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Full Version: Keep it simple
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Teachers make things more complicated then they should be. It doesn't really matter what you call chest voice, or head voice or where your larnx  should be, or your tounge. Stuff like that does effect the sound of your singing but it all comes on its own from learning to sing comfortably. If you can just learn to sing with a light buss through out your range and do that every day everything will fall into place.
I try to simplify as I go along. But others like a lot of technical terms and finer gradations of explanations and even if you gave them just one term, they would still populate a lengthy glossary with new terms. And so, like a Don Quixote with a bit of arthritis, I give it up and let the young fight the windmills, for a change.
Correction: HUMANS make things more complicated than they should!!! LOL Singing is SO EASY! I still have students who fight to make things harder to sing! Sometimes, you can even see on their face the struggle with the mind! I went through it myself. Most of us do.

But yes, learning to sing is even harder when the teacher likes to pretend it's the most intricate thing in the world!!!
I watched Tristan's live stream with the ad hoc voice lessons for people skyping in with desk top cams. And it was an excellent example of what you were talking about, Erickson. Tristan shows a method or idea and the other person might get it once and the revert back to previous pattern on the next step in the scale. Which is not bad, just a good example of what I mean about singing being mental. A person is capable of changing something physically with the apparatus of the voice already in place. The hard part is to stop the old patterns. And that is mental and not muscle training. These guys had plenty of muscles, strong voices all of them. And good singers just looking for one more refinement. Sometimes, it is easy to make leaps and bounds improvements and harder to gain one more little inch, so to speak. Like the runner who starts training and quickly reaches the 12 minute mark. But could take another year to get to the 11.80 seconds mark. Yeah, that's a weak analogy but it does illustrate the point. For some of these guys, getting volume and solidity of tone and stable vibrato was fairly quick and surprisingly easy. But getting the control to soften, that is the last difficult inch of distance or speed to get.

So, I think Tristan was trying to simplify and choose words or agree upon words with each person to get them there, a technique I used in teaching my trade skill. Find out how the student views it or describes it and then expand upon that.

Just like one of my students, George. He thought he was stupid and everyone in his life said so and wanted to diagnose him with various learning disabilities. And what I did was find out how his mind describes a mathematical concept. So, the next day, he made a perfect 100 on a math test with 10 questions, no grading curve. In about ten minutes. I did not make him a math genius. I let him out of his darkness, he was already a math genius who benefited from one person in the world not crapping on him. It is one the most treasured moments of my life, worth more than the paycheck I received as part of a private contractor operating an education program for the US Dept of Labor. Instead of trying to beat him into submission with my math terms, I judo'd him by letting his own momentum and words drive him forward. Okay, enough metaphors for now ...

And to expand on the teaching thing, my greatest accomplishments are with individual students one at a time, even though I had more than twenty students in the class. There is just no possible way to express clearly to so many different minds at once. So, for example, Tristan is going to accomplish more with one student at a time than if he was to lead a group exercise. Why is this? Because each person has his own way of thinking and will often reject, often without realizing it, your words. One on one, you can go back and forth and find the words he accepts and get the info in that way. So, that begs the question of efficacy of training programs where the teacher obviously has to pick a descriptive path, even if it does not work for everyone.

Same could be said for other musicians. I once auditioned as a singer for XLR8, a band led by George Chapin (different george, btw), nephew of Harry Chapin and one-time member of the band, Silverado. He was missing the ring finger on each hand. But he was playing as fast and strong as Alex Lifeson. What if I had insisted that he play parts with the ring finger, something he did not have? Each teacher and student must discover how to work what he has. (no, I did not teach George Chapin.)

And yes, that does call into question the modern education system in place for the last 100 to 150 years, of teaching people en masse. Before that, people often learned a trade or skill as an apprentice to a mentor.
To relate to Tristan's livestream (I watched the whole damn thing even though it wasn't live), I think that he exemplified how easy it is to get on the right track for singing. I could clearly hear, within minutes, some of the people he was skyping with get better. From that podcast, I learned what edge and curbing are. Today, I tried it out, and noticed that this is basically what I've been struggling with all along. If that's not what a good teacher does, then I don't know what a good teacher could be. In short, it's teachers like Tristan, that cut through all the bullshit and bush-beating and get directly to how to sound good, that are the best. Alright, enough kissing his ass...
I agree! Simplicity is best. Does is sound good? Is it comfortable? Yes. Yes. Youre good to go Smile Then just work on the extremes of the voice slowly.