Your Vocal Assessment

Excerpts from past Vocal Assessments by Ariella Vaccarino creator of Voice Lessons To Go:

Vocal Assessments are a service that Ariella Vaccarino provides on her website  Ariella is sent recordings and questions from singers.  She responds with her professional opinion on their voice.

Questions from Paul:


“How can I improve my breath support”

“Simple answer, do breathing exercises regularly.  I have a great section of them on my first CD Voice Lessons To Go v.1 if you want to try those.  Also, swimming is another great way to improve breath support….”


“What should I be doing daily, weekly and monthly to improve?”

“Practice, warm-up your voice regularly.  Do this every other day- every day.  Don't strain, don't push.  Go through all 4 of my volumes so you have variation.  Audition for shows and go sing.  You have what it takes :)  Go for lessons, coachings, performance workshops, whatever you can manage.


Paul, You sound like you could be singing professional musical theater :)

I also hear what a great actor you are through your performances of the piece.  I can feel your emotions, and you have fabulous arcs to your songs which make them very interesting.


There is also a lovely grit to your voice which makes it stand out and sound unique.  

I like the differentiations in your sound.  When you sing quiet there is a haunting quality about it, like in the opening of this song.”

Ariella wrote to Craig:


“My first impression is that you are singing a bit flat, not terribly flat.  It doesn't sound like you have a pitch problem with your ear.  It is more that you are pressing down on your larynx  when you sing, especially in the lower register.


I think you sound better in the higher parts of the songs because you are putting less pressure on your voice.  You need to add "space" to your sound.  I think there is a lot about your voice that can improve.  You sound like you have a nice voice that could use some training….”



Thanks so much for your feedback. I have some specific items to work on, which is exactly what I was hoping for. I’ll get cracking on it.” -Craig

Ariella wrote to Ezzie:


“This is more a theatrical question then a singing question and I want you to think of it as that.  Theatrically how can you be stronger?  What are you saying?  What does each word mean?  What character would say these types of words, what has she been through, what does it mean for her to say them?  Each phrase has a new intensity and new energy.  You need to put yourself into the characters of the songs.  You can use, emotion, tempo, volume etc... to make your points.  You need to feel what you are singing, and then that will portray.  Also, you can't over do it.  It just simply needs to be felt and expressed.


Well, you can just give less sound on the bottom if it bothers you.  Of course it will be darker and heavier on the lowest of notes.  Sometimes, you can use this for effect and sometimes, you should pull back if it is not appropriate.  I am curious if you are singing Mezzo Soprano.  It sounds like you might be there vocally.  In which case that richness on the bottom is appropriate at times….”


Ariella wrote to Ginny about her son’s Assessment:


“First of all thank you for sharing your son's voice with me.  I can tell that he really enjoys to sing which is great.

He has a nice voice.  And he is very young.  Like his current voice teacher says.  His voice will change.  Meaning it has to develop.  Right now he sounds like a little kid with a good voice.  As his vocal chords mature and calcify you will know more about how "good" he will be.  …”


“Thank you for the valuable feedback!   Your assessment is spot on!  I will research someone to help with his performance.  There are also some workshops that my husband knows of in the city. “

That's great information. I knew I needed help and this gives me a strong starting point. I will consider your offer for a Skype lesson once I get set up with a

web-cam.”- Ginny

Ariella wrote to Misagh:


“...You have a nice masculine sounding voice and there are some nice gentle qualities to it as well.  I really like the higher parts of your voice.  I also, like the sincerity in your sound.  The way you deliver the word has an honest quality that is wonderful.


Also, watch your lower notes.  There can be more tone in them to match the higher parts of your voice. Just because a note is low, does not mean that it does not need space and for sound.  As you go down the pitch for notes, keep your support up and strong and think "pretty tone".  

You need the low, the middle and the high, to sound like 1 developed voice.  Not a few voices put together.”


“Thank you for the compliments and nice of you.

I feel satisfied with your assessment and I've got my important tips , definitly I'll start practicing from tomorrow with your CDs

and I'm sure it works!  You are a wonderful teacher ;)...”

Ariella to Roger:


“The song that you are singing is perfect in your voice, the perfect range, tone etc...  You have a nice voice, and a cool quality.  I don't know why you think you don't have a quality.  Your voice is lovely it has a rugged real "guy " sound.  Which is cool.  I can imagine that your singing voice is naturally extending from your speaking voice.  There is nothing manufactured about it- that is a compliment.  I would enjoy sitting in the pews and hearing you sing.”


“Thank you for your kind words.... will work on the following quote a while you gave me, then contact you about a couple of long distance lesson's. (Different people find different vowels easier or harder.  Practice the higher notes that you need to hit on a song on different vowels, and find which one is easiest, then use that vowel to find your space and practice getting the needed vowel into the same place.)


Ariella to Nathaniel:


“Thank you for ordering a Vocal Assessment from me.  You are a great songwriter and singer.  I hope you have the luck to get paid to do it! ”

Doug asked Ariella:

“I find that I regularly go just a bit flat, just under the proper pitches. How do I minimize this? Is this a matter of breath control?”


“The number one issue I can tell you that you are having is that you are not supporting your voice and sound at all with your body.  You are essentially speaking your songs without accessing your full sound.


This is due to lack of proper muscular support when you sing and sustain notes.  Train your voice regularly.  Always imagine that each pitch has to blossom and flow.  Never sit, or rest on your tones.  Keep them alive and spinning.  This should help you….”


Ariella to Eduardo:


“...In general.  Your voice is sweet, but very weak.  You need to train your voice to build your stamina and range.  You need to strengthen the appropriate muscles for singing so that you have more to work with.  This will help almost all of the issues you have asked about.


I know you are older and that voices do age, but muscles can always be strengthened and stretched to add stamina and agility.  Start using my voice lesson CD every other day and train yourself, like you would if you were preparing for a race.  Don't do too much too fast.  …”


From a Eduardo:

“ How can I help my voice stay on pitch? “


“You sing pretty much on pitch for the first two songs.  I think if there is ever a pitch issue with you, it is due to lack of support, or not being comfortable with the music.  But I am not hearing that you have an issue with a lack of good pitch.  Just continue to practice….”


Ariella wrote to Elizabeth:


“You have a pretty voice.  I really like the higher part of your voice.  I think you are a soprano who is afraid of your high notes.  I think if you were to develop your high voice your voice could be very beautiful.  It sounds like you are singing well.  There is a lot more support in your body available to you,  but you are on the right track. …”


Question from Matt:

“Describe a few strengths of my singing.”


“You sound good.  You sound rockin'.  You have a cool bright quality that, if kept energized and in the pitch center will really carry across on stage.”


Ariella wrote to Craig:

“Overall, your singing needs work to be good.  But, the positive is that you have potential to improve.  There is a voice there, that can be unlocked.  I would suggest you get with a good voice teacher and see if you can release your voice.  This will improve your tone, which I know you are worried about.

See within a few lessons if you are improving and then reassess.”

Ariella wrote to Mitch:


“As I am listening to your singing I am hearing a folk-like, talking, sing-songy voice.  There is not Real supported amplified singing happening.  It is more like you are crooning, or speaking melodically.  This is fine, and is a type of genre in itself.  I think you do well at it.

Your voice is more a vehicle to get out your songs as opposed to the main attraction.


I feel like you are singing with about 10 percent of your support and potential as a singer.  Again, though, this is fine for this style of folk coffee house singing that I am hearing.  Something that you will be always using a microphone for.”


Ariella wrote to Martine:


“There is definitely some talent there.  You are starting off with a lot more then many people who do Assessments with me.  The best and most obvious thing that you have going for you is the natural power that your voice has.  Often on recordings I get half or even less of the volume that you have naturally, and that is a gift.  You have a big free sound.  You sing without limitations and insecurities which makes think that you would be great on stage and in the vocal studio.”


Ariella wrote to Chris:


“The song that you chose to sing for me has a very small range.  So it is like you are singing the same 3 notes over and over and those three notes are extremely close together in the scale. So I can not hear if you have any range to your voice.  I would work on breathing exercises for your asthma, I have a whole section on my first cd- Voice Lessons TO GO v.1 Vocalize and Breath.


I too have asthma, (it is exercise induced).  With regular breathing warm ups I have been able to develop my lung capacity, so my singing is no longer affected by it, unless I am asked to climb stairs or do any cardio type thing while singing...”

Ariella wrote to Laura:


“Great to hear from you again.  Well first of all, congratulations.  You sound so much better.  You are so much more confident and your range is really improved.  Now what you need to work on is keeping your pitch centered into the center of the notes.  I really like your voice as it gets higher you have a nice upper range and you are singing with so much more energy.  I think you would sound great on folk music or a style with the qualities that your voice showing. By the time you get halfway through the recording I really hear how much better you are getting.”


Ariella wrote to Darcey:


“Confidence- Beyond that you need to sound like you own what ever song it is you are singing.  That is where the confidence comes in.  Start with fake confidence (act like you have it when you sing even if you are freaking out inside).  Then keep performing for people, your friends, parties, teachers, coffee houses... Eventually that fake confidence will be replaced with something real and you will be worthy of leading that band :)


But Darcey, you do have a nice sound.  You just don't sound professional yet.  You have a lot of work to do, but you can do it. :)”


Ariella wrote to John:


“The first line I thought, wow what a nice voice.  But as you continue to sing I see that you are really struggling with your upper register.  It seems as you go up in range you are not connecting to your bodies musculature to support your voice.  You need to do vocal warm ups to develop your stamina, range, and support system.  The sound of your voice is very nice which is a great start- that is something you need to be born with.  But if you are not hitting your notes and as a result or are sounding strained or out of tune... no one will care how pretty your sound is. “


Ariella wrote to Julie:


“Another thing to think about is that you singing quite "nasal".  Think of the sound coming directly out of your mouth straight and not hitting your nose.  Also, you can practice singing and plugging your nose a bit to block your nasal access to sound.”

Question from Sarah:

“First, what are the strong points of this performance?”

“Your pretty ethereal sound. Your gentle singing quality.  Great pitch…”


“Thank you, thank you, thank you for your critique of my voice.  I understand what you said about anchoring down.  I don't do that - I tense up!  I am planning to get the pure vowels and stamina CD (hoping to get them with swagbucks, thank you very much :o)  Your suggestions are very helpful, and I'm planning on using them.  Thanks again for your critique.


From Sean:


“I think I sound absolutely horrible when I listen to my recordings. It sounds like I am going flat very frequently but I can't hear that happening until I play it back. Can you tell me what percent of my singing is really bad?  (like "it sounds like you are missing about half the notes," etc)  How can I prevent myself from going flat all the time, (assuming that's what happening)  (it's painful for me to listen to...)    How can I hear myself better as I'm singing? “


“You are not absolutely horrible.  My first impression of your voice especially in the beginning of this song was that it was nice, pleasant to listen to. It does go off on some of the phrases especially when you have to go high which you can work on.  I don't hear you going flat that much in the first piece, rather, I hear you going off key sometimes which is a different issue.  It is more like pitch insecurity, because you do have in general a good ear or you would not be able to pull off the song as well as you did in parts.”


What about my actual vocal ability-- how are my overall fundamentals?   As you'll probably hear, I have no vocal training at all and have never taken any type of vocal lessons and I'm skeptical that I can really improve my voice much.”


“I don't think you are a fabulous singer with crazy skills.  Rather a guy with a nice interesting voice, who can tell a good song.  That is an important niche to fill as well as being a crazy fabulous singer.  You can improve for sure.  Voice Lessons would be great for you- they would help you with confidence as a singer which is a big part of what is holding you back to sing freely.  A little training added to a rough sound would be a great match.”


I have your first two CDs-- the vocal warmups are helpful as are the solfege exercises, which are fairly easy for me, but how do these exercises make me a better singer?  Thanks”

“The CDs are going to help you build vocal stamina, develop your breath control and vocal range. The stonger your instrument becomes the more flexibility you will have with it.”


Question from Janice:


“I chose this song because I am more comfortable singing lower range songs but I have been told that I tend to go flat sometimes. What would you recommend for that?”


“I do hear that you are going flat.  I don't hear that you are supporting your sound.  I would love you to start doing regular vocal exercises to build up your stamina.  You need to sing with your whole body.  Also, your intonation (singing exactly on pitch) needs work.  Practice singing fast runs, and getting all the notes exactly correct.  If you want to improve your singing, you need to start training.  You don't sound like a "singer" yet.  You sound like someone who can "sing along" to things.  I think there is huge room for attainable improvement if you do some work.  Just start training regularly.  You can use my  Voice Lessons To Go CDs, or someone elses, or get with a voice teacher.”

Ariella wrote to Krista:


“So in general your sound is nice, and this song is very appropriate for your voice.  But, the song sounds the same the whole time.  You need to work on your inflection and vocal quality.  Changing it up a bit.  Warming it sometimes, sometimes singing with more intensity, sometimes with more hope etc…”