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Aug 09

Ask an Expert: Teri Danz

ask an expert

Ask the expert is a new service here at MyVoiceExercises, where users can submit questions to our panel of vocal experts. Today’s expert features Teri Danz,a professional singer/songwriter and recording artist with numerous record credits, national press (Women Who Rock Magazine), and over 15 years of performing and recording experience.
[MVA] Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into the vocal coaching industry?

[Teri] I’m a recording artist and songwriter, had a club hit in the early 90’s, national press (Women Who Rock Magazine), headlining gigs, and also write articles for music magazines. Classically trained as a flutist, I was fortunate to study voice with great people, have a master’s in education, and a BA in Speech Therapy. I started coaching after doing a trade with someone who wanted to improve her voice and have been coaching ever since.

[MVA] Do you specialize in helping people develop a specific type of voice? For a certain genre of music?

[Teri] Yes, only pop technique -meaning no opera or classical. I coach all pop genres – pop, rock, R&B, gospel, jazz, country, folk, etc…

[MVA] Knowing that you’re based in Los Angeles, have you worked with any big names out there that we might recognize?

[Teri] I’ve worked with some names that you will know – Jared Lee on Chrysalis and Adam Bones on Merrifield Records (started by one of the guys from The Bravery)

[MVA] In your experience, what is the most common bad habit that novice singers develop?

[Teri] There are many, but expelling all of their air when they start to sing. This happens when you pull your air into your throat creating a gag reflex, and you then have to expel your air. The result – you’ve just started to sing, you’re out of air, and the gag reflex creates a panic feeling. Not good… You also lose vocal tone that way. Another is pushing air to hit notes or for more volume rather than dropping the jaw to hit the correct placement.

[MVA] If a novice singer came to you looking to transition into a more professional role, how would you coach them out of this bad habit?

[Teri] First, get in control of breathing and air supply (do breathing exercises). Second, your chest should be held up (with shoulders comfortably back)so that you can support your air. Then learn to drop your jaw and not expel to get correct vocal placement.

[MVA] Our readers are always looking for easy wins. Can you suggest one exercise that they could do today, which would improve their singing voice?

[Teri] Practice dropping your jaw and not expelling air when you sing. You get more volume and resonance with this technique.

About our expert
Teri Danz, Ed.M. is a pro recording artist, LA premier vocal, audition and performance coach with record credits, national press (Women Who Rock Magazine), and a degree in Speech and a Master’s in Education. A published writer and author, her new book “Vocal Essentials for the Pop Singer: Take Your Singing from Good to Great”, has just been released by Hal Leonard Corporation. Her articles have appeared in Electronic Musician, EQ Magazine, Roland and Boss Users Group Magazines, Guitar Player, and many more. www.teridanz.com

3 comments

  1. Andoni James

    Hi Teri, I noticed you teach only pop singers; this question relates to classical music voice production which may be different here, but perhaps not. If you feel there is a difference and it’s necessary maybe you could refer it to someone you know who teaches classical voice for me. I hear some professional opera singers saying they “let the breath fall in” to themselves to inhale. (Joyce DiDonato for example says this in a video she posted on You Tube about breath support and I’ve heard some others say it too). When I do this, I don’t get a lot of air for the next phrase and so I think I’m misinterpreting something, since these singers seem to get plenty of air to sing up to 10-12 second phrases. When using this idea of letting the breath fall in, should we still be consciously trying to contract the breathing muscles around the lower ribs to pull in more air, is that somehow still part of this approach? or is it really just the air that naturally comes back in when you’ve stopped singing the previous phrase and let the muscles that were controlling the rate of exhalation relax?

    Related to this, I also find it takes 1.5 to 2 seconds for me to let a more substantial amount of air really “fall into me” and be ready to sing the next phrase, which is problematic too, to keep up with the musicians.

    Do you recommend working with elastic belts around the waist in practice sometimes to help develop the strength of the breathing muscles. I understand Placido Domingo and some others did this kind of thing to develop their muscles.

    Any advice in these matters would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Andoni James

  2. Christian

    I’m a 16 year old, and I have always been able to manipulate my voice to make it very deep. I’m able to force my voice to sing the highest bass notes but it sound very forced. How do I manage to make it sound more natural and smooth? Please help.

  3. Mary

    Impressive Tips in this interview. I must say that i am very happy i found it

    Keep it up

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