That’s Interesting

Written By Shannon Coates

On 4th November 2018

that’s interesting

So often, the folks I work with attach a value judgement to the sounds they produce: that wasn’t good sound, that crack was so bad, I am singing badly …

But vocal sounds in the studio or the practice room don’t have a value in that sense; they are neither good nor bad. In most cases they are either more efficient or less efficient, and in all cases, they simply provide information about their production.

In the studio or practice room, a “crack” is really just information about laryngeal stability and/or vocal tract shaping.  And “thin sound” is really just information about subglottal air pressure or glottal shape or vocal tract shaping and/or about the interaction between all three. And out of tune singing is really just information about breath energy and/or frequency of oscillation and/or register tuning.

As voice teachers, let’s be one hundred percent committed to ensuring that the singers we work with give up judging their sound production. When something doesn’t work as well as it could, encourage the singers you work with to say: NOW THAT’S INTERESTING.

And then they can stop wasting time accusing sound of being something it’s not, and you can both get on with the work of discovering how best to produce the sounds they would like to create.






ps Seth Godin said to do this, so I am. For now.


  1. Suzanne Schaafsma

    This is SO. ON. POINT. I want to have a poster of this in my studio! Thank you!!!

    • Shannon

      I hear you. Sometimes I tell students that if I ever get a tattoo, it will be: NOW THAT’S INTERESTING across my forehead. Ahem.

  2. Sara Partridge

    Thank you for your wonderful and refreshing approach, Shannon!

    • Shannon

      You’re SO welcome. Glad you found it useful!

  3. MsChicksinger

    Yes yes. YES! Thank you for the right words to say to my beloved students AND myself. ??

    • Shannon Coates

      It’s good for ALL of us, isn’t it? <3

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