During this time I have increasingly specialized in solving vocal problems, teaching a healthy, reliable technique and training singers in all aspects of the singer’s craft.
I firmly believe that good technique is the foundation of a more beautiful and professionally sustainable tone. An informed understanding of the main principles of vocal physiology and functionality should underpin a singer’s career. If it does not, the life of a singer becomes stressful and riddled with anxiety, professional goals seem forever out of reach and singers become unhappy, confused and unfulfilled. Singing is a beautiful and rewarding activity to engage in. It stimulates the production of endorphins (‘feel good hormones’) in the body, it makes other people happy if we do it well. As an art form and vehicle for self-expression, it is equally full of strength and vulnerability, summing up the human condition in all its myriad complexities. The mechanics of a good singing technique are frequently shrouded in mystery. Coaches often rely solely on artistry and metaphor in order to communicate their message to the singer. Although this is unquestionably an important aspect of training, I am convinced that the starting point in a good working relationship between vocal coach and singer should be for the vocal coach to provide technical solutions based on a sound understanding of the physiology of the larynx and body.
It is vital that this be tailored to the physical characteristics of each individual artist. As a broad generalization, I have found that there is a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’ of singing. However, although there are facts, there are various methods of imparting these. Singers learn in different ways. Technique has to be taught in such a way that it can be absorbed and most importantly, put into practice, by each individual singer. Throughout this process it is good for both parties to hang a question mark on their beliefs from time to time and keep an enquiring mind, for voices, like human beings, are at once rationally explainable as forever mysterious. All too often singers do not find a teacher who can show them how to use their voices with a technique that produces an easy facility, allowing them to enjoy their craft and to be freed up sufficiently to focus on their artistry and their musicality, so that they are expressive performers, rather than shackled by the inhibiting consequences of a poor technique.