July 10, 2017

Vincenzo Cirillo

Vincenzo Cirillo, the bass of the Church of the Unity, in Boston, is a teacher who represents the old, sincere, laborious Italian school. He came to Boston in 1873, under an engagement to teach singing at the National College of Music, and after the collapse of that institution, continued in the city, engaged in instructing his numerous pupils till the year 1880-81, which he spent abroad in the inspection of the best schools of singing in the Old World, and in the study of the latest phases of teaching as practiced in Italy. Signor Cirillo is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Naples, and a member of the St. Cecelia Academy of Rome, as well as the holder of eight diplomas from various societies in Italy. His first teacher was Alessandro Busti. During his master's sickness, Cirillo taught his special pupils, and after his death, continued at the Conservatory for five years, till the increase of his private pupils compelled him to resign his position. He also studied under Alfonso Guercia and Domenico Scafati, who shares with Lamperti and Vannuccini the honor of heading the list of modern Italian teachers. In 1879, Cirillo was appointed director of the choir of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Boston, where he produced several of his own compositions, the chief being a brilliant and original "Stabat Mater" for six solo voices. He has published a lecture on the Neapolitan School, a method of vocalization in three divisions, and a large number of secular compositions. He is now at work on an opera founded on a Grecian story. 

Music and Drama,  November 11, 1882: 13. 


You can find Cirillo's excellent lecture on the download page in the right hand column. His teaching on the "compound vowel" has been addressed on these pages multiple times, which you can access using his label below.  

July 8, 2017

10 Things I Keep in Mind in the Studio


  1. No one owes me a damn thing. 
  2. Be kind.
  3. Focus on the teaching. 
  4. Make it simple: Keep it simple.
  5. One thing at a time: Then connect the dots. 
  6. Problems are solved by basics. 
  7. Take nothing for granted.
  8. Sound can open Pandora's Box.
  9. Listen with your eyes and look with your ears. 
  10.  Singing is grounded in joy. 

July 7, 2017

10 Things to Keep in Mind During Your Fabulous Singing Career


  1. No one cares about your vocal technique. What matters to the listener is the product. What you do in the practice room is your concern. 
  2. No one is handing out awards for practice. Get used to enjoying it. You'll be spending a lot of time alone in a room learning music. 
  3. Success comes and goes. Learn to ride the wave. 
  4. Be humble. There are things that only you can do, and plenty of things that others do better. The art is to know the difference and your limits. 
  5. Talent doesn't always win. Life is not fair. Yet really beautiful voices have a way of finding their place in the sun. 
  6. Histrionics are no substitute for real technique, which should enable you to move your listener. Being able to do this standing still, using your voice and not moving a muscle, is the real art. 
  7. Learn to say no and mean it. 
  8. You will have trouble with managers. Real success means knowing how to manage yourself. 
  9. You can only really sing when you have to sing. The Muse isn't interested in hobbyists. 
  10. If you are going to teach, keep in mind that no one is going to listen to you until you reach 40. Make sure you actually know something. 

July 4, 2017

10 Books for the Vocal Pedagogy Geek

Here are 10 books you may find to be worth your time while you while away your summer weeks at the shore or by the lake.

  1. So You Want to Sing Sacred Music: A Guide for Performers, Edited by Matthew Hoch, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). 
  2. Loralee Songer, Songs of the Second Viennese School: A Performers Guide to Selected Vocal Works, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).
  3. Valerie Mindel, So You Want to Sing Folk Music, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). 
  4. Matthew Hoch, Linda Lister, Voice Secrets: 100 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Singer, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). 
  5. Anna Hershey, Scandinavian Song: A Guide to Swedish, Norwegian and Danish Repertoire and Diction, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). 
  6. Joan Melton, Singing in Musical Theatre: The Training of Singers and Actors, (Allworth Press, 2007). 
  7. Joan Melton, Kenneth Tom, One Voice: Integrating Singing Technique and Theatre Voice Training, (Waveland Press, 2013). 
  8. Joan Melton, Dancing with Voice: A Collaborative Journey across Disciplines, (Voice Theatre Solutions, 2015). 
  9. Matthew Hoch, A Dictionary for the Modern Singer, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). 
  10. Joan Frey Boytim, The Private Voice Studio Handbook: A Practical Guide to All Aspects of Teaching, (Hal Leonard, 20013). 
My favorite cover from the selection above? Melton's Singing in Musical Theatre: The Training of Singers and Actors (Allworth Press, 2007). Very elegant, just like Joan herself.