"Stay in Service, Remain Humble and Live in Gratitude"
Good morning everyone. As I prepare for another busy day of teaching, I wanted to take a moment to say thank all of you who have been following this page and are subscribing to my youtube channel. So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.
I like many of you, studied with a number of vocal coaches throughout my, what seems a like a very long career now as a singer. I always had a passion for the technical side of singing and the mechanics that went into it. I was one of those kids who took everything apart, much to my mom's chagrin when she would come home from work and find the toaster in a million pieces! Looking back, becoming a vocal coach seems like a natural progression for my "love of mechanics" side. It wasn't until my very last lesson with the late Leona Matthews in 1999 that I was given the inspiration and encouragement to become a vocal coach.
In that last lesson with Leona she said to me "Jeff, you are going to be a full time voice teacher, and I want you to carry this information that I am giving you to the world. It is vital that these concepts are carried to all singers, especially these pop singers that are singing from their throats!" I laughed and said to her "Leona, I do plan on teaching some day, but I still want to pursue my singing career further". A friend of mine who had introduced me to Leona was sitting in on the lesson, and without hesitation both he and Leona said "You're going to start teaching right away!" I looked at them both somewhat defiantly, but in my heart knew they were right.
Leona passed away from kidney disease the next week and I was devastated. Not only had I found a great teacher who was bringing my voice back from years of singing incorrectly, but a friend who truly cared about my vocal health and well being.
Only one month after Leona's passing, I was told about Maestro David L. Jones who has been my primary teacher, mentor and dear friend of the last 17 years. I am forever indebted to Maestro Jones for his kindness, his seemingly infinite knowledge of the voice, and his desire to see that all of his students who teach voice like myself, build successful voice studios. His only request is that we carry on the concepts of the Swedish-Italian school of singing with respect to it's foundational concepts without trying to reinvent them.
My goal for 2016 is to continue bringing you guys and gals as much information from the Swedish-Italian vocal technique as possible. I am continually amazed to see voices changed for the better in one single lesson through the exercises that were developed by the late Alan Lindquest, and mastered by Jones' who was a student was a student of his.
The technique is designed to balance the registers of the chest, middle and head voice, creating a seamless sound from top to bottom with no obvious breaks. Once the voice is balanced and free, then the singer is free to add whatever color or style he/she wants without risking damage to the vocal folds. This is truly the most wonderful aspect of the technique in that it gives the singer complete freedom to let their voice soar!
A dear friend of mine, the late Dr. Michael Applebee once gave me some very good advice as I embarked on my path to become a vocal by saying "Stay in service, remain humble and live in gratitude". I strive everyday to live up to this wonderful advice. Thank you all for being on this journey with me as we strive to become the best singers and vocal coaches we can be!
May your voices soar even higher in 2016!
Peace and Harmony,