Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things I've learned from other vocal coaches

I went to a workshop last week in Nashville taught by veteran vocal coach Jeannie Deva who came in from LA. I was so happy I went, because she is delightful and I learned some things.

I never want to stop learning. When I expose myself to others in my field, I come away with three things:
  1. New insights and information or corrections to add to my techniques
  2. Confirmation of the techniques I use and...
  3. Fresh insight into why I may think a technique is wrong.
I'd like to acknowledge some of the biggest and most effective things I've learned from other vocal coaches:

From Jeannie Deva:
  • I learned that if you purpose a finger's touch to mean a certain thing, you can affect yourself greatly. Such as... putting two fingers lightly on your Adam's apple and telling it to relax. I even use this in the studio. It helps me not raise my larynx when I'm tired. I've used it with many students with great success.
  • To warm down as well as up!
From the Feldenkraus method as taught by Yochanan Rywerant:
  • That touching my students very lightly can be very useful in helping them dispel tension.
  • That if a muscle is stretched too far or too fast or even perceives that it is approaching it's limit, it can adversely contract, increasing tension instead of relaxing it.
From the Alexander method as taught by Ron Murdock:
  • The amazing and illuminating anatomical connections between the body and the diaphragm and larynx which help me understand the mechanics of the entire voice like never before.
From Jeffrey Allen:
  • He is the originator of the hook- or question mark- shaped voice path which I use to put my PPP method together.
  • To think of breath control and breath support as opposites.
From Jamie Vendura:
  • To suggest that a vocalist use the "Inhalation Sensation" to help develop breath control
From Chris Beatty:
  • The value of wall work
From Florence Henderson
  • To ask God to sing through me when I perform which cures any stage anxiety for me and for some of my students
From Seth Riggs
  • To watch my students for undue raising or lowering of the larynx
From Dr. Susan Miller:
  • The value of the "siren" as part of warm-up.
From the great Van Christy:
  • That there are time-honored vocal techniques which will ALWAYS lead to better voices. I can't tell you how much I've learned from those old "Expressive Singing" books! This is classical training, and I have found most of it to be directly applicable to contemporary singing.
From my own professional coach and voice-healer, Gerald Arthur
  • To watch for "guarded" singing in my students.
  • The value of professional vocal coaching; the incredible healing and maximization of potential that can indeed occur.
To my students:
  • Who never tire of bringing me unique and challenging puzzles! Each one is different, and I have grown as a teacher - and enlarged my bag of tricks! - from exploring what works or doesn't work with each one.
Thanks also to Dr. Dwaine Allision for his chiropractic insight into spinal conditions and positions that affect the voice.

I've learned things NOT to do or teach as well, though I'll not name my sources :) I am also keenly aware that even though a teacher teaches correctly, a student may take that direction wrong or to extreme. So I keep tweaking my teaching, and like all good voice teachers, try to find insight anywhere it may be found. My caveat is: It must work! So thanks again to all who have taught me to teach. What a great joy it is for me to be part of other vocalists' successful journeys.

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