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The Secrets To Becoming a Great Singer

Dec 27, 2007
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about singing.

Q As a teacher of singing, what are you trying to accomplish?
A First, I am trying to help singers develop their vocal talent.

Q How do you go about it? It seems to me that singing is so complex, that is, such a complex combination of physical and psychological factors, that you wouldn't know how or where to begin. The generally accepted idea is that no two individuals can be taught the same way.
A What you have said seems to be the generally accepted idea. However, from a singing standpoint we are all the same in part and tend to function in the same way. This applies to child, adolescent, and adult, male or female. In other words, there are individual similarities that make possible a definite basic approach to vocal technique. From a psychological standpoint we are confronted with individual differences which complicate the teaching problem; yet there are individual similarities as well.

Q What is meant by the physical processes of singing?
A The physical processes involved in singing and in speech may be described as follows: respiration, including inhalation and exhalation; phonation, the production of sound at the level of the larynx, called voice; articulation, the breaking up of the phonated orunphonated breath stream at the level of the larynx, called voice, or at the level of the mouth, called speech; and resonation, the modification or amplification of the vocal sounds by means of the resonators - the pharynx, the mouth, and the nasal passages.

Q Do these processes present any unusual problems?
A Very definite problems. The fact is that the size, musculature and development of the mechanisms that bring about the processes vary with different individuals. The problem is to co-ordinate the processes to obtain the best results. Improper balance between the processes due to inferior mechanisms, or weakness of the mechanisms creates problems that are peculiar to each process.

Q Let us suppose that I came to you for voice training: how would you begin?
A First I would listen to you sing a song, any song that you might be able to sing. In the course of a few minutes I would be able to make a preliminary appraisal of the following: type of voice, quality, type of diction, sense of pitch, dynamic control, agility, breath support and breath control, range and artistic sense.

Q Then would you tell me what you thought of my singing?
A I might ask you first what you thought of your own singing, what you expected voice lessons to do for you, and what your ultimate goal was. Then I would tell you what I thought I could do for your voice.

Q Let us suppose that I had had previous training, with which training you might not agree, would you say that I would have to begin over again?
A I don't believe that I would ever say that any singer would have to begin over again. Any past experience in singing or training should be helpful in making an advance in technique or vocal style, or in learning what to do or what not to do. I would be teaching you how to sing so that you might be able to guide yourself.

Q How much should I know in order to know how to sing and how to guide myself?
A Basically you should know four things: your normal quality; how to sing vowels pharyngeally; registration; and where to breathe and how to support your tone.

Q How does one go about establishing normal or bell quality?
A The basis for this is having a conception of what the normal or "bell" quality sounds like. Listening to the voices of artists or others who are accepted as good singers is one approach. Then the student must have a teacher who knows what to listen for. By a process of trial and error the teacher must lead the student into establishing bell quality.
There is much more to be know about singing, but this gets you off to a good start.
About the Author
Follow My Free Singing Lessons And You May Just Be The Next American Idol.

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