How to Learn a Song

In his book “Music and the Flute” Thomas Nyfenger quoted another master flutist, Julius Baker, who said this about slow, deliberate practice: “If you never make a mistake, you’ll never make a mistake.” This is a really difficult thing for beginners to truly understand. Below is a section from a typical classical flute piece, “Trois […]

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Changing Vocal Identity

A colleague recently posted a question about this situation: A student makes great progress on an exercise leading to better vocal function, but does not take that better function to his singing. “Everything reverts to the way it was” as soon as he starts singing. It frustrates both teacher and student. I am reproducing my […]

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The teacher’s breathing

There are hundreds of articles, chapters, and videos about breathing for singers. How about breathing for the teacher? Specifically, how about breathing while the teacher is listening to the student? When I have observed Jeannette Lovetri teaching, I and those around me have always been aware of the peace that pervades the room. She is […]

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"Placement" in singing

This is a troublesome word in vocal pedagogy and technique. Try to get several voice teachers or singers to agree what “placement” is and you will invoke semantic chaos. As I understand it, “placement” refers to the feeling of sympathetic vibration in one’s body when the voice is resonating as it should. We all know […]

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Singing and Fluting

This is inspired by Craig’s comment on my previous entry. As I have dusted off my flute and played it again after very little activity in the last 7 years, I am finding it refreshingly different than previous times that I came back from breaks. I have been fearful of playing flute again largely because […]

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On the “mix” needed for some nonclassical styles of singing

First: Laryngeal height The way to balance a voice has often been described as a “balancing act” between the “stretcher muscles” (cricothyroid) and the “closer muscles” (mostly thyroarytenoid). This is a handy two-dimensional model, but the larynx, being a physical thing, has a third dimension, or it wouldn’t be a physical object. This other dimension […]

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