The Liberated Voice

Revolutionizing vocal technique with timeless wisdom

What Did You Learn In School Today?

Pete Seeger wants to know
 

Singers, what did you learn in your most recent voice lesson? Teachers, what have you successfully imparted to your students so far this week?
 
I’m inviting you to reflect on these questions because the greater our clarity about what is successfully imparted and actually learned, the more valuable the lesson and the more likely the learning will be retained.
 
There is certainly an ineffable, je ne sais quoi component to the way artistic growth occurs, and good communication between teacher and student often seems to happen as much via osmosis as it does through any method.
 
However, learning to sing does involve the development and integration of codifiable skills, including breathing, phonation, registration, resonance, diction, and flexibility, as well as the ability to apply those skills to dramatic and musical interpretation of repertoire.
 
So, aside from the je ne sais quoi, what did you learn in school?
The...
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How to Hit the High Notes

 

It is not how high you get that matters—it’s how you get high.”
W. Stephen Smith

 

Imagine you’re watching the Olympics on television. It’s time for pole vaulting.

You observe this amazing feat and think, wow, that’s for me! You seek out a coach who is known for training elite pole vaulters, and you schedule a session. You meet up with them at a field that is already set up for pole vaulting. The coach greets you, hands you an enormous pole, points to the distant crossbar, and says, “Okay, show me what you’ve got! Then come back here and I’ll tell you what you did wrong.”

This would never happen, of course.

But it’s really not all that different from what many singers experience in a first voice lesson with a new teacher, even as a complete beginner. You meet up with the teacher at their studio. The teacher greets you, sits down at the piano, invites you to sing a song, and then critiques...

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What Do You Need from Your Voice Teacher?

auditions pedagogy singing Mar 14, 2022
Some years ago I became aware that within our vast and varied constellation of voice teachers, I was regarded as a technique specialist.
 
When I asked a prospective student why they were interested in working with me, they often replied with something like, “I‘ve heard you're great at teaching technique, and I really need to get my technique together,” followed by a caveat along the lines of, “I learned so much from Professor Famoso at Conservatorio Stretto, I‘m incredibly grateful to them! but they didn't really teach technique.”
 
I would think, “if they aren‘t teaching technique, then what the hell are they teaching?”
 
I would also occasionally receive an SOS from a singer currently enrolled in a conservatory program who urgently needed help their Official Voice Teacher was unable to provide: to resolve habitual tongue tension, or even out their registration, or develop the breath coordination to navigate...
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