Singing Myths And Misinformation

Here comes the hard truth. This is reality backed up by hard science, both by physics and the field of modern medicine. We could think lots of silly things and feel like we have the secret solution to singers’ problems like a certain singing teacher did in the mid 1800s but that resulted in the myths that persist to this day. Are you sitting down?

You do not sing from your diaphragm.

You cannot place your tone.

Breathing has very little to do with solving your singing problems (unless you are asthmatic or otherwise challenged in a pulmonary kind of way). Want the evidence?

Where have all of our singing teachers been getting their answers to our problems and why do they remain ignorant of simple provable science? We’ll explore these in depth. Hang on to your hats and wake up to a spheroidally-shaped planet. Yep. Nearby NASA has pictures to prove that theory, too.

Your diaphragm contracts down and causes you to inhale. Ask a doctor. Read Gray’s Anatomy. The truth is all around you. If your voice teacher says “sing from your diaphragm”, run (don’t walk) away. You are wasting your time and money. Period.

The same goes for “placing your tone”. It is a myth. It is a lie. You can believe it with all your might but the sound is still going to come flying out at 750 miles per hour and you do not have magical valves in your head or even the time to manipulate these invisible imaginary valves. It is a bald-faced lie.

750 miles per hour is about 1,100 feet per second.  How long will it take for sound to travel from the vocal folds and exit your mouth?  You do the math.

Still sitting? Good. People say to not sing from your throat. Sorry. Your vocal folds (formerly called vocal cords) are in your throat and they vibrate when you sing and they vibrate in your throat. Air molecules set them vibrating as they brush across them. Ever take science in school? Maybe the voice teachers skipped school that day.

Crack open a physics book and a book on acoustics. Heard of those? This is the so-called “information age”. If you want to waste your time and money and guarantee that you have a limit to how well you can sing, believe the “old stuff”. It is not simply “a different technique”.

Gray’s Anatomy, the book, not the TV series, has a huge amount of medically correct information about breathing, including the function of the specific muscles involved.

Who made up the myths and why?  Probably teachers who were frustrated with being unable to help their students and as humans do, they made up stories.

Doctors have known this since the 1700s.