Ep.95: Why is Speech Level Singing so Controversial #2 of 2

Why is Speech Level Singing (SLS) so Controversial part 2.  Inside this video I’ll highlight 4 more reasons why Speech Level Singing is controversial and discuss the SLS organization as it exists today.


Hi I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing.


In Episode 94 I talked about SLS being controversial because it’s founder Seth Riggs is controversial. Here are 4 more reasons SLS makes people mad.


These are my opinion and observations. I don’t speak for Seth Riggs or Speech Level Singing.


Speech Level Singing is Controversial Because of It’s Teachers

First, singing teachers (including SLS teachers) can be territorial in the extreme. It seems that many believe they have all the answers and that everyone else is going to destroy the voice.


Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 1.10.48 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-06 at 1.11.09 PM

Given this “territorialism” in the field of teaching singing, it’s not surprising Seth Riggs and Speech Level Singing, which has had constant visibility and attention worldwide, attracts criticism and contempt from competing teachers.  


While meeting with Seth, one world renowned vocal scientist said Speech Level Singing may be the “missing link” in vocal technique. He asked to remain anonymous. Imagine what kind of criticism this Phd. would face from the non-SLS  teachers of the world!


Speech Level Singing is Controversial Because of Unskilled Teachers

Second, There are 1000’s of singers who’ve studied SLS to some degree or another who may represent to their students that they teach SLS, but who aren’t skilled at teaching the technique.


A teacher may study any vocal technique. However it doesn’t mean they’re good teachers.


Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.36.43 PM

Just like Medical Board Certifications. The surgeon can pass the boards and still be a lousy surgeon with bad bedside manner, poor surgical “hands” and marginal outcomes.


I think a reason for controversy is that, in the “hands” of some teachers, SLS doesn’t work. Maybe they were never really trained. Perhaps they took a few lessons and count that as training. Maybe they didn’t keep their skills current, etc. Maybe they’re a lousy teacher.


In my experience, teachers who trained closely with Seth for an extended period of time and were certified by Seth, were and continue to be good teachers.


Speech Level Singing is Controversial Because It Applies to all Genres

Third, SLS represents itself as applicable to all genres of music.


“The wide diversity of singing styles that exists in the world today demands a singing technique–a way of using your voice–that can be applied in the performance of all those styles. If a singing technique can’t be applied to every style of singing, something is wrong with that technique.” (Singing for the Stars, Alfred Publishing Co., pp.5) Continuing…


“It doesn’t matter whether you sing pop, rock, opera or musical theatre. You should sing with a technique that allows you to just relax and concentrate on performing–which is what it’s really all about, anyway–right? (Ibid pp.7)


This means that no matter what genre the student sings, SLS will help the student sing it better.


Regardless of the genre, if the teacher can’t get the student through the first bridge, what benefit is the lesson? SLS technique teaches the student this most critical skill.


The student will learn to bridge and to sing into head voice with adducted cords without reaching.  SLS is more about how to sing, not what to sing.


This bothers teachers of specific genre’s. SLS isn’t teaching style or specific genre, but vocal technique that “allows you to just relax and concentrate on performing”.


Speech Level Singing is Controversial Because Teachers Charge More

Fourth, SLS has been criticized because teachers of SLS tend to charge more for their lessons. Personally, I pay for results. If I don’t get results (if I do the work) then I don’t continue spending the money. If I get results, then I have no problem investing in my voice.


I’ve been in training with Seth Riggs that was in excess of $800.00 for a week long camp. I remember telling another teacher after the first hour of the first day that what I had just learned was worth the price of the whole week. I’ve experienced that many times while training with Seth.


For me it’s a question of the value I am receiving. If I’m getting something of great meaning and value to me, I’ll happily invest in my growth and improvement.


Speech Level Singing Organization

Within a few months of the publishing of this video, Seth Riggs will celebrate his 86th birthday. He’s still going strong as a teacher and mentor.


Because we’re a smaller teacher organization, we’ve gained the advantage of more time with Seth. For the last several years, our training with him has been more intimate and personal. We continue to take private voice lessons with Seth. We’ve attended some amazing spring and fall training camps at his home and studio in LA.


As mentioned in previous videos, the results of SLS on my voice and the voices of my students has not been controversial.


It’s transformed not only my voice but my life. My students are experiencing that same thing. I credit Seth Riggs, his teachers, and the Speech Level Singing technique.


The exercises in PowerToSing.com are a few of the exact exercises that helped me learn to bridge. They’re most effective when you know your vocal type.  My particular vocal type is Pulled Chest-High Larynx so those are the exercises that help me the most.


Do you know your vocal type? Go to PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test, which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and discover your vocal type.


Then visit the Knowledge Center and watch the videos about your vocal type. Download the free exercises for your vocal type and start practicing them. They’re designed to help your vocal type improve quickly.


I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. You can sing higher with beauty, confidence and power.

I’ll see you inside the next video.


Related Articles


Your email address will not be published.

  1. I’m appreciating what I see and hear here. I believe it. I’d like to contact you when I can see my way to find time to do lessons justice by responsible, consistent practice. I have a good reason to get my voice together. Perhaps, likely, you’ll be able to help me. I’ve got a story to tell, if you’re interested.