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More and more singers are cancelling big shows and turning to surgery to fix their damaged vocal cords. But is the problem actually down to the way they sing?

The Guardian | Bernhard Warner

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A great resource for information about voice is Vocapedia. Check it out.

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.

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.

Bernadette Peters in '08

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.

If you can talk, you can sing.

How well you sing is someone’s opinion.

Someone’s opinion is no reason to not sing.

Carlo Broschi aka Farinelli

Singing Voice provides detailed information, history and links about the human voice, opera and the art of singing.

While a lot of knowledge has been gained over the centuries regarding singing, there is much that still remains uncertain and there are many differences of opinion among singing teachers regarding terminology and correct vocal technique.

It is hoped that the information found here may answer some of the many questions singers often have and also form the basis of an ongoing dialogue between singers, teachers, and voice scientists.

Thanks for visiting and return soon.