Music Perception


The study of voice is unique in that it is the only instrument where one has to learn how to be the instrument in addition to learning how to play it. As such, a student will generally take most of their lesson time learning the correct sound based on the mechanics of the voice. This can only be done with a teacher who knows not only what the correct sound is for each student, but also one who knows how to help the student achieve the correct sound and break poor singing habits and interfering tensions. Some of the greatest singers of the past took up to 6 years to perfect the voice! These are people who had tremendous talent and work ethic. I believe that every person can learn to sing by correctly using the voice based on the physiology of the instrument, assuming that there is a desire to learn. While I can certainly help students who wish to pursue a career in music, I do not expect that from most of my students. I believe that the study of voice can be a rewarding experience that can last a lifetime.

Since we use the same muscles and cartilage and tendons to sing in classical as we do to sing pop, rock, gospel, folk, jazz, etc., it stands to reason that what works for one style can work for them all. It would not be good for a pop singer to sing a pop song operatically, however. In opera, for example, there is much more frequent use of vibrato, whereas in musical theater, one may sing mostly straight tone and only use vibrato on sustained notes. The difference is therefore stylistic choices and not function. In either case, the singer needs to be able to control their voices singing straight tone and with vibrato – vibrato should not be an uncontrollable function of the voice. Students in my studio learn to control their voices so they can make stylistically appropriate choices and not have to sing something a certain way because they cannot or do not know how to do otherwise.