The Four Core Areas

The homepage provides a broad overview of the four core areas of singing lessons:

  • Vocal Technique (& the voice science behind it)
  • Interpretation & Expression
  • Performance Skills
  • Learning & Psychology

Here is more detail on the content of each of these:

Vocal Technique (& the voice science behind it)

The ‘singing body’ – understanding vocal anatomy, muscles and function

    • posture – alignment as a dynamic (rather than static) process
    • breathing technique
    • vocal folds & larynx
      • starting notes (onset) and ending notes (release)
      • different ‘gearing’ for mode 1 / chest, mode 2 / head, and mode 3 / falsetto
    • vocal acoustics & resonance
      • adapting resonator spaces depending on the vowel-pitch relationship
      • creating a convergent or divergent resonator for different tonal qualities
    • singing words (articulation)
      • combining pitch change, vowel change, and consonants fluently
      • pronunciation, including how it can be different in singing compared to speech
      • pronunciation help for other languages (French, German, Italian, Latin, Hebrew)
    • Voice care
      • vocal stamina
      • extreme and high intensity singing
      • vocal recovery

Extending the voice

    • pitch range
      • discovering your range and voice type
      • singing high notes & low notes safely, artistically and effectively
    • volume / dynamics
      • singing loudly and softly
      • moving from soft to loud and back again (crescendo & diminuendo)
    • note duration
      • long notes – maintaining tone and breath control
      • short notes (staccato)
    • fast singing
      • rapid pitch change (runs and riffs)
      • rapid syllables (e.g. rap, patter songs, opera buffa, recitative, scatting)

Adapting the voice for different musical styles

(e.g. opera, early music, jazz, music theatre, belt, folk, rock etc)

    • larynx adjustment
    • modifying resonators
    • breath management
Interpretation & Expression

The music

    • melody: the effect on the listener of different pitch areas of the voice, intervals and melody shapes, variations in length of notes, and the interactions between these
    • harmony: the effect on the listener of different keys & scales, harmonies, and chord progressions
    • musical texture: the impact of the different patterns and sound effects contributed by the instruments
    • musical structure: understanding how the structure / architecture of a piece affects the performer’s presentation and the listener’s experience
    • musical phrasing: how to use it effectively

The words

    • using the rhythm and pulse of language
    • expressing idea and feeling with verbal sounds and colours
    • exploring alternative possible meanings

The story – music & words together

    • deepening knowledge of the relationship between words & music
      • understanding the music can give clues to how to deliver the words
      • understanding the words can give clues to how to deliver the music
    • understanding the context of character, situation and story
    • understanding the emotional & narrative journey of a song
    • singing as storytelling: delivering the message, and nuances of a song/aria

Understanding styles (performance conventions)

    • the musical and verbal adjustments a performer must make to sing authentically in different styles (e.g. music theatre, jazz, opera, folk)
    • learning about industry standards
    • recitative coaching
    • art song in several languages
    • understanding the piece’s context – musically, culturally & artistically, historically, socially, politically, dramatically etc.
Performance Skills

Preparation

    • memorising and preparation skills
    • mental rehearsal techniques
    • planning a recital programme or set list
    • role preparation

Live performance

    • making the transition from the teaching studio and practice room into public performance
    • stage presence & self-presentation
    • communicating with an audience
    • handling performance nerves
    • balancing control and spontaneity / creativity in performance
    • handling the unexpected
    • audition technique

The cycle of improvement

    • learning from experience, developing new preparation and performance skills
    • taking the sting out of negative experiences
    • handling criticism, feedback, and praise

Recording studio

    • microphone technique
    • working with a studio, engineer and producer
    • singing with click tracks, headphones etc.
    • producing your best performance in a recording booth

Professional singing & teaching

    • moving into professional singing
    • developing an existing singing career
    • receiving mentoring as a singing teacher
Learning & Psychology

Whole person approach

    • the Voice Pentagon
    • mastering the ‘inner game’ of successful learning & performing – all physical skills training is also mental training

Learning methods

    • understanding the basic neuroscience of how we learn – we aren’t born with skill, we grow it
    • finding and using the learning methods that work best for you
    • clear, accurate conceptual models & explanations
    • systematic exercises
    • tailored warmups & practice routines
    • as much repetition as you need – I have been teaching these principles and exercises for over 35 years, so I can guarantee that I am comfortable taking people through this as many times as necessary!
    • methods designed to help you, the singer, become confidently independent – capable of self-monitoring, self-analysis, and vocal problem-solving for yourself
    • demonstration – I show you every single technique with my own voice.

Resources

    • explanatory handouts
    • blog articles
    • videos
    • handy, memorable checklists
    • book recommendations
    • diagrams