How to Sing Higher with Beauty, Confidence and Power
Your guide to a complete vocal transformation. Episode 1. Introduction.
Hello friend, I’m Chuck Gilmore. This blog is about singing. My life has been filled with singing and performing. But for more than 20 years I struggled with my voice. I couldn’t sing very high and I had no vibrato.
Then I met Seth Riggs, creator of Speech Level Singing and Michael Jackson’s teacher. Seth’s technique transformed my voice and my life. I’ve learned to sing higher than I ever dreamed possible and with vibrato!
You too can sing higher with beauty, confidence and power. I know you can because it happened to me and it’s happening to my students.
My Singing Story
Singers have a story and here’s mine… the short version.
I’ve been singing all my life. My dad told me when I was younger than three I would march through the house and with gusto I’d sing, “Yankee doodle went to town riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni and cheese.”
I sang in my grade school, junior high, high school, college and church choirs. My life changed after seeing my first high school musical West Side Story I didn’t just enjoy it. I wanted to do it, sing and perform on stage in musicals.
We had a new high school choir director, Mr. Farris. He was 26 or 27 years old, just back from Vietnam, and a really cool guy.
Under his direction I played King Arthur in “Camelot”, Enoch Snow in “Carousel” and our show choir, The Benton Singers, toured and performed in Europe for three weeks.
After my freshman year I left school for a two-year church mission in Southern California. My confidence in my singing had declined steadily since high school. In college I was surrounded by singers who seem to be born with a special ability to sing.
While I was in Santa Barbara serving as a missionary I sang a solo in church for a Christmas program and I was awful.
I bombed. I embarrass myself. I was flat. My voice was wobbly and shaking. It was the final blow to my waning confidence.
At this point I abandoned my plan to teach high school choir. I lost all confidence that I could sing solos and perform on stage and I truly felt that I wasn’t born with the ability to sing like other singers who seem to have a natural talent.
Not to be singing and performing was really hard. It’s all I ever did in school. I was so discouraged that I changed my major. I changed it three times trying to figure out what to do. Finally I graduated not knowing what I was going to do with my life and ended up working for a bank and then went into sales.
All the while I had this little ache inside over my lack of natural ability to sing. I performed in one musical the summer after college graduation. The show was “No No Nanette”. I was a member of the ensemble and the worst and the best part was that I loved every minute of it.
The director complimented me which made me feel even worse for giving up on my first love. I did nothing more for 19 years, just church choir and no solos.
In November of 1996 my oldest daughter came from high school with a flyer. It announced a vocal workshop featuring the vocal coach of the stars from Los Angeles, California, Seth Riggs.
On the flyer it said he taught Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Madonna and I later found out hundreds of other major singing stars. We attended his workshop and I started studying Seth Riggs’ vocal technique, Speech Level Singing with Deborah Bonner, one of his teachers.
Within six weeks I was able to sing a note I’d never sung before and soon I was singing with vibrato!
How can this happen? My first teacher had a Master’s degree in vocal performance. She said if you weren’t born with vibrato, you don’t have vibrato! She was wrong! Why didn’t she know that I can sing higher? She said I was a bass and she never tried to help me sing higher.
I used to think that my experience was unusual…that I can study with someone with a Master’s degree in singing and still not learn the truth about my true ability as a singer.
But I’ve learned that students often graduate from university programs and still can’t sing into their head voice without cracking or breaking or staining. Sometimes they haven’t been taught that it’s possible.
In the summer of 1997 I went to Seth Riggs’ studio in Los Angeles and passed a vocal examination with Seth. He authorized me to teach Speech Level Singing. I continued my studies with Speech Level Singing master teacher, Dean Kaelin, for eight more years.
With newfound confidence in my voice, I started auditioning right away for musicals again. Now I’m at 35+ shows with many lead singing roles. I’m doing what I absolutely love to do and doing it well. I’m still on this journey, working to improve my voice, performing and singing regularly, and for the last six years teaching Speech Level Singing full-time.
To end this episode I want to thank Seth Riggs who is now in his mid-80s and still going strong. I’ve continued studying with Seth. He helps me improve as a singer and as a teacher of his method. I love him for what he’s done for my voice, my teaching and my life.
I acknowledge the teachers I’ve studied with who’ve been trained by Seth and who mentored and help me as a singer and teacher. These teachers are Debra Bonner,
Wendy Parr, Spencer Welch, Kathy Kennedy, John Henney, and Guy Babusek. It was Dean Kaelin who early on really shepherded me and helped me get so many lead roles. Linda Tomkinson who taught, encouraged and mentored me as a new teacher. Jeffrey Skouson who has given leadership and inspiration. And Greg Enriquez, who superbly helps me understand and apply Seth’s technique.
A Vocal Transformation
What is it exactly? What is it that transformed my voice and will transform yours? This begins a series of episodes where you’ll learn the exact steps to a complete vocal transformation. I’m going to give you everything I’ve learned and more. It’s your personal roadmap to singing higher with beauty, confidence and power.
Finally, do you have a singing story? I’d love to hear about it. Tell me about it in the comment section below or email me at Chuck@PowerToSing.com.
Do you know your vocal type? I’m not referring to whether you’re a soprano, alto, tenor, or bass. Your vocal type describes what you tend to do when you sing.
Knowing and understanding your vocal type is vital to your success as a singer. Find out why at PowerToSing.com. Visit PowerToSing.com. Take the PowerTest and the quiz and discover your vocal type. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s free.
Be sure to catch the next episode as I give you step-by-step exactly what you need to transform your voice.
You can sing higher with beauty, confidence and power. I know because it’s happened to me and it will be happening to you.
I’m Chuck Gilmore with the online singing resource Power To Sing. Thanks for listening.