Mary Garden On “Freak Methods”

Look out for teachers with freak methods – ten to one they are making you one of their experiments. There is nothing that any voice teacher has ever found superior to giving simple scales and exercises … With a good teacher to keep watch over the breathing and the quality, “what more can one have?”

I have always believed in a great many scales and in a great deal of singing florid roles in Italian. Italian is inimitable for the singer. The dulcet, velvet-like character of the language gives something which nothing else can impart. It does not make any difference whether you purpose singing in French, German, English, Russian or Soudanese, you will gain much from exercising in Italian. Staccato practice is valuable. Here is an exercise which I take nearly every day of my life:

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Three-quarters of an hour a day practice suffices me. I find it injurious to practice too long. But I study for hours.


Cooke, James Francis. Great Singers on the Art of Singing. Presser, 1921.

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