Rediscovering the Joy of Music with Douglass Ross

Douglass Ross

In this student spotlight, we are featuring Douglas Ross, a software engineer returning from a long hiatus from music. Doug played guitar and sang in a band in his youth, but life got in the way, and his focus on music was put on hold. Doug has been with us here at Arabella’s Voice Studio for a couple of months and is diving headfirst back into his musical passion!


After a hiatus of about 20 years from music, Doug has recently returned to songwriting with renewed vigor, eager to reintroduce his original music to the world. To fully embrace his revived passion for songwriting, Doug committed to weekly voice lessons with us and is loving every minute of it so far. Doug’s newfound confidence in his singing ability has been a big motivator to keep writing original material. Many singers can sympathize with this – Doug struggled with hearing recordings of himself. It can be difficult to hear yourself when the mechanics of your voice are not working correctly, and Doug quickly realized how truly beneficial having a voice coach is and realized just how much it can boost your confidence! As Doug found out, when you learn proper singing techniques, you form habits, and when you form good habits, you sing with less restriction, and when you sing with less restriction, your creativity and artistry shine through. This place of vocal freedom is where artists genuinely discover themselves. It’s where Doug has gained confidence and evolved from being hesitant to embracing the best musical version of himself.

What’s in your head?

Most singers have experienced that thing where you sound a certain way in your head, but upon listening back to a recording you go, “Uh oh!…THAT’S what I sound like on this part?” The struggle is real. But within his short time working with AVS, Doug has learned how to curb that discouragement and turn it into progressAs a software engineer, Doug enjoys combining his computer skills with his passion for recording music. This has helped him listen back with a dialed-in, critical ear and make adjustments to his singing until he’s happy with a performance. One technique Doug uses that is a staple of professional recording artists is he ensures everything within a take sounds good before adding effects. If something sounds off, he’ll re-record it until it sounds good dry. If it sounds good dry, it will be dynamite once EQ, compression, and effects are added!


Every Breath you Take

Doug’s current voice lessons are focused on his falsetto, his mixed voice, and learning how to use his wide range in a more controlled way. The underlying cornerstone is this: breath support, breath support, breath support! Every breath you take matters.

In everyday life, breathing is an involuntary, necessary function to keep us alive. But as singers, our breath control is more than just oxygen…it’s everything. Doug has very quickly learned that working on his falsetto or mixed voice without breath support is like trying to run with no feet. 


Currently, Doug is working on Englishman in New York by Sting. It’s a big challenge as it contains several difficult rhythmic passages and the melody is right at the top of Doug’s chest voice. It’s the perfect tune to push his limits and work on breath control, and range, plus a bonus is that learning to emulate Sting is like learning an entire vocal style within itself!


Nothin’ But a Good Time

Doug’s journey is just restarting, and his lighthearted approach is a joy. There’s always a delicate balance in the arts (especially singing) between taking it seriously so you’re growing as an artist and ensuring that you’re enjoying it and having a good time. One of Doug’s best qualities is that he doesn’t take mistakes too seriously. He rolls with the punches and tries to learn from each mistake. Most importantly, and something almost everyone can take a cue card from; Doug went from a place of disliking his voice to working hard at his learned techniques. He’s discovering a new space where he’s come to appreciate and actually like his singing voice! There’s nothing we love more at AVS than helping people realize their passions. More importantly though, is watching our students lean into their passions, grow, and take their music to new heights. That’s what Doug is doing every day and we can’t wait to see what’s next!


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Blog, musicianship, singing lessons, student spotlight

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