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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The confusion of differing vocal training methods

I've had a lot of queries about my vocal lessons which start with the question "what method of vocal training do you use?" A fair enough question, but more complicated to answer than you might think.

I teach my trademarked method "Power, Path & Performance". It is a three-pronged approach to training voices that I have developed revolving around breath, open throat and authentic communication of message. I find that when I can help a vocalist maximize their abilities in these three areas, they have all the voice they could ever need, and it almost always surprises them how much voice this is. These three areas are synergistic, meaning if something is wrong in one area, it will affect the other two as well. Thus, if you have a tight throat you are not able to focus on communication and you will have tight breath as well. If you have not taken enough breath you will tighten your ribcage which pushes the vocal cords and the throat tightens against the pressure... well, I think you get the idea. The opposite is also true-- get something right in one area and other areas will benefit.

The teaching points that separate my method from others are: my focus on this synergistic action, and that my emphasis on how authentically you deliver the message ("Performance") is equal to my focus on how you breathe and how open your throat is.

Now, there are all kinds of different issues vocalists bring to these three areas of vocal technique. There are also all kinds of ways to correct the problems, strengthen and coordinate the muscles and relax the counter-productive tension that frees the voice. Here is where the "art" of vocal training comes in. I have to ask myself what this particular student needs help with, and how best can I facilitate that help.

Most of my training ideas come from my years of observation of my own and others' voices and what makes them stronger, safer and more effective in practical application. However, I use concepts from any training method that works. I've studied all kinds of methods and teachers, and have pulled vocal secrets from everything I study. I'm still studying and intend to for the rest of my life. It is my belief that this is true of all other intuitive, responsible and effective vocal coaches.

The teachers whose products I have in my vocal training library include such diverse practitioners as Van Christy, Jeffrey Allen, Jamie Vendera, Billy Purnell, Anne Peckham, Melissa Cross, Jeannie Deva, Robert Lunte, Lisa Popeil, Joanna Casden, Dena Murray, Seth Riggs. The latest discipline I've been fascinated to discover is the body work of Feldenkrais Method and the Alexander Technique. My hat's off to AT practitioner Ethan Kind, with whom I've double-teamed some students. I learned so much from this master.

There are all kinds of methods of training voices. Here's the truth: If there is a singer (or speaker) giving a great vocal performance to a room full of vocal coaches, each coach better see his or her training method in that performance. It's that simple... vocal training must work in practical application, or it's useless!!

Here's my two-part challenge to encourage sharing vocal knowledge:
  1. Do you have a particular teacher, vocal training method or vocal training product (book, cd, dvd) that you would recommend for study?
  2. Do you know (or are you) a teacher whom you believe could benefit from studying "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training?

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  • At January 19, 2010 at 8:18 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Gillyanne Kayes (Singing and the Actor), Jeremy Fischer http://www.vocalprocess.co.uk/products_1.htm

    Daniel Borch (The Voice Center, book - Ultimate Vocal Voyage)

    Cathrine Sadolin

    Ken Tamplin

    James Lugo

    Kim Chandler

    Stevie Vann Lange

    Elizabeth Sabine

    Susan M Carr

    Sally Morgan

  • At January 20, 2010 at 7:05 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Thanks Mark for the wonderful list of additional teachers and their material. I follow some of these people, too. I will check out others.

  • At September 13, 2010 at 3:02 AM , Anonymous Hannah Walker said...

    You vocal training approach is interesting. Most music teachers I know are mostly after hitting the notes and looking good on stage. I think having ample breathing should really be worked on. ;D

  • At September 13, 2010 at 12:06 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Hannah- yes, I agree there is too much emphasis on high notes and looking good on stage.

    Actually, when breath pressure is balanced and secure, throat is opened and communication is authentic, the high notes are generally spot on and the singer looks great.


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