What kind of methods and techniques do you use? (Singing Teachers)

  • What kind of methods and techniques do you use? (Singing Teachers)

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    April 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Hey all, hope you’re having a great week πŸ™‚ Would be really interested to know what kind of methods and techniques you guys teach with! Let’s compare some notes πŸ™‚

  • Laura Ratcliffe

    Member
    April 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Hey Matt, I like ‘speech level singing’ and recently started getting into the Estill Model- kind of take the bits I like from both and add my own bits πŸ˜€

  • Eliza Jane Fyfe

    Moderator
    April 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I’ve heard Estill is great. I think I just have my own style really, but I have been starting to research and see different teachers so I can put a variation of techniques in the mix!

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    April 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Oh cool Laura, I’ve not met an SLS person before – how is it to teach? I’ve got a couple of books from SLS people and I’ve never been very impressed by it – but well up for being convinced πŸ™‚

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    April 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I went on an Estill course a few months ago, and it completely turned my head around about teaching – once you know what all the bits are and what they do, it becomes so much easier to listen out for things and make alterations, would highly recommend going on one of their courses!

  • Ruth Adamson

    Member
    April 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I use a bit of speech level singing 2 not heard of the estill model so i’ve learned something new already πŸ™‚

  • Eliza Jane Fyfe

    Moderator
    April 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Go for Estill definitely. I haven’t heard great things about speech level.. But that’s just me. Each to their own, and you can’t go wrong if you take a little of everything and find something that works for you

  • Beckie Tunnicliffe

    Member
    April 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t really follow any methods or techniques, I just use what I have picked up along the years! I do always look at doing courses and things though πŸ™‚

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I used to be with SLS, but then when many of its good teachers went to IVA, I went with them. I still teach mostly IVA method with bits of Alexander Technique and a few other things. I’ve found this personally to be a pretty successful combination. I think Estill is great for gaining more in-depth understanding of the workings of the vocal mechanism, but unfortunately as the students cannot see or feel most of this, you have to develop ways to “trick” the student into using the muscular balance that you’re after. SLS and IVA both aim to teach “mix” in exactly this way. Science is great for your understanding as a teacher, but unfortunately teaching voice is not really like teaching guitar. We can’t “ask” a student to lower and tilt their thyroid cartilage and flex their TA muscle for example. But if you give them an exercise that does that, your job is done. I’m a big fan of Cornelius Reid’s work too, and I’ve heard great things from the Shenandoah Con. in the US. Jeannie Lovetri does some great work over there that I’d be keen to check out.

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    PS. If you’re into reading vocal pedagogy, I sincerely recommend the free articles on this website. http://corneliuslreid.com .

  • Eliza Jane Fyfe

    Moderator
    June 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Wow this all sounds interesting and I am feeling like a know a lot less than I thought haha! Looking forward to hearing more πŸ™‚

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    IVA is the institute for vocal advancement: http://www.vocaladvancement.com. It’s pretty similar to SLS as I said. But last year a lot of people felt that SLS wasn’t being run very well as an organisation. So all the people who still wanted the education but didn’t want to do it with the SLS system moved on. It believes in the same thing: dealing with registrational imbalances in the voice using a resting laryngeal posture and adducted (but not pressed) vocal folds.
    I completely agree about Estill being good at the scientific side of things. For sure. IVA is still very scientific. And often-times IVA and Estill are trying to achieve similar things. I personally prefer IVA because it allows the teacher to think and hear in scientific terms (ie. What is this person’s larynx/arytenoids/folds etc. doing?), but then instead of communicating to the student in scientific terms, we use exercises and tailored sounds. We’re still getting the physiological effect, but in a way that the student doesn’t HAVE to know the science if they don’t want to. Not to get into too much of a debate between techniques, but one other reason that Estill doesn’t work for me is that there are multiple different configurations that are focused on. From memory, I think Sob, Belt and others. This is great if you can already vocalise from the bottom to the top of your voice with no breaks and are looking for different sounds to be artistic with. However, I find that most students have enough trouble getting into chest or head voice in a comfortable way let alone trying to make a whole lot of different configurations. But definitely if I had a student who was already proficient but wanted to know more about the science and the different configurations, I might well send them to an Estill teacher, for sure.

    Alexander technique is definitely mostly postural stuff, but there are a few teachers out there who specialise in Alexander technique for voice (or for playing instruments). I studied with a really great Alexander Technique specialist when I was in Australia, but I haven’t done so much of it over here. It’s definitely not the whole picture in terms of technique, but there area few things I’ve learned from it that are helpful for certain students especially those who hold too much tension in their bodies. Just an extra something.

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Sorry about how exceptionally long that post was haha.

  • Eliza Jane Fyfe

    Moderator
    June 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I think a lot has to be said for the type of student, or whether the science is needed for students (particularly beginners) at all. Active singers probably benefit more from the in-depth science of it all – I know I would! Then like you said, Kat, the info is there if there’s a student who finds it easier to understand when they actually know what’s going on in there!!

  • Eliza Jane Fyfe

    Moderator
    June 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Also, first I’ve heard of the Alexander Technique!

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Wow Kat, sounds like your body of knowledge is going to be really great for this group πŸ™‚ A couple of questions – first, what’s IVA?

    Second, how do you find the Alexander technique in teaching? I’ve heard it’s great for posture – but I don’t focus too much on posture beyond the basic corrective stuff so I’d love to hear how it is when you get in-depth!

    Also, the ‘science-versus-feeling’ debate could probably go on all day – but I find Estill is stonkingly good for allowing you to be specific when it comes to diagnosing difficulties in the voice (although it’s a bit light on abdominal support!)

    Anyway, great to meet you!

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Kat, thanks for that awesome post πŸ™‚ I’ll make sure to have a look at that website this weekend! What does IVA have to say about registration changes – i.e. moving from chest to head? Neither Estill or CVI (Complete Vocal Institute, Cathrine Sadolin) has any time for register changes, saying it’s all part of the same set-up. I still teach chest and head voice, mostly for want of a better explanation. Does IVA have one?

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    True that, Eliza – though I’ve had a shift in my thinking over the last couple of weeks: surely we earn our money better by training people to be singing teachers, not singers? So many classical teachers teach in that monkey-see, monkey-do type way – “No, sing like this!” – without any care for the cause-and-effect logic of anatomy. We have an opportunity to give people the ability to not only sing well, but also to give them the skills to start charging Β£25/hour for their understanding of the voice! So for me, I love teaching the hardcore anatomy even to beginners – especially if you can inspire them with the wonder of it all πŸ™‚

  • Ruth Adamson

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Hello guys! I covered a little bit of the Alexander technique at Uni could do
    With brushing up I also have my opinions on chest and head agreeing with you matt also about giving students that are interested those teaching skills! great to meet new people in the group and thanks for sharing!

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Re. registers: although in reality as we make pitch roughly everything stays the same except for a shift in primary usage from the TA muscle to the CT muscle, nevertheless, as students experience a shift in resonance, this can wreak havoc with the tonal quality of the voice. This is usually at E4 for the majority of men and A4 for many women (or the first passaggio) although of course there are exceptions. As you will have discovered, there is a often a “break” in the voice where it flips from chest to head or chest to falsetto etc., either suddenly or gradually. This kind of break can be found in most voices and is probably the singularly most hampering thing to the extension of range, and the expression of the soul in music. This is why most of the primary focus of SLS, IVA and other Bel Canto teachers is on registrational issues (ie. the blending of the chest and head voices to create one continuous and consistent voice that can be accessed and navigated with ease). This was also the main focus of the schola cantorum, and indeed almost all vocal pedagogy until about the 1850s. That’s (1800s) when “wagnerian” and more heavy, shouty styles of singing became the fashion in opera, and so the technique had to change from something that aimed for balance, to something that aimed for the maximum strain and loudness on the voice. Thats also when things like the resonance schools (“Place it in the masque!”) and the 100% breathing focused schools (“Support from the diaphragm! Support!”) came into fashion. Of course a focus on resonance and breathing can be helpful, but science has come a long way since then… If you read your Ingo Titze, Richard Miller, Cornelius Reid, Manuel Garcia, E. Herbert-Caesari, or any of that ilk of more recent scientists and pedagogues, there is strong evidence for the “mixed voice” as being one of the primary goals of vocal development.

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Haha I’m not even sure if that answers your question. But hopefully it does πŸ™‚

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    PS. I read in Titze’s book, Vocology, that there’s strong evidence to suggest that motor learning is actually MORE effective when students are not thinking about the physical processes involved in the task. There are probably many differing studies on this, but there is a large proponent of thought that believes that when a sportsman, dancer, or performer is able to focus only on their own sensation during the act, rather than the movement of specific muscles and cartilages, that motor learning is adopted much faster. Just food for thought. This is especially profound when you consider that much of the vocal mechanism cannot be directly felt or seen. YES, a scientific approach from the teacher’s point of view is vital, but if one of my students just needed to lower their larynx to sing better, I would prefer to give them a larynx lowering exercise as soon as they walk in the door, so that they can first experience what it feels like. And then when they can identify with the greater vocal ease that that exercise brings, then, if they ask to know more of the science, I will tell them. I think at least that way, the scientific learning doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Just my own personal take on it.

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    PPS. I think you also have to change your tactic for different students, obviously. If a student only has a month of lessons with me before he goes on a cruise ship or before he goes on tour, the science is 100% only on a need-to-know basis. However if the student is not a performer and has a scientific mind, then obviously I am happy to explain things in greater detail with time.

  • Eliza Jane Fyfe

    Moderator
    June 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Kat you are so well read in this!!!!!

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Haha I’m just a nerd, really πŸ˜›

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Kat Wells – you are definitely my kind of nerd πŸ™‚ I think if we could get together a group reading list of books that we found helpful for different methodologies that would be a great way of getting the knowledge of the group up. I’ll start a note now πŸ™‚

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Also, fascinating to read about the transference of effort from the TA to the CT – I’d never considered that as a possibility for registration shift. Where did you read/learn that?

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Yes! Nerd club! I love it. Pretty much everyone i’ve read says that the TA and CT muscles are involved with pitch making. This is a pretty good website that talks about that stuff and other stuff too http://www.lionsvoiceclinic.umn.edu/page2.htm. Obviously the adductor muscles (interarytenoids, and lateral cricoarytenoids) have to be involved to some degree across the board to ensure adduction, but the thyroarytenoid and cricothyroid as far as I know generally share the responsibility of pitch making (much like a tug of war). As you might well know, the TAs make the folds shorter and thicker, and the CTs stretch the folds out.

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Epic – now write us a reading list, Kat! With your crazy knowledge you’re currently our queen nerd, but I want to be hot on your tails by this time next week.

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Haha, will do! There’s lots that I still haven’t got around to reading yet, but I’ll contribute. Regarding your list, the only one I’ve read so far is the book by Gillyanne Kayes. My old opera-singing housemate studied with her and said she was amazing. I think the book has some great parts, but man, I just couldn’t do half the exercises haha. I think if I poke around my throat for too long, I gross myself out πŸ˜›

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    One of my students once said “Do I have to keep bloody prodding myself?” – Couldn’t have put it better myself!

  • Eliza Jane Fyfe

    Moderator
    June 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    What style of singing do you guys tend to teach?

  • Beckie Tunnicliffe

    Member
    June 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I teach a lot of popular vocals such as pop, Rnb, rock etc and a little bit of musical theatre πŸ™‚ I think in the whole time I’ve been teaching I’ve only ever had two people ask me for classical lessons

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