Episode 13 – Singing Athletes With Line Hilton | The Demands On The Modern Singers Voice | Practice Strategies


Today we have the one and only Line Hilton on the show. Line is a very experienced vocal coach, a registered nurse, the chief editor of iSing magazine, a teacher trainer and the Education Director for the Vocology In Practice teacher network. Phew! That’s a heck of a list.


On to the interview


Line Hilton has had an amazingly colourful career so far. As a child she played the clarinet in an orchestra, but her working journey began in healthcare as a nurse. As soon as she took a singing lesson during this period she suddenly realised that voice was her calling, particularly jazz. This inevitably led to teaching voice but she quickly realised there was a problem… she didn’t know a thing about teaching people! So, while she trained and ramped up a business for herself in singing teaching she took on jobs working as nurse on the set of feature films. That path continued to where she is today, working as a busy London coach and currently undertaking a masters degree in performing arts medicine.


Wow… that is a hell of journey. And that’s why we got her on!


Question 1: What advice do you have to get the most out of singing and music endeavours?

First of all, remember it requires work. The perception is that singers either have it or not, but that’s not true. To be truly successful in singing you need to work hard at your craft to ensure your voice is expressive, healthy and strong. Your performances need to be captivating and that takes some practice on stage presentation and acting. Lifestyle will also play a large role including diet, sleep, stress levels and fitness. It’s a way of life!

Having all these elements in place and honed means that you will be prepared no matter what, which is especially important if there’s an impromptu moment in a day where you get your chance to sing for someone influential. It could happen. With the above sorted, you’ll not hesitate in doing it and potentially landing yourself a great opportunity.


Question 2: What are the vocal challenges singers can face day to day and how can they combat them?

The contemporary artist has the problem that they can get thrown in to the arena without any vocal training in a flash signing and quick rise to fame. This often results in potentially career ending vocal issues. The opera, classical and musical theatre worlds are different in that training forms a huge part of the preparation to enter the industry.

Recording studios can also cover up a lot of less-than-appealing sounds which can be exposed in the live arena.

There are fewer opportunities to sing live and cut your teeth in the industry. The entertainment industry has changed a lot and the introduction of the internet means there’s a whole world of singers to choose from when considering a session vocalist. Back in the day you would just be competing with your local counterparts.

Artist development by a record company has also dropped funding and you are no longer likely to get several years finding your perfect sound in the studio. The record companies also make a lot less from record sales and so the money is made from touring. In modern tour schedules the artist is constantly performing, traveling, being interviewed and eating take out food. It takes it’s toll on the voice. So much more so than the tourers of yesteryear.


Question 3: Which strategies work best when constructing a good practice routine?

Firstly, acknowledge that it’s a very personal thing. Secondly, to find what works well you may need to experiment and measure the success of different approaches. Then to recognise when you need to change things.

You can have more success with your voice if you prepare your body first. This can include stretching and flexibility movements whilst vocalising (purely to be efficient with time!).

The straw exercise is a revelation and should be a part of everyones vocal preparation. See podcast episode 1, or our YouTube video on it, and start it today.

Having a home exercise is very important too. That one sound that gets you in the right spot almost 100% of the time. You can work with a teacher to discover which ones could be yours.

The science around practice is also an interesting subject when it comes to getting good at anything. Studies in recent years have brought up the figure 10000 as being the amount of hours of purposeful practice it takes to become an expert or master of something. People who reach that level of practice are likely to become masters, but also they appeared to practice in a certain way. Firstly most of them slowed the exercises down. This allowed them to really feel the movements and understand them fully. Secondly, they repeated every movement (or in singing, each note) several times before moving on. Thirdly, they challenge themselves regularly with activities that stretch them beyond their current abilities. Lastly, they set goals and get feedback from others and themselves.


If you want to check out Lines stuff

You can find Line at www.linehilton.com, so feel free to reach out to her about anything in the show.


Line has also recently released iSing Magazine: a brand new digital publication available on iTunes or the App Store. The magazine is the first if it’s kind and is jam packed with articles on technique, style, health, technology and even fashion. Kindly, Line has extended a special offer to our podcast listeners, which gives you 6 issues of the magazine for the price of 3. Here’s how to do it:

iPhone/iPad: Go to  “Newsstand” and download the iSing app (free), then go to the yellow subscription box and select ‘Current Subscribers’. Enter code X62014.

Android: In GooglePlay, go to the ‘Redeem’ link. Enter code X62014.

Email info@isingmag.com if you have any problems with your promotional code.


Join us next time for some Q&A on vocal technique. Go along to our FaceBook page to drop us a question. Or email us at tnvquestions@gmail.com if you’d prefer.