Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Structure of Singing

Richard Miller's The Structure of Singing: System and Art in Vocal Technique (Wadsworth, 2001) is quite simply the best book about the process of singing on the market today.

In it he stresses the importance of knowing the details of a number of techniques of singing and compares vocal pedagogy to "a smorgasbord, from which one can sample foods both rich and simple; [but] not everything that can be ingested is equally nutritious."

Miller acknowledges that studying with many famous teachers, attending numerous of their master classes or symposiums, and reading the latest "complete" vocal method may be beneficial. But he adds that "there comes a time when the singer or teacher of singing must stop shopping around and make a choice." The right choice can only be made if "one is aware of what produces free vocal function."

Certain sounds may be exciting to the listener but harmful to the singer. Miller continues the food analogy by saying if vocal sounds "are not based on reliable functional principles, they will make the voice sick, just as a continual diet of desserts will adversely affect the constitution."

The following books by Miller are also excellent: On the Art of Singing, Training Tenor Voices, Training Soprano Voices, and Solutions for Singers.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Adam Lopez sets a world record

The following is an amazing video I came across on YouTube a while ago. It shows Adam Lopez singing a high note that is a half step higher than the highest note on a piano.

SOURCE: "Adam Lopez - Highest Vocal Note," (Retrieved 19 January 2009).

Studying Singing

Sergius Kagen (1909-1964) was a member of the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music and had this to say regarding the studying of singing:
In my experience, I have become aware of the fact that too many young people who hope to become professional singers believe too much in and expect too much from the processes of study. . . . [Study] cannot be expected to endow the student with faculties he may not possess by nature.
SOURCE: Sergius Kagen, On Studying Singing (NY: Dover Publications, 1960), p. 4.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bernadette Peters on Singing

Bernadette Peters has long been one of my favorite Broadway singers. In 1985 during the Broadway run of Song and Dance, she had the following to say about the singing voice:
''It's like a muscle,'' says Miss Peters, suddenly sounding like an athlete. ''You have to keep it in shape. Singing lessons are like body building for your larynx.''
How true.

SOURCE: Dena Kleiman, "Bernadette Peters Trains Voice Like a Muscle," New York Times (20 September 1985) C3.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Gem from Lamperti

"The feeling that your tone is free, borne on its own wings of energy, is one of the greatest delights of life--because you are its creator."
SOURCE: William Earl Brown, Vocal Wisdom: Maxims of Giovanni Battista Lamperti (1931). Enlarged ed. by Lillian Strongin. (New York: Taplinger, 1957), p. 33.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Words of Wisdom 1

If you can talk, you can sing.

How well you sing is someone's opinion.

Someone's opinion is no reason to not sing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy New Year and welcome to the Singing Voice Blog.

I'll be posting some tips on technique and other vocal musings. Check back for more.