Breathing – not doing it’s gonna kill you…

May 26, 2009

Here’s my no. 1 piece of advice for singers: learn to breathe properly!

I’ve been working with two students recently who’ve both entered SA’s Got Talent, and it’s amazing what they have achieved after just a few lessons of proper breathing. One of them is 55 and has had to undo 45 years of bad habits with breathing, but in just two weeks he’s already sounding better.

Not that there are any shortcuts – you still have to work to have a voice, but know that you’re in good company. Any of the famous singers you know and like has probably had training.

Tip: go to gym and do cardio. As Pavarotti said, you have to be an athlete or an ex-athlete to be a great singer (despite his considerable girth at the end, he was very slim and fit in his youth).

More tips and advice at,0


Throat feeling scratchy & sore? Watch out for nodules…

March 25, 2009

I was shocked to read that singers from Justin Timberlake to Mariah Carey either still have nodules on their cords, or have had operations to remove them. Except in the case of the sexy-voiced Bonnie Tyler, whose raspish sound resulted from her speaking too early after having nodules removed (it is suggested that this actually helped her career – see, having nodules will not enhance your career but may end it. Julie Andrews went for surgery to have them removed and her voice was permanently damaged by the scar tissue created from the laser surgery.

What are nodules? They are almost like little blisters on the vocal cords caused when they rub together instead of vibrating freely (think of it when you wear a new pair of shoes). The voice usually feels hoarse and scratchy, may be sore, and it feels like  a throat infection. If unchecked they may cause permanent damage.

The best way to treat nodules is with a good singing technique. I strongly advise that you never go for surgery! Rather first see if proper vocal training can stop the cords rubbing together which will see the nodules eventually disappear.

For more tips on good singing technique, please email to subscribe to the Singers Inc. newsletter. For lessons in the Johannesburg area, please log onto and click on the “vocal lessons” link.