Several platinum selling celebrities and Grammy winning artists including Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift have studied with the creator of the Singing Success vocal course, Brett Manning.
Singing Success is a 12 audio CD course that contains 17 lessons that cover both technical and stylistic aspects of singing such as developing trills and vocal riffs, fixing the vocal “break” and more. The program also comes with a DVD where every exercise is demonstrated for you by both a male and female singer.
The creator of the course, Brett Manning, also gives out a lot of his best tips and lessons for free on the Singing Success Website.
At the core of Brett’s teaching approach is a focus on tried and true vocal concepts drawn heavily from Speech Level Singing (SLS). The main idea in Speech Level Singing is that the larynx must remain in a low and relatively stationary position on every note in the singer’s vocal range. The reason that this is so important is because the larynx, which houses the vocal cords, interferes with free vocal vibration whenever it rises and activates so called “compensatory” muscles that have more to do with chewing than with singing. To quote from the Speech Level Singing International website:
“The muscles around the cords act as a sphincter and close so as to prevent swallowing down the windpipe and into the lungs. This is a very important process when you need to swallow, but it is a very poor process when you are trying to sing.”
As you can see, the larynx must remain low because otherwise it causes an anatomical conflict and entrains compensatory tensions in the voice. Vocal coaches who train opera singers also teach this rule and often the first crucial step in training a voice is simply training the larynx to remain in a low position throughout the vocal range. Since so many singers grow up imitating straining pop and rock singers, they do whatever it takes to successfully emulate their sound and acquire some pretty persistent habits that it can be difficult to undo. As a vocal coach myself and someone who went through a pretty rough period of unlearning poor vocal habits and easing my larynx down, I definitely empathize with the amount of work it can take to unlearn bad vocal habits.
The second fundamental concept that you learn in the course is also an SLS tenet: The vocal folds must stay together and vibrate at all times. If you imagine your vocal cords as two tiny pieces of taut cloth the size of fingernails and you separate those pieces, air will pass through them but they’ll hardly vibrate. If, on the other hand, you bring them together and then pass air through them, the air will push them apart and initiate vibration. If you pass air through open vocal folds like in the first example, the sound will be breathy and the pitch will be vague. On top of that, the edges of the vocal folds will become irritated and inflamed. But if you keep your vocal folds together when you initiate a vocalization (and as you continue to sing), they will begin to vibrate, creating a “point” to the sound that makes it more resonant, clearer and much easier to tune.
I give Brett Manning and his instructors major points for basing their method on research-backed, functional vocal principles, which is something that the majority of teachers arrogantly ignore at the expense of their students’ vocal health. Having been through several clueless vocal coaches myself, I’m a little sensitive to the vocal problems and setbacks they can cause for singing students and I just have to wonder how many would-be singers gave up trying to learn how to sing simply because they were unable to make progress with an incompetent vocal coach and thought they lacked ability, when really they just needed somebody who knew the score to show them the right way.
What I DON’T Like About The Course
You don’t really get to hear Brett sing at all and that raises my antenna immediately. A singing teacher should ALWAYS be able to demonstrate the skill they’re trying to impart, and at a very high level to boot. The little that I’ve heard Brett vocalize leaves me with the impression that he his own singing is lacking, although I’d love to hear some actual audio to get a better idea of where he’s at.
The course also uses lot of exercises. While I’m not a big fan of endless vocal exercises, I do believe that they hold a very important place in training the singing voice. The key is to take a minimalistic approach and only practice the handful of exercises that cover the most musical ground (pitch, rhythm, intervals, breathing, etc.) The rest of your practices should be devoted to learning and polishing actual music! Singing Success does utilize a lot of exercises but I was glad to see that they’re fundamental-type exercises that focus on getting the larynx low, eliminating the vocal break, bringing together the vocal folds and learning the nuances of compression and mask.
Having trained many celebrity singers who have gone on to tour internationally and win prestigious awards for their performances, Brett Manning definitely knows what he’s doing. The course is shipped internationally and has users in over 100 countries. Alternatively, users can simply access Singing Success as a direct download on the website. Brett offers an incredibly lenient 6 month money back guarantee for Singing Success which, to me, demonstrates a strong confidence in the quality of his product.