Teaching methods

My methods are a distillation of the methods of the many teachers who have taught me over many years (not least the late Wynford Evans - a wonderfully supportive and inspirational teacher and friend), in many hundreds of private lessons and public master-classes, coupled with the methods I have acquired from an extensive study of the textbooks of great teachers of the past, in particular the writings of Professors William Vennard, Richard Miller, and many notable contemporary pedagogues, especially Janice Chapman.

Vennard insists on a scientific approach. To quote his excellent textbook "There are those teachers who feel that applying science to an art is quackery, but I believe that our only safeguard against the charlatan is general knowledge of the most accurate information available". Unfortunately the scientific approach has not greatly enlightened the field of singing teaching as yet. Though progress is made there is much that is not agreed or understood properly. I remain humble, hopeful and undogmatic - and treat each student as a unique individual.

I focus on getting the pupil to experience (and remember) the subtle feelings that occur at the moment of producing a fine sound.

To produce the fine sound in the first place I use the normal methods of imagery and focus, aiming for power, resonance, clarity of vowel and consonant production and, most especially, beauty of tone - the magic ingredient that moves the audience.

Modern sensibilities preclude the hands on touching used by many fine teachers, so I work instead by close visual and aural observation.

A few aspects of my teaching seem to me to be my own discoveries and unique to me - in particular methods for legato using insight from my extensive study of phonetics, and methods for connecting with an audience, based on my many experiences of doing just that.

Only 20 minutes or so of a lesson is devoted to pure technique (posture, breathing, support etc), with the bulk of the lesson being devoted to repertoire (and applied technique). I can provide songs and arias if required or I am very happy to work with songs in any style that interest the student.