3 Years With Rached Hayek: The 7 Most Important Lessons I Learned From Him
Cheers to my beautiful young self with Rached 3 years ago.
3 whole years.
It’s been quite a long journey working with Rached Hayek on my voice and I’ve learned quite a lot of things with not just my voice, but my mindset as well. Learning to sing in the beginning can be daunting, and there’s a lot of insight I would love to share with beginning singers who are just about to embark on their vocal journey.
I also want to share some mindsets and expectations you need to adapt in order for you to become successful in whatever your singing goals may be.
So let’s get started.
1. You can absolutely change your voice
I want to break any limiting beliefs for anyone reading this…
Anyone can improve their singing if they put in the time and effort.
Even if you are:
- Bad at singing karaoke,
- Not born like those talented kids on American Idol,
- Or you are tone deaf…
You can still improve your singing.
There’s truly only one exception: if you cannot speak or produce noise from your mouth, then you cannot sing.
If you can talk, then you can sing.
Now, why am I writing about this first?
Because I had this belief when I was a child and I believe this was one of the biggest roadblocks stopping me from singing.
If you do not believe that you can improve your singing, then your narrative will be about how you can’t improve and you will never take action to improve it.
When I was little, I grew up with cousins who were born talented singers, and I also watched American Idol seeing 7-year-olds belt out Mariah Carey. And if you’re born in a Filipino culture where many people can naturally sing well, and your voice sucks…
Well, you’re going to end up believing you can’t sing and “that’s just the way it is.”
And even if, like me, you try out different vocal programs (…some of them even had weird training protocols…) where your friends say my voice didn’t improve after a year…
It’s going to affect how you view your voice.
So why am I saying this?
If you sounded like a deaf-toned donkey, then there is absolutely 100% hope that you can change your voice with the right method and effort.
If you’d like, you can ask Rached to send you some of my before and afters.
Most of the time, the reason your voice sounds bad is that you aren’t on the right pitch. And the best part?
Learning how to sing on pitch is a skill you can learn.
Here’s a simple test for you.
Use any vocal pitch analyzer like Singing Pitch Trainer and see if you can stay on pitch for just one note.
What you want to do for note E3 is you want to copy the pitch and see if your voice can hit and stay in the green box.
And if you can do that, then that means you can be on pitch for one note.
And if you can be on pitch for one note, you can be on pitch for an entire song.
And once you internalize this mindset, then that’s when your vocal journey truly begins.
And this all starts in your mind before you even sing your first note. And the beauty is that the longer you practice correctly and you see visible improvements in your voice, the stronger this belief gets.
2. Having a solid coach from the very beginning helps to build strong habits
One thing I never realized was that having an amazing vocal coach from the beginning helps to break all your limiting beliefs and build strong habits for yourself.
Here’s every single limiting belief you probably thought about:
- I won’t be able to do falsetto
- I can’t do vibrato
- Runs are too hard
- I won’t be able to hit high notes
- I’ll never be able to sing well
- I think singing is not for me
The vocal coach helps you to limit that monkey brain and quiet it down so you can focus on improving your voice. He knows from experience that he can change people’s voices and it’s one of his primary jobs to stop those limiting beliefs so that you can have the chance to improve your singing.
The next important thing is learning to build strong habits that support your voice for many years to come.
This means things like:
- Proper posture
- How much to push your voice
- Correct diction and mouth movement
- How much air to breathe and push
- When you should rest your voice
It’s all these little foundational movements that seem small but add up over the course of a year.
And the important part is that these minor habits are things you are training properly in the very beginning so that it becomes second nature when you ingrain the habit of singing.
That’s why having a vocal coach who knows what they’re doing is important especially as a beginner so that they can set the proper foundations for you to not only sing well, but sing well for a long time.
3. It takes a very long time to notice any change
You are going to need a lot of patience when training your voice.
And when I say a lot…
I mean a lot.
Think about it like this.
When you’re at the gym, it takes forever to build muscle and make your body look great, right?
It also takes time to learn the proper form, put it into muscle memory, and then dialing in the right nutrition so your muscles can repair and grow. Now, those muscles break down slightly and repair so it grows stronger.
Your voice is also a muscle, but it is one of your weakest muscles.
So although you can work on chest day and triceps for an hour and push incredibly hard, you can’t do that with your voice as it’s more delicate. And not only is it more delicate, but it gets tired easily as well.
And that’s why it’s one reason it takes forever to improve. it’s a very delicate muscle that you have to train and takes time to recover.
It’s also harder to put more time into your voice vs. playing an instrument because it gets tired much faster. Although learning an instrument like the guitar can take a while, you can at least be able to play 6-8 hours on the guitar, whereas you may only sing for about 1-2 hours when you’re starting out and that’s assuming you’re not singing at full capacity.
So that’s why it takes forever.
So what does this mean for you?
It’s completely normal that it takes time, and it teaches you patience.
What’s helped me is thinking in terms of year blocks.
You may notice a slight improvement in the course of a month, and there are some people who hear improvements after 3 to 6 months.
From my personal experience after training for 3 to 5 days a week, I saw the most improvements after around 6 months to 1 year.
And that’s why it’s important to record yourself singing so that you can hear the difference between all of them and notice your improvement.
And when you notice your improvement, that’s when things get exciting.
So be incredibly patient, and know that if you are on the right system and taking care of your voice and pushing it, then your voice will improve. You just have to stick with it.
4. It’s going to be a grind when you’re starting out new
One thing I noticed with the first year of Rached was that it was a grind when you are starting out as a complete beginner. And it makes sense.
- Stay on pitch
- Do Vibrato
- Do Runs
- My falsetto was nonexistent
- My voice cracked very regularly during high notes
- And my ear wasn’t trained at all
For my vocal journey, I was at ground zero.
And that means when you are learning the foundations, it’s going to take a long time before you can sing a song properly.
And that means you have to put an equal amount of time into each skill before becoming good at it. You can’t expect to only practice runs and get good at vibrato (although it might be easier) and vice versa.
But one of the most important things to learn was learning how to stay on pitch.
Stay on pitch
Even to this day I still diligently practice pitch.
Your pitch determines how pleasant you sound when you are singing a song.
But the difference between today and back then is back then it took me 1 hour to stay on pitch for one line with Rached. Today, we can get through the complete song in half the time on pitch correction.
And the reason it took so long was because you have to train your ear and your voice to hit that pitch note.
When you’re starting out completely brand new, it’s freaking hard to even hit the note accurately. And then it’s even harder to hit that note accurately AND stay on that note.
And then the hardest part is hitting that first note perfectly and then hitting the rest of the notes perfectly in succession.
And that’s why singing is difficult.
I still remember one of my first lessons with Rached where we sang Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good” and we practiced the very first line for 30 minutes.
So I repeatedly sang the same lyrics “Birds flying high…” just to sing that sentence well.
I had to practice it on my own since I noticed that after the lesson; I wasn’t able to sing it perfectly like I did during the lesson.
So maybe I spent around an hour or two learning some line from a song I liked.
And that’s just one line. So it will not be extremely fun in the very beginning…
But you’re setting up the foundations for a magnificent voice.
And now it’s a lot of fun being able to sing songs mostly in pitch where we only have to do minor corrections so we can work on more of the advanced techniques such as runs, range, guitar/piano and vibrato.
5. Any vocal technique you notice from your favorite singer, you can learn as well
This ties back to point 1, but after you know you can absolutely change your voice…
Know you can absolutely learn any of the vocal techniques from your favorite singers.
This includes things such as:
Of course, if you are starting from completely from scratch, then it’s going to be a lot of work…
But know that it’s possible to gain these vocal techniques.
And over time, you will start being able to add emotions to your song while naturally adding these vocal techniques to your songs.
And that’s because I couldn’t get these techniques starting out completely from scratch. I think it might be easier for me to go over my personal experience for each one.
For vibrato, I remember I had to slow down the song to 25% just so that I can hear it wobbly in that weird, robotic voice.
I had to spend around 30 minutes a day for maybe a year at 25-50% speed copying the vibrato from the singers before I was able to somewhat recreate the vibrato from the singers I was practicing from like John Legend or Michael Buble.
Creating vibrato from scratch did not feel very natural.
It truly didn’t. And this one felt the grindiest out of all the vocal techniques because it’s hard to determine if your vibrato was truly improving at all.
But once you got the hang of it, it becomes effortless because it’s ingrained from all the reps you did and it’s on autopilot when you sing songs.
Runs was also another difficult vocal technique to learn from scratch.
I couldn’t differentiate the notes when the singers were singing those incredibly fast runs so Rached had to individually find each note and slow it down to 25%.
And then the typical 30 minutes to an hour of practice before I could not only hit the notes accurately, but hit it accurately with that speed after years of training.
And the best part is that when you master one vocal run, it can apply to all your vocal runs and can be on autopilot when you so choose to do so.
I didn’t have a falsetto when I started.
Literally air just came out without noise and I assumed I had no falsetto.
It felt like my throat was burning and it felt incredibly unnatural. So I literally had to practice for 1 minute a day.
1 minute. Let that sink in for a bit.
I could only practice 1 minute before my voice “felt tired” and that was all the practice I could do that day.
But lo-and-behold, after doing all of those painful days, I can now sing comfortably in falsetto (although it’s my weakest one) for around ~15 minutes for a whole song.
My falsetto is on the breathier end, but it’s definitely become clear and it’s now usable for songs I sing in.
6. Having a vocal teacher can exponentially increase your progress
One thing I always wondered was the question is…
“Do you need a vocal teacher?”
And the answer to that is…
If you somehow know the right methods to train and you have the discipline to practice multiple times a week noticing all of your mistakes… then technically no.
- That’s a unicorn
- And even famous athletes and famous vocal artists have vocal coaches.
Think about that for a second.
Most likely, your favorite artist has a vocal coach.
So if they have a vocal coach and they are at the top 5% of singing prowess, what makes you think you don’t need one?
Now, you can literally use a vocal pitch analyzer like Singing Pitch Trainer and analyze places where you are out of pitch and fix it.
However, that means that you:
- Will be slower
- Will need more discipline
- May overlook some mistakes you didn’t hear
Whereas with a great vocal coach:
- They will catch any mistakes you overlooked
- They will help keep you accountable
- And your singing progress will improve faster because they know exactly how to fix any mistakes you may encounter.
So as a beginner, it’s pretty much necessary to get the foundations and build strong habits.
And even if you’re an intermediate or advanced singer, a vocal coach can help you immensely by speeding up your progress.
Think of it like this.
You are writing a book and after finishing it, you now have to proofread your book before it’s ready for publication.
Now, you can proofread your book on your own and notice mistakes but sometimes you may overlook some grammatical errors that you wouldn’t have caught without another person’s perspective.
It’s the same thing with a singing and a vocal coach.
A vocal coach can help you spot places where you are out of pitch or you are using an incorrect form that you may not have noticed yourself.
For example, you notice that the noise your voice is making doesn’t sound right and your vocal coach points out your mouth isn’t smiling enough, your diet is messing you up, your posture isn’t correct, etc.
So having a great vocal coach will speed up your progress no matter where you are at in your vocal journey.
7. There’s always room to grow and something to improve in your voice
The beauty of singing is that your learning never ends.
Even if you’re a beginning singer starting on their journey or someone who has sang their entire career, the goal never ends. One thing you should fear is truly achieving your goal and never being able to progress.
There are many paths you can go with singing. For example, let’s say you are 5 years into singing, you can always work on your pitch, range, vibrato, runs, falsetto, etc.
You can also go about improving your career in music and live performances, if you are going the professional musician route.
Even professional singers make mistakes during their live performances.
And let’s say you “reached” the max potential of singing, then that means that there are alternatives such as learning how to sing and play an instrument, learning how to sing in front of an audience, learning how to add vocal effects such as growling to your voice, etc.
There’s really no end to learning for singing. You can learn different styles depending on what your goal is with singing. You can teach others how to sing, further solidifying your knowledge of singing. You can learn songs with more complexity. You can create songs. There’s so many avenues to learn how to sing and improving that the goal will never end.
There’s always something to improve.
In conclusion, working with an amazing vocal coach for 3 years has taught me valuable lessons that have helped me improve my singing.
I have learned that anyone can improve their singing with the right mindset and effort and that It is important to believe that you can change your voice and to have a solid coach from the very beginning who can help you break limiting beliefs and build strong habits that support your voice for many years to come.
Singing is a skill that can be learned and that the longer you practice correctly, the stronger your belief in your ability to improve gets.
If you’re just starting your vocal journey, I hope that my experience and insights can help you as you embark on your own journey to become a better singer. If you have questions, you can always email Rached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Nebel is a skilled musician with a passion for helping vocalists improve their voice. He uses his years of experience as a musician and teacher to guide others towards reaching their full potential as musicians and singers and loves writing and sharing his experiences on his personal blog at Melody Beats.