Monday, September 28, 2015

Singing– Not Surgery!

The best way to learn singing is to follow the traditions of the great singing teachers of history. Arguably the greatest teacher to have an impact on the art of singing was Manuel Garcia II (1805-1906). The important thing about Garcia was not just his knowledge, but how he used his knowledge. His emphasis was always upon artistry and expression, not technicalities.

In my initial assessment meetings with new singing students, I like to show them the following quotation from page 956 of Percy Scholes’ The Oxford Companion to Music, Tenth Edition:

Most of the great singing teachers say that the less you know about the physiology of singing the better. Santley wrote (in The Art of Singing): ‘Manuel Garcia is held up as the pioneer of scientific teachers of singing. He was– but he taught singing, not surgery! I was a pupil of his in 1858, and a friend of his while he lived [to 1906], and in all the conversation I had with him I never heard him say a word about larynx or pharynx, glottis, or other organ used in the production and emission of the voice.”
Singing should never be a burden. It should always be a joy!

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