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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Why You Hate Exercise

fitness practice wellness Jul 03, 2022

This blog post is dedicated to all of you who think you should be exercising more than you do. Or believe you should be enjoying it more than you do, or wish you were getting better results.

All of you are officially off the hook. I’ve been a certified fitness trainer for some twenty years, and I am here to tell you that we’ve all been duped.

 Fitness culture, at least here in the US, is largely premised on several fallacies:

  • Fallacy #1: The fitness and nutrition strategies developed for elite athletes are also the best strategies for average, comparatively sedentary people
  • Fallacy #2: Visible muscle definition indicates strength and wellness
  • Fallacy #3: Exercise requires discipline and sustained willpower, i.e. “no pain, no gain.”
  • Fallacy #4: There is one ideal set of health parameters that is relevant for bodies of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, including (or especially) how much you weigh.

To be clear, I’m not saying...

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How to Enjoy Practicing More Than You Currently Do

I have always loved to practice music. I have been obsessed with practicing from the moment Mrs. Pickens, my next-door neighbor, put an alto recorder in my hands. I was six years old.

It was the beginning of a lifelong passion. I had so much fun playing around with the instrument, figuring out the fingering, learning to navigate the register breaks, playing scales in different keys, and best of all, teaching myself to play songs I heard on the radio. I spent hours learning Simon & Garfunkel and Jim Croce songs by ear.

When my neighbor invited me to play in her [otherwise adult] recorder ensemble, I had to learn to read music. It was confusing and challenging, but it was also really fun. I enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of interpreting rhythm and pitch notation, and I really loved figuring out how the part I was playing fit into the overall musical design.

When I was eleven, I took up the clarinet and started playing in wind ensembles and orchestras. The clarinet opened up a...

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