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Mastering the Fundamentals: Body, breath, phonation, and resonance

Additional Information

Authors Robert Caldwell and Joan Wall
ISBN 1934477373
Length 344 pages
Price $44.95
Karen Murphy

“As one who grew up with music educators, I find Excellence in Singing to be of great interest on several levels. It is, of course, instructive and includes an underlying attitude of respect and joy in the teacher/student relationship. Equally important, it is also beautiful in its choice of words and in the images it creates. The writers’ voices are supportive, encouraging, expansive, sensitive and colorful, well-informed, organized, clear and imaginative, engendering an intense involvement in the learning/teaching process. On a broad level, this series is full of original thinking, which one can apply to any number of life’s situations and challenges. I can’t imagine a more exciting tool for helping a teacher or singer achieve excellence than to use this series.”
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book for learning to sing with vocal exercises

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  • book for learning to sing with vocal exercises

Mastering the Fundamentals organizes itself around the goal of “Developing flexibility in the parts that control the voice”—the same parts outlined in Breath, Vocal Folds, Vocal Tract, Resonance, and The Human Voice, which gives you smooth continuity from the much-loved media material to hands-on teaching material. Like the other books in the critically-acclaimed 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 to suit your precise needs with easy integration.

You can read the table of contents and a sample chapter, giving you a good representative layout of all the written materials in the platform.

Table of Contents

Chapter 8: Breath

The book is divided into four major sections:

“Teaching and learning a supportive body,” which allows you to describe a singer’s body as a whole and provides essays followed by many exercises for preparing a body to sing.

“Teaching and learning flexible breath,” which has material about the breathing cycle from inhalation to exhalation and the many issues that can arise. These discussions then prompt a wide range of exercises, from ‘activating the breath,” to controlling inhalation and exhalation. You can download this chapter in the link above.

“Teaching and learning flexible phonation,” which discusses the impediments and processes for achieving “flow phonation.”

“Teaching and learning flexible resonance,” which discusses the impediments and requirements to control the articulators and combine them in many different ways that singers need to.

Following the “theory and practice”—the many essays and a very wide range of hands-on exercises—of how to teach a student to acquire flexible bodies, breathing, phonation, and resonance, you give your students a profound foundation in teaching singing.


To get a sense of how Mastering the Fundamentals fits into whole platform, consider following these 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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