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The Essentials of Beautiful Singing: A Three-Step Kinesthetic Approach [Format Kindle]

Karen Tillotson Bauer

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Voice research has revealed much about the singing voice, but this valuable information does not necessarily transfer into fine singing. In The Essentials of Beautiful Singing: A Three-Step Kinesthetic Approach, performer and scholar Karen Tillotson Bauer bridges this gap by reframing the complexities of voice science with a cultivated simplicity of style and terminology that speaks directly to the singer’s experience of singing.

With her three-step approach, Bauer integrates fact and application in a logical order, step by step. With clarity and immediate relevancy, this work takes the mystery out of singing by approaching it as a kinesthetic experience. Through the use of short verbal prompts and guided exercises, The Essentials of Beautiful Singing helps the singer discover good breath management, realize good resonance, and achieve clear enunciation. The focus throughout is on the skillful use of the body as a musical instrument, the source of fine singing.

For the experienced voice teacher, choral director and singer at any level, Bauer’s three-step approach offers a fresh perspective on the familiar principles of vocal function. Clear explanations of the singing processes replace vague notions, and a relevant terminology makes refined singing more accessible. The Essentials of Beautiful Singing cuts to the heart of vocal technique and challenges some common pedagogical assumptions while defining a dependable foundation for fine singing.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 5.0 étoiles sur 5  3 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 ♫ "Singers must functionally train their bodies, and in so doing, they will train their voices" 6 mars 2015
Par Bassocantor - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I came across THE ESSENTIALS OF BEAUTIFUL SINGING: A THREE-STEP KINESTHETIC APPROACH completely by accident, and I was shocked. The approach of this book is quite different than other books on singing technique. As described in the subtitle, this book uses a teaching methodology called the kinesthetic approach. Perhaps other readers are familiar with that term--but I was not, so I had to look it up. I discovered that in kinesthetic learning, the emphasis is on the students performing physical activities--not listening to lectures or demonstrations.

The professor explains further: "A kinesthetic approach to singing might be compared to the approach of a good physical therapist. A trained therapist knows the body's physiology and how to mend dysfunctional members of the anatomy. . . Singers must functionally train their bodies, and in so doing, they will train their voices." As noted in the introduction, it is a "doing book," and this is very evident in the exercises offered and the accompanying guidelines.

Note that is not a book on research methods . Professor Bauer explains: "I have always thought that the art of teaching is more in the doing of it than in the talking about it. It is odd, indeed, that I am now talking about it in the form of a book! However, as much as possible, this book is certainly a "doing book." This is explained more in the overview of the Three-Step Approach: "For me, the challenge in writing the book has been to somehow capture in narrative form the spontaneous and interactive work experienced in the voice studio."

The three-fold technique presented in this book is known as "OOFing" or, "Open Body, Open Throat, Forward Articulation." And so, nearly the entire book is devoted to practical exercises--ways in which you can prepare your body for singing using the special "OOF" method. For example, this means spending a lot of time on a perfect posture.

So relax, there aren't many pictures showing the muscles in the larynx, or how the nerves transmit information to the pharynx, or how the Cricothyroid muscles work. I didn't even see one picture of the vocal folds.

Whilst reading the author's discussion of preparing your body to sing, I kept on thinking I was reading a book on the Alexander Technique. For example, "A kinesthetic experience involves not only the physicality of a particular activity but discerning awareness and control of it." Wow--that passage REALLY sounded like Alexander to me. Sure enough, Dr. Bauer indeed discusses the Alexander Technique, so I wasn't imagining it that it had some influence on the author.

My favorite chapter in THE ESSENTIALS OF BEAUTIFUL SINGING is Chapter 6, Principles of Registration. The reason is, I saw in this book some critical, poorly-known facts about teaching the head voice to low-voice male singers. Until finding this book, the best resource I have seen on teaching the head voice is in a book over 100 years old--the classic work by D.A. Clippinger, The Head Voice and Other Problems Practical Talks on Singing.

I wish the author had included a glossary of terms. In a few places, I wasn't sure about how the author was using a term, compared to other teachers. For example, I wasn't sure if the author's terminology, "Primary and Secondary transitions" used in Chapter 6 were the same as Richard Miller's terms, Primary and Secondary Passagio. Miller uses a chart in The Structure of Singing: System and Art in Vocal Technique to clearly define the passage points; it was difficult for me to tell here if the professor was saying the same thing, or not.

As befits a "doing" book, there's not a lot of scientific research discussed. If you want a book that covers more the scientific research, there are plenty of books out there. For example, Richard Miller's magnum opus, The Structure of Singing: System and Art in Vocal Technique. Or for low voiced male singers, his book, Securing Baritone, Bass-Baritone, and Bass Voices. (As a side-note, for the Basso readers, don't miss the moving biography of Jerome Hines, America's Basso, or his autobiography, THis is My Story: This is My Song.)

The end of the book contains an appendix, "Selected International Phonetic Alphabet Symbols and Corresponding English Words." This is very helpful. My paperback copy contains a index, which appears to be absent in the electronic version.

♫ All in all, THE ESSENTIALS OF BEAUTIFUL SINGING is a superb book. The techniques presented will take time to master. Although simple in concept, the exercises will likely prove challenging. Finally, do not be deceived by the relatively short length of this book--this is an outstanding book, written by a well-qualified teacher with lots of teaching experience.


Note: I do not know the author, and I received no compensation in any form for this review.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A review from a different perspective..... 3 octobre 2013
Par CPyne - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
As an acquaintance of Karen Bauer, I understand a little about the labor of love this book represented. I understand less about the content in terms of it's practical application in the teaching environment. However, what I do understand from a brief read of the book is that she succeeds with her intent to organize and deliver technical musical instructional material in a warm, helpful, easy to understand way. Full disclosure: I am not a musical person, but I was still able to discern the skill of the author as she shares her extensive knowledge and teaching experience. The information ties into practical applications and exercises, developmentally building in a logical way, all delivered with great warmth.

To compartmentalize and translate one's entire methodology from an accomplished career of vocal teaching is daunting. But this volume succeeds. If I were a vocal student, I would find this approach blending the physicality of singing with other factors not just exciting but necessary to my career.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 15 décembre 2014
Par L&L - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
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