“Dreams are messages sent by talent,” states author Barbara Sher. I adhere to that insightful statement. The inspiration to open your mouth and sing comes from deep within, and the expression of sound made more beautiful through study and application is a dedicated act of passion. If you find yourself standing in a Vocal Studio ready to take instruction, you more- than-likely belong there.
Approaching each student with a constructive and positive outlook, my motto is: “Use that which works to inform that which doesn’t.” Each vocal exercise I assign students has a specific purpose, and many exercises are custom tailored to meet the needs of that individual. Initially, when I identify a challenge in a student’s technique, I find a strength that matches it and assign an exercise to bolster the strength. Over time, the student gains mastery of the weakness. We then are able to move on to the next level of mastery.
Singing is sustained speech. With that in mind, I address the total body, person, and patterns of speech. Looking for areas that need development in posture, speech production, attitudes toward self, time management skills and self-concept, among others, and over time using pedagogic tools to address these areas, the goal is that singing becomes an integral part of the person and their life. Just as breath management comes from examining how a student breathes when speaking, supporting a vocal line starts with identifying if the student is speaking in a healthy fashion.
One’s self-concept impacts patterns of speech, timbre, placement and overall vocal health. A healthy self-concept leads to life patterns that are healthy. I emphasize the need for consistent rest, hydration, healthy eating habits, recreation and physical exercise. Thinking of the “body voice” informs this approach to pedagogy in my Vocal Studio. The student and I design a practice regimen that is realistic and able to be comfortably and practically integrated into daily life.