“‘Good Lord, is that what I sound like?’ “That’s what most people say when they hear their voice recorded,” says vocal coach Mark Joelson Daboll (MusM 2007). “They despise what they hear. Something about the voice taps right into our vulnerability. But there’s magic in everyone’s sound.”
To encourage people to celebrate their voice, Daboll recently founded the online platform PleaseJudgeMe.com. “I started it because so many are intimidated by the prospect of facing a voice coach face to face,” says Daboll, who helps individuals who want to sing their best on a grand opera hall stage, or who simply want to impress their date at a karaoke bar.
For a $25 fee, the site allows you to upload a video file of yourself singing. When Daboll receives the file, he’ll first close his eyes and just listen. Then, within a week, he’ll write to tell you what’s good about your voice; how you can improve it by, for example, changing your posture or breathing style; and even which songs suit your sound.
“People have become afraid to sing,” says Daboll, who also teaches voice at U of T’s Faculty of Music. “We’ve become bystanders to the music, when for centuries singing was a natural impulse to express joy and simply pass the time. Everyone should sing.”