Catching Up With The Past

More than 35 years ago I presented at a program for the New York Singing Teachers’ Association on the music of Stevie Wonder. You have to know that at the time, it was a RADICAL presentation. This was a strictly classical organization and I was presenting an R&B artist. Scandalous! I was/am a Stevie Wonder fan and I loved his voice especially when he was young. Much to my surprise one of the oldest members, a tiny German or Austrian woman who always came to meetings dressed in her suit and pearls, complimented me on my presentation and said she had learned a lot. I was flat-out flabbergasted.

At the end of the presentation I predicted that in the not so distant future ALL singing teachers who were serious professionals would need to know voice science. I said that was where we were going and that the profession was going to get there. It wasn’t a question of if, just when. I was met with quite some amount of scoffing and skepticism.

Well, we’re there now. There is so much voice science in the profession now, you almost fall over it. The idea that we should deal with function is now gaining in popularity and that is a great thing. The acceptance of reality about singing is going to make it increasingly difficult for teachers who make things up and don’t actually know what happens when we make sound to get away with their convoluted ideas. Students will be able to easily look up whether or not what they are being told makes sense or is even possible. As someone who has campaigned to make this so for over 40 years, I couldn’t be happier. What I was talking about at the NYSTA meeting more than 3 decades ago, is finally coming to pass!!!!!!

If you are someone who reads this blog on a semi-regular basis, and you know anyone who sings for a living, no matter at what level from rank amateur to advanced pro, or who sings with seniors in a nursing home or tiny tots at a nursery school or performs with a regional music theater production, PLEASE tell them to go to the website of the American Academy of Teachers of Singing (www.americanacademyofteachersofsinging.org) and read the articles posted there. We will have a new one after July 8 about Fact-Based Training and that is one that EVERYONE should read when it gets uploaded. We work on these articles together (that’s the combined knowledge of over 30 expert teachers of singing) and write as one body on various topics of interest to the profession. THEREFORE, what is there is not from one teacher or two, not from one “special pedagogy” but from people who have no personal vested interest in anything other than service to the profession, allegiance to truth, and a decision to do what is most beneficial to the largest number of individuals. Each paper typically takes a full year of work and hours of discussion, writing and re-writing. There is no other body of teachers of singing that serves this function for the profession.

If you know someone who teaches singing, no matter who they are or where they are, ask them to read the articles written by the American Academy of Teachers of Singing. Help stamp out vocal ignorance. Help the present catch up with the past.

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