THE WAY TO LEARN SINGING
[By Sir Morell Mackenzie.] In the new number of the 'Contemporary Review' Sir Morell Mackenzie, writing on ' Speech and Song,' gives a good deal of advice to singers—amateur and professional—from which we take the following extracts:— CAN YOU SING IN STAYS ? It is a curious fact that men breathe differently from women, the former using the abdominal method—that is, pushing down the diaphragm—and the latter doing most of the work with their upper ribs. One reason of this difference is that the fair sex insist on fixing their lower ribs, to which the diaphragm is attached, with stays, which make free movement of that muscle impossible. ( WHEN SHOULD SINGING LESSONS BEGIN ? I am strongly of opinion that training can hardly be begun too early. Of course the kind and amount of practice that are necessary in the adult would be monstrous in a young child; but there is no reason why, even at the age of six or seven, the right method of voice production should not be taught. Singing, like every other art, iB chiefly learned by imitation, and it seems a I pity to lose the advantage of those precious early years when that faculty is most highly developed. There is no fear of injuring the larynx or straining the voice by elementary instruction of this kind; on the contrary, it is habitual faulty vocalisation which is pernicious. The sooner the right way of using the voice is taught the more easy will it be to guard against the contraction of bad habits, which can only be corrected at a later period with infinite trouble. Many of the finest voices have been trained almost from the cradle, so to speak. I need only mention Adelina Patti, Christine Nilsson, Jenny Lind, and Mdme. Albani. WHAT IS "GOOD FOR THE VOICE"? _ There is even more superstition among singers than among speakers as to what is " good for the voice." A formidable list of things which were supposed by the ancients to be injurious is given by Pliny; it includes such a variety of animal and vegetable substances that one wonders how unfortunate vocalists could have found life worth living under such ultra-Spartan conditions. Our modern artists tend to err rather in the opposite direction, to judge from their extraordinarily comprehensive views as to what is "good " for the voice. Every species of drink, from champagne to hot water, and almost every recognised article of food, including that particularly British institution cold roast beef, has its devotees. I have no manner of doubt that every one of these things is really beneficial, not from any occult virtue thatthereis in them, but because the solids give strength, while the liquids moisten and lubricate the throat, That is the whole secret of the cordials and elixirs in which many vocalists place their trust.
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THE WAY TO LEARN SINGING, Evening Star, Issue 8028, 3 October 1889
THE WAY TO LEARN SINGING Evening Star, Issue 8028, 3 October 1889
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