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Beginning the Process:The art of teaching and learning singing

Additional Information

Authors Robert Caldwell and Joan Wall
ISBN 1934477366
Length 270 pages
Price $46.95
Joanne Sydney Lesser

“Excellence in Singing is impressive in its scope. Ten years in the making, this five-volume instructional tome is an ambitious undertaking that takes teacher and student deep into the singer’s craft. With extended pedagogical chapters followed by corresponding exercises, the books are geared toward singers and instructors looking to expand their repertoire of teaching learning tools…The series, to its credit, includes explorations of all physical and artistic aspects of singing, rather than limiting its focus strictly to vocal technique. Volume Two: Mastering the Fundamentals gets down to the brass tacks of singing, offering useful, basic exercises…. Volume Three: Advancing the Technique explores in great detail, sophisticated concepts of tone, resonance, and transitions among registers, with an even more impressive array of exercises and a well-conveyed and unbiased section on musical theater “belting” for the female singer. The many valuable ideas and exercises in Volume Four: Becoming an Artist provide the sort of refresher from which even advanced teachers and students will benefit. In addition to skill builders in musical interpretation, these exercises include many of the same dramatic tools an actor might use. Volume Five: Managing Vocal Health discusses behaviors, substances and medical conditions that can cause vocal problems, explains potential treatments and offers several case studies of working singers responding to crises in vocal health.”
Reviewer Opera News

vocal pedagogy book for anatomy, physiology, acoustics, aerodynamics of voice

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  • vocal pedagogy book for anatomy, physiology, acoustics, aerodynamics of voice

The moment a student begins the process of becoming an artist in the world—what a magical time. And your students? What kind of voice teachers do they want to become? How will they interact with their students? What do they need to know? How will they apply knowledge? What do they need to know and understand?

With Beginning the Process (from the Excellence in Singing series), you guide your students through these and other important questions about the whole process. Like the other books in the Excellence in Singing series, it is part of the integrated vocal pedagogy multimedia platform, so it follows the basic pattern of essays followed by pragmatic exercises, which allows you to mix and match the materials to build a curriculum tailored for your precise needs and blend easily with the much-loved media of the platform.

Table of Contents

Beginning the Process Introduction

The book is divided into two sections.

The first section helps you address the broad issues of teaching and learning singing, issues that range from how to conduct lessons, how to measure progress, how to orient to the required knowledge, to how to organize a studio. In essence, it offers a thoughtful consideration of the whole activity of teaching voice, complete with exercises. This section allows you to explore the big picture of teaching voice and what it means to teach well, giving you and your students the support to start off on the right foot.

The second section helps you teach the anatomy, physiology, aerodynamics, and acoustics of the voice, a section designed to work hand-in-hand with the media elements of the platform. The topics are spread among three chapters.

In the first of those three, “The body—the vocal instrument,” you cover breath, larynx, and vocal tract, which correspond to the films Breath, Vocal Folds, and Vocal Tract (the power source, vibrator, and resonator) and covers the muscles, membranes, and principles of how the parts of them work together, giving you a precise and smooth method for teaching the anatomy, physiology, and aerodynamics of the voice.

In “The air inside the body,” you cover resonance, which corresponds to the film Resonance, and looks at the fundamentals of sound and how reflecting waves give rise to resonance within the vocal tract (and other air spaces within the body) and the source-filter theory of vocal production. While this subject is immensely complex, the film-with-text makes vocal acoustics as easy as possible, giving you a platform for discussing the voice as a wind instrument and all that that entails.

In “The sound—the interplay between the body and the air,” you cover the whole interactive system of the voice, which corresponds to the film The Human Voice. This section builds on the previous sections, connecting the dots from the anatomy, physiology, aerodynamics, and acoustics to the actual training of the voice. You will breathe life into what it means to pursue smooth transitions in registers, whether you use the pedagogical concepts of vowel modification, two and three-register concepts, and vowel tracks, for instance.

The combined material allows you to cover very deep topics easily, rapidly, and comprehensively, providing your students a solid foundation for teaching voice at any level in the future and giving you a turnkey set of much-loved materials to use in your classes.


To get a sense of how Beginning the Process fits into the vocal pedagogy multimedia platform, consider the following links, especially the sample chapter Breath, which follows the essay with exercises pattern of nearly all the written materials:

overview of the pedagogy multimedia platform

organization of the pedagogy multimedia platform

reviews from across the multimedia platform

why multimedia?

sample chapter 8: “Breath” (from Mastering the Fundamentals)

sample clip of “sound at the vocal folds” (from The Human Voice)

sample clip of “formants” (from The Human Voice)


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