Cross-training, really?

Porpora

I have recently discovered the term ‘cross-training’. This method justifies itself by saying it creates commercial opportunities for the singer. I agree with this. However, it also claims to be a healthy way, perhaps even healthier way, to train the voice.

Well…I have worked as a fully professional singer for a few decades. I have sung classical, cross-over and pure CCM (Contemporary Commercial Music). In a nutshell – my Classical is mostly live theatre, Cross-over is mostly events and CCM is working as a singer-songwriter.

I also have performed duties as a Kaikaranga which uses only belt voice. This is an Aotearoa/New Zealand Māori traditional way of singing. (Sorry, the United States of America DID NOT invent belt voice. Indigenous peoples, of all shapes and sizes, have been using this technique for longer than America was a twinkle in the eye of its colonizer.)

Until this year, I have not taught. Now, my teaching this year is 90% CCM. All of my students learn from the Garcia Method. I then add CCM techniques to this foundation. I emphasise breathing and support, balanced onset and singing on the interest, not the capital. I communicate to all students that cross-training is untested. We proceed with belt, aspiration and noises by giving it the respect it deserves.

My passion is to work with singer-songwriters who have the freedom to establish their own voice and identity. I also like musical theatre. I enjoy the brilliance in the musical theatre sound. However, when I suggest a piece of musical theatre, nearly all of these young people express their dissatisfaction with the direction musical theatre is now headed. In particular, nearly all but two of the young people I work with don’t like the nasality and the extreme use of belt voice in modern musical theatre.

My experience of years and years of singing across genres is that cross-training is NOT a healthy way to train the voice. Rather, practising CCM techniques, for me, required me to use my voice in a manner that, I felt, by sensation, nature did not intend.

I have returned to Bel Canto twice (singing solely Bel Canto for a period of two years) to refresh my voice.

Don’t get me wrong, I love CCM. I love belting, aspiration and noises. I use these techniques as carefully as I can by using strategies based upon considering how high and loud I belt, aiming for mostly balanced onsets etc (caveat: this is most of the time… high-risk is part of the CCM singer/songwriting game for me). However, my experience is that ONLY Bel Canto can maintain my voice. To me, it achieves longevity and feels ‘healthy’.

I adore the Bel Canto exercises from Garcia and Marchesi. I rehearse only Bel Canto exercises. Then, I turn to belt, vocal fry, aspirations in my songs. (From time to time, I practice CCM techniques a couple of times a week for about 10 minutes at a time to keep a check on things. They are fun but I feel, sensation wise and progress wise, there is no benefit to rehearsing them too long).

In my experience, microphones do NOT make up for the fact the voice is being used against what nature intended. For example, I worked on a new song yesterday using an extremely close mic technique. My voice was NOT as fresh when I finished as when I sing a full classical concert unamplified (based on an estimated time I spent singing in both examples).

Currently, I am reading material on cross-training. Who knows, there may be a scientific study out there. However, I believe singing teachers must be careful. The evidence we have in front of us is that Bel Canto techniques, in their purest form (not Verismo additions) preserve the voice. Bel Canto singers with a perfected technique work for decades with a voice that is youthful and can access the full range of the voice. You may say, well this is aesthetic. However, to me, this is also nature. We have a vocal range, do we not?

Nowadays, in our post-Bel Canto world, many opera singers don’t seem to last as long as they used to. It is arguable this is because verismo came along. The head voice was lost. Shouting begun. I have sung verismo. I have sung avant-garde opera. In my experience, this type of opera is much tougher on the voice than singing a piece of Handel or Mozart.

Goodness knows what will happen to female singers in the 21st-century musical theatre world. Night after night singing with a technique that was only ever used, until now, in western music sparingly (or, by indigenous peoples, very sparingly). Time will tell. Let us hope these singers are being observed closely by an objective researcher…I fear the proponents of cross-training are far too close to their subject.

The picture at the top of this post is of Porpora. Composer and teacher of the top castrati and, ironically, one of the great Bel Canto teachers. I included him for a reason – we must not forget the past. We are prepared to go to extreme lengths for sound and, ultimately fame and money. Ouch!!!

For argument’s sake, let’s go with my experiences and say CCM is not as healthy. Then, I ask, are songwriters, composers and the establishment within which they operate, still, to this day, centuries after Porpora lived, causing us to harm our bodies? If so, who are these composers? Who is the establishment? Do they know anything about the voice, in particular the female voice? Do they realise the female voice is different from the male? I don’t know much, but it appears there are different acoustical properties? Can we not work around differences between the voice types, if any, rather than force ourselves to be something we are not?

Should we not be demanding composers write for the voice, in particular the female voice in an educated way? Educated by robust research. Science perhaps? In musical theatre, this could mean encouraging composers, for now anyway, until there is robust research, to write for the voice as a legit voice with a contemporary flair.

Sadly, many questions and thoughts weigh heavily upon me as I continue to sing, write songs and begin my teaching career.

Surely, we singing teachers must advocate for common sense if we are involved on boards, committees, workshop cooperatives etc which commission new works or choose repertoire. I fear singing teachers, who should have the knowledge, are playing around with the creative lives of young singers. This includes solid evidence before suggesting students spend money on University programmes to learn these techniques rather than on another subject which could be a backstop for when their CCM career finishes early.

Buying a voice

One of the greatest singing teachers: Porpora

Over the last six months, I have observed a number of young singers learning from two singing teachers at once. Often, without the singing teachers agreeing to this or, even worse, being told!

This trend is understandable if the teachers complement each other and work together. For example, one teacher is a classical teacher and the other has the knowledge to add some cross-over techniques to the tool kit. However, this is, the majority of the time, not what I am seeing. Rather, I am noticing students learning from more than one classical singing teacher.

In other words, some students (or their parents) believe one can buy a voice.

Unfortunately, nothing is further from the truth.

First, a voice is a gift. Secondly, the training of the voice takes many, many years. During these years, one must have faith in their chosen teacher.

One classical singing teacher is enough. This is because classical singing is athletic. Accordingly, the singing teacher will have a method that they will follow step by step. Building slowly, slowly.

By all means, find a movement teacher, piano teacher, Italian teacher, French teacher, German teacher, Spanish teacher, Theory teacher and personal trainer etc. But, another classical singing teacher? What for?

A student should seek the right teacher for them and then be prepared to stand up, face the mirror, find a starting note and practise what their teacher has asked them to do. Paying two, twenty or two hundred singing teachers will not change this fact.

I strongly discourage singing teachers from allowing themselves to be part of this practice. This practice will confuse the student.

This will not work.

One cannot, and I repeat, cannot, buy a voice.

Easy home studio setup for Singer-Songwriter

This summer I have recommenced writing and recording songs by beginning with a simple set up of a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Cloudlifter CL-1, Shure M7B, and MacBook Pro 2020. (Hot Tip: I am finding that writing and recording simultaneously have sped things up. The trick is to record in small units that can be cut and pasted if the structure needs tweaking).

The aim has been to write and record a song every couple of days that explores different contemporary vocal techniques. (Hot Tip: Recording your singing is the best way to learn. As Dame Nellie Melba said – use your own brain).

To keep the summer project from becoming an uncontrollable beast, I set the limitation of using Garageband, my own voice and guitars. (Garageband is free with the MacBook Pro). Eventually, I had to concede to buy a Shure SM57 for the acoustic guitar. This lead to purchasing another Cloudlifter and another interface called a U-Phoria UMC404HD (Hot Tip: Buy an interface that exceeds your requirements at the beginning). I also had to concede by buying an AKAI Professional MPKmini… see what I mean about audio engineering becoming an uncontrollable beast! (Hot Tip: Don’t upgrade your Mac to Monterey! I spent hours on the phone with Apple trying to solve an issue Monterey and the AKAI caused!).

If you only use a midi controller, you will only need the equipment I listed in the first paragraph. I play acoustic guitar which is why I needed the extra mic/equipment in the end. Also, if you use an electric guitar, you will only need the equipment in the first paragraph. Just plug in and record.

Minus the computer, the cost of the setup was under NZD2000 so not too bad. The computer of course is the big-ticket item (NZD4500 or so). However, the new MacBook Pro with the M1 chip is fast and for people like me with no patience, it is worth it. I just love how I can bounce down in lightning speed and take my new song out for a walk on my iPhone. (Hot Tip: Bounce your songs down, go for a walk and get some exercise while you ponder if the song is going anywhere…).

Below are some of the songs I wrote and recorded. Some of my experiments worked and some didn’t. The turnaround time was three days per song. The purpose was to use my own songwriting and the recording process as a learning tool. (Hot Tip: Define your goals when songwriting and recording. Songwriting and recording can easily become a no man’s land if you don’t have an achievable and realistic goal.

In my next posts, I will go into detail about the equipment I used and the mindset needed to change from classical singing to contemporary and move backwards and forwards in a seamless and sustainable fashion.

To listen in full you will need to go to a streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music etc.

Haunt Me
This Will Soon Be Over

Exchange of Studio Information

Today’s reading included Richard Miller’s book ‘Solutions for Singers: Tools for Performers and Teachers’. On page 201, Miller addressed a question about the sharing of information between studios. This caught my interest today.

It was always a part of my training that teachers and coaches would allow me to record my lessons. I was grateful for this because I realised so much can be overlooked in a lesson.

Now, as an emerging teacher, I encourage students to record lessons. Accordingly, it was amusing to read this passage in Miller’s book. Miller describes a few examples of teachers who do not allow recordings or other teachers to sit in on lessons. (Miller disapproves of this practice, of course).

I have my own fun example. This week, a teacher where I am teaching this term, SOLE Music Academy, and I exchanged lessons. I had questions about microphone techniques for classical singers. A question which is so important in today’s performance world due to outdoor concerts. I learnt a very basic way of practicing with the mic which will help me tremendously. We came to the conclusion that classical singers shouldn’t always be confined to standing rigidly before a mic stand!

Imagine how many opportunities await us if we learn from our colleagues and share information? Especially cross-genre!

Philosophy

In February 2020, while preparing for a lockdown in South Africa, I began a three-year project affectionally named the ‘Lilli Lehmann Project’. This project was inspired by the great German Soprano, Lilli Lehmann.

Lehmann wrote several books including a book translated into English as ‘How to Sing’. It was a chance appearance of her book on my Spotify feed in February 2020 which sparked my interest in revisiting singing techniques to become a singing teacher. In particular, the book revealed the philosophy of Lehmann which was ongoing critique, reflection, and evaluation of her own practice as a performer and a teacher.

I decided to seek for myself through an approach of Research, Embodiment and Teaching.

I threw myself into the project as the South African borders closed around me in March 2020. Assuming the period would be brief. As of March 2020, I believed I had about three weeks to complete the project.

Embodiment

I was fortunate to be in a rural situation in the Western Cape and was able to spend the entire day experimenting with my voice in a 17th Century wine cellar. As we all now know, the pandemic continues to disrupt our lives. The lockdown in South Africa became one of the longest in the world. Weeks became months.

The first stage of the project was to revisit my technique completely because I believe that a singing teacher must be able to embody their teachings in order to teach. I kept a record of this progress on social media. I have included one of these videos below. It is with guitar because, of course, the lockdown prohibited me from seeking out a pianist.

Research

The research stage involved an exploration of historical pedagogy. It had long been a goal of mine to sing all of the exercises by Garcia, Melba, and Marchesi. The Pandemic gave me the time to read the author’s instructions with care. I critically evaluated how I had been taught by my previous singing teacher in Auckland, who came from a branch of the ‘Garcia Singing Family Tree’ (through Anna Schoen-Rene and Lucie Manen). The result was my decision to investigate other branches of the Garcia lineage to evaluate how they imparted the knowledge, including the emphasis they put on certain elements of the knowledge.

Accordingly, I worked towards embodying the Garcia method by investigating other branches of the Garcia singing family tree. My first port of call was the work of Daniel Shigo in New York who writes wonderful blogs and has located Hermann Klein’s Phono Vocal Method. I bought Klein’s singing book (edited by Mr. Shigo and available on Amazon.com) and listened to the videos of the old gramophone recordings Klein made which are on YouTube. I then ‘pulled apart’ my technique and put it back together again according to Klein. The result was surprising. My range increased nearly an octave, the legato and tone quality improved and I enjoyed singing more! It was at this stage that I departed the Lucie Manen side of the family tree!

My next step was to investigate Dame Nellie Melba’s work. Melba’s singing demonstrates the old Italian school of singing. She was taught in Australia and then travelled to learn from Marchesi. In other words, Melba was also under the influence of the Garcia lineage.

I have found Dame Nellie Melba’s book to be the best singing book I have used so far. Melba was the first writer that imparted the knowledge of appoggio to me in a way I could understand. I now use her exercises every day to train my body in the system.

Currently, I am embarking upon a major body of research into the work of Madame Virginia Zeani. This research is possible due to the work of the New Zealand Opera School and Mr Roger Beaumont in New Zealand. Madame Zeani is also of the Garcia lineage. The benefit of Madame Zeani’s work is that a great deal of her work has been captured on film, recordings and in writings. Alongside Melba, I believe Madame Zeani is one of the few teachers who embodies and imparts the knowledge of appoggio.

Importantly, Madame Zeani calls appoggio what it is – a system. In other words, every component of the system must be in working order. Otherwise, the system will fail. This system begins with posture ( impossible while playing the guitar by the way) and is reliant on expansion and suspension of the rib cage, especially using the muscles in the back. This expansion and suspension of the rib cage, in my experience, is the only way the diaphragm can do its job as nature intended. Madame Zeani reminds us to be like a Ballet dancer.

Teaching

I believe that singing teaching in the 21st Century requires the incorporation of both old and new vocal techniques. My experience as a cross-over performer has been the increasing need for authenticity. In other words, the need to embrace a wide range of aesthetic choices. In the past, as a singer-songwriter, I had to discover for myself how to belt, make noises and use aspiration. At the time, many thought I was ruining my career. To my mind, I was embarking upon what I love – exploring the possibilities of the human voice to express.

In this respect, I have been emboldened by the work of Barton and Spivey in the USA. Their teaching/writing pays homage to the Bel Canto methods while incorporating techniques such as belting to meet the demands of musical theatre. Musical Theatre singers require a diverse set of vocal skills to meet the demands of musical theatre. Classical technique is not enough. CCM is not enough. Musical Theatre requires a combination of old and new. It is very difficult.

Therefore, the next stage of my project is to teach in New Zealand in a CCM studio. This will allow me to investigate modern techniques whilst teaching the foundations of the old Italian method.

In addition to this opportunity, I am being given opportunities to deliver masterclasses or to drop into coaching sessions. Last week, I was able to drop in on a young student and teach posture and support. In this student’s case, the benefit of the system of appoggio was instantaneous. The register difficulties disappeared (there is no need to concern oneself with the register if the system is correct because the change from chest to head happens as nature intended) and the quality of the sound greatly improved.

The final word is from Madame Zeani’s teacher, Lydia Lipkovskaya singing Verdi’s aria ‘Caro Nome’. Young singers of any genre should be taught to realize the techniques required to sing like Lipkovskaya will give them the foundations for lifelong singing. It is upon these foundations that the belting, aspirations, and noises can be placed. To think singing technique can be otherwise is a grave error.

Adding to the vocal tool kit – musical theatre

Today’s post discusses and demonstrates some of the singing techniques required when including musical theatre pieces, from the golden age until the present day, in a concert.

I am focussing on the singing techniques here. However, to make the transition truly authentic, the singer will need to spend time on accent. The correct accent will add the X factor needed for true authenticity.

To see where I am coming from, here is an example of my classical singing. This demonstrates the classical voice which focusses on efficiency and beauty of sound. The range in this aria is well over two octaves. The top note is a D6. I use chest voice until Eflat 4 and then blend my registers at that point.

Next, I will show you some examples of singing in a different way for musical theatre.

The classical sound

An obvious next step for a classical singer is to gently edge away from operatic singing into the ‘legit’ voice. ‘Legit’ is the word used by the musical theatre world to describe singing with an operatic quality.

‘Legit’ singing is abundant in the Golden Age of Musical Theatre (1940s, 1950s and 1960s). Here is an example from Show Boat by Jerome Kern. If you compare the previous example to this example you will hear I have lightened the resonance but I have maintained the same point (Eflat4) for blending of the registers. In this example, I still focus on a legato line over and above the words.

32 bars from Show Boat

Here is an example of an opera that has been turned into a musical. The song is ‘Dere’s a cafe on the corner’ from Bizet/Hammerstein’s Carmen Jones. In this example, I begin the transition of prioritising the word over the legato line. This is the key to transitioning into musical theatre. Words, words, words.

Dere’s a cafe on the corner from Carmen Jones

To state the obvious, opera doesn’t use a microphone and musical theatre does. Accordingly, including musical theatre in a concert can be tricky. Here are some examples of pieces I would only include in a concert if a microphone was available.

‘Day by Day’ from Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell (rock/pop musical). Techniques: use chest voice, focus on word, use aspiration from time to time and consider adding the odd straight tone opening up into vibrato.

16 bars from Day by Day

‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’ from Lloyd-Weber’s Evita (British musical). Techniques: use chest up to Dflat5 at the climax of the song. (This is referred to in musical theatre as ‘belting’).

Short example from Don’t Cry for me Argentina from Evita.

‘The winner takes it all’ from Abba’s Mamma Mia (Jukebox musical). Techniques: use of ‘belt’ and head voice interchangeably over all of the voice range.

24 bars from The winner takes it all from Mamma Mia

‘Mama who bore me’ from Spring Awakening (Rock/folk musical). Techniques: head voice and chest voice used interchangeably. Aspiration and breathinesss throughout the voice is used to achieve a folk quality to the voice. (Operatic sopranos are trained for efficiency. Therefore, allowing breath through the voice should be practiced or the muscle memory will revert back to an efficient use of the breath/ quality which is not suitable for folk).

Mama who bore me from Spring Awakening

Finally, not every voice will suit every song or style. It is obvious, for example, I have a mellow voice that suits classical/legit singing. Also, my personality is classical/legit. However, it is virtually impossible to have a career without crossing over to contemporary at some point.

Furthermore, classical music is incorporating more and more contemporary singing styles. I have just workshopped a new opera that used classical, belt and jazz vocal styles. The composer wasn’t aware of this until I pointed it out and asked for a microphone!

We classical singers need to be flexible and open to contemporary music.

For those interested in reading further, see the contemporary section in my reading and listening page, or go to: https://belcantocanbelto.com

Sticking your neck out (literally)

Cell phones are not Bel Canto friendly! Photo taken from osteopath.net.nz. Link below.

The attitude of the pupil, in singing, should be as natural and easy as possible.

Mathilde Marchesi, Bel Canto: A theoretical & practical vocal method. Dover Publications, Inc., New York.

The image above says it all.

Here are two audio examples to demonstrate the importance of the neck position for singing.

Example one demonstrates a note that is distorted by sticking my neck out. I begin the note in a noble posture. I then stick my neck out as if I am looking at my iPhone. I then resume the noble posture. I repeat this. Listen to the sound deteriorate. I change nothing except my neck position!

Sticking neck out (twice) to demonstrate the effect on the sound.

Example two demonstrates scales to a top C. As the scale went higher I adjusted my neck position to enable more length in the back of my neck. (I trained myself to lengthen my neck by grabbing my pigtail and pulling it upwards. Good luck with using this training method in today’s world).

Importance of neck position for high notes.
Oskar Guttman’s book is referred to by Lilli Lehmann in her book ‘How to Sing’. Guttman’s book is a fabulous 19th century manual for singers and actors on posture and breathing.

Here is a link to a previous post of mine for more information about this diagram above. I use Oskar Guttmann’s exercises every day for about six minutes before I vocalise. His 19th Century book is freely available on the internet. https://deborahwaikapohe.com/2020/03/22/oskar-guttmanns-breathing-exercises/

As an aside, here is a post from osteopath.net.nz to assist if the phone has got the better of your neck position. https://www.osteopath.net.nz/blog/text-neck-how-looking-down-at-your-mobile-phone-can-strain-your-neck/

Recommended Reading and Listening: Bel Canto/The Old Italian School of Singing

Pathway to Bel Canto

I have found the following books, manuals and listening to be a ‘pathway’ to studying a way of singing that some refer to as ‘Bel Canto’. Others may refer to it as the ‘Old Italian School of Singing’. Others may describe it as the ‘Italian School of Singing’. (For me, the last description is unreliable because the Italians adapted their singing techniques in the early 20th century to meet the new demands placed on the voice by verismo composers).

There is a great deal of confusion about the term ‘Bel Canto’. This is because the term can mean different things in different contexts. The list below is the ‘pathway’ to ‘Bel Canto’ as I understand it to be; a way of singing as described by Celletti (see below) and taught by Klein’s phono-vocal method (see below) and heard on some (not all) of the early gramophone recordings (thankfully there are some modern examples of ‘Bel Canto’ too, see below).

I don’t think ‘Bel Canto’ should be only academic. I think it must be experienced in the same way that riding a bike must be experienced. In other words, studying books on how to ride a bike does very little for the person who cannot ride a bike but wants to go for a bike ride in Amsterdam. Accordingly, I recommend a good starting point is to try the exercises of Garcia Snr. or Melba (see below). Both books are uncomplicated and free to download on the internet.

Celletti, Rodolfo. A history of Bel Canto. Oxford University Press. 1991.

Garcia, Manuel,Snr. Exercises pour la voix. Between 1819-1822?

Garcia, Manuel, Jnr. Hints on Singing. Canoga Park, Calif. Summit Pub. Co. 1970.

Klein, Hermann, and William R. Moran. Herman Klein and the Gramophone : Being a Series of Essays on the Bel Canto (1923), the Gramophone and the Singer (1924-1934), and Reviews of New Classical Vocal Recordings (1925-1934), and Other Writings from the Gramophone. Portland, Or.: Amadeus Press. 1990.

Melba, Nellie Dame. Melba Method: Part One. Breathing and Other Exercises, Examples, and My Daily Exercises. Part Two. Vocalises. London. Chappell & Co. 1926.

Nicola Porpora. 25 Vocalizzi. Published somewhere between 1686 and 1768.

Pilotti, Katarina. On my re-training to Chiaroscuro. Master’s Thesis at the Academy of Music, Orebro University, Sweden 2009.

Radomski, James. Manuel García (1775-1832): Chronicle of the Life of a bel canto Tenor at the Dawn of Romanticism. Oxford University Press. 2000.

Daniel James Shigo, and Hermann Klein. Hidden in Plain Sight : The Hermann Klein Phono-Vocal Method Based Upon the Famous School of Manuel Garcia. New York, NY: VoiceTalkPublications. 2013.

Striny, Denes. Head First: The Language of the Head Voice: A Concise Study of Learning to Sing in the Head Voice. 2007.

Collection of examples of mostly pre-Verismo voices.

‘Legit’

A trip to the library has made a new girl of me…

Musical Theatre refers to singing in a classical style as ‘legit’. However, it has bothered me for a long time that the classification is too broad. Therefore, I was pleased to read the following in the library today:

Legit can be further divided into traditional legit and contemporary legit.

Robert Edwin, A Broader Broadway, NATS Journal of Singing, 2002-2003, Volume 59, page 431.

Edwin goes on to say that traditional legit is ‘…heard in many of the pre-1960s musicals…’ and that contemporary legit ‘…can maintain some of the classical requirements such as vibrato from onset to release, chiaroscuro, and sostenuto, but can also include pop and rock-influenced sounds.’

I think this division of legit into traditional and contemporary is very useful for singing teachers and students. For example, if there is a microphone available, a singer of legit material may be able to sing both traditional and contemporary legit in concert. Conversely, if there is no microphone, it may be prudent for the singer to perform only traditional legit material (to sing contemporary legit may result in overloading the voice when singing the pop & rock influenced sounds without amplification).

Legit does not mean the same thing to me as singing classically. Classical singing to me requires the perfection of chiaroscuro, alignment of vowels and consonants and the seamless use of ‘chest’ and ‘head’ voice registers. Classical singing divides into many styles that have their own techniques, ornamentation and conventions. In contrast, I feel legit voices should come as close as they can to classical but not jeopardize the expectations of the audience.

The audience of musical theatre expects the triple threat.

I believe singers and singing teachers should not maintain a rigid dichotomy between classical and contemporary. For example, two weekends ago I was called in to workshop a new opera. The music the composer presented to me, in my opinion, included legit, jazz and traditional belt styles. In my opinion there was no classical singing required. I explained my choices of vocal style to the composer and she was happy with this. Furthermore, during the workshop performance I used a microphone for the contemporary styles. I hope these decisions enabled the composer to hear her music in its best light. I think in this circumstance classical singing would have not fulfilled her intent.

Finally, here are a few examples from You Tube. I would categorize the first as classical, the second as traditional legit and the third as contemporary legit. I would do so to enable myself, as a singer and singing teacher, to make informed decisions about style and to choose the vocal techniques to enable myself or my student to be true to style.

Classical Singing
Traditional legit
Contemporary legit Soprano- this is not the way G&S would have been sung in the 19th Century. The breathiness, use of chest higher than a classical singer would and scooping is the reason I have placed this video in the contemporary legit category. I love it though!

Sustained notes

Dame Nellie Melba 19 May 1861 – 23 February 1931

I love Dame Nellie Melba’s singing book called ‘Melba Method’. Here is an audio example of what happens when I follow Melba’s simple instructions which I have included below. The example is recorded in close proximity on my iPhone.

Sustained note

For fun, here is an example of suddenly slouching.

Sustained note with a collapse of the rib cage partway through to demonstrate the effect on the note
Melba Method, page 16
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