The Other Side of the Tract

I’ve been thinking that it would be good to take on the position of those whose attitudes I dislike.


I believe that singing opera can be helpful to anyone who wants to learn to sing. In order to sing opera, one must learn to breath efficiently and deeply, using the diaphragm and the abdominal muscles to help support the tone one is producing. In a talented singer, who can stay on pitch and has a naturally good voice, developing resonance is best approached by suggesting that the student produce a tone that vibrates in the bones of the face and head at all times. The vowels should remain in the most forward position in order to help increase these vibrations, and the resonance should be uninterrupted by noisy or drawn-out consonants, although an effort should be made to pronounce all words intelligibly. The student should be encouraged to sing in Italian, as the vowels in Italian are musical and pure and this will help the English, German and French vowels follow that same path. The tone should have a vibrato which is not too fast, too slow or irregular, and it should not be artificially manufactured.

It is appropriate for the student to begin with Italian Art Songs or other similar art songs in order to learn how to sing a flowing musical line (legato) and to spend time on vocal exercises of various kinds to strength breathing and resonance.

When doing material that is not classical, students should be encouraged to carry over as much as possible all of the above skills that have been developed by doing classical music. All music in any style should be sung with as much consistent resonance as possible, with legato, vibrato, and clear, undistorted vowels. Consonents should be used minimally so as not to effect the vocal line, but they should be audible and crisp. Students should work to create a beautiful sound in whatever style of music is being performed, and use the sound itself as the main vehicle of communication.

Problems which arise in the music should be addressed through breath support work, correction of resonance positions (placement), and through changes in the concepts of the sound and the images that accompany those sounds. Students should be encouraged to stay within material that is comfortable and easily done until the voice and body are very secure in those behaviors.

Anyone who has mastered the above skills will have drawn out the best of their singing voice, and can go on to develop as an artist while learning more about music history, style, interpretation, performance practice and stage deportment.

OK, what do you think of that?

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3 thoughts on “The Other Side of the Tract”

  1. OK…so do you mean “take on” meaning adversarially, or to adopt?

    This all sounds well and good, but haven’t you missed talking a bit about the function of the registers and how not EVERYTHING from classical training aids everything else we do in CCM?

    This sounds kind of like me – I’m sorry to say – BEFORE you helped me figure out how to access a functional chest register…

    Enlighten me – please!


  2. You’ve nailed that philosophy. I think it is always good to try to argue the “other side”. It helps us see all the more clearly where we are “Not” and where there might be some common ground.

    judy wade

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