An inquisitive and articulate colleague of mine recently brought up some great questions about how we frame our experiences. It was a pretty interesting angle. She asked this question: If we say that we learned to be better teachers because of having bad training or other adversity to overcome, is it because it’s true or […]
Five years ago, I posted about the concept of “open throat” and what that might mean. Since that time, I have read the books of David Clark Taylor where he uses the term “throat stiffness”, which I like. The awareness of stiffness or suppleness of the throat helps me more than “openness” to monitor conditions […]
Sometimes when I’m talking shop with colleagues they will tell me about a recent course, workshop, or book that they have learned from. Sometimes they may say, “You probably know all about that.” That is never true. If I have made the study of a topic my life’s work, my niche in the vocal world, […]
I have written about the dangers of an imagery-based mode of instruction for voice. Images are generally conveyed with words, sometimes also with gestures. Examples of imagery in voice teaching would be directives like: Direct the sound against the hard palate. Fill with air down to your lower abdomen. Split the resonance between your throat […]
When teacher works with student, he needs to keep in mind that he is trying to help the student to do something that she has never done before. Each party is bringing these three potentials to the lesson: the desired behavior (in the future) the possible manifestations and scope of achievement (in the future) the […]
A tiny baby will grab your finger if you put it in the palm of her hand. This is the “grasp reflex”. The body has many such reflexes to stimuli. The grasp reflex, however, is a special one in terms of its metaphorical meaning. The English language is full of references to the need to […]
Hello Singing Friends (pro, avocational, everyone who sings!), If you have a few minutes, I would be honored to have you take my “Vocal Satisfaction Survey” which is part of a research project and the book I am working on. It is anonymous. Thanks!
Before you can do anything well, you must concentrate. You must still the mind in order to use the mind. In the Age of Anxiety we are in a mode of such extreme noise, internal and external, literal and metaphorical. When thinking, observing, doing – stop. Pay attention to what is. Not how this compares […]
Below is a sampling of some discussions I found by googling “I don’t like countertenors”. Is it sexist or artistically wrong of me to prefer female singers to countertenors? Is anyone else creeped out by countertenors? Discussion of countertenors on the Bach Cantatas forum
Let’s take a look at “cracking the code” of a teacher’s vocabulary. If you have been fortunate enough to have had a teacher who helped you acquire singing concepts that were helpful, you are lucky. Alternatively, if by your experiences and brain power you have figured out how to sing reasonably well even with confusing instruction, […]
Is it emotion? If so, what about a singer’s performance evokes emotion? Can it be feats of strength? Sensitivity? Fascinating ebb and flow of the lyric? Are exciting singers “loud”? Can soft singing be exciting? Can a voice be beautiful but not exciting? Exciting but ugly?
What does “resonance” mean? You can look up different dictionary definitions as well as I can, but today let’s call it “maximum sound output per energy unit expended”. Let’s assume this includes a nice distribution of overtones that gives the voice a pleasing timbre. Generally, when we sing, we are hoping to make sounds that […]