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Methodology in Singing

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A method of vocal development goes right to the core of one of the most controversial issues in the world of singing and singing instruction: Is a uniform system of singing possible? What about voice training? Is a uniform system of voice training possible? The answer is that while a singer’s artistic choices and singing technique are (or should be) individual to him alone, voice teaching/voice building principles and techniques are standardized and have universal application.

Because all humans possess voice muscles that perform identical actions (allowing for typical anatomical and functional differences between genders), it follows that what is effective for one voice must also be effective for all others; herein lies the rhyme and reason for a standardized voice training system. Based on this premise, voice teachers should follow the same voice training principles and techniques for ALL voices. This is the most significant idea in all of voice instruction, yet ironically, it’s the one that nearly everyone has missed. Voice building exercises give muscular strength and support to a singer's personal technical efforts. The world of vocal exercise, in other words, is distinct from, yet is intimately related to, the world of artistic singing.

Once we focus on the clear distinction between singing techniques and voice training techniques (what I call voice building techniques), the confusion about the meaning of a vocal method instantly vanishes. We could then ask relevant questions and give much-needed answers: What is the first responsibility of a voice builder? To develop a student's muscular instrument to its fullest potential. How is this best accomplished? By employing a precise, internally consistent, and uniform vocal exercise program—a method of voice building. Once a student has developed her muscular instrument, then what is next? Then the voice builder could move into “voice coaching,” where instruction focuses on helping a singer define more clearly a personal vocal style as it applies to song interpretation. What is the student's responsibility? First, to work diligently to develop her muscular instrument by following the precise instructions laid out by her voice builder, and secondly, to realize the goal of becoming an artistic singer. 

Gary Catona, photo by Issam Zejly



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