Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few responses to frequently asked questions. Lick on the title bar of the question you’re interested in to expand the box and read the response.

Lessons are not always about learning to sing, but about getting the most out of your voice. As there are muscles involved in singing, like any exercise that strengthens muscles, your vocal mechanism can be developed to be stronger, more efficient and last longer.
With proper training you can get a lot more out of your voice as well as prevent any injury or strain over a long period of time.
If you have a suspicion that you are not getting the most out of your voice, why not find out?
If a person has trouble singing on the right notes, there may be a variety of reasons for this. Sometimes they just haven’t learned how to use all the different parts of their voice (from low to high) so the notes don’t go up when they need to go up.

We can certainly work with you to pinpoint what your problems are, and to help you improve. All students notice improvement from studying this technique.

This question cannot be answered without hearing your voice. Every person who comes in has different issues, and some may have old, ingrained habits that need to be changed. For some, this can take months to years and others can pick the technique up fairly fast. Each student will be assessed when they come in, and, by listening to your voice, we can give you a better answer to this question.
The key to singing is understanding “Mix”. As you sing higher into your range, you quickly encounter areas where your voice may “jam up”, or it “breaks” and sounds weak. We call this area a bridge or passaggio. When you learn how to approach these areas in the right way, you can negotiate through them with finesse, increasing range into the higher areas.
The voice is a subtle instrument that doesn’t need huge amounts of air to work properly. We generally don’t start with breathing unless the student is having a problem in that regard. We begin by helping you find a balance in your voice, and show you how to keep the vocal folds closed so that you are using your air more efficiently.
It’s more about the subtle coordination of how you use your air, than about having huge amounts of air. Eventually, you will learn to lean in with more air behind a balanced instrument.
Your voice wants to coordinate in its most comfortable way regardless of the style you’re singing. However, most styles, even classical, can throw our best vocal coordination off-base.

With Melanie, you learn how to sing in the most healthy way for your voice. The exercises move you through your entire range giving you more styling choices and the vocal freedom to hit the notes you desire.

As an artist you can choose to stray from good technique for style purposes, but it will become a choice rather than an unconscious habit, and you will always know how to get back to good form, or “home base”, when you need to.

No. Producing a usable vocal sound, and reading or playing music are separate skills. There are plenty of good (and well employed) pop singers who don’t read music, or read at an elementary level.

Reading ability is useful, however, for every singer, and necessary to some degree for classical and musical theatre. Playing an instrument, especially piano or guitar, is very useful for developing one’s ear, choosing keys for songs, learning melodies and harmonies, etc., but is not necessary in learning to sing.

Falsetto happens when the vocal cords are coming apart and therefore the result is an “airy” sound.

Falsetto gives you the feeling of resonance up in your head, which you also have in head voice. The main difference is that strong head voice does not sound airy and can connect smoothly down through the bridges to chest voice, while falsetto has no “bottom”, and does not connect to chest. (It sounds like a separate voice)

IVA technique is not a style (eg. Jazz, Blues, Music Theatre, Classical), however, vocal technique that can be applied to any style of music.

I will not teach you to ‘sound’ a certain way, but will teach you how to get the most out of your voice. You can then apply that technique to any style of music that you choose to sing.

We don’t teach a specific style – we believe that each person has their own unique style and personality as a singer.

We teach the IVA Technique which will give you the tools to develop your voice in a way that is comfortable and natural to you. We understand that every singer is unique, so we won’t teach you to be a clone of ourselves; we’ll help and encourage you to find your own voice.

When most people aim to reach high notes, their larynx (the bump in your neck below the chin) moves up. When the larynx rises, the body is preparing to swallow making the epiglottis shut over the windpipe. This causes the voice to “shut down” or “jam up” creating strain and discomfort.

To experience this (safely), firstly put you hand on your neck below your chin and find your larynx (for guys this is your Adam’s Apple). Once you’ve found it, swallow. You will notice that when you swallow your larynx goes up.

To show how detrimental this is to singing, next, hum a continuous note (at any pitch) and swallow without letting the note stop… It is not possible!

When you sing with a high larynx this is in effect what happens. The larynx goes up making your voice jam up, which means that in order to get the note you want you need a lot more air and a lot more effort, which causes strain in the voice.

Whether you have had lessons before, or are a complete beginner, the IVA technique is for you. It takes singing right back to the basics, and focuses on what the vocal folds (vocal cords) are doing, rather than how to achieve a certain sound using facial expressions, external muscles, or exaggerated breathing. It will balance the voice, and allow you to sing freely and without strain throughout your natural range.

As the technique is not focused on a specific style, it allows you to develop your own style and sound, so you will be able to sing anything from Rock to Jazz and everything in between!

Head over to the Contact page and simply send Melanie an email indicating your interest or phone her on 0414 973 432.
Normally we would suggest a lesson a week, but we are aware that this may not be affordable for everyone. We would, however, suggest at least one lesson per fortnight to progress at a reasonable pace. (fortnightly lessons are only available in ‘off-peak’ times).
When it comes to practising, little and often is the key. 10-15 minutes a day is a good starting point – and if you can manage another couple of times for 5 minutes each throughout the day then that’s even better.

Frequency is much better than duration; you’ll make much more progress if you do 15 minutes of focused practice as opposed to 60 minutes of distracted practice! Your lesson recording will help you practise as you’ll be able remember what you did during the lesson, and know that you are practising just as you vocalised before.

Regular lessons from a good instructor and a regular practice schedule will help the most. Drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep will be beneficial too. It also helps if you don’t smoke, do drugs or drink to excess either!