THE VOCAL TECHNIQUE
In 1999, after years of struggling to to find a vocal coach who could help me build a solid, healthy vocal technique, I met and began studying voice with the late voice teacher Leona Mathews. Mathews was a master at teaching breath management and support. In only a short period of study with her, my voice began to soar like never before. No longer did I experience tension in my throat while singing and my breath became the fuel for the sound rather than something that stopped the sound all together. Suddenly the voice had more power and resonance than ever before. Fellow singers noticed the difference in my voice right away and began asking for tips to help their voice as well.
In my last lesson with Leona before her unexpected passing she said to me "Jeff, you are going to be a voice teacher, and I want you to carry these ideas into the future for singers to learn and master". After her passing I began sharing the ideas with any singer who would listen and each would have a similar experience as I. The next step would be to find a teacher who taught similar ideas of breath management and support.
Soon after Mathew's passing, I was blessed to hear about another voice teacher, Maestro David L. Jones, who would not only carry on the work that Leona started, but would fundamentally change my entire approach to singing by teaching me the concepts of the Swedish Italian vocal technique.
The Swedish Italian vocal technique is designed to balance the voice from top to bottom with no obvious breaks. The voice becomes fuller, richer, flexible, more powerful and certainly more beautiful with regular application of the concepts and exercises of the technique.
Voice Lessons will focus on five major areas of study: register balance, breathing, range building, body posture, and repertory.
During your lesson you will learn exercises designed to balance the registers of chest, middle and head voice. Often, singers have over-developed one register of their voice which can leave the other registers feeling weak and disconnected. Balancing the registers is very much like taking your car in for a re-alignment of the wheels. Suddenly, it drives more smoothly and doesn't veer off to one side. Once the registers of the voice begin to align, the singer can then begin to work towards more power and resonance.
Often, I hear from new singers "I just don't understand how to breathe for singing". Breathing is fundamental to balancing the voice, and in each lesson, you will learn dynamic concepts of breath management designed to make singing feel like you are simply breathing notes set to music!
Range building is another important area of focus. Through fun and challenging exercises, you will easily gain several notes on the top and bottom of your voice. Singers must have full "range of motion" in their voice in order to maintain optimum vocal health.
Body work is an integral part of vocal technique. In each lesson you will learn concepts rooted in Yoga, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais and Breathing Coordination which will allow your voice to grow as never before. A free, strong, supple body is key to a free, strong, supple voice!
Once the voice is running smoothly and efficiently, repertory work will follow. We will focus on one or two songs of your choice. You will need to bring two copies of the song/s with clearly printed chord progressions above each line of music, as this makes sight reading easier for accompaniment. Jeff will accompany most songs on the piano. However, if a piece has an extremely challenging piano transcription, you may be asked to provide an accompaniment track for the lesson. You may bring this on your phone or tablet to be played through the studio sound system. If you are taking voice lessons online, please have a backing track available as Internet lag time can often hinder piano accompaniment.
For singer/songwriters: If you are working on an original piece with guitar or piano, be sure to bring a lyric sheet, preferably with chord progressions for Jeff to view as you accompany yourself.