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An old old song from the 1920’s contains clues for us today about our singing voices.

According to Wikipedia, “Without a Song” was a popular song with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Billy Rose and Edward Eliscu, published in 1929. It was included in the musical play, Great Day.

In other words, it was a successful Pop Song during that era.

What intrigues me about this song is the message it holds for us today:

I got my trouble an’ woe, but….
I’ll get along as long as a song is strung in my soul!

Why am I telling you about this?

Well, today one of the people who filled out my Singing Voice Survey was honest enough to tell me what he thought his voice sounded like. I won’t quote him because I don’t want to embarrass him, but basically, he was telling me that he didn’t think that he sounded very good when he sang.

This is a common problem and I like to get deep down the importance of your singing mindset to solve it.

Basically, if you don’t like the way you sound, no one else will either and so you will not be able to connect with your audience the way you want to.

I have written about this before in several different places but I’ll list only one here.

If you would like to find out more about your singing mindset, just type in that phrase, “singing mindset” in the search bar at the top right hand side of this page. You’ll find all sorts of articles listed there to help you.

Meanwhile, let’s get back to your voice and your attitude about how you think it sounds.

It is crucial for you to find ways to change the way you think about your voice. I cannot stress this enough. The foundation of everything you do with your voice depends upon your singing mindset.

So I want to give you one affirmation for today about your voice. And I want you to say it out loud to yourself in front of a mirror at least three times a day.

It may sound silly to you at first and you may feel foolish, but trust me, I know what I’m doing and I wouldn’t lead you astray. What would be the point in that?

Here is your affirmation:

“I have unlimited potential to change the way I sound when I sing.”

That’s all. Just that little phrase, three times a day in front of a mirror for at least a week or maybe longer if you have a deeply ingrained negative singing mindset.

And do leave questions below after you try this for awhile. This is how I can help you the most. By knowing what you think and what you need.

Now, to finish up this post tonight I want to get back to the song lyrics above.

The message behind these lyrics will help you with your singing mindset because as long as you KNOW that you have a song inside of you that is strung there like a harp or guitar or violin string that is just waiting to be set free, you can find a way to release it with the deepest emotions you have.

So, if you have trouble believing in yourself, in your ability to improve the way you sound, if you want to get the high notes that you desire, if you want to enjoy the sound of your voice, then follow what I suggested above.

Also, if you haven’t already filled out my Singing Voice Survey be sure to do it now.

I live and breath in order to help you with your singing voice and it starts with your singing mindset first, so get the help you need and follow what I suggest.


Why Do You Sing?

What is your singing mindset?

I’ve been wondering about this for some time now because the best way I can help you with your voice is to understand why you want to learn how to sing better.  This has to do with your singing mindset.

I mean, what motivates you to even want to sing?

If you know the answer to that question, you have taken the most important first step in learning to sing better.

I’ve been tossing around this question “why do you sing?” for awhile and would truly welcome your ideas about it.

These are the things I’m wondering about:

1.  What makes you want to sing?

2.  What do you get from singing?  (self-value, pleasure, conquering fear, expressing anger/love/confusion/joy, something else?)  In other words, “what’s in it for you?”

3.  What does singing give you that nothing else can?

Leave your comments in the comments box.

Oh, and if you like Singing Mastermind and what I am doing here, please be sure to click the Facebook Like button at the top right hand side of this page.  Thanks1

Curiously Yours,



Michael Silversher

This Bonus Mindset comes from an interview I did with Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, Michael Silversher, who once took a few singing lessons from me.

We talked about a subject that I know you will find important to you as you seek to empower your voice by discovering what your authentic voice truly is.

When we start singing early in life, we imitate our heroes, the singing stars that we love to hear. It doesn’t matter what genre we love, whether it is rock or opera, we want to sound like the voices we hear in movies, on TV, the internet, iTunes, etc.

But if we stay in that mindset, always trying to sound like someone else, some star, we can never truly find our own authentic voice.

Here are a few snippets of what we spoke about:

“Sing from a true place in yourself.”

“I abandoned all pretense of trying to sound great.”

“Don’t push yourself to the point that you hurt yourself….push yourself to overcome what is hurting you.”

“The only fear you have is the unknown, and once you know it, you can’t be afraid of it anymore.”

We are each a hero to our own truth….if you tell the truth in your own authentic voice, you are a hero.”

There is much more, so listen to it now.


Like it? Leave a comment! That helps me to help you!


Hoarse Voice From Singing

hoarseness from singingDo you get a hoarse voice from singing?

I gave a Skype singing lesson tonight and my student and I were doing a serious session about the singing tongue.

We did a few tongue exercises and then we reviewed a little bit from my first singing tongue lesson post, mostly using the photo below the crazy “I Can Has Cheeseburger” type cat at the top of the post.

We talked about the importance of the tongue and how it can muffle the sound of the voice if it is pulled back in the throat, forcing the epiglottis down so that the vocal cords then have to work harder to get the sound out of the body.

And that led us to the subject of what causes hoarseness from singing.

I have articles about that subject, but I wanted to find something more visual, more alive for her to relate to.

So I did a quick YouTube search and found this very informative video made by Dr. James Thomas, M.D. in which he does a great job of clearly explaining how a person can get a hoarse voice from singing.

It is so good that I decided to post it here for you.

After my student watched the video, she was blown away it. She said that she always thought that a hoarse voice came from singing too long.

Many people think that way, but it is simply not the case.

Here is what I told her:

So you have discovered that the voice doesn’t get hoarse from over singing but rather from not knowing how to use the breath properly to support the tone, or from too much tension in the back of the tongue, right?

It can get hoarse from over-singing if you mean by pushing the voice to try and sing “over” the hoarseness or the tightness, yes?

So it is not from singing too much but from not singing with a technique that helps you free up the tension in and around the vocals so they do not get overtaxed, right?

It was cool to listen to her response to this video that I just had to embed the video here for you own discovery of why you might be getting hoarse from singing.

The good news is that you don’t have to get hoarse from singing!
You don’t have to get vocal polyps!


Singing Tongue and Phonation

I love the folks over at The Modern Voice forum and today I had a question from there.

I liked my answer so much that I thought I would also post it here.

Here is what Martin at the forum asked:

I’m curious as to how the tongue is related to other “tongue partners” and how it can hinder your phonation? :)

Here’s my answer.

Note:  I took out anything that mentioned this website because you are already on this website:

Great question, Martin!

I hope I won’t offend you in any way, but I tend not to use much formal terminology (I let other people do that), although I am super familiar with it since I have a degree and graduate studies in voice production and have done a lot of private training and teaching, plus professional performances.

My approach is to take formal vocal methods/techniques/terms and make them more user friendly.  People tend to think I’m pretty wacky at times, but I find that humor and not taking ourselves too seriously is the best way to help people, at least in my world.

Wow, I just put out a bunch of words!

Okay, so all of that is to say that you may not see the word “phonation” in my answer or in the article. :)

If you look at the first picture on that page (after the “I Can Has Cheeseburger” type cat!) you will see how narrow is the area through which the sound has to travel in order to get up and out of your body through your mouth and into your sinus cavities (crucial for good resonance).

When your singing tongue is pulled back in a tense manner, this will cause the tongue partners (epiglottis, etc.) or muscles and other things around it (see the picture) to adjust for the tension.  The energy that it takes to do that will interfere with the sound itself (can muffle it).  This, in turn, can put stress on the vocal cords because you will have to try and push the sound out if you don’t know how to guide the muscles into doing your bidding, especially the tongue.

Eliminating stress from the vocal cords is another reason why posture is so important too, but that is an entirely different subject.

Your singing tongue is kind of like a boss, in a way.  Everyone on the job wants to do their job in the best possible way because it makes them feel good (or maybe they will get a bonus) , but if the boss doesn’t have his or her act together, everyone else suffers, you know what I mean?  But when the boss “partners” with his or her workers, the end result is better quality and happier people.

I hope that begins to answer your question.

P.S.  Check out Wikipedia’s explanation of phonation:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonation Makes me want to run and hide!  I wonder why voice teachers just don’t use a simple term based on the origin of the word from the Greek:  from Greek phōnē ‘sound, voice’ + -ation; or even mores simply: sound+voice = sounds made by the voice.  We can make it more complicated, but why?  Getting a great tone quality (whatever your style) is hard enough, right?


I didn’t put this in Martin’s answer, but you can always take your singing tongue to the next level by reading my other singing tongue articles and getting started with my digital singing lesson Your Tremendous Singing Tongue


I gave a Skype lesson last night and realized that it would be good for you if I do a short article on the 4 things you truly need to coordinate when you start your tone or approach the singing notes from your song.

Without doing them, you will waste your singing breath, something that will not help you sing the way they want to.

Very quickly then, here are the 4 things:

  1. Start the tone as soon as you start the exhale.  In other words, don’t “lock” your singing breath before you begin the tone
  2. Don’t let out much breath at the beginning
  3. When going from the low to high notes, don’t push out more of your singing breath as you go up.  Keep the flow of air steady and coming out evenly in a compressed “thin stream.”
  4. When you think you are going to run out of breath at the end of a phrase, keep your chest and belly extended and resist the thought that you don’t have any more air.  The truth is you have a lot more available breath for singing than you realize.

Notice the picture at the right when you think about #4.

I said this would be short singing lesson and it is.  But I will do more with this in the days ahead.

For now, think of these 4 things as part of your singing mindset and and how you use your singing breath.

Work on mentally figuring out how to physically coordinate them so that you will be able to do this as easily as brushing your teeth.

In other words, think 1st and apply 2nd.  Kind of like the zen of golfing.

This is a great way to use your In Between Time wisely!


I listened to Carrie Wilkerson tonight.  She is the “Barefoot Executive” and is basically a brilliant marketing business woman.

I love her energy, transparency and her ideas about how you can experience success.

Of course, she talks about success in business, but as I finished listening to her webinar tonight, I got to thinking about how her ideas apply to singing and how you can succeed with the voice that you have at this moment in time instead of waiting for some distant moment in the future thinking back to a “better” moment in time.

She talks about 4 “W’s”:

  • Want
  • Woo
  • Win
  • Wow

Again, she’s talking about marketing and business, but I want to give you some singing mindset secrets utilizing her 4 “W’s” because I think she’s amazing and I love to utilize amazing principles to help you!

Here we go!

Want Your Voice Not Someone Else’s Voice!

What do I mean by that?

Well, the truth is I work with people all the time who want to sound like someone else instead of themselves.  In fact, you may be one of those people.

Here’s the reality.

If you want to learn to sing better, you need to discover the unique voice that no one else in the world has but you!  It’s your authentic sound, not someone else’s sound.

Trying to sound like someone else is not going to help you learn to sing as well as you are capable of singing either.

That is because the person you think you want to sound like has a voice that no one else in the world has either (including you) so trying to sound like them can be counter-productive.

This bugs a lot of people.  They pull against this truth.  They want something else for themselves.  They don’t like their own voice and they think they are going to find what they want by trying to sound like someone else.

Now I hope this isn’t you.  I hope you know how to love your own voice for what it is.

But if not, then think of what your world would look like, feel like and sound like if you actually starting WANTING YOUR OWN VOICE!

Think about that for a moment and then answer this question totally honestly since there is nobody around to hear your thoughts anyhow:

Do you really want YOUR voice or are you wishing you had someone else’s voice?

If you found out that you honestly want someone else’s voice instead of your own, then we have work to do!

If YOU don’t want your voice, why would anyone else want to hear it?

And, even more important, how are you going to learn to sing with it if you don’t even want it?

Wrestle with this thought for awhile.

Woo Yourself Instead of Expecting Others to Woo You!

This, of course, has to do with the first “W.”

This is the work you need to do.

Remember how it feels when you woo someone or someone woos you?

It’s a sweet time, isn’t it?

The world looks more beautiful.

The flowers smell more lovely.

Life feels good and you feel good.

You believe in the other person and they believe in you.

Now think about how you would feel if you take the kind of energy that you use to woo someone else and put it into wooing yourself into loving your own voice more than you do right now.

You see we humans are always expecting someone else to woo us.  When it comes to our voices, we expect them to encourage us or make us feel good about our voices, give us support, believe in us.

And that is all good and extremely important too!

But you have to be the first person to believe in your voice and in yourself otherwise all your efforts to improve your singing voice will end up disappointing you over and over again.  And that’s because you will always be looking in the wrong places for your answers.  The answers are truly inside of you.

So ask yourself this question and also honestly answer it:

When was the last time you wooed yourself with your voice, meaning when was the last time you got goosebumps when you sang all by yourself with no one listening?

Work that one out too.

Quiet your mind before you sing a single note.

Be sure you connect with the energy that makes goosebumps.

I tell all my students that we “aren’t there yet” until the goosebumps happen.  That’s my measuring stick, my way to evaluate the authenticity of your voice, of your particular and unique sound.

Win the Singing Mindset Battle!

When you get to the point where you can honestly say that you WANT your own voice and not someone else’s sound or voice; when you can consistently WOO yourself when you sing and consistently give yourself goosebumps, then you are ready to WIN the biggest battle of all:  your singing mindset!

What am I talking about?

I have actually covered this topic in a couple of other places, so you can read more about that by starting with Inside Voice Outside Voice.

Basically, one of the powerful secrets to learning how to sing is discovering that what you think about your voice deep inside your mind and what others have told you about your voice, good or bad, directly impact the way you sing now.

The old saying, “You are what you think” applies here big time.  So, check out the article I mentioned above and then answer this:

Do you have patterns that are deeply rooted in the past that hinders or slows you down from making the kind of progress with your singing voice that you long for?

Let me give you a pointer on the answer to that question:  we ALL have something leftover that holds us back!

So work on getting down and dirty with your inner thoughts about your voice.  Go all the way back to your childhood and your school experiences.  It’s time to WIN the battle for your voice and it all starts right inside your head!

Now Go and Wow Others!

This is the fun part.

After you do the hard work of facing what you honestly feel about your voice and whether or not you want the one you have or you want to sound like somebody else; after you get the hang of creating goosebumps just about every time you open your mouth to sing; and after you take a hard look at the messages you were given about your singing voice when you were a child and then later in life, then you are ready to go out and truly WOW others with your voice.

The world becomes a better place when you do this.

So get to work on your true inner attitudes about your voice.

And remember, I’m here to help and answer your questions, so be sure to let me know what you got out of this article by writing to me in the Comments section below.





Scream Singing

I am discovering that there is a large group of people who want to know more about vocal techniques that will help them do the kind of sing screaming that is used in heavy rock music.

If you are part of this group of people, the main thing I want to communicate to you is that learning how to simplify all the various terminology that you  might learn from the Singing Success (SS) or the Complete Vocal Academy (CVT) programs, for example, will help you discover how to keep what I call your authentic voice without damaging your vocal cords.

There is a lot of discussion and controversy about these methods and so I am going to be providing as much master voice training help as I possibly can to those of you who are seeking answers to set your voice free to get up to the high notes and down to the low notes with ease and a healthy vocal technique.

One of things I know to be true is that you have to get control of certain muscles and to me one of THE MOST IMPORTANT muscles to learn how to use to your advantage is your Tremendous Singing Tongue muscle.

Because I get so many requests for help from people who seriously want answers, I created a half hour digital lesson that easily allows you to discover how to empower your singing tongue with simple exercises and descriptions.

I will be creating other digital products that will help you too, but I encourage to start with the lesson Your Tremendous Singing Tongue.

Looking forward to serving you in your quest to sing from the bottom of your gut to the soles of your feet and out of top of your head without straining!

So be sure to fill out my survey questions so we can get started!


Nasal Singing Solution

Nasal Singing Can Be A Drag

I get asked all the time about nasal singing and I did a video about it a long time ago, so watch that first.

Also, I mention a page in the video that will help you more. Click here to go to that page.

If you have question about your particular nasal singing problem, please ask in the comments box below this post.


Breath and Breathing

“There’s another word for ‘breathing.’ It’s inspiration, from the Italian ‘inspirare.’ To inspire means to inhale the air around you. I think Picasso’s idea that inspiration comes from everywhere and everything tells it all, so pay attention to the way you breath. Make sure it’s inspired!”
– Joy Sikorski

Breathing Basics

Controlled Breathing – everything depends on how you breathe, how you control your breathing and how you use your diaphragm, intercostal and abdominal muscles. The most important thing has to do with slowly letting out a steady but small stream of air.

The most important muscle used in breathing is the diaphragm. If you learn where your diaphragm is, how it works and how to control it, you will be able to control your breathing.

Certain breathing exercises will help you to get the most power out of your breath by building the strength of your diaphragm. Try this one:

Joy’s Slow Leaky Tire

  • Pick out a point in front of that is level with your eyes and use it as a focus point
  • Inhale deeply and fill your lungs with air, being careful to keep your shoulders down and relaxed
  • Don’t breathe in and then hold your breathe. Just breathe in deeply and as you slowly exhale, purse your lips (like you’re making ‘fish lips’) and release the breath slowly through your upper two front teeth
  • You should hear a ‘hissing’ sound, like the air slowly leaking out of a tire
  • Let your breath ‘leak’ out slowly like this, still making the hiss sound, for as long as possible
  • Keep your cheeks lifted high, as though you are smiling because you have a wonderful secret that you cannot tell to anyone
  • Your posture is important while doing this breathing exercise, so make sure your chest and shoulders don’t heave up and down and that you don’t collapse forward or bend over
  • You might get a little light-headed when you first start doing this, so take it easy at first
  • Remember to listen to your breath as you release it and pay attention to how your lungs collapse as your diaphragm collapses too
  • Time yourself with a second-hand watch or clock and try to increase how long it takes you to exhale each time
singing book A MUST HAVE singing mindset eBook for singers, voice teachers, students, choir directors, cantors, actors and more!
Mountain Rose Herbs Joy uses herbs from this trusted organic source and recommends them for your optimum singing wellness.
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