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The Vocal Craft

To be very successful with voice one must respect the beauty, acoustic wonderment and fragility of the vocal instrument. My mentors were stars of the Metropolitan and New York City Operas, truly great vocalists and masters of the stage and acting crafts. They taught me the magic of the Bel Canto vocal technique. I've found that for all modes of singing and speaking, Bel Canto is always an effective approach for achieving the best vocal and dramatic results.

Bel Canto, which means "beautiful singing", was developed over 400 years ago with opera as a means of projecting the voice clearly over the larger orchestras in increasingly larger halls. The essence of Bel Canto is naturalness, a lack of push or strain. It incorporates a balanced, healthy approach to the voice. Breathing low, from the diaphragm, relaxing the throat so there is no push or strain whatsoever and most importantly, focusing the acoustics of the voice to project the tone clearly out to the listener ("through the mask"). This approach allows for a natural, effortless control of the broadest range of pitch and dynamics.

My goal is to give you the tools and experience to develop vocal confidence. We create repeated successful experiences in mastering specific skills. Through thoughtful practice, listening carefully to your sound, relaxing into your body and emotions, these skills become a natural part your performance.

You can hear these techniques in top-selling vocalists in rock, adult contemporary, R&B, musical theatre, jazz and yes, country. To get the power and emotional impact needed in high-energy music, successful singers learn how to let go of the strain/push and relax to get the right sound.

A good voice is based on a natural balance in the instrument. It involves a full low breath, completely relaxed throat, open and clear vowels, understandable diction, full resonant projection, an acute sense of listening and a great deal of personal/emotional involvement. Every component is essential for this to all work together to become something potentially wonderful.

The vocal wisdom of a rich heritage has been passed on to us. It is incumbent upon us to become the best we can be.

Richard Jennings

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