Franz Abt in the Studio

One of the books I’ve recently explored is Dr. Karen Wicklund’s Singing Voice Rehabilitation published in 2009. It is a text that overviews the physiology of the singing voice, and it provides a great intro into the rehabilitation of the singer’s voice.

It is my belief that voice teachers are NOT medical professionals, and should not dispense medical advice (only perhaps recommendations to health care when warranted). However, the book fills a spot for the voice teacher who might work with ‘damaged singers’ and would like an overview of how to proceed and work with a medical doctor and speech language pathologist. It is very helpful for finding a common parlance that can be shared across disciplines.

One of the treatment modalities that piqued my interest was using exercises from the Vaccai books for singers rehabilitating their voices. I spent some time with them and I really do enjoy them a lot. They’re fun little exercises and I think that they are popular mainly because they are so available.

To throw another resource out there, I prefer using exercises from Franz Abt’s “Practical Tutor.”

This book (which is available for all voice types) starts from simple sustained tones, and works gradually up to quite complicated exercises. Abt’s book is a great tool to use to help rehabilitate or build voices, as long as the voice teacher uses common sense and caution with every exercise, monitoring for freedom and ease of phonation. Students can begin working on simple intervals and graduate to more and more challenging work. There is much logic in the voice building processes of the Old Masters, in that work on the voice started with the simplest of gestures, and by dint of hard work would lead to more and more challenging vocalization.

As I have written before here and here, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MAGIC EXERCISE. Only through the teacher’s understanding of function can an exercise be applied with a PURPOSE.

The purpose of all vocal exercise is to do the following:

1. Re-establish basic functional principles.

2. Reduce complex problems to simpler and more manageable components.

3. Correct errors of technique.

4. Exercise the voice.

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