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Singing Lesson - Voice Training Techniques

The Estill Voice Training System

The Estill Voice Training system was developed by Jo Estill in 1988 with the foundation of the "Compulsory Figures for Voice" training system. Estill invented a system in which the singer is trained to associate certain "figures" or exercises with movement of different vocal muscles. This is contrasted with Speech Level Singing and Bel Canto which both use lip trills, scales and other exercises to teach singers to blend their voice into a head voice. Unlike both those systems, Estill's system, in addition to those methods also adds teaching for learning audibly loud, raised larynx singing on higher notes -- a method commonly referred to as belting. The method hinges on 13 exercises, all of which are designed to teach the user to voluntarily control 13 different muscle combinations of the voice related muscles. The methods publicises that it teaches the student what muscles they are learning to control. Estill believes this allows their vocal students to sing different types of music authentically, but with more understanding of the science behind it, rather than learning by imitation and scales, as in Bel Canto and in Speech Level Singing.

The Voice Training method is divided into two levels, level one and level two. In level one, "Compulsory Figures for Voice," the 13 exercises are learned. In level two, "Figure Combinations for 6 Voice Qualities," these vocal exercises are applied in practice, teaching the student to learn methods for the following 6 types of voice sounds:

Speech;
Falsetto;
Sob;
Twang (another name for the singers formant);
Opera;
and Belting.
Unlike many singing methods, Estill uses workshops and teaching sessions, eschewing books and cd boxset guides, although a set of cards with a reminder of the 12 basic exercises are available, they are not recommended unless you have taken a course.

 



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