A West Coast Center for Estill Voice Training

(805) 489-5687


Can anybody sing?  Aren’t you just born with it?    

If you can speak, you have all the physical equipment you need to sing. How good your singing voice becomes depends on how much attention and energy you want to apply.

Training the voice is much like training an athlete. Athletes learn the most efficient way to coordinate their muscles to swing a bat or to come off the starting blocks. Singers learn how to coordinate their muscles to sing higher, lower, or with more power and nuance. Then they do exercises to strengthen those muscles so they can effectively and consistently accomplish their task. An athlete will play many games and a singer will sing many songs until it becomes an automatic response and appears “natural” as if they were born with it.

How much do I need to practice?

For recreational singing, a half hour a day will accomplish growth and development. You will feel your voice get stronger and develop a greater ease of singing. Judith will help you with warm-up tapes, and recorded accompaniments so that you will have the tools to practice at home.

If you have professional  intentions, you should allocate  at least an hour a day of technical work. This should be coupled with rehearsals in the performing groups in which you are interested.  The more time you spend singing healthily, the more you will develop  vocal co-ordination, stamina, and nuance.

What is my range?

Your range is the lowest note you can sing, and the highest note you can sing.  As you learn to use your voice, you will find that your range increases 

Within this range you will find that there are areas that are more comfortable, and your voice sounds the best. This is called your tessitura. This is one of the factors that help decide whether you are a soprano, alto, or a tenor or bass.

It is important to know what your range is when you are choosing songs and auditioning for shows or choirs. 

What key should I sing in?    

Some people think we choose a key and sing every song in the same key. However we must take each song individually , look at the highest and lowest note and decide if it fits within our range and tessitura. If it is higher than our range we must move the scale or the key down. If it is lower than our range we must move the key up.  If the range of the song is beyond your vocal range, you’ll want to put it aside until you have been able to widen your own range.

Judith Dunlore will help you determine how a song fits in your range, and make sure that you  perform it in your optimum key.

What do I need for an audition?

Musical Theater Audition- For most musical theater auditions you need to be prepared with an “up tempo” or fast song and a ballad or slow song. When possible you should have a song from the more classical Musical Theater and the contemporary. These should be songs that  feel very comfortable to you  and that show you off to best advantage. You should have sheet music for the accompanist in the key that you sing it. More and more, auditions let you sing with recorded tracks. It is a smart idea to carry that with you also in case you need it. 

Judith Dunlore can help you determine songs that best suit your voice and character. She can also help prepare sheet music  in the correct key as well as accompaniment tracks.

Remember your  head shot photo and resume’.

Choral Audition- Each choir director has their unique way of auditioning so it is best to find out as much as you can as to what they are requiring. In most cases be prepared with a song in the style of music the choir usually sings. Expect that you will be asked to sight read and possibly sing in harmony with someone else.

Judith can work with you on sight reading. Sometimes she groups students who need to work on harmony, so that they can practice with each other.

Record Company Audition- You will need to send a good quality demo recording. This needs to be technically well recorded and well mixed. They seldom are looking for a solo singer, but for the whole package. Original songs and a good band backing  you will generate much more interest than a good singer singing cover tunes with karaoke tapes.


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