Acting in Plays, Singing/How to improve my voice?


Hello, I enjoy the art of singing, of training your voice to have a fluidity to it, an expression. I would like to improve on my voice, I don't consider it horrid, but it also isn't spectacular. I don't want to do it for theater or any performance, just for personal knowledge and use. So, what I am asking is what are some forms of practice and drills one could use to gain greater control of their voice? Make it sound better, clearer? Thank You!

Hello, Alfonso –

Thank you for the question.

My answers and solutions are all based on my experiences as a professional singer and vocal coach. I started bel canto training when I was 18. As an acting major, my voice classes in the Theatre Arts Department were not giving me what I needed. I was getting hoarse during rehearsals -- in straight plays, presented in what was called The Little Theatre. A friend suggested a vocal coach, a careered opera singer. We clicked. Six months later I was in recital. I had found my voice.

I learned how to be heard in a large theatre, without a microphone, and with an orchestra. I learned how to exercise my vocal range through a series of complex scales. It's like vocal gymnastics. And it's fun. After doing it, I knew I was better equipped to rehearse the material I had been hired to sing and begin working on the stuff coming up. I continue to practice because I love my vocal workout.

My job as a professional vocal coach is to first identify your vocal category, i.e., tenor, baritone, etc. That’s where it all starts. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to be in front of an audience. Fine! It cuts down on the competition. But my experience is that when you know your vocal category -- and not every teacher has what it takes to correctly identify that for you—then you are more likely to get the results you want and need because you will be working to your best advantage.

“Sounding better” -- as in, with material that you would buy a ticket to hear You perform somewhere -- is the end result.

It’s all about owning a reliable Technique. My job is to show you how. Anytime you want to do a lesson on Skype, let me know.

In the meantime, check out my interview on with baritone Nathan Gunn. He’s currently at San Francisco Opera playing Yeshua (Jesus) in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”. We talked about his own experience in training with a careered singer:

Nathan Gunn Is ‘Yeshua’ in San Francisco Opera’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out my web site:

I'm also an entertainment and cultural critic for – and Classical music reviewer for – Let me know when you're ready to come to San Francisco for some vocal coaching.

See my interview with popular TV host, David Perry, on "Ten Percent":

Below are links to my articles and youtubes on the San Francisco Bay Area entertainment and cultural scene:

Nathan Gunn Is ‘Yeshua’ in San Francisco Opera’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”

Natalie Dessay on ‘Becoming Traviata’—French Soprano bids ‘Adieu’ to opera stage

‘Tales of Hoffmann’ Fizzles at San Francisco Opera

‘A Grand Romance’—A Spectacular CD from pianist Jeffrey Biegel

Philippe Sly Debuts In 'Cosi fan tutte' at San Francisco Opera

Nicole Henry redefines the '70s with her latest CD, 'So Good, So Right'

THE GREAT GATSBY—F. Scott Fitzgerald Classic goes Three Dimensional

'FILLY BROWN' — An Extraordinary Film from Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos

TINSEL TARTS IN A HOT COMA—Extended through June 29th at The Hypnodrome

Nonsemble 6 presents Schoenberg's 'Pierrot Lunaire' – in corsets

Tenor Noah Stewart Debuts with Berkeley Symphony in World Premiere of New Work by Steven Stucky

Marnie Breckenridege, A Modern Soprano for Contemporary Opera

A Profile of Choreographer John Neumeier and his "Nijinsky"

Peggy Cummins Honored at San Francisco's Noir City Film Festival

In Conversation with Peter Gallagher – Coming to the Venetian Room

Melody Moore steps into Tosca — Opening Night at San Francisco Opera

'Moby-Dick' opens at San Francisco Opera: A Conversation with Composer Jake Heggie

'Drama Queens' – A Conversation with Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato

Marco Vratogna Is Sensational as Rigoletto at San Francisco Opera

A conversation with Joshua Bell, featured guest artist at opening of SF Symphony, 9/19

Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford duke it out at The Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary

The Wizard of Oz Meets the San Francisco Symphony

Samuel Ramey is Leo the Great in San Francisco Opera's 'Attila'

'Victor Herbert, Collected Songs' – A Great CD

Tom Judson Is Making It Big In San Francisco

A Look at Gennadi Nedvigin, Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet

Organist Christopher Houlihan Makes A Powerful Debut at Davies Symphony Hall

RICHARD WINSOR – An Interview With the Star of 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 3D'

DEANNA DURBIN – The Leading Lady of NOIR CITY, Wednesday at The Castro Theatre

KRISTIN CLAYTON– A Conversation with "The Diva" of Teatro ZinZanni

CUBAN BALLET – An Interview with Octavio Roca

A Look At "Giselle" with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo

ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

Acting in Plays, Singing

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Sean Martinfield


I am a professional vocal coach in San Francisco. I have published over 3300 responses related to vocal training - particularly as it relates to Musical Theatre, Pop/Standard, and Opera. I have 30 years of experience as a personal trainer to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years and know what it means to live the life of a musician. I can determine your voice category, i.e., Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Alto Belter, etc., and how to broaden and strengthen your range. Need an audition song for a Broadway Musical? I can assist you with your song selections and help you build an audition portfolio that demonstrates your vocal category and meets the requirements specified in the audition notice. I have created a vocal methodology, "The Belter`s Method". It will enable those in Cabaret and Musical Theatre to practice more efficiently because it focuses on the vocal demands of professional performers and will keep you performance-ready. If what you want is a better voice and more control over your career moves and choices, contact me at: I am also a music and cultural critic for and I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.


As a vocal coach, I work primarily with singers and actors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. My students range from absolute beginners to working professionals, from kids to senior citizens. The vast majority of my clients come to me through recommendation. I know how to identify any singer's vocal category, i.e., soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, etc. I know how to muscle-up every singer's vocal range and to expand it beyond conventional definitions. I have developed a vocal methodology for those who want to know how to belt, THE BELTER'S METHOD. There are a number of major components to my work as a vocal coach. The first is to identify the client's vocal category and to strengthen and maximize the vocal range accordingly. Then it's about teaching a reliable vocal workout that will enable the client to gain better control of their musicianship. That includes scale work to expand the vocal range and to improve placement, breath control, and diction. Then we work on material for the audition portfolio, the immediate job or assignment, a recording session, etc. My task to is to better equip singers and actors who are hoping to or relying upon their performance skills and vocal endurance to maintain a career in the Performing Arts. My clients regularly appear in cabarets and musical productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have worked in New York and gone on National Tours. For more information, Contact me at:


San Francisco State University – BA in Theatre Arts; graduate work in Theatre, Philosophy, and Comparative Reiligion. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley – Graduate work in Ethics

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