- This is YOUR individual journey, so there’s no point making comparisons with anyone else. You have your own capacity and special qualities. Search for these within yourself and enjoy them. You begin always from where you are.
- Observe and try to understand the nature of the singing voice, and thereby its logical and liberating process. This will ensure that you avoid major pitfalls and unfulfilling end-gaining. Learning to sing is in part an act of faith, but you must differentiate clearly between my role as your teacher and your own, assuming responsibility accordingly.
- Learning to sing is a discipline. To make genuine, well-founded progress, you will need to work hard, regularly and methodically like a dedicated athlete or dancer. Consider what is required and commit to it – without this commitment the whole exercise can be a waste of resources.
- Get fit for this demanding work. This is your responsibility, and I can only be expected to guide your training work in so far as your body and mind are able and prepared to take it. Sleep well, eat healthily, exercise your body, and drink plenty of water.
- Always begin your training sessions with an open mind and open ears, free from prejudice and expectations. Be ready to start each session afresh.
- Arrive at your lessons relaxed and alert. Your energy level needs to be at its highest for both training and performing. No matter what your mood, summon up the energy that you would find if, for example, you suddenly had to deal with a fire, or the concentrated energy of an athlete preparing to run or jump. This high energy level is vital for rhythmical movement, clear hearing, emotional participation and for deep and detailed physical work.
- Be ready to experiment and take risks. Remember that we only learn to do things by doing them.
- Be fully awake to the training experience. While it’s my job to train you, it is yours to recognize the experience on all levels, physical, mental, emotional, and above all, aural. I need your feedback. Your awareness of the process must be interested and detailed. Reclaim the quality of wonder and develop your capacity for focused attention.
- Study how to approach exercises so that you make the most of them and be truly proactive.
- Child-like qualities are essential for good progress. Genuine curiosity makes you positively want to ‘see what’s inside’. It can help you overcome fear, and the pressure of needing to get it right.
- Your voice develops laterally as well as linearly, so all its physical components need to be attended to if it is to grow in balanced strength. Genuine progress is incremental. By appreciating small improvements you can build confidence on a firm base. Having a sense of delay and enlargement can prevent you overlooking crucial potentializing components and help you train thoroughly.
- Beware of the illusion of progress arising from the rapid achievement of particular premeditated goals. These are very often gained at the expense of other elements equally important in establishing a firm foundation and achieving wholeness. Beware of sounding too overly mature. A well-balanced voice always sounds youthful. It is easy to make the middle range too heavy, at the expense of the extremes.
Adopted from Peter T. Harrison’s text, The Human Nature of the Singing Voice.