CALISTHENICS FOR THE SINGING VOICE - The Strategy


This voice development programme has been devised to fulfil for the voice the important role played by the scale, pattern recognition, and velocity studies which are extensively available for those learning to play an instrument.The system of exercises is designed to develop the singing voice primarily as a 'wind-instrument' which can then be used to perform in any chosen style of song. My aim is to produce a voice which can not only move effortlessly between the genres of oratorio; opera; art -song; folk-song; jazz; pop-ballads;and rock, but also sound authentic in all styles.
A selected pattern of vowels is used in various combinations and note sequences to establish 'pathways' for the voice to follow as it traverses a melodic line. It is a 'choreographic' approach which ensures that the voice is at all times optimally placed to begin,negotiate, and quit a musical phrase with ease and flexibility. The aim is to be able to use the voice to discover and communicate the full musical and lyrical meaning of a song, and thus realise the intention of both poet and composer.
The exercises can also be used to extend th effective pitch range of the voice (both higher and lower); to smooth out the transition across register-breaks; and, importantly, to find and develop the 'falsetto' or 'feigned' voice (both male and female) and use it firstly to build the middle-voice to full potential and then to explore the possibilities of the high-voice with particular emphasis on achieving for the male voice the clear separation of the baritone/tenor voice from the alto and sopranist voices.