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!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Is Power Path and Performance Vocal Training?

This post is for those of you curious about my vocal training method "Power, Path and Performance", and how it was developed.
Power, Path and Performance (PPP for short) was many years in the making. The kernel of the method began to form when I tried to figure out a system where I could put everything I knew that was important about the voice into a system that I could use as a template to work from with every student.

My one benchmark was that whatever I taught vocalists had to WORK, in practical settings like small/large/indoor/outdoor performance stages and recording studios of all types, for every genre of contemporary songs as well as speaking. So I started carefully paying attention to what my students needed to know to improve their voices enough that it was more than worth my fee. I drew from my own 40-plus years of vocal experience and from sources like doctors, chiropractors, alternative health practitioners, other vocal training methods, and of course, my own professional coach Gerald Arthur.

I happened upon a book called "Secrets of Singing" by vocal teacher Jeffrey Allen. To date, it has been the most influential source I've found for my own teaching method. There was a shape of "voice path" he had in his book that set lightbulbs off in my brain, because I recognized that voice path muscle memory in my own best singing through the years.

With that voice path imagery inspiring me, I gradually condensed all that I knew about voice into three primary cornerstones of vocal technique. They were: the power of breath, the voice path through an open throat and physical and psychological aspects of communication. I contacted Mr. Allen for permission to use his "voice path" imagery in my method, which he kindly granted. After a few months I used alliteration to finally trademark my method "Power, Path and Performance".

It was some time after that when I noticed that not only was this a logical sorting of information... there was a synergy involved between the three cornerstones. What that means is that if you get something right or wrong in one area, it will affect the other two. So if your breath support or control is off, you will not be able to keep your throat open. This creates a subtle block to being able to connect with your audience without being distracted by the way your throat feels. Tight throats cause tight breath, with compromised performance. Breath issues create tight throats and hinders communication. It's all connected!

But the good news was that if I could help a student improve in their weakest cornerstone, the other two would benefit. When I teach a vocalist to integrate all three with the Power Path and Performance method, the whole voice is available... without strain... to powerfully move an audience. This worked even for the speaking voice- with my own method I gained (and taught) the ability to talk all day without vocal fatigue. I was also able to cure my own vocal break... and those of my students.

I am on a continual learning curve. I love to network with other voice teachers and scientists, and I find new ways of helping my students with every one I teach (they are all so unique)... but so far there I have yet to find something that didn't fit within the three stranded cord of PPP.

But in my experience with my own voice and with others...It's not enough to get one right- you have to have all three things working optimally: your breath, your throat and your communication skills.

I hope that gives you a peek at this training method. It's available in personal and phone lessons and in vocal training products.

Question: Which cornerstone (breath, throat, communication) do you think the weakest link you have in your own voice?

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  • At June 9, 2010 at 10:03 AM , Anonymous PJ Steelman said...

    For me, that weakness has to be my throat. I can go two or three nights in a row with no breathing problems. Communication? It is difficult to describe the feeling to someone who hasn't been there, but, when an entire audience is hanging on each word, it is almost like a feeling of power. Again, if someone has been there, they know just what I mean.

    But, the same problems that I have had all of my life still bother me to this day. I am my own manager, publicist and jack of all trades. Sometimes (and particularly at new venues), my voice (throat) is already ragged before I ever hit the stage. I would love it if I didn't have to speak on performance days, but, for me, I don't see any way around it. At small clubs, before the show, I am out in the audience, glad handing, making sure that everyone is ready for a big night and in a good mood. Sometimes the club owner is worried and pretty much ties me up, right up til showtime. If I knew of a way to avoid this, WOW, we could all be rich.

    Thanks again for all of the information you give to us, I pour over every bit of it, trying to help myself.

  • At June 9, 2010 at 10:06 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    PJ...getting your throat open is something I do every time I do voice lessons. Your throat should open up, down and back. The whole membrane should feel equidistantly stretched. EVEN WHEN YOU ARE TALKING!!

    The part you're missing can be a sneaky thing... but see if you can tell which direction you are missing. Or call me for a lesson. hugs back... J


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