12 episodes

Learn how to sing with Michael Graves, creator of Singing From Scratch and the 6 Elements of Singing.

Singing From Scratch Michael Graves

    • Performing Arts

Learn how to sing with Michael Graves, creator of Singing From Scratch and the 6 Elements of Singing.

    Why Singing Lessons Don’t Work

    Why Singing Lessons Don’t Work

    Instead of giving you a synopsis of this episode on Why Singing Lessons Don’t Work, I’m including a transcript.  It’s that important.  So here it goes!


    I’m going to get a little controversial with you and probably step on some toes, and feelings in the process. But hey, maybe I’ll help some people at the same time. And that’s the important part. To me it’s worth a few hurt feelings and squashed toes.

    Today, I’m going to tell you why most singing lessons don’t work.

    I’m going to start off with a little mental demonstration.

    Image if you will. You’ve just boarded a small plane in Miami or somewhere on your way to Barbados for a vacation. You’re about halfway there when the pilot and copilot come walking through the cabin and then jump with the last two parachutes.

    Well, obviously somebody’s gotta land the plane. And that somebody is you. But all you have to rely on for training is a video game flight simulator you once played, or movies you’ve watched where a passenger ‘magically’ lands the plane saving everyone on board.

    You think ‘Ok. I’ve seen snakes on a plane, how hard can it be right?’

    So, without any understanding about taking off, landing, how the controls work, the navigation, gauges, wind speed, surface speed, approach speed, angle of approach, how to put on the brakes etc., basically all the necessary fundamentals on flying, you’re supposed to land this plane safely.


    That’d be terrifying. Well, for some it’s just as terrifying to sing on stage in front of a live audience. And that is simply due to poor singing fundamentals or no fundamentals at all.

    The Why

    A LOT of vocal coaches skip the fundamentals. Most of your most popular online singing courses do as well. They go straight to the sexy shiny tips and tricks.  Or they skim the top of the important stuff giving you just enough information to be dangerous so to speak, using the airplane example from before.

    Or even more disastrous, you take these lessons, think you have it all under control, go out and sing, fail a little bit, if not miserably, and then give up singing for good.  For the rest of your life.  You decide that you just can’t sing.  That you don’t have “it”. And it’s over before it even starts.

    They use catch phrases like “Better Vocal Control”, “More Accurate Pitch”, “Improving Tone”, “Improved Power”, “Vocal Agility”.

    Ok fine. Let’s take a look at a few of those.

    Marketing Catch Phrases

    Better Vocal Control – How about vocal control at all?  How about knowing exactly what vocal control is? What IS actually doing the ‘controlling’?

    More Accurate Pitch – Of course they’re assuming the student can even sing in tune to get more accurate from. Better yet, what IS singing in tune and why is it important to understand what pitch even is?

    Improving Tone – How can you improve tone when you don’t even have a knowledge of tone to improve.  What is tone? What are the mechanics behind it? How about we learn how to create tone before we try to improve it? Huh?

    Vocal Agility – This one is a funny one to me. Ever have a spouse, partner, parent, friend, teacher, anybody chew you out for something?  In the middle you usually hear a phrase like ‘and another thing…’ or something like that. Context aside, think about what their voice was doing throughout it all.

    Goes something like this.

    “I can’t even BELIEVE you would even think about doing something like that!  Seriously? What in the world were you thinking? Obviously you weren’t or you wouldn’t have done it in the first place!”

    Going up and down, and loud then soft, then jumping high then low. That’s some serious vocal agility there. But it certainly isn’t singing. So how about we teach the student how to sing notes first before bunching them all up and a

    • 13 min
    How To Sing Harmonies – Part 3

    How To Sing Harmonies – Part 3

    Welcome back to final part in a 3 part series on How To Sing Harmonies.  As I go over in the intro, this episode is released late due to A/C leaking problems here at the studio.  Had to vacate for a bit.  But we’re back and rockin’ away.  In this episode I’m actually borrowing the audio from a YouTube video I did on How To Sing Simple Harmonies. Not really borrowing, as the entire purpose of recording the video was to ALSO create the audio for this podcast.  I did it this way simply because I was able to get good stereo separation from the video sound in order to separate the different parts for you in your ears, as you will soon hear.

    Here’s what I go over in this podcast:

    Answer a listener’s question about where I got the podcast intro song I use Sing On Yeah!  You might be surprised at the answer lol!!

    * How the exercises are laid out and how to practice them.

    * 3 parts demonstrated.

    * Melody Primary Notes Exercise

    * 3rd Part Harmony Primary Notes Exercise

    * 5th Part Harmony Primary Notes Exercise

    * Melody, 3rd, and 5th full notes with transition notes Exercise.

    * Singing each part with me with stereo separation Exercise.

    * Conclusion

    Let me know if you have any questions.  Until then..

    Sing On!


    • 26 min
    How To Sing Harmonies Part 2

    How To Sing Harmonies Part 2

    Oddly enough, even some professional singers have a problem learning how to sing harmonies. It’s not just a beginner problem.  Essentially it is an ability to hold your own, be an individual voice, and sing with others at the same time.  This part 2 version of how to sing harmonies introduces you and helps you train yourself to hold your own note and sing with other.  In this instance the other singers are me! I will use editing magic again to bring in me singing both notes. This is what we will cover:

    * What harmonies are recap.

    * What the 1st, 3rd and 5th harmonies are.

    * SINGING EXERCISE with you holding the main (tonic) note with me and then my voice coming in again with the 3rd.

    * SINGING EXERCISE with you holding the 3rd with me and then me bringing in the tonic.

    * SINGING EXERCISE with you holding the tonic by yourself and then me bringing in the 3rd.

    * SINGING EXERCISE with you holding the 3rd by yourself and then me bringing in the tonic.


    And then as usual the wrap-up!

    Let me know if you have any questions, and as always Happy Singing!


    • 20 min
    The Biggest Lie And The Tone Deaf Test

    The Biggest Lie And The Tone Deaf Test

    In this episode I wanted to dispel one the most, if the not the most, blatant lies about singing. It is the first and biggest barrier to singing – Tone Deafness.  It is also disguised as what is known as the ‘It Factor’.  It is a widely accepted phrase and is complete B.S.  “You either have it or you don’t”.

    * So, in this episode I’m going to cover the following:

    * An infallible test that proves someone isn’t tone deaf.

    * The difference between someone who is Tone Deficient and someone who can sing.

    * How to teach someone who is Tone Deficient how to sing.

    * Listening Exercises to increase tone efficiency.

    * Singing Exercises to practice Intonation.

    Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and as always…

    Happy Singing!


    • 25 min
    Tension and Emotional Expression

    Tension and Emotional Expression

    In this weeks episode, I dive into the professional end of singing, and go over the use of the 6 Element of Singing – Dynamics, and how to invoke emotional expression using Vibrato and Volume to create tension. Here are the topics covered:

    * What causes tension in music.

    * How instruments create tension.

    * The difference between chordal tension and vocal tension.

    * The importance on the use of volume increases, decreases, and silence to create tension.

    * How intermittent vibrato creates tension with a short vocal EXERCISE.

    * Detailed Breakdown example of the use of Dynamics to convey emotional expression.

    The 6th Element of Singing is the element that takes singing from…well…just singing, and turns it into art. To access detailed exercises on how to master Dynamics, take a look my online course on the subject.

    Let me know if you have any questions!

    As always, Happy Singing!

    Michael Graves

    • 21 min
    Questions and Answers

    Questions and Answers

    In this episode I take common Quora questions that are requested of me about singing and performance and answer them in more detail with vocal examples.  Hopefully this will fill in some of the blanks for you as well!  Here’s what we cover.

    * As a singer, how long do you spend recording vocals for a single track?

    * How will I know if I have reached my falsetto?

    * Is singing ability like a muscle that can be improved or is it a gift that you are born with?

    * How do I have a powerful voice, but not loud?

    * What’s the best technique to sing high notes without voice cracking.

    As always let me know if you have any questions, and of course don’t forget the courses that give yo the basic tools to completely master these singing problems yourself!

    • 20 min

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