Is it really necessary to point out that vocal exercises are useless unless you know how to sing them?
This past week, a young voice teacher wrapped in post-graduate degrees got in touch with me, having heard the Janet Spencer vocal exercises that appear in Hidden in Plain Sight: The Hermann Klein Phono-Vocal Method Based upon the Famous School of Manuel García. (They can be found at Soundcloud and Youtube.) The conversation went something like this:
Could you send me a copy of the recordings?
Sorry, I am not able to do so. But thank you for your interest in the book.
Yes. I know about the book. It's on my list. But I have so many other things to read first.
Let me get this straight: You want me to drop everything and send you an audio copy of the exercises, but know nothing of their context, and aren't in a hurry to find out? Don't you know that vocal exercises are useless if you don't know how to sing them, which is what the book provides?
But you misunderstand me.
Offline, I thought to myself: No, I don't think I misunderstand you all all. Like Maya Angelou noted: When someone tells you who they are—believe them.
I believe you haven't a clue, but hope you can find your way onto the learning curve that is staring you in the face.
He reminded me of another fellow who called me up having read my post on Lilli Lehmann's exercises, begging me to teach them to his daughter. They would make her famous!
If only it were that simple, I replied.
Subsequent discussion revealed that he was hell-bent on the matter and would hear of nothing else.
No. That didn't go well either.
Exercise collectors exist. They may be fine, good people. But don't expect them to know how to make use of what they hoard.
Exercises aren't magic. And more is not better.
As Margaret Harshaw would often say: "Let's get five notes right!"