Ruth Gerson had toured the world as a singer/songwriter, sold over 75,000 records as an independent artist and appeared with her band on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” before she ever dreamed of creating the Singingbelt.
“The Singingbelt itself was created in the classroom, out of necessity. I had always enjoyed teaching and coaching other singers and songwriters privately, as I pursued my own career. I became the to-go-to vocal coach in NYC for singers who were suffering with vocal strain. I eventually expanded to teach many classes. I founded the “New & Used” Songwriters’ Collective and taught “Voice, Performance and Songwriting” as a Forbes College Fellow at Princeton University.
When teaching large groups, it wasn’t always possible to use my hands to show voice students how to expand the lower core to control the diaphragm, as I did in private singing lessons. I needed to create something that would work as a teaching aid for singers.
“Teaching singers to breathe and support their voice correctly with their diaphragm is the first important singing lesson a good vocal coach needs to convey. Singing begins and ends with the breath. You have to learn to control the breath for everything else to work.
Because the diaphragm is inside your body and it can’t be seen, and because air is invisible and its mass can be difficult to feel, I often used my hands to help convey the feeling of diaphragmatic breath support to vocal students. The Singingbelt was a big breakthrough when I didn’t have enough hands to go around and I also knew singing students would benefit greatly from having a vocal training device they could use at home on their own when practicing daily vocal warm-ups.
“I cut and sewed the first Singingbelt out of an old pair of jeans. The material was maleable, so I could get the right contours to adjust to people’s varying shapes, but it was too flimsy and stretchy to use more than a couple of times and the fastening system was cumbersome and uncomfortable. It also did not stay in place very well.
“I have been so pleased at the product we’ve developed with Levy’s guitar strap manufacturers in Canada. It is the perfect design created out of the perfect material. Every student who walks into my studio puts it on, and within minutes of a lesson, they have an “Oh!” moment. It is very rewarding to watch singers, some who may have taken singing lessons their whole lives, find their voice with so much ease. It is a wonderful moment as a singing teacher to be able to give your students that much confidence in their voice.
“I am grateful for the Singingbelt myself, and wouldn’t be able to make it through ten hour back-to-back teaching days without it. It’s like having my own vocal coach there with me when I’m in the studio on long recording days. I know the Singingbelt works, both as a vocal coach and as a singer. The Singingbelt has made me a more effective and efficient teacher and a better singer.”