Vocal Wisdom

Over the past few weeks, I have renewed my desire to hone my crafts of singing and of teaching. I have been reading a book by William E. Brown called Vocal Wisdom. Maxims of Giovanni Battista Lamperti. Lamperti was an italian voice teacher and a master teacher of the Bel Canto style. He lived and taught in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and many of his students of the time went on to international fame.

During this time of pandemic and quarantine, I have had a lot of time to think about things pertaining to singing and I want to share a few things that Lamperti suggests is important for singers to know as their voices are developing. Indeed the singing craft is very much a physical one; however, it is what comes from within that makes a singer an artist.

  • Examining your own thoughts and feelings, while singing, until you know what is taking place in the brain and body is the only procedure.
  • Do not listen to yourself sing! Feel yourself sing!
  • When internal conditions are right and ready, the singing voice appears – not before.
  • Know thyself. [This] applies to the singer more than to other professions, because to sing well, body, soul and mind are tuned together to do it.
  • It is through our desires, our sensations, our perceptions, that we gain control of our activities in body and mind. This is especially true in singing.

It’s been interesting applying these principles in a digital medium. I have to say that I have rather enjoyed online lessons using voicelessons.com with my students and watching them continue to grow. PVA is still moving forward. We are working hard to remain physically distant and not socially distant or disconnected. We are being flexible and making plans for the future.

For now, I hope you can take the time to read and ponder on these little nuggets of wisdom. As I have been studying this book, I have gradually been coming around to a better understanding of my own voice and how to make it the best it can be. I hope some of this helps each of you on your own singing journey. I will leave you with one more quote. This is something I often tell my students, so I was really happy to see it in this singing book from a teacher in 1905.

Happy singing everyone!