I am someone who can solve the reason why some people can’t be effective in a vocal technique or style, or when a professional can’t have the full or correct use of its instrument even with good teachers or coachs. I was a soloist and being trained in Italian Belcanto technique. A chronic disease that affects my inflammation level in the body related to a medical malpractice made my career last just three years during which I achieved goals I even had not dreamt about (further details https://luciacossu.com/about/).
I started then teaching, vocal technique. Being frustrated by seeing some structural issues that made some singers think about them and never relax into a deeper dialog with music I tried to found ways to solve them forever with the same approach to sound I had when I was a soloist. So I invented some physical exercises and discovered in what they were useful to a wider range of persons, even if invented on someone specific. This became a corpus of exercises, some totally invented by me, some are yoga or dance exercises modified to be useful for voice muscular chains. I have so found some principles to work on the reason why some can’t have a proper vocal technique even with good teachers. I found the relation voice-muscular chains in a way not imagined by professionals and now also the way some Manuel Garcia vocalises were intended and why even my excellent belcanto teachers couldn’t use them correctly. . It is a very specific work, nothing to do with others body practises for singers, useful but less precise for a vocal purpose. To be sure that the results with my students were really appropriate I put some people with and without vocal problems under medical control before and after our work together and it was confirmed the solution of their vocal problems in very short time, while a medical prevision of no improvement possible (https://luciacossu.com/2016/09/13/sister-i-another-example-of-my-method/, M. 7 years old/ M. 7 anni, One of the participants to my study last year) and those with no issues had confirmed an improvement in voice and posture.
When I say it is new I don’t mean that my work comes from nothing and goes to a new land, no. I mean that it is a step forward in what is the italian belcanto technique. I mean that it brings to the vocal land many that couldn’t previously reach it. And those who are yet there have a way to refine and obtain more.
That it is: a way to bring to voice and voice styles and technique or even just natural voice those who couldn’t before.
It is a sort of way to put everybody to the zero point.
She is 16, she studies with me since she was 10. Great personality, more jazzy than what she thinks now of herself. Here some covers and one of her compositions. Enjoy.
Arriva un possibile nuovo allievo. Può essere un professionista o un principiante. Prima cosa trovare il modo di metterlo a proprio agio per ottenere di ascoltarlo cantare come fa abitualmente. Seconda cosa è trattenersi dal pensare e capire e analizzare tutto subito, delle volte può essere corretta e completa la prima analisi ma in genere son le proprie cornici e categorie mentali, di gusto e tecniche a posizionarlo velocemente all’interno di esse tagliando, tralasciando e subendo anche l’ovvia reazione affascinata o infastidita di cose proposte e ottenute e fatte con un diverso settaggio e utilizzo nel sistema complesso canto. Terzo: se delle cose funzionano anche se non si capisce come e perché avere molta cura che l’insegnamento delle altre non le vanifichi. Quarto: chiedersi come essere un utile strumento per il cantante che abbiamo di fronte e non farlo rientrare in un’ideologia accademica, per quanto buona annullerebbe le differenze e uniformerebbe appiattendo verso il basso la vera tecnica che è sempre leggermente diversa su persone e anime diverse. Quinto: chiedersi regolarmente se si sta sbagliando tutto e far mente locale a dei test che facciano capire se si ha ancora un’idea fresca e vispamente utile invece che solo una strada che va in un punto deciso tempo prima e che va ricorretta o almeno ricontrollata come se fosse nuova man mano che ci si sposta dal punto del controllo precedente. Il canto si giudica dal canto e non da idee di come si fa, altrimenti Gould e Richter e Backhaus avrebbero dovuto avere la stessa proporzionale altezza del panchetto e Hari Hoenig non dovrebbe esistere. Sesto: ricordarsi che la tecnica vocale serve per ottenere musica e risultati musicali efficaci senza danneggiarsi e questo è possibile farlo con infinite varianti di cose simili e che il nostro è uno strumento complessissimo e nessuno di noi lo capisce tutto e fino in fondo.
Cantare è regolare un sistema complesso, e per sua natura funziona davvero quando si insegnano percorsi direttamente complessi per attivarlo e controllarlo. Questo desta la sensazione di casualità o magia che i non professionisti o i non davvero tecnici ritrovano nell’avere o meno voce.
Non è illogico o casuale, solo delicatamente complesso.Ciò non significa che non si curino aspetti singoli e parziali, con un lavoro mirato e precisissimo, ma ben distante e differente e non confondibile con il gesto complesso che si deve indurre a trovare.
E l’espressione indurre a trovare non è casuale o imprecisa, se si vuole un risultato davvero efficace non si devon dare appigli a gesti meno complessi, seppur paganti in un raggio di orizzonte breve.
La cosa rincuorante e che facilita molto il ritrovare il gesto complesso è che una volta indotto viene ricordato con una precisione e semplicità anche disarmante e il senso di piacere e benessere complessivo è tale da facilitare la sua riproposizione. Il cercare invece di prevedere e regolare in maniera solo volontaria e volontariamente direttamente indotta renderà impossibile il perfetto gesto complesso, facendo prevalere in maniera troppo squilibrata l’elemento che si crede indispensabile. Come per il vero inspiro, che ben ha definito e delimitato Ilse Middendorf, solo si può creare le condizioni per farlo avvenire (anche a piacimento e regolato precisamente per quando serve) mentre la parte volontaria dell’inspiro ne è complemento ma non parte fondante. In questo senso di ricerca volontaria e controllo tramite vie tanto indirette da sembrar al principiante casuali o frutto di abbandono dell’obiettivo è una parte fondante del gesto vocale efficace e musicalmente rilevante.
An old precious perspective on voice with new exercises to work through it in a contemporary way; the old instrumental italian belcanto technique and a corpus of new exercises to obtain that instrument the voice is. A perspective useful for professionals, beginners and in rehabilitative field.
I use the term luthier to define the exact work I pursue on voices, I build instruments working on precise muscles and muscular chains and way and time of reactivity and coordinatory patterns. The new perspective in the voice instrument is due to the real possibility of working on the voice we have, to change it into a better instrument exactly in the same way we can work on wood to have a good violin from it. When someone wants to learn to play violin or piano or guitar he uses an instrument made by a craftsman and the instrument is yet a proper violin or guitar and after the use it is normally put in a protective case or stay in a proper home that will not damage it too much. That is not the case with the voice.
Our body is made and modified by our entire life: habits, physical activity, coordination, what we eat and drink, our hormonal balance and changes, physical accidents, surgeries. Our voice is our body, not only an abstract breath flowing and vocal chords. Our voice is made by our vocal chords as a piano is made by its chords, it is just a part of it and the most fragile one; without many other parts working properly and shaped properly they can’t make well their part, and in my experience that’s from where many tone-deaf voices come. I dream a day where tone-deaf will be no more an ear judgment but in most cases a body shape form to modify and so to render perfect pitch possible in the correct range of that voice. I found that it is possible to work on those deficiencies directly. When we were born we were not born as a voice-body but as a body. Singing, even if can seem so natural in some, is not that natural and requires unnatural coordination and specific settlements of some parts and we have to deal with that. The vocal technique developed on the centuries in a complete and reliable technique is the well known Belcanto technique and structured on tradition and Garcia Method, Matilde Marchesi and all the corpus of voice exercises as Concone, Panofka, Rossini are in that path. Maria Malibran, Lilli Lehman, Mirella Freni, Beniamino Gigli, Giulietta Simionato are representative of that kind of tradition. It was developed on classical music necessities, and it is useful in its whole for the classical sound and not for the very different and also evolving characteristics of the others kind of music. It contains however in itself the principles of the voice, and those don’t change even when the sound changes. I studied with Giannella Borelli (I often had lessons after Sumi Jo or Chiara Taigi) and Anna di Stasio, two representatives of Italian belcanto School, and I was very lucky in that. My singing, my technique and now my work is in the sequel of those principles and school, and the good and physiological results I obtain are certainly due to that. In this method the work on the body as well as the learning of playing the instrument voice are made at the same time and vocalisation is in the purpose of both the results. To have a development of the same good results in a different kind of sound I have found and defined a corpus of different exercises, with and without sounds that have been useful even in cases of damaged vocal chords and helpful to gain a more healthful state. What is new in my method is just the approach to voice and vocal problems, the adjustment of those instruments to one single person: not everybody requires the same settlement, the possible sounds are so many and the path is to discover together which is the proper sound of the body and the soul of that person. A technique to me is not a only and absolute method leading to the same results everyone but the instrument to make music without damaging ourselves, it is a craft and a freedom, for professionals or amateurs. The voice is the deepest expression of someone and can’t fit the same way to everybody, it is not an abstraction and we don’t have to be submitted having a bad sound just because we have a bad coordination in breathing and we don’t know how to overcome that. It is a work useful for beginners in all styles, for professionals who would explore different possibilities in their instrument and sometimes, in accordance and under phoniatric control, in rehabilitative field.
If you find in a guitar dismantled, some piece unglued, some screw too tightly fastened, the strings not properly fixed do you expect it to sound well? do you think to play it? Are you surprised if it doesn’t sound properly? And if you have never played a violin do you find correct to judge your ear and musical capacity by playing it? Voices are like those two examples. Even when you don’t see anybody walking with his head in his hand or a leg round his neck, this doesn’t mean that his body is properly assembled to sing, or according to the second example he does naturally good and proper things to play his instrument. Some very lucky are yet properly settled and do some very right things just naturally, others not, sometimes due to simple injuries or bad habits.The worse is the judgement deaf-tone voices; I have experimented people who have submitted to, and the consequent shyness that render them more shy and uneasy in the regard of such a joyous instrument as voice is, and the consequent lack of the necessary energy and body attitude added to the problems that renders those voices out of pitch. Sometimes they also think having a bad ear and a bad musical brain. It is always possible but in my experience it had no relationship with a tone deaf voice. Tone deaf voices I have worked with, were mostly a bad shaping body, as the first example and when we properly set up they were no more tone-deaf voices, but only voices who had to learn how to sing. Some, very few in the second. To start with the ones of the first example I usually put them in a possible shape for singing (I explain that hereinafter) and I don’t ask them to match a pitch, but just to imitate me. If I put them in the condition of vibrating and I produce a good sound for them by passive attitude they will start vibrate according to one of the overtones in my sound, if possible to their body the easiest one, the correct pitch I wanted, if yet impossible something normally not that far in very little time. To make it possible there are many simple and less simple exercises to give the minimal elasticity and shape of a possible correct sound. I have to play them for the first period as the second range strings of a viola d’amore. The Viola d’amore was an ancient viola with a double range of strings, one under the other. The player played the upper range and the other vibrated according to the superior “per simpatia” was said, by sympathy. What is nice in that passive way is that the lack of tension to match a pitch will live the body smooth enough to simply let itself being changed and shaped by the teacher and vibrate. In that way they have the experience in the body of a sound less incorrect, a feeling to remember, a feeling to relate to look for sounds and pitches, a feeling and an experience that will feed body and brain and give a quiet and easy sense of comfort while producing sounds. The body and the brain will remember those feelings and will reproduce the same patterns while you will play less and less for what is acquired and as before to obtain more difficult and complex things. The teacher has the necessity to understand well the inside shaping of the student. What renders so difficult to understand what and how is badly set up is the fact that we don’t see the elements of our instrument, they are for the most part inside and very rarely we can feel it before having made a work on them, so how can a teacher know what to do? And how to do if the person doesn’t even feel the existence of he has to move and change? A good teacher and a good singer should be able to feel in himself what is happening in the student, but I think that on that subject the teaching world should think about developing proper methodic to deal with, and that’s why I talk about voice luthiery, a field to explore and develop. I can usually feel how they are shaping themselves, because I let my body being guided by their shape and opening the same communicative channel of musicians I can make them take the shape I am assuming. This shape I assume and want them to imitate must be not that far from the shape they have and at the same time they must have the elasticity to assume it. I mean that I have to assume me their shape and then to ameliorate it in a suitable way. To give them the elasticity I make them do some simple and less simple physical exercises. To maintain that elasticity and not make an intellectual control that will use movement pattern yet existing and not useful I ask them to lay together as children: I do they do, I do they imitate without thinking or analyzing my voice or sound or movement. When we think I experienced that some part of the body will get stiff and than it will be impossible to sing correctly without being yet nearly a singer. We can think before and after, not during.The exercises I give to the student will give the correct shape and strength or the necessary soft to all the body’s parties, and work on the coordination of the single parts. Singing is a complexe activity and we just have to render the brain and body in the possibility to execute that complexe coordination.