The Four Core Areas

The homepage provides a broad overview of the four core areas of singing lessons. Here is more detail on the content of each of these:

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 (height, as well as mode 1/2/3
  • modifying resonators
  • breath management
 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.

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

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

You may also find it useful to read about the Values to get a good feel for what happens in lessons. If you are interested in having singing lessons with me, take a look at Next Steps.