Singing can never be taught or satisfactory explained by articles or books, for no matter how lucid they may be, no one can follow directions with any degree of advantage without the aid of the ear, under the guidance of a teacher, for set rules and directions in nine cases out of ten would not suit the case. A method to success must be adapted to each pupil and his own individual requirements.
Singing should never be taught as a difficult thing to do. A pupil must learn that every tone must have its place, that the resonance of each tone can be augmented or diminished at will, that its quality can be changed to many qualities, that the location of a tone must be mental before physical, with a knowledge of it position before emitted, that doubt as to striking it, reaching it, or how it will sound is simply out of the question and a matter of ignorance.
The first thing I tell my pupils is that they must separate the singer from the student, for no pupil can afford to serve two masters, and that the one who thinks and reflects upon the lesson will reach a point the plodder never sees, even at a distance.
One can be a most intelligent person upon every other point and yet be a downright idiot in his knowledge of the requirements necessary to the successful vocal artist—even the subtilty of the work, dealing as we do with the unseen, is something that must be felt to be understood.
What is tone placement? Why do some teachers teach as correct what others look upon as a fault? Of what use is a method, to reach a point or to stamp a pupil with teacherisms? What is the standard of a perfectly trained voice?
Before placing a voice all bad habits, natural or acquired, which impede the freedom to tone and make it impure must be removed and all the faults located; then each tone, according to its position in the vocal range, must be carefully studied by the teacher to determine the cause of its weakness, power, quality &c. Experience with voices should bring a teacher to a quick solution of the difficulty.
I have studied with other world renowned masters, such as Delle Sedie and Viardot-Garcia, but the bone and muscle of my work I owe to the one and only Lamperti.
Madam Florenza D'Arona was as student of Francesco Lamperti, and received a diploma from him which allowed her to teach his method. A contralto with a huge instrument, D'Arona experienced a good deal of success in concert and opera before marrying, which seems to have ended her career—a not uncommon occurrence for women during the late 19th century. Click on her label below to find additional posts. The quotes above have been sourced from the Musical Courier, which was published in New York City every Monday and Wednesday from 1880 until the 1960's.