The Mixed-Dominant Voice Teacher

I know something about Mixed-Dominance. Why? I am Mixed-Dominant myself; that is, I am left-handed and left-eyed (9 out of 10 people are right-handed and right-eyed). 

Funny thing is: I was clueless about mixed-dominance and how it affected the voice until I went to the Listening Centre in Toronto in 1999. There, my right ear was awakened, which brought about an immediate change in vocal function. That it took another ten years for me to fully comprehend what I had been given? Par for the course. I consider those ten years as giving me a post-graduate degree.

What are a few of the things I have learned?

  1. The voice teaching profession is stuffed with mixed-dominant teachers. Moths to the flame, professional gatherings have an inordinate number of those present displaying mixed-dominance. How can I tell? By observing the manner in which those speaking or singing use their mouths, hands, faces, and eyes. Yes, this takes some training, but once you know what to look for it's very apparent. 
  2. Most people use their right ear to lead the voice, the right ear processing higher frequencies faster than the left, which has a decided effect on the voice. Mixed-Dominant voice teachers and singers? The right ear is often not in charge which makes for muddled singing and teaching.
  3. Savvy Italian Song-School voice teachers used [e] and [i] to awaken the right ear even if they didn’t know that’s what they were doing.
  4. Vocal Wisdom: The Maxims of Giovanni Battista Lamperti is prescient in observing that the head is the real instrument of the singer. Find the “spot” in the center of the head and you’ve found your voice.
  5. The Mixed-Dominant voice teacher will have a skewed perception of voice placement and may even deride traditional concepts associated with it since she or he does not experience the phenomena. Why? The right ear isn't leading.
  6. Traditional concepts of voice placement—i.e. singing in the mask—are a function of a right leading ear.
  7. The right-eared singer and voice teacher who has been well-trained perceives voice placement as higher in the head.
  8. The mixed-dominant voice teacher is often keenly aware of his or her physical feelings, small changes being big events. As a result, the mixed-dominant teacher may assume, wrongly, that his or her students share this ability. They may even believe that they can feel their student's feelings, a belief which is as dangerous as it is unethical.
  9. Mixed-Dominant voice teachers and singers seek stimulation of higher frequencies which "right" the voice; but at the same time, resist the process of transformation which challenges the status quo.
  10. The awakening of the right ear can be effected by a canny use of the principles of bel canto in conjunction exercises developed by Tomatis.