Vocal Mastery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 207 pages of information about Vocal Mastery.
I discovered I couldn’t put the feeling and emotion which surged within me across to others in the way I wanted to—­in the way which could move and impress them; I could not make the effects I wanted; I was getting into a rut.  This was seven years ago.  At that time I went to Percy Rector Stevens, who has done me an immense amount of good, and with whom I constantly keep in touch, in case there should be anything wrong with my instrument anywhere.  Mr. Stevens understands the mechanics of the voice perhaps better than any one I know of.  If I go to him and say:  ’I made some tones last night that didn’t sound right to me,’ or ’I couldn’t seem to put over this or that effect; I want you to tell me what is the matter.’  He will say:  ’Sing for me, show me the trouble and we’ll see what we can do for it.’  So I sing and he will say:  ‘You are tightening your throat at that place,’ or ’your diaphragm is not working properly,’ or there is some other defect.  He can always put his finger directly on the weak spot.  He is my vocal doctor.  Your whole vocal apparatus must work together in entire harmony.  We hear of teachers who seem to specialize on some one part of the anatomy to the exclusion of other parts.  They are so particular about the diaphragm, for instance; that must be held with exactly the right firmness to support the tone.  That is all very well; but what about the chest, the larynx, the throat, the head and all the rest of the anatomy?  The truth is the whole trunk and head of the body are concerned in the act of tone production; they form the complete instrument, so to say.  When the singer is well and strong and in good condition, all the parts respond and do their work easily and efficiently.


“I do not go through a routine of scales and exercises daily—­at least not in the season, for I have no time.  If you are going to take your automobile out for a spin you don’t ride it around for half an hour in the yard to see whether it will go.  No, you first look after the machinery, to see if all is in working order, and then you start out, knowing it will go.  I do a lot of gymnastics each day, to exercise the voice and limber up the anatomy.  These act as a massage for the voice; they are in the nature of humming, mingled with grunts, calls, exclamations, shouts, and many kinds of sounds—­indeed so many and various they cannot be enumerated.  But they put the voice in condition, so there is no need for all these other exercises which most singers find so essential to their vocal well-being.  I will say right here that I am working with two masters; the first for the mechanics of the voice, the second who helps me from quite an opposite angle—­interpretation and finish.


“The master from whom I have learned so much that it cannot be estimated is Victor Maurel.  He is a most remarkable man, a great thinker and philosopher.  If he had turned his attention to any other art or science, or if he had been but a day laborer, he would be a great man anywhere, in any capacity.

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Vocal Mastery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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