I believe that everyone can sing and that accessing our voice is important for our mental and emotional health. My experience with teaching these past twenty-some years, is that every single voice that has crossed my threshold, has walked away 30 minutes or an hour later having experienced their true, authentic voice. I seem to have a knack for explaining the whole thing, so that it makes sense.
The Bel Canto understanding is almost extinct in today's singing world. With all the vocal anomalies we are experiencing in our popular singers, nodules and polyps for example, having this understanding of how to maintain proper air regulation and control is literally life-changing.
Some of the very common singing issues, like intonation or lack thereof, excessive vibrato, inability to control the breath to manage a phrase, all are solved when we apply bel canto body mechanics.
No. However, since the entire singing process is counterintuitive, we sometimes have to unwind how we are thinking. This often takes longer than teaching the basic principles. I can walk someone through the experience in 30-60 minutes, then, integration and repetition become key.
Everyone is different. Some students have come for a lesson or two, started doing my warm-up exercises regularly and six months later, have total control. Others will take a series of lessons, 6-12 for example, and integrate, then do some more. I have students who have professional aspirations or want to achieve high level competitive results and have stayed with me a year or more. It just depends on your personal desires, aspirations, budget and style of learning. Do you like group or individual work, for example?
Yes. I was fortunate to be in a bel canto studio of 50 semi-professional singers of both sexes. Although there are some specific differences between men and women, in terms of extended registers, the actual vocal mechanism works the same in both men and women.
No. My youngest student started at 6-years-old. My oldest thus far is 83. Mature voices tend to start to lose control due to the aging process and loss of elasticity. However, with bel canto, we are able to rejuvenate and reverse the signs of aging, by showing the musculature how to effectively control the gentle air pressure required to make continuous, uninterrupted sound.
Yes. Broadway Belters that have lost their careers due to vocal strain have found their way into bel canto studios and with some specific and focused work, are able to regain their control and go back to their careers. I've also worked with Rock, Blues and Pop singers who pushed too hard for too long and lost their ability to phonate throughout their vocal range. With about six months of attention on the breathing mechanics, every one I've ever worked with, has found their way back onto the stage and never lost their voices to abuse again.
Not at all. I remember how long it took me to understand and how patient my teacher was with my process. I take responsibility for helping others understand. If it doesn't make sense to you, it is up to me to find another way to communicate what I know.
Synchronized singing requires unification of approach in order to achieve higher level results. With all the various speech regionalisms and dialect issues, it is no wonder we don't often match vowels or resonance. With a little bit of bel canto, however, it is easy to get a group lined up and singing together with ease. It's also more fun, when the problems disappear!
I believe our world is in a state of emotional trauma. Just watch a little news and it's hard to get through a day without some kind of tragedy in our midst. Sitting next to a Neurosurgeon on my way to Nashville, we began a conversation about my work. He told me then, although music is known to be healing in general, singing does something very unique. It bypasses PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in the brain. From my vantage point, that means that a whole lot of folks need to start singing for their own emotional health and well-being!! With bel canto understanding, everyone can sing and sing well!