Basics Pressure under the glottis

The same pressure can be associated to strain or perfect phonation. There are many ways to produce the same pressure: creating it before the attack, on the attack, with a certain speed, at a precise speed and with or without suspension, with some muscles and timing and reciprocal order of movement, putting a tension in some part and then just creating a slight tension in another part to create conditions for the attack etc. Understanding this is fundamental to have a correct attack and many different ways of attacks accorded to musical and interpretative requirements.

Letter to my students

In italian below.
My dear italian students I told you I will move from Italy and some of yours are in a profound worry and difficulty. When I first started studying singing I went to Giannella Borrelli, I often entered after Sumi Jo or Chiara Taigi, before and after the lessons I heard her talking to agents or to students winning competitions and roles and inviting her to the theatres where they had roles. She was excellent: a thinking, a vocal wisdom and knowledge, the precious sense of colours and overtones, the so many nuances of the belcanto italian technique which regularly come back being the core of every technique that knows about voice. She classified me as light soprano e in our lesson of 8:45am of 45 minutes (she refused to make longer, and now that I also teach I perfectly understand the reason) I had to make a lots of vocalisation till the high Bb5. My classification was wrong, I am a contralto and I yet know it, entering the Conservatorio I left her lessons. I made something I am asking you to do, something I always ask after a certain time together: I acted as the singer I then became, I made what I have always choosed and used as a methodology that rendered possible the points of my careers and now as a teacher. I have always thought she was an exceptional mentor, an exceptional vocal teacher, and the most I progress in the comprehension and teaching of the voice the more I get convinced of that. She was not less excellent for her mistake, it happened I was into her technical blind angle, and it was me who had to actively learn even from that shadow point. She was not less able or refined because of the blind angle (we all have, bigger or smaller), that shadow exists and can happen to be stuck in. I have tried to learn from there, also not going to her anymore, and make what was seeded being nourished for a long time. Not going anymore was the way not to submit my career to her mistake. This is something that I eventually ask you after a time, not to be lazy in something you care about, not to be narrow but generous and right, not to expect others to come to you with their knowledge, but to also recognise and cheer knowledge even when it doesn’t recognise you or when it is wrong about you. I ask you to be artists and generous and the musicians I expect you’ll be, even in the awkward of shadow (and as you know well I create a shadow and put you in there sometimes in purpose to see if have this reaction). I am that generous and wise with you, now I am asking you to act that on me and my moving abroad. I am moving where a school with a yet grown ground will use me, where a research is normal and not subjugated by a system as the italian one. I ask you not to feel abandoned, you know there is Skype for all who want to go on and a sofa in every place I will go. I am asking you to change perspective, to be deeply blessed by my moving, to be enthusiast that I can go build a future that in here exists only in your progressing. Do not feel betrayed or not considered, feel and realise it is the opposite; realise that I will betray you if I remained, getting wasted in my talent and skills for a country historical and social reasons exactly as I would have betrayed and wasted my career if I remained studying with Giannella Borrelli lamenting then of the impossibility of making of me a singer. I usually create conditions to make you do that step, and I am even tough in avoiding you to escape and usually happens solving some deep vocal problem or on stage. I am asking you this time to do thatstep by clear and choose choice. Be the singers and the artists I teach you to be.

Quando cominciai a prendere lezioni di canto andai da Giannella Borelli, quando cambiai orario entravo dopo Chiara Taigi o Sumi Jo e la sentivo parlare di allievi che vincevano concorsi e che la invitavano nei vari teatri dove avevano ruoli. Era bravissima: un pensiero, una sapienza, il senso delle sfumature della tecnica belcantistica italiana che regolarmente ridiventa la base di ogni vocalità che sa quel che fa. Mi catalogò come soprano leggero e la nostra lezione delle 08:30 am di 45 min (per sua imposizione e ora che insegno so perché, mentre io la avrei voluta di 60) consisteva in vocalizzi fino al Sib sovracuto. Aveva sbagliato catalogazione, sono un contralto e già lo sapevo,  entrando in Conservatorio la abbandonai perché sapevo non essere un soprano leggero. Feci con lei una cosa che faccio con voi e che dopo un po’ che ci conosciamo chiedo sempre anche a voi: feci quella che poi sarei diventata come cantante, feci quello che avrei sempre fatto e che metodologicamente ha reso possibile i risultati che ho avuto da cantante e ora da insegnante. Ho sempre pensato fosse una eccezionale didatta vocale, man mano che miglioro insegnando lo penso sempre più. Non era meno brava per il suo errore, ero io a dover far qualcosa per imparare nonostante fossi nel cono d’ombra del suo sguardo tecnico. Ho cercato di farlo e di imparare da quello che aveva seminato anche senza che lo sapessi, pur non andandoci più, e quindi evitando di avere una modifica significativa del mio percorso. Questa è una cosa che dopo un po’ che siamo insieme comunque vi chiedo, ovvero di non essere pigri su una cosa che vi interessa, di diventare voi attivi e capaci, di essere oggettivi e generosi anche quando siete o vi troverete nel cono d’ombra (e come sapete delle volte vi ci metto apposta nel cono d’ombra per controllare che reagiate come si deve). Io lo sono con voi, e questo vi chiedo ora che vi sto dicendo che andrò via dall’Italia. Spero che una scuola con un terreno già formato mi voglia o che un centro di ricerca sia interessato alle mie ricerche e se non la troverò la creerò in luogo meno inadatto di questo come ho già fatto. Come sapete conoscendomi non vi abbandono, solo vi metto nelle condizioni di dimostrarmi che avete imparato e siete in grado di attivare ciò che di meglio vi posso insegnare: ovvero a essere  e mettere voi quella cura e allegria e profondità e disordine utile e a far quel passo che comunque la musica e il palco richiedono e che ci fa ritrovare come colleghi con tutti quelli che finora questo passo lo hanno fatto. In genere vi spingo e vi metto anche incastrati a non poterlo svicolare e avviene con il palco o risolvendo i difetti a lezione, qui vi chiedo di farlo per vostra scelta precisa. Vi chiedo di non sentirvi abbandonati, perché mi conoscete abbastanza da sapere che skype esiste e ci si fa lezione molto bene se si vuole, e anche un divano per chi vuole passare a trovarmi ma di spostare la prospettiva e essere anzi entusiasti che io vada dove si può costruire per me quel futuro che qui è tutto solo nel vostro progredire. Non sentitevi traditi o non considerati dal mio partire, è il contrario. Fate il cambio di prospettiva e pensate che vi tradirei se rimanessi, smentirei quello che insegno se rimanessi dove per motivi strutturali e storici vado sprecata, come avreste il diritto di sentirmi vacua se invece che andar via dalla Borelli fossi rimasta lamentandomi poi della mia mancata carriera per sua responsabilità. Siate i cantanti che so che siete e che vi insegno a essere.

Tips Vocal logic

For a singer or a performer it is often more effective looking for vocal solutions thinking in a way that has a vocal logic instead of a truer one. We have a point of acting to obtain the voice so deformed by instrument way of being built and related and cohordinated and the fact that we are inside that we have to accept and make allied this deformation. The vocal correct gesture acts in all its possibilities only from a vocal way of perceiving and thinking; if we know that well we don’t need to make confusion bewteen what and how we think to sing and how we really act to sing.

Basics Fiato

It is called fiato (breath) a certain precise movement of connection bewteen a pressure under the glottis and the voice, being that not a flow of air despite the name. It is a force, a pressure in the muscles, a lightness in the throat, a point of concentration, a posture given by a precise muscular movement.

Basics Where to feel appoggio and sustain

There is only a way of being appoggiati and sostenuti, and it depends on a certain precise connection between diaphragm and larynx. You can hear it in a certain kind of overtones for the sustain and a related way for the appoggio, being that relation perfect when you can correctly execute a messa di voce (from pianissimo to forte or fortissimo and back to pianissimo). The way you perceive them and where you feel in the body depends on style, vocal range, individual body and body specifities, technical level (the higher level pass from a point of similarities of perceptions). All the places everybody can feel must work during the correct vocal gesture, so often in the training we have to work what you will never feel while singing, because it is the balance of all the places of diaphragm insertions with some wanted overacting that make the correct appoggio and sustain for style and voice.
On this subject one of the more common mistakes is to overwork the insertion you want to be heard in the sound, without noticing that it is the lack of some others that make its work not satisfing, the second being the fear for the overdoing of some specifics and the choice to make every voice simply and prudently just balanced without any specifics (losing in that way what of personal and truly specific a voice can produce in a deeper level).