In this video I explain a concept I often use in my teaching. You may have heard people say that a voice speaks well or doesn’t speak when describing a singer.

They are referring to how immediate the sound appears. Well produced voices seem to be audible in an instant. Others seem to be slightly delayed.

I have taken this idea and applied it to the physical action of the voice to define it in functional terms.

It relates to my last post about the Instinctive Vocal Response. When we want to say something there is an instinctive impulse to the vocal folds to adjust for phonation.

Unfortunately for most of us, that instinct usually doesn’t happen because we are either too passive with the vocal mechanism or too tense in the throat when we use the voice.

If we are passive we won’t stimulate the response and if we are tense there is interference.

This is why I always have people breath in a relaxed way before vocalizing so any tension that might interfere will be released.

Then we need to think of speaking with the voice so the vocal folds automatically come close together spontaneously.

It should feel that it comes out of the feeling of nothingness in the relaxed throat after breathing.

This coming together of the vocal folds to vibrate is what I mean by speaking. When we talk habitually this doesn’t necessarily happen. They vibrate, but not in a crisp, well-balanced way where they touch for part of each vibration cycle.

When the vocal folds spring to life spontaneously when we start saying something the vibration and the breath get linked together. This creates the balance that I am always talking about.

This spontaneous response of the voice produces vibrant sound immediately. That is what is meant by a voice that speaks.

In this video lesson I explain this concept and demonstrate examples of how it works. A big part of getting the voice to speak well is to actually think of doing it.

Our thoughts act as a guide to our body. It is like we are asking the body to do this and it reflexively responds.

This is what puts the voice on top of the breath. If the voice doesn’t speak when we start singing the breath will overpower the vibration and it will be out of balance.

The breath should not flow through the voice. It should be released in rapid puffs with each vibration cycle of closing and opening.

This secure vibration cycle is the result of the vocal folds properly resisting the pressure from the breath.

There shouldn’t be so much resistance that the tone sounds restricted. But there shouldn’t be so much release that the vibration lacks “buzz” and the tone lacks focus.

The act needs to happen spontaneously and reflexively. Any hesitation or gradual starting will not give a natural result.

Of course this needs to be combined with an appropriate opening of the mouth and throat so there is an effective resonator connected to the vibrating source.

But the biggest thing to recognize is that producing the voice is a two-step process. It is not singular as we are led to believe.

What I mean is there are two steps to get the voice working.

We don’t go from breathing directly to resonance sound.

We first go from breathing to vibration. Then from the vibration the energy goes to resonance.

So as we are singing we need to take care of both halves of the situation.

We need to keep the vibration going, which requires continuing to speak and feeding the vocalization with breath energy.

How much breath energy is needed depends on the expression and the pitch. Stronger expression needs stronger breath energy as does higher pitch.

Questions and comments are welcome at the bottom of the page.

P.S. If you find this helpful I encourage you to consider joining the Private Community.  It is only $10/month. Info at