Faster and Faster

Things are changing now, faster and faster. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to champion functional training based on body awareness and voice science.  Mindfulness and voice science are jumping out of everyone’s mouth. They are the flavors of the month.

“Bring in the high partials.” “Tune the 2nd harmonic to the 1st formant.” “Find the singer’s formant cluster on those high notes.”

Twenty five years ago when I spoke at a meeting of the New York Singing Teachers’ Association and said that sooner or later the profession was going to go over to voice science, the room was against me. They were artists, not scientists. They were musicians and actors, not researchers. The scientists didn’t understand singing because it was mysterious. THEY understood because they sang and that was the only way into their private club.


Now I read about all sorts of things that were “forbidden” years ago and for which I was called “fringe” by mainstream classical teachers. What was ignored or mocked years ago in my not so long life (I’m 65, not 95),  is now touted and celebrated. It’s funny.

I also keep saying that the opera world is going to one day wake up and allow electronically amplified music by pop/rock composers into the house and then opera as we know it will change, in the blink of an eye, into a museum piece. The seats, however, will be filled by young people with money to spend and sooner or later, the old folks, who will be outraged, will slowly disappear and their objections will disappear with them. Has to be.

So, beware the teacher who has read a few books, attended a few conferences and knows the buzz words. They sound like they know what they are talking about (“Increase the subglottic pressure.”) but many times they still are as clueless as when they were talking about “pink mist” and “singing from the back over the top while spinning out of the dome”.

Can the teacher sing? How well? What excuses do they make if they can’t or sing badly? Is their explanation something you can validate by going online and looking it up on a voice science website? Do they talk to you in plain simple English? Do you feel stupid at the end of a lesson? If you don’t get good answers, L E A V E, people. Caveat Emptor.

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