Ep. 104 “How To Sing With Vocal Strength and Compression” – Voice Lessons To The World


Hey Singers! I’m super excited
because today we’re going to learn that our
strength comes from within. That’s right, your vocal
folds are responsible for their own destiny. Today, we’re going learn
how to truly develop vocal strength and power. ♬ Hi again singers,
my name is Justin Stoney and I’m the founder of
New York Vocal Coaching here in New York City. Welcome to Episode 104 of
Voice Lessons To The World. Today’s question comes
from Nicoli H. in Lugano, Switzerland. Nicoli writes, “Dear Justin,
I’ve heard I need to sing with compression. How do I do it?” Well, Nicoli, it’s a
glorious question. And yes indeed, compression
is a fundamental skill for singing. It’s actually the very key
to singing with strength, clarity, and ease. But, before we talk about
what compression is, let’s make sure we
know what it is not. ♬ Compression is NOT
vocal rasp, grit, and distortion. Rasp and distortion are
related to compression, but they’re not quite
the same thing. They’re actually various
stylistic sound effects that we might choose
to add later on. There’s lots of different kinds
of rasps and distortions. Like this one, ♪ yeah ♪. Or this one ♪ hey ♪. Or this one ♪ whoa ♪. We’ll talk about this
on show very soon. So stay tuned for that. But, this is very distinct
from compression. Compression is also not
a “recording studio technique”. ♬ Recording studio compression
is added to a recording to make sure that sound
levels are balanced. So, don’t get that confused. This is compression
for the vocal studio not the recording studio. “Well Justin, you told us
what it AIN’T, so how about you tell
us what it AM!” Sure thing cowboy. Let’s define vocal
compression! ♬ Vocal compression is
“the degree to which the vocal folds are brought
together in resistance to the breathstream.” That means that
your vocal folds must interact with
your breath for your strongest, solidest, and
awesomest sounds. To sing a note, your vocal
folds vibrate hundreds and even thousands of
times per second. Faster than a
hummingbird’s wings! ♬ To do this, breath
has to set your vocal folds into motion. With totally open folds,
you get no sound at all. [Breathes out] Totally closed folds
block the breath like in a glottal. [Glottal sound] It’s in the “in betweens”
that we get sound. [breath – glottal] Ahhhhh. Some vocal registers
have small amounts of compression. Like, falsetto. ♪ Aaaaah ♪ Other vocal registers
have high amounts of compression. Like chest voice. ♪ AAAAAH ♪ If you get just the right
balance between the two, you can sing just
about anything. To find that balance
let’s go to the lab. ♬ Here in the lab
we’re going to explore the good,
the bad, and the ugly of vocal compression. Starting with “getting louder” ♬ Getting louder is one of
the easiest ways to get Vocal compression to happen. But, it’s a trap! Getting loud is caused
by subglottic pressure. That’s a fancy pants vocal
term that’s means “air pressure below
your vocal folds”. We need this. It helps us lift heavy objects,
go to the bathroom, give birth to children, and to SING. But, too much of
it results in bad singing stuff. Like a strident, pressed,
or overly loud sound. ♪ AAAAAH ♪ Oh no! Now, if you always sing
too softly, lightly, or timidly, then your first step is
to add some volume. But, ultimately, we don’t
want loudness to be our only strength. Remember, loud is not
the same thing as strong. Next, extrinsic tension… ♬ Extrinsic tension is tension
outside of the larynx. Compression wants teeny tiny
tension inside the larynx. It’s David vs. Goliath. Your vocal folds are
two teeny tiny Davids. Who are your Goliaths? Neck muscles like the
sternocleidomastoids. Jaw muscles like the
geniohyoids, mylohyoids, and digrastrics. Tongue muscles like
hyoglossus or the styloglossus. A whole host of
problematic pinching pests! We don’t want to see or feel a
lot of tension in these areas. So use a mirror and focus
on staying free in the neck, jaw, and tongue. If you do, then you’re
slaying your Goliaths. And giving your Davids
a chance to be king. Next, larynx position. ♬ As the larynx rises,
the vocal folds tend to resist more. As the larynx lowers,
the vocal folds tend to resist less. Now we’ve learned on
this show that it’s okay to sing with many
different larynx positions. But, we don’t want to go
raising the larynx any time we’re trying to be stronger. Like if this is happening: ♪ MAY-MAY-MAY-MAY ♪
[Voice crack] And I solve it like
this all the time ♪ MAY-MAY-MAY-MAY ♪
[Voice straining] Then I can never get to ♪ MAY-MAY-MAY-MAY ♪
[Balanced sound] So, we don’t want
to force the volume, we don’t want to strain stuff
in the neck, jaw, tongue, and we don’t want
to lift the larynx. So, how DO we find our
true vocal strength? You guessed it… from within… ♬ Start by letting your
vocal folds be too loose. Say, “breathy voice”. Nice job! Your vocal folds
did that for you. Next, say “squeezy voice”. Excellent! Your vocal folds and their
muscles also did that. Finally, say “perfect balance”. Awesome! This was your vocal
muscles working in harmony. Notice you didn’t
have to use volume. Perfect balance.
[Loud volume] You also didn’t have to
squeeze the extrinsics. Perfect balance.
[Squeezing extrinsics] And you didn’t have
to raise your larynx. Perfect balance.
[Raises larynx] Your vocal folds were perfectly
capable of doing the job. Now we just need that to
happen on every single note in your range. And we will! I’m going to give you a vocal
exercise to practice in a second. But, first I’ve gotta
put myself to the test… ♬ For today’s song example,
I chose a rock tune with a wide variety of compression skills. It’s the classic rock song
“Creep” by Radiohead. This song is a challenge
because it works best with compression sounds,
decompression sounds, falsetto sounds, chesty sounds,
all working together across a big range. Let’s try it out… ♪ Cuz I’m a creep ♪ ♪ I’m a weirdo ♪ ♪ What the hell
am I doing here ♪ ♪ I don’t belong here ♪ ♪ She’s runnin’ out again ♪ ♪ She’s runnin’ out ♪ ♪ She run run run ♪ ♪ Run ♪ ♪ Run ♪ So much fun! The wide range of
compression allows for so many possibilities. But, don’t you run, run, run. [Hits piano] Because it’s time for your
Voice Lessons To The World CHALLENGE… ♬ Today’s challenge is an exercise
that I want you to practice. It’s IHG-GIHG-GIHG
on an 8-8-8-5-1. It’s sound like this
♪ IH-GIHG-GIHG ♪ The idea here is that
we’re starting off with a little baby glottal onset. [Glottal sounds] This glottal encourages
the vocal fold compression. Then the G consonant
also helps us out. G is a voiced plosive. We talked about this in the
last Quick Singing Tips episode. Certain consonants help us
to find our compression. So, let’s try it out. ♪ IH-GIHG-GIHG ♪ This one will have guys and
ladies in the same octave. We’re gonna start off with just the
guys and then bring in the ladies. Try to stay as try strong as you
can without getting loud or without tensing anything up. Here we go: ♪ IH-GIHG-GIHG ♪ ♬ Nice. ♬ That’s it. ♬ Let’s bring in some ladies. ♪ IH-GIHG-GIHG ♪ Great! ♬ Mhmm! ♬ Right on! ♬ Great. ♪ IH-GIHG-GIHG ♪ That’s right! ♬ Good for you. ♬ Comin’ down. ♬ Mhm. ♬ Good. ♬ A few more. ♬ That’s it. ♪ IH-GIHG-GIHG ♪ ♬ And last. ♬ Awesome job! As you’re working
on your challenge, keep us posted on
Facebook, Instagram, and all the usual suspects. We’d love to hear from you
as you stay strong, solid, and toned up. Here are some others ways
I hope you and I can stay strong on your vocal journey… For voice lessons or Skype
lessons with the NYVC staff visit us at
NewYorkVocalCoaching.com. If you’d like a vocal course that you
can do at home check out the Voice Lessons To The World Vocal Course. This twelve part program takes you
on a singing journey from beginner to master level vocal exercises. You can find it at
VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com. Or, if you’d like free vocal
tips sent to you each day sign up at
DailyVocalTips.com. And now, here’s Justin with
this week’s vocal benediction. Our vocal folds are
a gift from God. But God’s gifts are usually
the easiest to overlook. Your vocal folds,
your voice, and YOU… can do anything. But you have to remember
the kind of strength that’s been placed inside you. I see this strength in you
and I’m not giving up on you. If you keep on singing even
through your darkest hour then, my friend, you
can truly call yourself strong. ♬

100 Replies to “Ep. 104 “How To Sing With Vocal Strength and Compression” – Voice Lessons To The World”

  1. People hear Thom Yorke and all they hear is falsetto and head voice. His mixed voice range and strength are unbelievable, thank you for the analysis! If you haven't, check out Rabbit in your Headlights, by UNKLE featuring Yorke. Amazing vocals.

  2. Wow! thanks I'm a fan Creep is my all time favorite song to play in a bar full of chicks and I enjoyed creeping out with you.

  3. Hey, Justin! I’ve formed a bad habit of holding FAR too much tension in my jaw and neck, because I’ve gone almost 20 years without vocal lessons. How can I break this habit, and rebuild my fundamentals from the ground up?

  4. Starting to feel like old times, me sitting here in my room watching VLTTW. I miss the question card you used to always use, though… 🙂 Love the necklaces.

  5. Wonderful video to pass along to my students. Thanks for continuing to make these videos, Justin. I know it must take a lot of time and effort. How do you fit it into your busy life? And unlike other Youtube channels, you never just turn a webcam on and wing it. You make sure we get the best, most accurate demos. As a voice teacher, I appreciate you.

  6. Dear justin.
    My name is Dan and I am from israel.
    I Want to sing rock music, but I heard that I need to sing with distortion. What is distortion?
    Thank you.

  7. Looking good, Justin. Love that you are SINGING for us again! And another sexy jacket! YES! You are so cute and funny. I could watch you all day long..oh wait…I already do. HA! The brightness of your smile gets me through my darkest hours, and your words of encouragement help me to believe in myself. You are a life changer.

  8. Omg… r u guys really not gonna comment on how good Justin is with his vocals. Justin i m really impressed with your vocals. U sound soo good and your voice is full of emotions “if thats a thing”. And u r just amazing 🔥❤️ u sound amazing and the way u teach is just amazing too🙌🏻

  9. Wow! We have a new exercises video! Thank you so much, because I love to sing with them.
    Nice to hear the differences among voice registers. It's a fun exercise to me, to try how to do the sounds.

  10. Hello Singers – what a year and what a pleasure it's been to produce Voice Lessons to the World and Quick Singing tips with Justin. Keep the comments coming have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

  11. Dear Justin,

    Is there a range for vocal fry? Some singers can do vocal fry at hight notes but I cant. Is there a reason behind?

  12. Quick question I was warming up my vocals but it kept cracking a little bit and also while I'm whistling with my voice.. how do I do that so I can get my whistle notes back

  13. Power to the people (and the vocal folds) with compression! Such an important topic with a fantastic teacher! Always a joy to hear Justin sing 😀 – Matt @ NYVC

  14. great lesson! i watched this episode while at a cafe and will do the vocal practice section at home. thats how easy and simple your explanations are. thanks guys!

  15. can a bass ever hit E5 or C5 (pretty comfortably) in head voice? My current highest I can hit with a short sound is A4 but it is really strained. I have hit B4 twice somehow but it was really strained (not while singing and was a really quick/short note). My usually high note when singing is around C4/D4. unless the word has 'open vowels' like ha I can hit D4 while singing. I am pretty new to vocal exercises. When I started (it has been 15 days since I started doing lip trills) I could barely hit F4 when I started (really strained). it feels like I would never be able to hit high notes like Sam Smith or Bruno Mars since I am not a natural tenor.

  16. I had an epiphany. Brilliant advice on separating vocal cords from the other infrastructure. My singing is freer AND stronger. Thank you so much Justin and behind the scenes team.

  17. Merry Christmas! Wonderful vid Justin, pleased to see Radiohead getting a spot here, Tom York is amazing and you did a fantastic job of those difficult vocals. I am just wondering why you switched to belt instead of staying in mix for the top notes? Just for the vocal colour and strength you wanted? Thanks, Jenny 🙂

  18. I've been improving so much this past half a year thanks to your videos! (I discovered you last Summer). The thing is, I've only even been following along to the same handful of videos for the most part, so there's still so much content I haven't even taken advantage of yet, but the exercises and advice I've used so far have made such a difference!

  19. i cant put a pin on it, but for some reason I really like how he has that quirkyness to his explanations. I find it quite valuable when it comes to practicing and remembering. Thanks again. 🙂

  20. Good lesson, you have an amazing voice, and I'm trying your piano pieces too. Question. How do you express yourself when you need to look at piano or guitar sheet music? And I marvel at the strength and confidence of how a worship leader leads a song when he cuts in with his own words? Thanks Justin for all you do!

  21. This is so helpful. I'm a new choir member and I'm having a hard time singing with strength. I'm going to watch all of your lessons 😊. Thank you so much ☺

  22. Dear Justin, I am facing the problem of singing with too much of subglotic pressure. Could you please give me a tip how to reduce strength and volume from high part of one's range?

  23. I really like your lessons and I use quite a few in my high school choir class. I'm disappointed, though, not to be able to use this one because you chose a song with a curse word in it. It's such a bummer because I had already wrote up a bunch of the lessons before I found "hell" in the song. 🙁

  24. I have been wondering, how many singers do those intentional, controlled voice cracks (or whatever they're called? It sounds like suddenly going from a solid note to a fading falsetto or something?), often towards the end of a longer note… That's probably not a priority to learn, but it bugs me how sooo many singers do that (even ones whose skill level doesn't seem extremely high), and I have no clue how to even get started attempting that. Maybe something for a future episode?
    Btw, your vocal lessons here are beyond comparison! I've tried to watch other vocal lessons, but they never come close to the insight and clarity of yours – I mean, you just explain things so well, in a way that makes perfect sense, while others give more vague (and sometimes not even convincing) advise!

  25. I enjoy your lessons a lot.And you're a great teacher.I have a question,when singing in chest voice how to make that operatic sound?Like you did at 3:34.

  26. Hey Justin

    You’re the real deal. Thanks for these lessons.
    I have a voice very similar to Michael Jackson. I can sing most of his songs with ease. However, when I go sing other songs in deeper voice my voice sounds weak. What do you recommend?

  27. I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing this and y’all are! I’m a voice major and your videos reinforce what’s in my heart – and my vocal instruction time 💜🙌🏻🎶🎁

  28. Is that high A4 on the word RUN a chest belt or a mixed belt? I can hit the note sometimes, but sometimes my voice breaks, it's difficult for me to get good compression on the note as well. Also is it different for Baritones?

  29. Great lesson as usual Mr. Stoney! – I'll keep doing a Joyful Noise indeed! – Good bless you and your team.

  30. Justin I’m really liking this new format. It’s got heart, but it’s updated. Really great team thanks man

  31. Leonard DiCaprio is one of my faves..

    My vocal coach happens to be his look alike..

    If this aint no blessing, idk what is.

  32. Hello, my voice sound more breathy when reaching F4 note and above. But it sounds quite bright when reaching C5 note. Why and why?

  33. I have a kind of wide vocal rage (A2-G6 in modal range) but I have a giant vocal break between G4-Bb4 it’s really annoying and this has softened the break and I don’t have a vocal crack to not sound breathy tysm!

  34. I went to my mixed voice as it goes higher, but it sounds connected and disconnected at the same time. Is this fine?

  35. When ever I sing, in my tongue and my jaws, there are so much tension that i couldn't sing as I wanted, is there any exercise to relax the jaw or tongue or tongue placement techniques. ??? Please help

  36. "If you keep on singing even through your darkest hour, then, my friend, you can truly call yourself… strong", thanks Justin!!!… that final smile tho 😀

  37. Hello, sir

    I saw this lesson video and I got a question.

    I hear the sounds of Mix and Belt sound alike

    Can you tell me what the key difference is between these two?

    So have a happy day, and always thank you!

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