Singing Voice > Pedagogy
The term, pedagogy, typically is
synonymous with teaching or instruction. Though it would be ridiculous to expect
that one could learn to sing from a web page or a book without the guidance of
an experienced teacher, there is much information about the process of singing
that can be obtained from these sources. Indeed, there are probably as many
methods of singing as there are teachers of singing.
Richard Miller, in his recent book, The Structure of Singing, 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."
Miller's book was out of print for a while, but is now available again. The following books of his are also excellent and are still available: On the Art of Singing, Training Tenor Voices, Training Soprano Voices, and Solutions for Singers: Tools for Performers and Teachers.
One of the most important things to learn about the process of singing is that it does not happen overnight. As William Vennard has said in his book, Singing: The Mechanism and the Technic, "Learning to sing is a slow and patient undertaking, in which a good ear is the prerequisite, the imagery is an aid supplied by the teacher, and the experience is gradually accumulated until it is so powerful that merely calling up the memory will reproduce it."
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