I would never be any good. But, after calling Jessica, I got a very encouraging and nurturing vibe, so I decided to give it one last shot.

At my very first session, Jessica informed me that I wasn’t a bad singer. I wasn’t destined to shower singing mediocrity. Rather, I just wasn’t singing correctly. All this time I thought I just had a bad ear for music, that I had a pitch problem and just couldn’t hit the right notes. But Jessica showed me how most of my problems weren’t caused by an inherent lack of ability. They were caused by not knowing the proper technique. In a few short months, based on Jessica’s teachings, I could hardly recognize my voice. I couldn’t believe how much better I sounded. More importantly, my confidence started to come back, due to Jessica’s encouragement and the fact that my singing was undoubtedly improving.

She also helped me develop some of my original music. We went line by line through the songs I wrote to make sure I was hitting the notes properly and with the right tone. I am by no means a pro now, but after seeing her detailed approach, I now know what makes someone a professional and I can continue to develop these skills forever.

Further, I want to emphasize how quickly I started to improve. Based on talking to other people and my previous experiences, I thought that, if I could improve at all, it would take me years to do so. However, I started to notice changes almost immediately. To be honest for the first month or so I thought I was getting worse because I had to learn a whole new way to sing. But by the second month (4 or so lessons in) I was already singing better than I ever had before. Within 6 months I was singing better than I ever thought was possible for me.

Finally, I really appreciate Jessica’s bedside manner. She really knows her stuff, but doesn’t make beginner/ intermediate students like me feel inferior.  Many of her exercises are silly, but she is willing to get silly with me so I don’t feel self-conscious. In fact, I really like the exercises because, in addition to helping develop valuable skills, they help get me out of my head.

Jessica didn’t ask me to write this testimonial. I am doing so out of gratitude for what she gave me. I can’t believe I was about to give up on one of my life’s greatest passions when the solution was so simple.”

– Jeff Lavigne

Hold the Cheese!

CHICAGO PIZZA0_nWhen you sing for a living, there are certain things that make you different from the other people around you.  You can’t go on dates on Friday night, you are the Band!  You can’t party like it’s 1999 and drink and smoke, bad for your instrument. You,,You are your instrument. You have to take care of it.

I didn’t go to my Prom, My band was playing that night. I didn’t go to concerts, I was the opening act, {much better actually!} Good way to get backstage!!!

I had a student tonight, he was not right in the throat,,, he said, I need to clear my throat, I asked “What did you eat?’ “he said Toast with Butter’,  ‘Uh OH…”I said. “REAL BUTTER?  Haven’t you read my “Maintaining your Vocal Health PDF’ ?

Well, he hadn’t, because it is so easy to get substitutes for all dairy products.   Yes,,, it’s true,   NO CHEESE.!!!! OK,,, once in a while if you don’t have a gig for 4 or 5 days, have some Pizza, but that stuff will stay with you.

You have a CHOICE:  To be a great singer in great physical shape and ready to perform, anytime.   Don’t tell me you have  no gig for a week, so you can eat anything, You have to practice, you have to warm up, so don’t eat cheese!  Now, I am updating this post, because   I am saying this too harshly, I mean, in moderation, if you don’t have practice, or a performance, have some pizza, but, in moderation, that stays with you. You will get used to fake butter and soy products, if you serious about being in good shape. So, have a slice, once in awhile!!

Spicy food as well, acidic foods and drinks as well. These will burn your vocal chords and you will be hoarse. I have seen it. Of course a are nose and throat Dr. will test this to be sure, But it can be Acid Reflux damaging the throat. It is very common. So, make the right choice. Be your best. Be a caring and smart singer and take good care of your body, it’s the only one you’ve got!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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Vocal Tips Series on YouTube – ALL NEW

vocal-tips-you-tubeYouTube is one of my favorite websites to hear other vocal coaches and singers. I love to discover people I never would know of any other way.  I will never forget  hearing the singer Sam Tsui…,or Tori Kelly on YouTube.

Wow, I became a big fan, and purchased many of his cover songs on iTunes. I also like coach Kevin Richards, Rock The Stage NYC.   I love that he and I use many of the same exercises, and  I love that he thinks the same way I do. We both subscribe to each other’s YouTube channels.

After seeing a variety of free lesson tips on the channel, some good, some not so good, , I decided let people see what I do, and if they want to, they can do lessons on Skype with me, from anywhere… or at least know the option is there. People may live in a city that is void of good coaches, or perhaps ones that are too expensive.

Dollar SignI believe vocal training affordable for both professionals and aspiring professionals. Simply because a coach is not expensive may not mean they don’t have solid skills. I have priced my lessons within a reasonable budget, so good singers can get better and not go broke in doing so.

The first two video clips of vocal tips I’ve posted to You Tube are breathing routines that are obscure and may be new to some people.  I have traded tips with singer-friends and other coaches. And over years of teaching, I’ve developed my own approach to analyzing and implementing techniques that work with each singer, based on their individual strengths and areas, needing improvement.

It still surprises me, when a singer comes to me, and says something like..,

“You are the fifth coach I’ve had, and none of them ever did any breathing exercises with me.”

I can’t imagine having anyone sing until they know HOW to breathe.   I wish I had studied voice when I was young. I was fortunate to sing, correctly, naturally. I didn’t begin to study the science of singing and technique until I prepared to become a coach and stop singing for a living, quite so much. I am also sad that I did not a have good coach to teach me innovative techniques, and breathing,,, I could have been better.    I am into showing you HOW your voice works, HOW to protect your voice, and HOW to speak properly, so you won’t have vocal problems. I am proud to say, in my LONG career, I never had vocal problems.    I have been very thirsty for new knowledge, and I am studying with a speech therapist, vocal therapist, the amazing, Erik Landry.   I am excited to share my knowledge with you.

Jessica & Engelbert

Jessica & Engelbert

What I found, is that my voice improved, and not working anymore became a benefit.  My chest voice is higher now because of what I do and my head voice is stronger. I needed that strong head voice when I sang backup for Engelbert Humperdinck,

I sang Soprano with Engelbert, and his range was such, that it collided with my weak middle range. Not high enough to be good, too low, so it hit my middle C and D. A disaster, because my voice cracked while performing in the MGM showroom in front of an audience of paying customers. That wouldn’t happen today.  I must admit, I have deleted some videos that became outdated,, and I will do new very soon…..

I hope you will tune into my YouTube channel, and enjoy some of my videos, my students and some tutorials….

I love what I do, and I hope you will enjoy the new series of brief but fun exercises!

See you on the Tube!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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