Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Nats Visits Aats

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Nats Visits Aats

Article excerpt

THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF TEACHERS OF SINGING was founded in 1922 by fifteen men, all members of the profession of the teaching of singing. Charter members were Walter L. Bogert, William S. Brady, Dudley Buck, George Fergusson, Yeatman Griffith, George Hamlin, Frederick H. Haywood, Sergei Klibansky, Gardner Lamson, Francis Rogers, Oscar Saenger, Oscar Seagle, George E. Shea, Percy Rector Stephens, and Herbert Witherspoon. Women were admitted to membership in 1983. Admission to membership in the Academy was and remains by invitation only, constitutionally limited to forty members of the profession of the teaching of singing.

The founders were motivated in the formation of the organization by a desire to make contributions to the improvement of the practice of the profession from the standpoints of both teaching and ethics-such contributions as they individually could not hope to make and such as a large organization might not find practical to undertake. Almost immediately, the Academy initiated a continuing practice of publishing the results of intensive and extensive work by committees whose reports are given critical consideration by the entire membership. On the approval of a majority, these reports are published in the forms of pronouncements, or statements. The first pronouncement of the Academy was the Code of Ethics, which has undergone several revisions since its appearance in 1923.

The Academy has had a long and important relationship with NATS and, in fact, was instrumental in its founding. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the impact of this dynamic organization spread to Chicago and, as a result, the Chicago Council of Teachers of Singing was formed. At the March 4, 1940 meeting of that body, Richard De Young proposed the forming of a national organization of singing teachers, with local chapters throughout the United States. The National Association of Teachers of Singing was founded on March 23, 1944, by the American Academy of Teachers of Singing, together with the New York Singing Teachers Association and the Chicago Singing Teachers Guild. In fairly recent years, AATS publications appeared in NATS journals, although only sporadically, but, beginning in 2001, the Journal of Singing has systematically published Academy statements in a discrete column. Some of these have been particularly relevant reprints of earlier statements, others were updated revisions of previous documents, and still others appeared in these pages for the first time. The appearance of statements in JOS does not imply NATS endorsement, nor does their content necessarily reflect the philosophy of NATS or JOS. Readers are invited to visit the AATS website [www.voiceteachersacademy.org].

The statement on Coaching the Classical Singer generated a session at the NATS National Conference in Salt Lake City, July 2010, and appears here for the first time.

COACHING THE CLASSICAL SINGER

Why a vocal coach?

Nonsingers, even professional musicians who are not singers, are often perplexed by the existence of both a voice teacher and a vocal coach in a singer's development, and are confused as to the exact function of each. Instrumental teachers act as both technician and musical advisor. Why should a singer have a coach as well as a teacher?

When the training of a singer is more closely examined, both the need for a vocal coach and the delineation of the coach's duties and responsibilities will become more apparent. While technical vocal skills may be the most significant aspect of a singer's art, three additional factors must be considered:

1. Classical singers, for practical purposes, almost never sing unaccompanied.

Singers are accompanied in a song recital by a piano or a chamber group and in an opera or an orchestra concert by orchestra musicians (all of whom have the music before them). For this reason the singer needs to be familiarized with the sound of the musical accompaniment as well as the ensemble problems posed by the interplay between the singer and the accompanying instruments. …

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