“An important fundamental principle in teaching voice is that direct control over any narrow group of muscles used in the act of phonation is impossible, while conscious control over groups of muscles actuating members which should not be used in this act is possible of accomplishment. Upon this fact and upon the psychological side of the subject rests the possibility of really training the voice.”
Douglas Stanley, writing in 1933
**It’s VERY easy to manipulate muscles that SHOULDN’T be used in the singing act. What is more nuanced is the training of those muscles which SHOULD be involved. Many of the muscles which are terra non grata usually give the singer a sense of accomplishment that ‘something is being done’ – that they are learning to sing.
What is really being learned?
Manipulation. Great accomplished manipulation.
It is far more nuanced, elusive, and time-consuming to search for those responses which are beyond direct control but CAN be stimulated to make a beautiful (as well as powerful) singing voice. Interestingly, a voice built in this way becomes more responsive to the coloration of the psyche than a lifelessly manipulated voice which is very comme il faut, and lacks any influence of psychology upon the singing act.
Rome was not built in a day.