Sing First, Perform Second

Thoughts From Torb…

Most people look at performing and vocal technique as one thing, when they actually should be divided into two separate categories. First, the mechanical ability to sing any pitches anywhere, comfortably and without effort, switches or breaks. And second, the dynamic functions, such as singing louder or softer and delivery. Each are critical elements of singing, from aspiring artists to world renown mega-stars.

When it comes to learning both of these, it is not a question of one over the other, but rather, one before the other. There is nothing wrong with teaching performance aspects for the voice, but learning basic mechanical functioning and how to operate the voice must be dealt with first. How can one express oneself with something they don’t know how to use yet?


Through 20 years of working with stars and signed artists in the field I have seen the disastrous results of prioritizing performance aspects of the voice over knowing how to operate the voice. In fact, doing so is almost a certain predictor in an artist’s vocal longevity and the likelihood of vocal damage, sometimes with irreversible consequences.

So why is there a predominance of placing focus on performance before technique? Why don’t many artists learn how to sing before learning how to express themselves while singing? As someone who has traveled the world asking this question, the answer has become horrifyingly clear and simple: they don’t know how.

Through 20 years of working with stars and signed artists in the field, I have seen the disastrous results of prioritizing performance. Doing so, the likelihood of vocal damage is certain; sometimes with irreversible consequences.
Torb Pedersen

Frequently, conventional vocal teaching methods have prioritized performance over technique further contributing to making singing a subjective, mysterious activity. Ambiguous or non-existent rules and singing techniques allow an artist to feel better about their current state, but deter them from singing better. The only problem with this, especially in the very physical world of professional singing, is that it is a short-term solution; one that addresses feelings rather than actual problems. And so, unfortunately, problems will continue to build, ultimately leading to vocal damage. 

Fortunately, learning how to sing well doesn’t have to be difficult, subjective or mysterious. Once the foundation of good technique is in place, the artist is free to choose the performance aspects that best represent them and meaningfully relate to their audience - requirements to becoming, and staying, a world-renown mega star.