Singing in the Groove on the Beat • Hookist
  • Sally Morgan literally wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique –
    Sing Like You Speak™. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless singing that is natural to all people-making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally is highly respected worldwide as the go-to voice trainer.

    Last week I had a student who was in the process of recording a scratch demo of an original song. Lydia – not her real name – came to her lesson with an mp3 of the demo for me to critique. Her comment – and I agreed – was that she was behind the beat. This was baffling to Lydia because her rhythm as a dancer is impeccable. She could not understand why as a singer, she was lagging behind the beat nor did she know how to fix the problem.

    Sing Like You Speak

    As well as being a world-class dancer, this young woman is an amazing singer-songwriter. I’m always excited to hear her creative, hard-driving songs. She set up a recording booth in her closet. (This is how many NYC musicians set up a home studio) Fortunately she has the luxury of recording and listening back as much as needed to discover what the song needs without time or money constraints. Between recordings she takes voice lessons with me.

    Lydia’s training with me is focused on…

    * Keeping the voice healthy

    * Establishing habits to set the voice free

    * Blending registers

    * Singing as easily and conversationally as talking to her best friend

    * And more…

    All of the above are achieved through the natural function of the human instrument, keeping it simple and doable. All that and a bag of chips – the chips being that Lydia will never “sound trained”. It’s a beautiful thing.

    The work we do to free her voice also frees her creativity, creates direct communication with the audience and best of all, makes Lydia’s singing so easy that she cries with relief!

    Now let’s look at the specific challenge of being behind the beat and not being able to figure out why or how to fix it. Lydia was behind the beat because she was singing the beginning consonant on the beat. She needed to switch that up so the vowel after the beginning consonant landed on the beat.

    Sing Like You Speak, my cutting edge contemporary voice technique trains singers to use consonants for power and connection to the words, to define rhythm and phrasing, to drive the song and lead the band.

    Singing solid on the beat requires a very subtle and accurate use of beginning consonants.

    Test out Consonant on the Beat…

    * Use the lyrics, “Hey, good lookin’, What you got cookin’”

    * Establish a beat using a metronome or click track

    * Sing/speak the phrase putting the beginning consonant on the beat

    * Does it feel like you are behind the beat a bit?

    Sing a whole song using the consonant on the beat and you’ll be behind the beat and possibly slow down the song.

    Test out Vowel on the Beat…

    * Use the lyrics, “Hey, good lookin’, What you got cookin’”

    * Establish a beat using a metronome or click track

    * Sing/speak the phrase landing the vowel on the beat

    * Do you feel in the groove of the beat?

    Sing a whole song landing the vowel on the beat and you’ll be in time every time.

    This point of technique is advanced and very subtle. It will take you deep into the groove, deep into how you use your lyrics for phrasing and rhythm and make you very aware of how your singing relates to the music and to the singer leading the song.

    This technique will make your scratch demos sound much more professional and bring the song to life!

    Want more information on Sing Like You Speak™? Visit

    Note From Hookist: Sally is a wonderful supporter of Hookist and the music community in general, and she is generously awarding the Most Valuable Hookist in each song a one month free membership to SingLikeYouSpeak, the best online singing program on the planet!  Thanks so much, Sally!


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