#7  Voice Teacher/ Voice Coach

The skills of a voice teacher and the skills of a voice coach are different. A voice teacher has the background of anatomy, physiology and technical expertise to train the singer to use their voice correctly and a voice coach is a skilled pianist with proficiency in languages, repertoire, style and interpretation who guides the well trained singer into performance readiness, and often performs with them in recital.  Itís an unusual individual that combines both those skills. 

When I was 26 years old I began my weekly studies with one such teacher-coach. It was the beginning of a wonderfully integrated learning experience, filled with joyful exuberance, love and humor, which has lasted now for more than 30 years.

As Iím writing this, Iím in San Francisco having brush up lessons with Alden Gilchrist.

Sharing with Alden about my project of writing to the singers in Maui my Thoughts on Singing, he has contributed some of his Thoughts on Singing for me to share with you this week.

Alden saysó

Try this:

1) Compelling diction creates line; speakaphrasefromasongwithnobreaksbetweenthewordsarticulatingthemveryclearly.  Notice how engaged your support is to accomplish this task.  Now, sing the phrase and notice how the line has improved.

2) Rhythm enables melody (the illustration is the sequence of evenly-spaced telephone poles strung with a telephone line); the more rhythmically precise the vocal line the more perfect the melody is sustained. Know metrically exactly what youíre singing, and the brain provides all the necessary coordination to execute the line beautifully. 

3) Being able to stand on our hind legs and relax already speaks well for postural equilibrium; notice your body well balanced over your feet.

4) In performing an upward leap, prepare the high note during the low note; hear in your head the sound youíre going to make before you get to it.

5) In performing a downward leap DO NOT prepare the low note; one does not need to push a stone (or a mother-in-law) downward off a cliff; it (she) will drop of its (her) own weight; (laughter)


See you next week,






Copyright © 2010 by Sarah Oppenheim-Beggs