Solutions for Singers: Tools for Performers and Teachers

Solutions for Singers: Tools for Performers and Teachers

Solutions for Singers: Tools for Performers and Teachers

Solutions for Singers: Tools for Performers and Teachers

Synopsis

While many texts and courses on the art of singing offer comprehensive overviews of technique and performance, few have time to delve into the specific questions they spawn. Solutions for Singers explores these unanswered questions, filling in gaps that professional performers, students of singing, and voice teachers have long sought to close. Fielding over 200 questions, distinguished teacher and performer Richard Miller tackles problems raised during hundreds of his master classes and pedagogy courses. He deliberately avoids abstract generalities, concentrating instead on specific, recurring questions: What are some good exercises to loosen or relax tension in the back of the tongue? Do you apply the same principles regarding breathing to a younger student that you do to older students? What is meant by voiced and unvoiced consonants? Is there a female falsetto? Through such specialized questions, Miller probes the very essence of artistic expression. The questions are organized under ten broad topics, which Miller considers from various angles. He couples traditional and modern philosophies to present the most relevant and precise solutions. The result is an invaluable handbook for singers, which, read either sequentially or selectively, provides a unique and pragmatic approach to vocal artistry and technique.

Excerpt

Over several decades it has been my privilege to meet with singers and teachers in weeklong courses devoted to the art of singing, in which the correspondence of efficient physiologic and acoustic function to artistic expression is considered in detail. Half of each day is devoted to systematic technique, the remainder to master classes in communication. Several thousand teachers, students, and professional singers have participated. To ensure sequential information, and to avoid interruption of master class performances, observers are asked to write out questions as they occur to them. Questions are then codified and discussed in question-andanswer sessions at the close of the week. These inquiries often go to the heart of vocal pedagogy, pointing out watersheds that separate voice-training systems. This book deals with a number of them—some briefly, some in detail.

Recurring topics have been selected from more than fifteen hundred written questions. They deal with both technique and artistry. Falling into specific categories, they consider a single topic from several angles. I have tried to tailor my responses to the specifics of each question. Associated issues are assembled within overall categories; related questions have been joined together. Technical areas considered involve breath coordination, laryngeal function, resonator-tract response, resonance balancing, voice categorization, voice registration, linguistic articulation, vibrancy, matters of style, the enhancement of artistry and communication, pedagogic and professional attitudes and concerns, and healthy voice production. in answering variations on similar themes, for clarity and completeness, it has occasionally been necessary to revisit important facets of information.

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