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“Vocal Advantage: Diagnosing Vocal Issues (part 4)” by Dina Else

As promised here are James McKinney’s next steps in regard to diagnosing vocal faults.
Classification of vocal faults
There are several possible ways to classify vocal faults…
1. Classify them according to their relation to the essential properties or elements of musical sound
2. Classify according to their relation to the physical process involved in the singing act
3. Classify to the part of the vocal mechanism involved
To devise your plan of action asks yourself the following questions:
1. What is wrong with the sound I am hearing?
2. What is causing it to sound that way?
3. What am I going to do about it?
The teacher’s plan of action is to recognize symptoms, determine causes, and devise cures.  In order to recognize symptoms, the teacher will need to evaluate two types of clues; audible ones and visible ones. Whether you teach privately, in the choral setting, or both, you need to be able to evaluating what you are hearing, as well as what you are seeing. 
From my own personal experience with regard to vocal technique, I know that choral directors tend to zone in on what they are hearing and then secondarily will shift focus to the visual aspect.  I would encourage you to broaden your horizons and start taking in as much information visually as you do aurally.  There is a wealth of information to be had if we just open our eyes and pay attention to what our singers are communicating physically.  Heighten your awareness this week and experience the benefits of this additional set of information!
Join me next week as we conclude this mini-series on the importance of being able to diagnose the vocal technique issues of your singers!
(original posting: December 2, 2013)