Yuri Sabatini Singing Teacher

Yuri Sabatini Singing Teacher
Voice coach in London

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

My wish for the pedagogy of singing

Art and technique can and should be looked upon and used by the Teacher of Singing in equal measure and in the clearest way possible in order to not incur in scientific absurdities on one extreme, misunderstandings in the best of the cases, and in mysticism at the opposite extreme.

Art and technique of Singing. The Singer's job is to use the voice to engender emotions. That of the Teacher is to help the pupil to use the voice. Let's leave the listener to feel the emotions and to the aesthete and the critic the job of telling us what's behind it - which if for them is at the foundation, for others could be only a retrospective invention.

Let's remain open to learn from each other, let's find the desire to communicate, let's not judge a priori and let's aim to a brighter future for The Art of Singing and for the Pedagogy of such a phenomenon.
May we start in 2011!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

I've never seen it snowing, like it did today, in North London!
For everyone else, particularly those who had to travel, this snow represented a bit issue... Not for us though!
In the morning, I brought the kid out for a family craft morning at the Church and it was already snowing heavily.. three hours later it was still snowing and we went out to play snowball to their greatest enjoyment!
When we came in, I made them some hot chocolate and then we had lunch together.
Later on, I pointed out of the window at some birds: the children realized the birds would have to face hardship in this climate, so we took some home-made bread, made it into small crumbles and went out again to leave it all over the garden (and on the roof of the house as well) for them to eat. I think the birds liked the present, and I noticed how the children were more serene and more cooperative than usual afterwards.
The thought that the act of giving and taking care of someone else makes always us feel good struck me once more. Life is a great thing not when you get, but when you give, in every field this principle applies equally.
I find this is true when I teach: it is not about me, it's about what I give to my pupils. And of course, the same is true when you sing.
Ahh, what a blessed day, today! I look out of the windows and marvel at how wonderfully quiet it is out there, all the trees, the garden and the houses covered in snow: a great landscape!
I'm sorry for those of you who were troubled by the snow, included my wife who went to work - coming back will be problematic, I know. But, for the three of us this is what Christmas is supposed to be like! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The shield any student should have

The pedagogy of singing is like a big, steaming cauldron of various ingredients, different sorts of advice and techniques... one has to be careful, as not all of the ingredients you may find are good for you.

I recently was called to step in and prepare a teenager girl from a wealthy family for the grade 7 ABRSM exam.
I certainly wasn't prepared to meet a girl with a perfectly healthy speaking voice but affected by problematic technical faults in her singing voice, voice which could not for the world be ready to tackle any of the repertoire expected for a grade 7 exam.
She produces a breathy sound that she can't carry, for obvious reasons, in the higher part of her voice. Dinamycs are denied, and the tone lack warmth and roundness. Pity, really, considered she tries to sing with emotion.
When confronted with the issues heard and seen in her singing, she admitted that she was taught by her previous teacher, with whom she studied all her life, to pull in the abdomen when singing. She came to like this tone of hers, even though she confessed she was aware of the fact she couldn't use her voice as she was supposed to. Obviously, she was defensive. No one likes when somebody criticize indirectly the teachings of someone you came to like and be dependent on. Alas!

The big point, here is one. And one only.

When one studies singing, during the journey one is bound to be asked to put in place coordinations, or to attempt manoeuvres, or to make sounds that don't adhere with what is physiologically efficient and correct, least with the aesthetics of beautiful singing. If one has a minimum of anatomical, physiological and acoustics data available, one can promptly measure what the teacher advocates against this available-to-all knowledge, thus becoming less of an easy prey for unhealthy
and nonsensical advice which can be highly detrimental and hamper a voice for years - or for a life time, unless someone is never so lucky to meet a good teacher or not humble enough to accept that the problem is at the very base of one singing!

Don't trust everything you are told and don't rely on the use of disjunct information in a teacher studio.
Arm youselves of the shield of factual information, available everywhere and not at all complicated for an average brain, to avoid to be hit in a way that's way too costly for your voice, your self esteem and your future career!