Our voice is made of a series of muscles that can be trained like any other muscle in the body. With a highly skilled teacher like Heather Lyle, everyone can learn to sing!
Many people dream of becoming a singer, If you can dream then you can do. Put your dreams into action now and sign up for a singing class or private lesson.
Heather Lyle is a member of:
The National Association of Teachers of Singing
The Voice and Speech Trainer’s Association
The Voice Foundation
The Pan-American Vocology Association
The Voice is Breath, no Breath, no Voice!
Chi sa respirare sa cantare! One who breathes well, sings well!
The historic Italian School of Singing has an old adage: “One who breathes well, sings well.” It can also be said that one who breathes well, speaks well. The voice is meant to float out on a stream of air, but most people struggle with this concept. Firstly, many people don’t know how to breathe deeply and efficiently, and secondly, they don’t know how to excite a stream of air for the voice to spin out on. The result is that most people will breathe shallowly or hold their breath and try to muscle their voice out of their body to poor results. The voice can only go where the breath is, so without breath, we have no voice.
Most breathing is a passive experience unconsciously controlled by our autonomic nervous system, but for singing or mindful speech, we want to use a more active type of breathing. We must learn to intentionally breathe in preparation for voice use. The tendency for new singers or actors, when embarking on voice use beyond everyday speech, is to try to begin sound in the throat. Because we know that our vocal cords are in the throat and we feel their vibration, many people find it logical to start sound there. In actuality, sound begins with breath. If you just landed from another planet and I told you that your vocal cords were in the core of your body, you would probably use your voice in a healthier way. In singing we control the outflow of breath with the abdominal muscles, so if you think of starting each onset of tone from the abdominals, you will have more control of your voice, and produce a better tone. The vocal cords are only to be used as an oscillator, excited into vibration by the breath coming from below. There should never be any engagement of the muscles of neck when you sing. I have a little mantra I make all my students memorize: “Breathe first.”
Learn Proper Breathing Techniques
Most of us use only a very small portion of our lung capacity for breathing. For vocal mastery, the performer needs to utilize costal and diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm muscle is the power source of the voice, but we have no physical sensation of it. We can only become aware of it by feeling its affect on other parts of the body. By getting in touch with this power source, the singer can regulate the flow of breath and sing loudly and intensely without harming the vocal instrument. How to actually gain breath support can sometimes be a nebulous achievement. Some teachers still teach the outdated “push from the abdomen” technique while others teach the “suck the abdomen in” technique. Both have been dismissed as incorrect by recent vocal pedagogues. Lyle teaches a systematic easy to learn approach to breath support that any singer can use and is based on the most current vocal research.
Learn the Physical Techniques of Singing
All singers need to have some understanding of the physiology and anatomy of singing. Through an understanding of how the voice works and the most efficient method of vocal production, the singer can feel in control when singing at all times. When the singer feels in control of his or her voice, confidence builds. Then the singer will never find themselves in a vocal performance situation or problem that he or she will not be able to handle. Instead of mindless vocalizing, Lyle gives each student a set of individual exercises designed specifically for certain vocal functions and makes sure the student completely understands what each exercise is for, so that when the student is practicing alone the student will be able to make progress in their technique. Then you will be able to pick specific exercises for what you need to focus on in your practice. By knowing your voice you will know thyself!
Based on the Latest Vocal Pedagogy
Lyle is a specialist in the latest vocal pedagogy. To insure the best teaching and vocal health, it is important to entrust your voice to a teacher who is up to date on the latest vocal research. No matter whom you study with, make sure the teacher is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. NATS keeps its voice teachers up to date on all the latest voice research with numerous symposiums, conventions and scientific journals. Would you go to a plastic surgeon who is not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? I think not. it is just as important that you study with a teacher who is certified by NATS to insure that no damage is done to the delicate, vocal instrument. Countless students are daily damaged by uncertified teachers. Vocal damage can take years to undo and can sometimes result in the need for surgery to remove nodes and other vocal pathologies.
All Styles of Singing from a Pro.
Lyle has a systematic method to teach you any style of singing. You can learn the agility techniques of R&B and pop, the sustaining power of musical theater and rock, the conversational qualities of jazz or the mastery of opera. Lyle has sung every style of music that she teaches. She has performed on every type of stage from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the smoky caves of Paris to the Playboy Mansion. Lyle has actually sung in the Great Pyramid in Egypt which was rented for her to sing in for a movie sound-score. Lyle’s vast musical experience has made her an amazingly versatile teacher and enabled her to teach a variety of musical styles. Lyle’s ongoing professional career also aids her in giving invaluable professional advice to students embarking into the world of professional singing.
Popular singing styles and musical theater are requiring more and more vocal acrobatics from the singer. Musical singers have to sing 8 shows a week, pop and rock singers have to belt, scream and yell to excite the audience. Heather Lyle utilizes the latest techniques to teach the singer to safely belt and maintain vocal health and longevity.
The Body-Voice Connection
One of the most common complaints of students is that their voice does not feel connected to their body. To make the voice-body connection the breath has to first become connected to the core of the body. Then, through specially designed exercises, the student can begin to add sound to the breath and eventually connect the voice to the core at all times, whether singing or speaking. When the student is able to connect their voice to their body, they will then be using their complete vocal potential.
Increase Your Vocal Resonance
The general characteristics of a well resonated voice are clarity and sonority, with a full ringing forward character. Many actors and singers use only a small portion of their resonance potential. Without resonance, the singer’s voice will sound dull and out of tune and the actor’s voice will lack power and depth. The resonators of the voice are the throat, mouth and nasal cavities. An important job of a voice teacher is to help the student find the best way to focus their voice in the resonators, to achieve his or her best sound. You will learn to find your resonance while removing breathy, cracking or unwanted colors in the voice. Once you find the full resonance of your voice you are guaranteed to fall in love with it!
Learn To Free the Voice
Many actors and singers suffer from throat pain or feel vocally choked. The tongue, jaw and swallowing muscles of the throat can all contribute to vocal tension. Lyle is a master at teaching singers to free the voice while retaining a solid supported body connection. Learn priceless techniques to release the voice and ensure vocal health.
Avoid Celebrity Voice Teachers
There are numerous celebrity voice teachers in Hollywood and unfortunately, some of them are not that good. They have big personalities, have taught celebrities and charge a great deal of money! I have found that some of them base their technique on one or two tricks. Their tricks can help you, but they don’t take into account the need for a complete vocal training program that is necessary for a singer to improve. How can you tell if you have a good teacher? The teacher will start with diaphragmatic breathing for singing and how to engage abdominal support. Breathing is the foundation of singing and if your teacher does not teach breathing, find a new teacher immediately. They should also teach airflow and resonance. Your voice should be improved in the first lesson. There should never, ever be pain or a feeling of strain. Tension should be eliminated, not induced. Singing should feel natural and the technique should be based on the way the body naturally works. If it feels wrong, it is!
If they say they are going to teach you how to manipulate the vocal cords, don’t study with them, as voice science has found that the best thing we can do is to leave the vocal cords alone and let them make their adjustments on their own. The more we stay our of the vocal cords way, the better the vocal cords function.
Make sure the teacher belongs to the National Association of Teachers of Singing, then you know the teacher has some awareness of the latest findings in voice science. You can look them up on the NATS website to see if they are members. http://www.nats.org/
Creatively Designed Workshops and Classes
Lyle’s voice workshops are incredibly informative, stimulating and fun. They are composed of lecture segments, group exercises and partner exercises. Each activity is designed to maximize voice training while giving the student an opportunity to test the waters of vocal performance. Singing workshops are offered at different locations around the Los Angeles area. Check the “Classes” page for more information.
During the first session for voice work, I do an assessment of a student’s current vocal habits and discuss what they’d like to accomplish. I map out voice goals and provide an exercise program to meet their specific needs. Some of the physiological points covered are: breathing, resonance, how to engage the power source of the voice and keep the throat relaxed, remove nasality, increase the overtones in the voice to create a more pleasing sound, find optimal pitch for comfort and resonance, improve articulation and clarity, extend range, and vocal health
For actors: How to transition from a rich-in-tone speaking voice to a singing voice in a fluid, natural manner. Repertoire for singing. How to sing for non-singing actors who may be required to sing at times.
For singers: Give singers a full understanding of how the voice works, maximizing their good points, and training the weak points. Repertoire development, and creating a signature style that is unique and all their own.
How long does it take?
I can usually make a difference in someone’s voice in one lesson. I recommend a commitment of three to six lessons to start to see how you enjoy your lessons. Some students attend class once a week, some every other week and some once a month. Of course the more lessons you take the more you learn and the better your voice becomes. It also depends on how motivated you are to do the work on your own. The results are usually exciting and dramatic, so, I find most people are eager to dive in and make changes. The voice is completely transformable and trainable. There is a technique to navigate any type of difficulty a singer may be having. The break in the voice can be smoothed, high notes can be reached without neck tension and the tone of the voice can be optimized. You are not stuck with the voice you were born with; with new-found knowledge it can be trained to become your greatest asset. Get Singing Lessons in Los Angeles today.
Open Mic Nights – Performance Opportunity!
We hold open mic nights also so that you will have the opportunity to perform. These events are mostly students, so it is a safe, fun environment to explore performing.
Individual Instruction is $150 an hour. I also have group classes through SMC three times a year and two small group classes of 6 (maximum) twice a week. For more information, check my classes page. Contact me for corporate workshop or on-set or production coaching rates. 310 200-0506
“I would like to express what a dedicated instructor Heather Lyle is and what a positive response we always receive from her students. As you are probably aware, singing classes are extremely popular and students have a vast amount of options to take singing classes with other organizations but Heather’s classes always have full enrollment and many students take her classes each semester. This is a clear reflection of Heather’s capabilities in the classroom.”
—Kathlyne A. McKeever, Program Coordinator, SMC Continuing & Community Education