Voice pedagogy 2050

 Voice pedagogy 2050

I write this letter as I prepare to travel to Los Angeles for a symposium celebrating the legacy of William Vennard. His book, Singing: The mechanism and the technic influenced generations of voice teachers and researchers. He challenges us to think about the benefits of pondering aspects of science that are ‘at the edge of what is known,’ rather than ‘known to be practically applicable to voice teaching.’ From acoustics, to timbre, to the nature of the larynx itself, he shines a light on what his time did not yet understand…

Baby voice pedagogy dinosaurs

Baby voice pedagogy dinosaurs

I saw a TED talk the other day. It was something called, Where are the baby dinosaurs?   Apparently the fossil record lacked infant and juvenile examples of triceratops, t-rex, and other recognized dinosaurs. It took a paleontologist named Jack Horner to point out that his colleagues had been inaccurately naming these fossils of younger dinosaurs as new species. The desire to be known for discovering something was stronger than the idea that we should not just expect, but actively look for change over time. 

Some initial thoughts on considering studio applications of voice science studies

Some initial thoughts on considering studio applications of voice science studies

Every few months, I feel conversations with my colleagues return to the same big issues in pedagogy. The question of being a "science-based" versus "not science-based" teacher came up recently regarding understanding how the diaphragm may or may not function in singing. More on that later. I understand that this is a big, loose community, and that we all come from different points of view. Still though, I wonder at what point discussing the pedagogy of the voice through the lens of recent research studies becomes the same dogma with a different name? Not studying the voice scientifically, mind you. I mean teachers discussing it in terms of the immediate practical application of current scientific research...

What is the line between improvisation and spontaneity in music?

What is the line between improvisation and spontaneity in music?

I was talking with a few colleagues the other day, and I’m struck by the idea that some genres of singing utilize improvisation (real time composition) and artistic personalization and others do not. Almost exclusively, classical singing is lumped into the latter by practitioners of the former. Assuming we’re talking about degrees of freedom rather than absolutes, I guess I’d like to throw two ideas out from the classical world...