Singing High Notes Was Impossible Until This Happened

Singing High Notes Was Impossible Until This Happened

Singing high notes was impossible until this happened. It was a pivotal moment that changed everything about my singing. It began with a simple flyer brought home from school by my 15 year old daughter.

 

 

I was 43 years old and I had given up on singing.  

 

When I was young I sang all the time. My Dad reminded me that when I was 3 years old, I used to march through the house and sing, “Yankee Doodle”. Except I had a special ending. I sang: “Stuck a Feather in his hat and called it macaroni…. and cheese!

 

Singing High Notes Was Impossible Until This Happened

 

I remember watching Davy Crockett on Walt Disney. I sang the theme song all the time. My mom told me that when I was about 3 or 4 years old, I would ride a little wooden toy pony back and forth, back and forth, singing at the top of my lungs, “Davey, Davey Crockett, King of the wild frontier!”  

 

I sang in grade school, junior high and high school choirs. I was in high school Madrigals three years. We toured Europe during the summer of 1971! In high school I fell in love with musical theater and played “King Arthur” in Camelot and “Enoch Snow” in Carousel. I entered college as a music major.

 

My voice teacher during high school had her Masters in Vocal Performance. She had recorded an album and was a well know singer and teacher in my hometown of Saint Joseph, Missouri.  

 

Singing High Notes Was Impossible

During my lessons I realized I couldn’t sing past the E4 (the E above middle C)  without yelling, straining, going flat or breaking.

 

I didn’t try for the lead character, “Billy Bigelow” in Carousel because I couldn’t sing the F4.

 

Another problem I had was I had no vibrato. My teacher said if I wasn’t born with it I didn’t have it.

 

In college I had two teachers who believed I could sing higher, but didn’t know how to help me do it.  However, I knew from years of experience that E4 was the top of my range.

 

After my first year of college, I left for a two year mission to Los Angeles, CA, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

 

While serving in Santa Barbara during Christmas of 1972, I was asked to sing a solo in our morning services. I was awful. I was pitchy, my tone quality was poor, and I embarrassed myself and the congregation.

 

It was a serious blow to my confidence. I felt very discouraged.  I began to believe that I was not capable of a career in music and singing. I just wasn’t born with the physical abilities I needed to sing really well. How could I teach others if I couldn’t do it myself?

 

When I returned to college I changed my major. I didn’t sing a solo again in public for 25 years.

 

However, I greatly missed performing. I got depressed watching live musical theater. I felt so bad not being on stage and not singing. I felt these feelings frequently.

 

After college I married Judy and we had a large family of eight children. I went to work as a salesman in the medical-surgical field.

 

In the fall of 1996, my oldest daughter brought home a flyer from school announcing a vocal workshop with the Los Angeles Vocal Coach of the Stars, Seth Riggs. The flyer said he was Michael Jackson’s vocal coach!  

Singing High Notes Was Impossible Until This Happened

My wife and I with our 3 oldest daughters attended the workshop with Seth Riggs.

 

Singing High Notes Was Impossible Until This Happened

Then a pivotal moment happened!  We did this silly vocal exercise called bubble lips! Like this.

 

Wow…what just happened? I realized my voice just went higher than ever before, but it didn’t strain or crack. How could that happen without my voice breaking into falsetto.

 

The moment I felt my voice shift up into my head everything changed. Until that moment, I thought it was impossible for my voice to go that high.

 

Singing High Notes Was Impossible Until This Happened

I began studying Seth Riggs’ vocal technique. Gradually my voice began to transform.

 

Within several months I sang higher than I’d ever sung before. I discovered that E4 was a transition area leading to something called head voice. I sang an F4 in the song, “Maria” from West Side Story.  It was like a miracle to me.

 

And I developed vibrato. It was another miracle!  By fall of 1997 I was cast in the musical, “Phantom” by Maury Yeston.

 

Twenty-one years later I’m finishing my 40th show…most of them musicals. I’ve had the great blessing of performing many lead singing roles like Don Quixote, Peron, The King from “The King and I”, Scrooge, Captain Hook, and many more.

 

The joy and fulfilment I’ve experienced with my singing is something my family and I will always treasure.

 

Never give up on your singing and performing dreams. You can reach them!

 

Your own life changing moment might happen one day when you see a simple flyer from school, or a video on the internet.

 

Your singing and your life will never the the same.

 

I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing.

 

Chuck

If you long to do more with your singing it is possible. This is the first and most important message. It is possible to achieve your dreams to sing better, to sing higher, to add beauty, confidence and power to your voice! I know this because I’ve experienced a real change in my voice that has enabled me to reach my dreams and desires to sing and perform and really find happiness and fulfillment! And so have my students. I want to help you do the same!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Donna, if you’re in southern CA, go see Dr. Marc Kerner in Northridge. He knows all about singers. He will give you hope!!

  2. Hi Donna:The first thing I would do is go get a second opinion from an ENT Dr. who works with singers. It may be true that there is nothing to be done. But There are many voices out there that have had damage, and surgery, and other things that are still singing. Go see another Dr. and maybe a 3rd. Perhaps one of them will have a creative solution. I’d like to hear back from you once you’ve done this. I would not give up…even if you have to sing music in a lower key…and maybe sing a different genre of songs.

  3. That’s so wonderful to hear! Thanks Ananda!

  4. Fantastic! Congratulations. Thanks Mike!

  5. I was 1st Soprano for years but my strongest weakness was Voice imitation. It caused me to throat sing for years. At 29yrs old I was pregnant with my 1st child and was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It caused extreme acid reflux that caused serious damage to my throat. So much that my regular voice lessened to almost male. I started speaking lower and in singing it’s been a struggle ever since. I deal with extreme pain after talking for a while or attempting to sing for a long time. I definitely crack and go flat after there’s no strength left . I am now 42 and there is no strength in my voice tone or vibrato especially. I visited an ENT years ago and she looked and said the acid damaged my throat and there was nothing she could do. I believe in God so I haven’t given up…any suggestions?

  6. Chuck, you were my first inspiration down this road. When I began singing last January, yours was the first video series I checked out. I was 40 at the time and your story meant a lot to me. Now, almost 18 months in, I have done a few live shows (one was acapella!), have learned some nice arias and am practicing musical theatre as well as modern music. I love it all. Fortunately, according to my instructor, I am a true tenor even though I still have a hell of a time keeping a clean B4-E5! I have a hard time keeping the throat relaxed and I cannot control the volume. Yet. These things take time.
    Thank you for all of your work and assistance. I never known this kind of joy in anything I have ever done and I have done a lot. ´´You never know how empty is your heart until it is filled.´´

  7. Wow Chuck….I have listened to your vids before with some success but this one led me up to a solid A4 which felt to be in a sweet spot……First time I ever felt that……..Thank you.
    Mike

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