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Lisa singing at a Kathleen Connell concertSinging student Lisa Rodrigues talks about the inspiration behind her decision to rebuild her singing voice and the surprising techniques she’s learning along the way.


Back to basics
Ten years ago I sang in a soul cover band, but more recently started noticing that I wasn’t able to comfortably sing in the same way that I used to. I was totally out of practice and was worried that I would damage my vocal chords from occasional recreational singing. It motivated me to start training again and regain my voice.

Having sung without any formal training, I picked up some bad habits, so singing lessons with Kathleen Connell give me an opportunity to rebuild my voice from the ground up. While I spent less than a year in a band, I quit because I wasn’t progressing vocally. I’d taught myself to sing in a certain way and I could tell it wasn’t quite right and it wasn’t going to get any better.

Strong singing foundation
At the moment I’m training to do a Trinity exam, so I’m working on the foundational techniques of singing. I want to make sure I’ve really got my head around the professional practice of singing, including getting my breathing right and shifting between registers. Eventually I’d like to go back into bands, probably small acoustic sets on my own.

Mastering the middle voice
I’ve got quite a strong chest voice, so in the past I used to make that chest sound go higher and higher and higher. I got good at it, but there’s a limit to how far it will go. I never developed my middle voice properly and could feel that I was straining, but I wasn’t quite sure how to do it any other way. So now I’m learning techniques that physically enable me to make those sounds without having to struggle.

I’m bringing some of my head voice in and learning how to mingle the two sounds together. I practise lots of scales and work on coordinating my abdominal muscles.
I’ve discovered there is a lot of physical coordination required to sing properly. It’s not something I was expecting.

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