How Your Voice Works

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

voice lessons Ladera Ranch

Here’s an interesting article on how your voice works; shared from The Guardian.


How your voice works

The power behind your voice

Think of your lungs as bellows controlled by your diaphragm and abdominal muscles (“support”). You breathe by lowering your diaphragm, which pushes your stomach downwards and forward and the ribs outward, drawing air into the lungs. Good breathing in requires a relaxed abdominal wall (allow your tummy to get slightly fatter as you breathe). When you sing, this system goes into reverse, with the support muscles controlling the outflow of air through the larynx (your voice box).

Where sound is made

Your larynx contains a pair of vocal folds (or cords). When you bring them together on the out-breath, they beat together hundreds of times per second, creating sound. To make a higher note, your vocal cords are stretched, making them beat faster (think of stretching a rubber band). When you sing louder, the cords become thicker. The basis for all good singing is to make sound efficiently using as little air as possible.

From sound into song

Slightly lowering the larynx produces a more classical tone; pop and other commercial styles use a neutral or even raised larynx. Tilting the larynx forward makes the sound warmer. The soft palate (from which your uvula dangles in your mouth) is a valve that diverts air either through the nose or mouth. Nasality must be avoided when singing vowels. Try pinching your nose while singing an “ah”: if there’s a difference in sound, you’re letting air escape through your nose. In combination with the lips and jaw, the tongue creates the vowels and consonants. A relaxed jaw and tongue are crucial for a good sound, because any tension can give an unpleasant tone.
Stuart Barr


Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.


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