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“Vocal Advantage: Diagnosing Vocal Issues (part 5)” by Dina Else

As we conclude our discussion of diagnosing and taking action on correcting vocal technique issues I’d like to discuss a particularly helpful tool.  James McKinney calls it ‘empathy’ and goes on to describe it like this, “One of the most effective techniques used to analyze the cause of a particular fault is to empathize with the student…to try to feel in your own vocal mechanism the actions that are taking place in his…to enter so completely into what he is doing what your own mechanism subconsciously attempts to reproduce his vocal production.”
I use this a lot!  Be careful that when you are emulating the sound that the student is producing you do it in a respectful way and explain to them what you’re doing, otherwise it can be misconstrued as you poking fun.  It is so helpful to feel what they are feeling so you can more accurately relate to what they are experiencing and describe the sensations needed to counteract the issue involved.
It is important to accumulate as many cures as possible for each vocal fault.  Some students will respond to the first one tried, others will exhaust everything you come up with. 
Remember the plan of action:
1. Recognize Symptoms
2. Determine Causes
3. Devise Cures
Join me next week and we’ll chat about one of my favorite mantras, “Singing is Sensation!”
(original posting: December 9, 2013)