This book shall be invaluable to me and any male or female singer who is planning on doing an entire Dichterliebe or any Schumann song cycle to complete one of their life-long goals. I also loved reading through The Schubert Song Cycles with thoughts on performance by the same author. The author gives the reader a sense of what the book is about right in the preface. He says that he mainly attempts to talk about questions of ensemble between the singer and pianist; mood, tempi, rhythm, color, and feeling. I’m a lover of Schumann’s entire output and I especially love Gerald Moore’s artistry. I am anxious to see just how valuable this book will be to me over the course of my life. I plan on buying this book. I have sung Liederkreis Op. 39 and I enjoyed skimming through the pages of the songs I particularly delighted in singing. This book is easy to read because there are only a few pages dedicated to each song, and the format is pretty much the same for every song. The translation of the poem under the song title is especially elegant. In the analysis of the song Mondnacht: Moore immediately launches into the symbolism of the music. It was very informative and could indeed enhance the performance for a singer. This book is good because it gives the performer something to think about while they are not singing and the piano is playing. This is important because what the singer is thinking is represented on the face and the audience sees the face. Moore talks in language that a pianist might understand better than a singer. Moore emphasizes key signature agreeing with poetry and demonstrates Schumann’s attention to words and their importance. Moore is a supporter of rubato and any pianist who loves to play lieder would be wise to read this book. Singers would benefit from pianists who admire or adhere to Moore’s style of playing. He says rubato is “subject to good taste and form,” with which I particularly agreed. In terms of teaching, I am especially anxious to use this book when I give selections of Frauenliebe und Leben to female singers to study and live with. This book is mainly for performers and it should be used liberally in that regard.
Even if you don’t agree with my lifestyle choice, you will most likely agree with most of this…
Have you ever opened your eyes in the morning and felt like you were on a streak? A winning streak. A streak where you know that you are back on track and moving in the right direction? What would you do with this feeling? What can you do with this feeling? How will you take it and use it to change the world?
The Wanderer character is associated with images and themes of German Romantic poets. They sought to go beyond what is known. The new German culture at the eighteenth-century sought to eliminate boundaries. Poets sought to explore the infinite and escape mundane existence.
The journey of the Wanderer, as in Die Schöne Müllerin, is ideally suited to the form of the song cycle because the Wanderer seeks true love. The Romantic ideal of true love is found only in death, or peaceful repose. Schubert’s musical setting of Müller’s poetry takes us on a journey of musical themes, keys, and relationships. A song cycle is just as perfectly suited to telling the story of a character as an opera is suited. Many ideas and emotions, even ambiguous, are explored. The listener, as well, goes on an emotional journey and sympathizes, even empathizes with the Wanderer. Nature, even, is a character in this song cycle. (DSM) The brook, represented by the piano, talks to the Wanderer. The performance is ideally suited for the stage.
Der Lindenbaum, no. 5 from Winterreise by Schubert is in itself a masterpiece. It too represents nature as a character in a story, which goes through a range of emotions within the major and minor tonalities. The tree is home for the weary traveler. It represents good memories. The tree is his resting place. The pianistic triplets are the rustling of the leaves. The voice is stentorian and folk-like. The traveler pledges gratitude to the tree as to an old friend. The tonality is major when he thinks of good memories, and vice versa. There is also an actual rhythmic tree-motive, and it appears through out: the dotted eighth followed by two thirty-seconds and a dotted eighth is the sequence. The poem is strophic and the music follows the structure of the poem. The melody ascends on words associated with joy, which represents heightened emotion. When the traveler passes the tree at night, he closes his eyes in darkness. Here, Schubert is in minor and the triplets are perhaps a grotesque dance. The poetic meter is in itself musical: important words are melismatic and have longer note duration. If the mood of the poem changes, so does the music. The horn call-motive represents the wandering minstrel or musician; as made popular in German culture with Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister. On the words “hier findst du deine Ruh,” (here you find your peace) the melodic line descends into the Romantic ideal of death.
Halfway through the first semester of my Doctoral coursework, I rediscovered my passion for performing that had been dormant during my break from academics. Over the years I have established many important relationships with colleagues. An element of trust is understood between us; that if I am entrusted with the task of performing as a soloist or in a group, I take that responsibility seriously. I am reliable and am sure that my references will attest that I strive for a higher standard of performance quality even when the job is finished and we must temporarily part ways. My style of learning and teaching is to take what I have learned from one teacher or coach and directly apply it to the very next performing opportunity that presents itself.
As an artist, it is my pleasure, honor and privilege to provide the much needed service of classical singing to others. It is an art form that is immediately recognized by all who are passionate about life; people who are courageous enough to live it to its fullest. Opera has much to offer to those of us who have yet to discover its beauty; the drama, the tragedy, the wit, the humor, are fully and boldly expressed. My aim is to achieve a standard of quality in this medium that is comparable to a highly trained tennis player, swimmer, or an Olympic athlete. Skill and agility are the hallmarks of artistic singing. A singer should never take for granted the talent that is given him or her. Rigorous practice and honing of technique over many years are required for the true beauty of singing to shine. Working with numerous colleagues can help one understand the many challenges involved and the joy of building such a spectacular achievement, such as an operatic production. I know that I have worked with many fine artists and hope to continue to do so.
My goals in pursuing further musical education are to set an incredibly high standard of quality for myself by exploring all available avenues and resources in this art form. I intend to immerse myself with experienced performers and pedagogues alike to get only the best possible tools for my craft. By traveling and moving around an artist feels the pulse of what is required as a singer today in order to gain a successful and fruitful career in performance. I cannot imagine doing anything else. I know in my heart that music is my purpose and I will actively work towards success in performing and teaching for as long as I am able. One of my many intentions is to at once make the observer feel at ease; to make them smile or cry. Ideally, I would like the person watching my performance to be touched in such a way that they are reminded of their own happy experiences or heartaches, and they leave with a feeling of fulfillment. I want to craft the emotions within myself so that they are in tune with others. I seek to make years and years of hard work seem like effortless ease.
In the centuries 1600-1800, models and theories of expressivity existed in Italy, France, Germany, and England. Here, I attempt to investigate, define, and explain how these models were used by performers of these generations as tools for their expression; which were second nature to them. To us, people of the current generation, we seek to understand how a performance was enacted authentically or historically, and so we must put a name on the style or methodology which was used. In the years we are talking about, people did not know that their expressivity had names; all they knew is that they were doing justice to the composer’s wishes while at the same time bringing their own artistic vision to the piece at hand. In Italy, a term was used by the great composer and theorist Caccini: Sprezzatura, in his famous treatise Le nuove musiche, as a word that meant the performer had that certain confidence that was required to pull the observer into the performance and touch them aesthetically and emotionally. The mere presence of the performer was enough that very little had to be done in order to achieve the persuasion. Of course, that is to say, sprezzatura did not come naturally to everyone; it had to be trained into the musicians from a very young age in the first years of their education. Rhetoric was the device by which sprezzatura was fueled in the countries of Germany, England, France, and Italy. The intense study of authors such as Quintilian gave the musicians tools necessary to express one thought in a wide variety of ways.
First, let us speak about sprezzatura in Italy. I will use Francesca Caccini as an example of a composer who wrote all of the “confidence” on the page. The performer’s job was to get out of the way of the intention of the composer. In the Caccini’s song “Maria, dolce Maria” performed by Elena Bertuzzi, we see a perfect example of sprezzatura. This piece is monody with lute–that in itself says that the voice is exposed, especially since the accompanying instrument is so thin in sound to begin with. The performer must be a seasoned musician and experienced in solo singing. The basic melodic line may at first glance seem similar for every verse, but you wouldn’t know it with the amount of ornamentation added, either by composer or by singer. Francesca’s father, Giulio, set out to explain specific ornaments he wanted his singers to use; Francesca and the performers of that time period would have known those ornaments very well. Bertuzzi moves with such agility and grace, both vocally and in the body. This is the noble negligence of song, which is sprezzatura explained in another way. She has the ability of letting her voice be free and making sure that her body is also free. When I say free, I mean relaxed enough not to hold any tension in one spot in particular, but to feel as if the motion of the song moves you. The fast-moving, melismatic lines require a lot of breath control and management. If quiet, soft breaths are taken between phrases so enough air can be used for these long florid melismatic lines, the performer will have made the song sound easy, which is a big part of sprezzatura–the ease of making something vocally challenging and difficult sound very smooth and easy. I should also mention that a huge facet of sprezzatura is the singer being able to use messa di voce upon command. This piece is especially good for that. There are many opportunities on long notes for the performer to grow and shrink in dynamics. A true test of the mastery of a performer is the ability to be able to crescendo and decrescendo on any note of his or her vocal range. Another example of a piece that I believe exudes the essence of sprezzatura is Alessandro Scarlatti’s “Caldo Sangue.” This piece as sung by Renata Tebaldi is so utterly gorgeous in the production of expressivity that one does not know where to begin. The fact that the tempo is Largo means that the singer must already be a master of their breath management, otherwise the piece will get slower and slower. Tebaldi begins in the pianissimo dynamic and gradually “blooms” into the vibrant mf dynamic. This technique in itself is already enough to move the listener even before the piece has even begun! Only an experienced Graduate or Professional singer should take on this piece if they are serious about doing justice to this piece. This tessitura is high for such a soft dynamic at the beginning. Also, the sighing in the voice on the words “moro” which are repeated over and over could bring someone who is listening to tears. This is what sprezzatura does–it is rhetoric that basically persuades the listener to be on the same plane of existence as the person emoting.
In France, the theory of douceur, although similar to sprezzatura in Italy requires that the singer be able to comfortably stop counting and at times pay attention to the rhythm of the language in a gentle, sweet manner; meaning it is a little more subdued than the Italian expressive style of singing. A piece that exemplifies this technique is Lully’s “Revenez amours, revenez!” from his opera Thésée. The singer (Venus) laments the abandonment of the graces from love. She pleads for the graces to return so that love may be more pleasurable. The g minor tonality says a great deal about the sadness the singer must exude in this piece. The douceur aspect is present in the smooth, continuous line of the French language. I think this is still employed today for singers of this generation. The nobility of the language itself requires the singer to have an air of confidence that exudes the gentility of the nobility. Even though the music is written vertically and in arcs, the singer must sing horizontally the entire time! The purity of the vowel is always the most desired effect. However the singer chooses to color the vowels is the more artistic decision that the experienced singer can be trust. A strong sense of leadership is required for the tempo of this piece in the role of the singer. The pianist must really feel like they are following the voice. The music must be provoked by the voice (or emotion), not the other way around. There must never be a moment in this piece where the listener thinks the singer is holding the tone. The tone must be escaping. This escaping of tone is a big part of douceur. The emotion is so full and powerful that it simply “leaks” out of the singer in the most expressive fashion in order to move the listener in a gentle manner; almost as if a cloud of emotion descends upon the listener. The French language is very much suited for this manner of singing, which is douceur. De Los Angeles takes many appropriate artistic liberties in slowing down at cadences. As Judy Tarling says, it is Baroque practice to always try something different at cadences. Lully understood douceur and marked it in his scores. He marks for the performer to crescendo on “Amours” repeatedly in the piece and decrescendo on “revenez.” He repeats that word so much to perhaps show an exasperated quality that the performer can bring out; which is in fact, the sound escaping from the singer’s body. Lully marks doux on the word “beauté” and the singer should react thus in a sweet manner. He writes the music in a way that brings out the text more than the beauty of the voice. The right coloring of certain vowels can make the piece more beautiful.
The second example of douceur in the French Baroque canon of repertoire is Rameau’s “Triste Séjour” from Les Palatins. It is an aria that is largo in tempo with a more upbeat middle section and again requires a graduate or professional singer with comparable breath management techniques. There is much opportunity for the singer to show off their douceur by using the messa di voce technique for the long notes. This piece gives much opportunity for the performer to be intimate with the audience by growing and shrinking in those long phrases; the listener is pulled along with the singer. The messa di voce technique in itself is unpredictable and does not allow the listener to know when, if ever, the tone will get louder. The douceur technique may elongate that messa di voce and make it sound more unpredictable than the Italian form. The more unpredictability in expressivity, the better!
In Germany, the use of classical rhetoric was prevalent in such composers as Heinrich Schütz and C. P. E. Bach. The first piece that is rich in rhetoric for our purposes is “Ich werde nicht sterben” from Schütz’sSymphonie Sacrae II. The text comes from Martin Luther and Psalm 118. The dance-like tempo which could be in the meter of one or three is a good example of how the celebratory nature of the text is meant for movement. Dancing, throughout the ages, has always been associated with joy and celebration. The text of this Psalm demonstrates the level of commitment the psalmist has in the strength of God and how that alone is enough to sustain him or her; God is the constant comfort. Most pieces that are full of rhetoric usually can only be done by experienced singers. That is why I feel this piece is good for Graduate or Professional Lyric Tenor. The performer should accentuate the hemiolas and should confidently lead in the recitative and arioso sections. The hemiola is in itself a rhetorical device that brings out the text. This piece changes meter often. The singer will need to speed up and slow down according to the designation of the emotion of the text. Again, as I said for the French theory of expression, the language, in this case, matters a great deal; and if the rhythm of the language is followed, the beauty of the voice will come along with it.
C. P. E. Bach, in his piece “Jesus Gethsemane” with text by Gellert, is a perfect example of rhetorical writing. The tempo is adagio and experience will lend itself to presenting this song in an easy vocal technique. I believe sacred music always has the most rhetorical devices. The song has many long, drawn out notes. As if it hasn’t been stated enough, the technique of messa di voce can never be overused. Common Baroque practice and Caccini’s Le nuove musiche state that. The block-chord accompaniment gives the singer ample opportunity to show off the voice. With very little going on in the piano part, the singer must demonstrate something vocally exciting. This piece could be sung from the viewpoint of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene represents a crucial figure in Christianity in that she was associated with prostitutes and yet was still welcomed into the kingdom of God. If the downtrodden underdog theme doesn’t get the listener already, then the singing of the text in that particular character should. Voiced consonants can be emphasized. I think this piece is most appropriate for low mezzo. Extremes of dynamics are a big part of rhetoric and are present in this piece. Maureen Forrester and John Newmark beautifully show these extremes in this piece. Rhetoric is alive in the fact that this piece sounds like a dirge or funeral march. It is a preparation for Jesus’ death. Carl Philipp knew these devices as he learned them from his father Johann Sebastian.
In Britain, John Dowland knew very well the rhetorical devices and his work became a model for later composers such as Purcell. I am a huge proponent of John Dowland. I think his music is some of the most beautiful rhetoric in the Baroque repertoire. Dowland’s “Sorrow, stay” is chalk-full of rhetoric. It is exposed, it is monody, a lute song, and is mostly in the piano dyamic to name just a few examples. The messa di voce is of course used on the long notes. The first word “sorrow” sounds like a downward sigh. The melody itself sounds like a person reciting a monologue to themselves in private. As the song grows, the dynamic gets louder and more declamatory, as if someone who is talking to themselves gets more excited. The arioso, free, rubato tempo is a rhetorical device that forces the listener to not get stuck in a certain meter, but to listen to the text. On the repeated words “but down I fall” and “down and arise,” these phrases do just that; they descend and ascend. This is only simple rhetoric, but it achieves the purpose of persuasion. I believe that the counter-tenor or alto or Andreas Scholl is just made for Dowland’s music or Baroque lute music in general. The timbre of his voice is like an emotive color that immediately draws the listener in. The passion and expression is heard in the color of his voice. He is able to perfectly control his vibrato and straight tone so that it is always appropriate for the text and the listener hardly even notices it. I think Dowland would have considered Scholl an exemplary performer of his music, although he may have sung it better than Scholl or have been jealous of Scholl’s technique. Who knows? It is an interesting thought. The song centers on extreme depression. The text and music are both by Dowland. Dowland may have in fact himself been depressed judging from his history. I like this piece for either counter-tenor or baritone. The baritone can give a darker color to this song and perhaps emphasize the depression. Impeccable diction is a must for rhetoric to work.
As I mentioned earlier, Purcell may have learned from Dowland and employed the same rhetorical devices. In Purcell’s “Not all my torments,”rhetoric is alive and well. The tempo is in the Arioso and Accompanied Recitative style. Only Graduate or Professional singer should sing this piece in order to do it justice. The theme of the piece isunrequited love, living in sorrow, and going to the grave for that love. The declamatory fashion of singing is prevalent in this song. The repeated words “torments” are in the mf-f dynamic. The accompaniment is bare and thin. The singer again has much room to grow out of nothing into something ecstatic. This piece requires a range of emotion and Magdalena Kozena does an amazing job displaying the breathy quality of “yet to the grave” and the verismo quality of “I love” on the highest note of the piece. If the singer, in this case, Kozena, saves her dramatic outbursts for the end of the piece, which she does, then the rhetoric has been achieved.
The persuasion of the audience is accomplished if the Rhetoric has worked. You can always tell if your use of rhetoric has worked by just listening to the applause. How enthusiastic is the applause exactly? The only way to achieve the rhetoric that you desire is by laying your soul bare before the audience. This amount of energy is required for every single performance. The act of artful singing is very exhausting, and the musicians of the Baroque era lived and breathed this. They were trained from very young ages. We, as performers today would do well to look to the rhetorical devices of composers from this era to use in our own performances. Sprezzatura in Italy, Douceur in France, and Classical Rhetoric in Germany and England are all related in that they seek to combine the emotions of the listener of music with the performer of the music to make a cohesive whole.
For me, the ideal voice teacher is both an experienced performer and teacher. The pedagogue has the ability to think outside the box, which is invaluable when it comes to teaching concepts which may seem abstract to some, concrete to others, and perhaps theoretical to the rest. This teacher will have sung all over the world, worked with many directors, conductors, and sung in a variety of languages, including some challenging and rarely performed.
This person can confidently teach all voice types. He or she has knowledge of the vocal mechanism that can adapt to all sorts of issues that will arise for singers of different ages, body type, and cultural background. A good voice teacher is never afraid to try new things. For instance, just because he or she has used the same canon of repertoire for his or her students for a number of years does not mean that he or she cannot branch out into new music once in awhile. After all, the teacher also has room for change and improvement as well as the student. He or she must be ready for all kinds of teaching, including elementary, high school, college, and graduate-level singers.
The method of drawing from different genres to teach certain techniques is always a good practice. For instance, if a teacher wants to introduce a concept to a particular art song that the student doesn’t immediately grasp, he or she may pause, go to a musical theater piece, teach that concept, and then perhaps the student will better understand it. Another great asset to voice teachers is their ability to accompany their students; this is both an acoustic and psychological support to the student. A teacher with impeccable diction in the sung languages is universally understood; however, it is not always required by certain academic institutions. The ideal voice teacher is a support system to the student in many ways. Sometimes the singer may need more discipline. Sometimes the singer needs a teacher that can de-stress, relax, and be somewhat of a cheerleader for him or her. In many ways, the voice teacher is the one person fan-club of his or her students.
This “ideal” voice teacher is by no means perfect, and he or she must never make the mistake of thinking he or she is the only good voice teacher out there. He or she must be confident, yet humble in his or her methods of teaching; always willing to admit when he or she may be wrong. Who knows? Perhaps once in awhile, the teacher can even learn something from the student!
Strategies for the New Voice Teacher
By D. T. Lentz
What are the dangers that new teachers should watch out for when taking on serious voice students? How much anatomy knowledge should new voice teachers really have? What are some safe methods and basic strategies for the new voice teacher to use in the studio? How much does professional performance experience affect the way one teaches? Does much technical knowledge come from performing out in the field and watching other famous singers perform? When is an“experienced singer“ qualified to hold a serious music student’s education in the balance?
Richard Miller has said that the teacher in search of vocal pedagogy through applied scientific information is not free of some serious pitfalls. The new teacher in the age of vocal science has much of his or her own personal research to do in preparation for the serious music student. An adequate knowledge of the functions of the vocal mechanism is required in order for the teacher to give clear explanations of vocal function to the student. Upon completion of the bachelor’s or master’s degree, the young teacher must also realize that they aren’t going to know everything. With many students and much experience in the teaching field, the young teacher must never stop learning and discovering, both from study, and even from their students.
It is necessary to ask the new student important questions in their first lesson, such as:
“What are your goals as a singer? What do you hope to gain from studying with me? What previous vocal training have you had? Are you aware of any specific vocal problems that you have? What kinds of songs do you most enjoy singing?“
These questions are crucial to any progress made with the student in the studio.
All of this being said, there is much vocal pedagogy in the world being taught to students that is unsupported, merely based on myths or legends, and ultimately harms the student’s voice, causing them to digress. No magic formula is used for voice teaching. One teacher alone cannot solve all of the student’s vocal problems. A wide variety of feedback is necessary for the singer to grow in their artistry and musicianship. I know that not all would agree with me on this last point, but this has been my experience.
Let us first define a Teacher of Singing. A Teacher of Singing in the time of Lamperti, was both a vocal coach and a teacher of voice production. Nowadays, we seem to have confused the two roles. Rose defines voice production as:
“learning to develop and control the voice with the greatest possible beauty of tone; expressing clearly with out destroying the purity of the vocal line.“
He also defines the teaching of musicianship as:
“knowledge of music theory, sight reading, languages, memorizing roles, songs, and having a deep understanding of what is being sung in order to express the message in the most beautiful and powerful manner.“
I would like to say that most voice teachers today fit both descriptions. Unfortunately, some vocal coaches have been mislabelled as voice teachers, confusing and generalizing the term, which is detrimental to the student. Most good and able voice teachers should fill the role of coach and technician. If a teacher is fulfilling only one of these roles, then they should be labelled as such, and the student should seek extra instruction from another teacher who fulfills the other role. The new teacher must be very honest with him or herself as to what kind of a teacher he or she is, and whether or not he or she can fullfill both of these roles for the student. The eager graduate who seeks a career in teaching must meet the“general“ requirements of a voice teacher, which include:
“ a sensitivity of ear, intuition, individuality of approach and a high degree of scientific knowledge.“
It should be said that this is true only for teachers who are seeking to secure a college-level teaching job, however, good basic knowledge of vocal technique such as posture, breathing, and a good ear are only required for the private studio. I do also recommend that the young teacher of singing not imitate the exact methods of another teacher.
“If any two teachers use the same approach, ….one is noncreative.“
Since we are discussing teachers in the age of voice science, one can easily confuse a voice scientist with a voice teacher, and some scientists don’t mind this freudian slip. Arnold Rose argued against this when he said that voice scientists should present facts as such, and not attempt to teach if they have no experience. On the other side of the coin,“successful“ or famous singers in the field should not automatically be regarded as good teachers. A good teacher is born with the skills to interpret facts so that they are easily understood by the student.
Perhaps the most important step that should never be neglected in voice lessons is the description and definition of the voice. Before the first voice lesson begins, a clear understanding of what the vocal instrument is and how sounds are made, is recommended for success. Johan Sundberg calls this instrument a“voice organ,“ much like the pipe organ. This comparison is made because in the voice there are“different structures we mobilize when using the voice.“ He also goes on to describe the process of sounds made by the voice organ:
“…sounds are considered voice sounds if they originate from an airstream from the lungs processed by the vocal folds and modified by the pharynx, mouth, and perhaps the nasal cavities.“
The air is the engine of the vehicle that is the voice.
Some voice teachers consider the act of singing based totally on aesthetics. Appelman said:
“singers and teachers who interpret the act of singing as wholly aesthetic find it difficult to accept scientific terminology.“
What this means is that some voice teachers have gotten away with being too vague in their descriptions of the sounds they want. Some are not even sure how they produce their own sound, let alone their student’s sound. They just go on trust, and are assured that their experience will guard against any harm to their student’s voice. Aesthetics are useful for technique, but when they are relied on as the sole tool for vocal production, it is like building a house with no firm foundation. The job of researchers is that they
“constantly interpret scientific facts so that they become realistic pedagogical tools which may be employed by future teachers.“
Also, it is fine to suggest that a performance career full of observations of other fine performers is a good pedagogical tool. The only drawback of this method is that the observer doesn’t really know how the performer was producing the sounds, assuming the performer even knew. The only way to assure productive observation of your colleagues in the field, is to have a good working knowledge of the vocal mechanism. I shall now get on my soapbox and say that a qualified teacher of voice does not come with at least a master’s degree. I have met a teacher who has had many successful students go on to reputable graduate schools and young artist programs, himself having sung in the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Program at the age of twenty. Of course, I will say that raw talent counts for something, however, the notion that a teacher of voice cannot be hired at a college just because he or she does not have a master’s, yet has a bachelor’s (with enough performance experience to impress anyone), is just plain ridiculous.
“Good voice teachers should be used wherever they’re found, and voice teaching should be an open rather than a closed profession, because no college can assure teaching competence in a studio or classroom.“
Here is where we meet the voice teacher as the prescriber of solutions. The maintenance of good vocal health is a must and cannot be stressed enough in the studio. A constant vigil must be kept in order to ensure the student is in good physical fitness and in good spirits. The act of singing requires a lot of mental stamina. These issues should be addressed. To pretend this is otherwise is witholding valuable information from the student that could be taxing down the road. The body is the vocal organ, and if the body is not kept in shape, certain aspects of the voice tend to correspond to the lack of exercise the body doesn’t receive. It is the job of the teacher of singing to diagnose solutions to problems when he or she hears them. It is understood that their ear can recognize these problems when they come up. It is through careful and critical tuning of the vocal instrument by other ears that the student is able to make any real progress, which is why tape recorders in a lesson are sometimes a useful tool. McKinney said:
“Every teacher should establish a systematic approach to diagnosis of vocal faults as a prescribed part of his teaching technique.“
He also says remember this plan of action:
- recognize symptoms
- determine causes
- devise cures
This means every pedagogue, no matter how many teachers they’ve had, must determine their own system of diagnosis and prescription unique to the individual they are teaching.
Some good bits of information that every serious voice student should know at some point in their career of study are that the tongue is the main articulator in the resonating cavity. This will hopefully solve of alot of problematic spots later on. The tongue is the cause of much tension for a singer and can affect the way the tone is produced and the purity of tone. If the singer is made to be aware of how their tongue acts while they sing, this is a huge step for the beginning and advanced singer alike. Also, the question of how to teach vibrato is always tricky.
If the singer is told to sing any note with a healthy onset and told to sustain it, chances are the vibrato will just happen.
“Vibrato is a relaxant principle and a major component of well-balanced resonance.“
The point here is that straight tone should never be taught as a compensation technique to get in the center of the pitch. If the singer is too high or too low in pitch, have them sing in their normal vibrato without controlling it, and have them think higher or lower or approach from above the pitch.
Finally, I would like to sum up these hopefully helpful strategies for the new voice teacher with a quote from Arnold Rose:
“It is the work of a teacher to try to discover what mental concepts produce the best results.“
With these goals in mind, the new voice teacher should feel confident with the serious music student. The point of vocal pedagogy is to make concepts that are complex easy to understand. The singer must trust their voice teacher with what they say, and their physical health depends on it. My hope is that many new voice teachers will go out into the world with the creativity they were born with, and trust themselves to learn from their students.
Miller, Richard.“The Misuses of“Scientific Information“ in the Teaching of Singing,“ On the Art
of Singing. Oxford University Press: New York, 1996. 249-250
McKinney, James C. The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults. Waveland Press, Inc.:
Long Grove, IL, 1994. 14-19
Miller, Richard. Solutions for Singers. Oxford University Press: New York, 2004. 125-126
Appelman, D. Ralph. The Science of Vocal Pedagogy. Indiana University Press:
Bloomington, IN, 1967. 3-8
Sundberg, Johan. The Science of the Singing Voice. Northern Illinois University: Dekalb, IL,
Rose, Arnold. The Singer and the Voice. St. Martin’s Press: New York, 1971. 19-29
 Miller, p. 250
 Rose, p. 19
 Rose, p. 21
McKinney, p. 14
 Rose, p. 28
 Rose, p. 25
 Sundberg, p. 1
 Sundberg, p. 1
 Appelman, p. 3
 Appelman, p. 5
 Appelman, p. 7
McKinney, p. 14
McKinney, p. 19
 Miller, p. 258
 Miller, p. 126
 Rose, p. 28