Voice Science and Voice Pedagogy, Better Together

“Nothing is beyond question.”
-Ken Bozeman, Interviews on Voice Matters, 12/19/17

In the most recent episode of  Interviews on Voice Matters, Ken Bozeman made the point that voice teachers and voice scientists need each other.  He was saying that voice scientists are not the ones in the trenches hearing voices all day, and likewise, singing teachers do not typically have science backgrounds.

If we are going to learn more about the voice, each type of voice professional has to come to the table.  There are no discoveries about voice that DO NOT require a village to raise, apparently.  And I wholeheartedly agree.

I’m looking for more of a balance between (right now) what I would say are three legs: voice science, historic pedagogy that has a proven track record, and then innate human response.

I point out that the conclusions and observations that I made back in ’89 – and first observed where my vowels wanted to turn over – required that I had seen a voice science chart of first formant locations. The scientists didn’t tell me that.  It took someone in a voice studio dealing with voices all the time to observe that.  So, it’s really a very important dialog we need to have.

And to this day, for example the things I’m doing in my application of [Ian Howell’s] work, I’m not getting from voice scientists.  It’s coming from pedagogues.  But it’s totally grounded in information that the voice scientists supplied us with.  They’re playing a vital role.

-Ken Bozeman, Interviews on Voice Matters (34:41)

Which lead me to say further along in the interview, “we need each other.”  Just like a happy, functional tribe, we work better together.  We get more accomplished together.  We are better able to help each other – together.

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How To Be Heard

Write a lot.  Say a lot.  Sing a lot.  Publish what you sing or say or write in public places. A lot.

In one of Anthony Robbins’ books, he talks about getting better at public speaking (remember, public?)  He figured if he gave 3 speeches a day, instead of just three a week, he would get better . . . how much faster?

So, that’s what he did.  For a time, he gave 3 speeches a day.  And he got better a lot faster than his classmates.

Application, baby.

This tells us that practicing your craft (a lot) will help you get better at your craft faster, AND sharing it with others (a lot) will get you heard.*  Tony Robbins’ voice sounds all over the world, so we can point to him for evidence.

In order to be heard, you must share your voice.



*a post on the power of listening to arrive shortly


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Don’t Go To Music School

“But I worry that what students of the arts are often seeking in higher education is nothing more than proof of their own legitimacy – proof they are for real as creative people, because their degree says so.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic (103)

So, don’t go to music school.  Unless you have to.  Unless you feel so excited about it, your heart bursts.  Unless you know it’s the perfect path for you.  Unless it’s paid for, or you can easily afford it.

Of course, not all of these criteria will apply to you, and many people are blessed by music school in ways that nothing else can bless them.  All I want to point out is that creating art does not require a degree from college, nor does it require the kind of money colleges are asking for these days.

“But if you’re considering some sort of advanced schooling in the arts and you’re not rolling in cash, I’m telling you – you can live without it.  You can certainly live without the debt, because debt will always be the abattoir of creative dreams.” (104)

I feel like I have some ground to stand on when talking about this subject.  1) I was a University professor for 12 years.  2) I do not have an undergraduate degree in music.  3) I do have a master’s degree in music.

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Why do voice teachers hate each other?

The title of this post is strongly worded because I’m interested in getting your attention.  Did it work?

Several years ago I heard someone put it this way: “you can put a group of saxophone players in a room.  They will talk about mouth pieces, reeds, horns, music, and have a great time.  Put a group of voice teachers in a room, and you’ll have a war.”

This may be a huge exaggeration, but there is a shred of truth in there somewhere.

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The Nice Guys

I’m sitting in the most elegant, retro-Hollywood hotel lobby, typing out this blog with 2 fingers on my iPhone and wondering how I got here.  How did this past weekend come to be?  And, most importantly, what were the juiciest moments?

Since I’m typing on my phone, this post might be rather short, and perhaps rightly so because I learned a few, beautiful lessons all over again.  They don’t need many words.  Like the best things in life, these lessons are simple.

I’ll lay this one on ya: the best of the best are also often the nicest.

Take it in.  Cause it’s true.

If you’ve never had the honor of meeting someone who is a master at their craft, at the top of their game, a true genius at being themselves, then I wish that for you.

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