Connecting With Your Audience By Carol Jack

As a teacher and performer I have attended many courses and seminars on how to improve your singing. But one simple phrase has always stayed with me: tell the story.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe that singing with a ‘good’ technique is crucial to having the freedom to express yourself in whatever way you choose.  However it’s not the be-all and end-all of a performance. Your audience is not coming to see or hear a good technique.  They want to feel something, and in order for that to happen, you need to consider the story you are telling.

Before singing any song:

Think about WHO you are speaking to

‘I love you’ may be said in different ways to an old friend who always makes you laugh, a boy or girl who makes your heart beat faster, a son or daughter who makes you proud, a son or daughter who brings you pain.

Think about WHY you are speaking to that person

Saying ‘I love you’ to someone you are secure with is different to saying I love you to someone you think is leaving.

Think about WHAT has happened before you started speaking to that person, what is happening while you are speaking to them, and what you think will happen afterwards.

Have they told you they want to leave just before you started speaking, are they walking away as you are speaking to them, do you think they will come back after you speak to them?

Bearing these points in mind will help you to connect more with the message you are conveying and in turn connect more with your audience. 

Share your experiences on this page or on my Carol Jack Vocal Studio Facebook page

Is Learning A Singing Technique Necessary? By Carol Jack

A large part of being a confident singer is knowing that when you open your mouth to sing, the sound you want to hear will come out! Many singers are nervous because they are unable to control the quality of the sound they make. They don’t know what makes them ‘tick’ as a singer, they don’t know how their voice works and they don’t know what to do when their voice isn’t doing what they want it to do. This uncertainty makes them a lot less confident about performing.

For me, learning a singing technique that i felt comfortable with allowed me to express myself more freely, and i felt more comfortable physically and emotionally. my voice sounded better and i had more range, plus i experiencedless strain and irritation.

Most of us have a tendency to change our voices when we move from talking to singing. we have grown up with the idea that you need two different voices for those two functions. this leads to problems such as straining to reach high notes, and blowing too much air when singing.

Being shown an effective singing technique helped me to see singing as just another form of vocal communication, which uses the same apparatus as speaking, therefore it’s not necessary to use my swallowing muscles to help me with the sound (the equivalent of trying to swallow and sing at the same time!). Some people sound breathy when they sing. Breathiness can be used as a style, but it’s important to be able to control how you use this technique, from a style and from a vocal health point of view. too much breath passing through the vocal cords all the time can irritate them.

Some singers feel that learning a technique will take away all the personality and uniqueness from their style. an effective technique should not do this – it should allow you to keep your own style, and to express yourself the way you want to.

There are many techniques out there, and I would not advocate one over the other – what’s good for me wouldn’t necessarily work for you. But i do believe it’s important to find a good teacher to help you use your singing voice in a healthy, comfortable manner.  

What do you think?  Share your views on this page or on my Carol Jack Vocal Studio Facebook page

Health And Singing By Carol Jack

Voc al cords are part of the body, so anything that affects the generalhealth of your body will naturally affect the health of your voice.


the benefits of exercise have been well documented: they include maintaining a healthy weight, keeping the hearthealthy, promoting a good night’s sleep, increasing motivation, and an improved feeling of well-being.

whether you are into gym work outs, dancing, running, walking, cycling, yoga, pilates, team sports – there issomething for everyone, so get moving!


It’s important to find some way of relaxing – again there is a lot to choose from, including yoga, meditation,massage, sauna, reading, quality time with loved ones…


Food is like fuel for the body. So it should be nutritious, and as organic and fresh as possible, with a goodproportion of fruit and vegetables.

Raw Food: Some people swear by the raw food diet, saying that it really cleanses the system.

Dairy: There is some debate about this. The general view is that singers should avoid it, but I have met singerswhose voices are not affected by dairy at all.

Caffeine and alcohol: I’m not saying to cut them out completely, but they are very dehydrating and of course can have other adverse effects if taken in excessive amounts!

Food Supplements: Opinions vary as to whether they are necessary. Some people feel it’s impossible to get all the necessary nutrients from food, others think you can if you eat properly.

Water: this liquid facilitates many important functions in the body, and it is possible to survive longer without foodthan without water. Drinking water is the best way to keep the vocal cords hydrated, which is necessary for them tofunction properly.


Avoid! Need I say more?

Specialist vocal products

There are a lot of products on the market which claim to help with voice maintenance, ranging from lozenges tosprays to inhalers. Vocal coaches and other singers and can be a good source of information about theireffectiveness.

Mental and emotional health

Your state of mind will also affect your ability to express yourself freely, although some people say they’ve written their best songs while in a bad way mentally or emotionally – and people will gravitate to songs that touch them emotionally, so no consensus there!

I think the ideal is to have a healthy body and mind, but be able to draw on the past and present to convey differentemotions. exercise, diet and relaxation all have their part to play, as well as the various forms of counselling andtherapy.

The key to staying healthy is a mixture of research and monitoring what works for you.

I’m always interested to hear about people’s experiences regarding health and singing, so don’t hesitate to connect withme on this page or on my Carol Jack Vocal Studio Facebook page

Tips For Learning Songs By Carol Jack

A lot of singers worry that they will forget the words and/or melody of a song. My advice would be:

Familiarise yourself with the structure of the song.

Rehearse it and rehearse it and REHEARSE IT

Tell the story

Structure (you can make a note of the relevant points on a printout of the lyrics):

The standard structure of a song is: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge (or middle 8), chorus (it’s common to give the parts letters as in the image above)

Come Home by One Republic is an example of a song with this structure:

There are, of course, variations on the general theme. For example:

The song may start with the chorus instead of the verse, for example All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor

There may be an instrumental in the middle instead of a middle 8 with lyrics, for example Stay With Me bySam Smith

Sometimes there is a pre-chorus (also called a link) between the chorus and verse) – usually the link has the same lyrics each time. Listen to All Of Me by John Legend, and note the part that starts ‘my head’s under water’.

Some songs have an extra verse after the middle 8, for example ‘Teenage Dirt bag’ by Wheatus. Sometimes it’s just a repeat of the first or second verse.

A key strategy is to note any repeating patterns in the song – the verses usually have the same melody pattern,and the same applies to the choruses.

Sometimes the verse can even be separated into two halves, possibly with a slight change to the end of thesecond half. Check out All Of Me by John Legend: the first half goes down at the end, on ‘pin you down’, thesecond half ends by going up on ‘be alright’).

Once you are aware of how the song is structured it’s a lot easier to learn it.


I don’t think I need to say much more about this. Just sing the song over and over until you can practically sing it inyour sleep. Also listen to it as much as possible on your mp3 player when you’re travelling, exercising, cooking….. And make sure you’re comfortable singing the whole song – not straining or stretching to reach notes.

Tell The Story

Once you’ve learned the song by heart, and tackled any technical issues, you can concentrate on what you’reactually trying to say! Singers (myself included) often get so caught up in getting a song ‘right’ that they forget thatit’s about communication, just like speaking. Why did you choose the song, and how does the subject matter relateto you? The more you can personalise it, the easier it will be to remember it. Also it won’t matter so much if youforget the exact words – you’ll still get your message across.

So give the above tips a try, and, as always, let me know – on this page or on my Carol Jack Vocal Studio Facebook page – how you get on!

Got The Pre-Gig Blues? By Carol Jack

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs about becoming a more confident performer. I’ve received questions about this from actors as well as singers, and this series aims to answer those questions.

I’ll start with what can happen just before a gig:

So you’re just about to hit the stage and your stomach lurches, your heart starts racing, your hands start sweating and/or your head starts pounding – and you just want to run away. So what do you do?

These and other symptoms can be described as a fight or flight response, which dates way back to the days when we had to hunt or be hunted. When you think of it that way, this reaction to performing on stage is a bit over the top! Some helpful techniques to counteract these symptoms are:

1) Slower, deeper breathing – this will help to slow down your heartbeat and help you feel more relaxed in general.

2) Visualisation – see yourself stepping confidently onto the stage, and passing your message on to a rapt and attentive audience.

3) Remind yourself of why you’re doing this: you love your art, and someone thought you were good enough to be invited to share it with their friends and/or clients.

4) Act ‘as if’ – this technique helps you to move towards actually feeling confident. Behaving as if you are totally comfortable will also help the audience feel comfortable with you, which in turn will help you to feel more confident.

If you’d like to start a conversation about this topic please comment on this page or on my Carol Jack Vocal Studio Facebook page

The More (Singing) Power TO You! Course

Want to take your performance skills to a higher level? One of the keys to achieving this is emotional Connection – and in this my new 4 singer workshop, we will focus on connecting with the songs you sing, and in turn, connecting with your audience.

Learn how to tell the story of the song and give your performance that ‘je ne sais quoi’ you feel might be lacking.