I have always been fascinated as to what it is that constitutes good singing. Why is that someone who might not have outstanding vocal abilities can move an audience to tears and someone who might have a strong powerful voice with a huge range can leave one totally cold.
There are many factors that effect the way we sing, not just having a “good technique.”
Although technique is important for a long career , there are many singers out there especially in the commercial road of pop and opera that rely entirely on their artistic instinct to get them through. I know many of these singers and have discussed what is it that gets them going? The answers are often very similar. Being excited about their role. Analysing the text and how it fits into the composers idea of melodic shape and rhythm. These are to name but a few. But what I noticed most about them was that they were often the ones that were more involved in the emotional content. They would often spa a bit with conductors who might tell them something that they did not agree with. Perhaps even changing what the composer had written in dynamics and punctuation! I often wonder had the composer lived longer how much he might have altered his works to improve things a little. We should be allowed that freedom.
Encouraging singers to delve into the text of a song and respond to the words like an actor would do is essential to finding something interesting and exciting. This is what truly makes singing fun, not being glued to a copy of music.
While at the Royal Academy of Music I had the opportunity to study Opera as well as musical theatre. I was fortunate to be one of Mary Hammonds first students on her then new Musical theatre course back in 1992. I learnt so much through singing musical theatre and it really helped me with my performing, especially opera. She taught me how to break down a song and get into it. Text is where it starts, then rhythm followed by the melody. Mary once said to me a bit of opera in musical theatre and vice versa would be a good thing. Certainly for me, it was musical theatre that helped me most. Understanding how to get into a song and make the text resonate true and spontaneous is where we should all start.
Letting go is also essential to the start of any vocal training. Releasing your voice and searching for your true potential is what it is all about.
This leads me to some of my Methods.
Although I work hard on technique, my main objectives are to firstly make my students feel relaxed, this is going to be fun.
Working on breathing and exploring sounds that are getting close to you, resonating as yourself!
Playing with text. Maybe reading the words allowed if you fancy.
Taking risks with written music and making those songs your own creation, paying more attention to your interpretation rather than someone else’s version you may have heard on a recording.
I have an LRAM singing teaching certificate (distinction) from the Royal Academy of Music. My teaching is based mainly on the study of Frederick Husler encouraging a free sound, good posture, performance and language skills.
I am a proficient pianist and accompany my students.