1. Shouting over loud music in a bar/restaurant
  2. Smoking/drugs/excessive drinking
  3. “Placement”
  4. Belly breathing 
  5. Pushing or any other kind of straining
  6. Believing that singing is like sustained speaking
  7. Doing anything “from the diaphragm”
  8. Neglecting the development of either the chest register or the falsetto
  9. Depressing your larynx through conscious effort or by mechanical means
  10. Most group warm-ups (Better to warm up alone beforehand, then lip-synch through the group drills)
I’ll eventually blog about all these detrimental practices.

Add your favorite don’ts—or refute mine—by commenting to this post.


  1. Nanette says:

    Reading Harry Potter to your kids and growling Hagrid's voice. (-:

  2. Michael Hanko says:

    Good one–and something that would be great fun to explore in an Alexander lesson! This is an issue confronting actors all the time: how to distort your voice and simulate poor body use without hurting yourself. In fact, Shakespearean actor F.M. Alexander was inspired to develop his eponymous technique after repeatedly losing his voice on stage. The performance principles he came up with (and that we Alexander teachers work with) can be very helpful in allowing you to find non-injurious, yet dramatically effective alternatives.

  3. Toni Schiavone says:

    I am not sure I understand the belly breathing and using your diaphragm part of it. Is that different than using your solar plexus?

  4. Michael Hanko says:

    I thought that answering Toni's question called for more than a comment, so I am posting a 2/9/2010 blog entry on it.

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