The Voice Lesson
The Lesson: Question and Answers About Voice Production

Question: How did you develop your technique and your way of singing?

Answer: I had six months to prepare for a performance with the San Francisco Opera. I was not happy with my singing and decided to go back to the basics and study by myself.

You have to use your mind because you must develop a feeling for the voice, intellectually as well as physically. I lived in an empty room and stood about eight inches from the bare wall and meditated for at least five or six hours a day on the process of how one sings. The less singing you do while studying, the better it becomes. You have to discover yourself and your own identity.

The voice will not do anything by itself. It has to be commanded. As a teacher, I never talk about sound, because for me the sound is the least important of all. You have muscles that might be obstructing you and you have to eliminate any problems these muscles might be causing by knowing where they are.

We should be master of our body. Therefore, I developed my own way of teaching, which I call the Nine Laws.

Today, I'll explain the first two.

1. The Way to Stand on Your Feet.
If you don't stand in the right position you create tension. Never stand on two feet. Either you create complete tension, or you transfer the tension to one place. As you shift weight from one foot to the other, your shoulders settle and relax.

2. Support If you place your hand on your abdomen and you press the lower abdomen in, the stomach area comes out. You have two sets of muscles there. The lowest muscles of your abdomen give the support.

It's a small, supple action. It's like the shock absorbers of a car that absorb the bounding. You don't take a breath by using the chest. There's only one way of breathing. Whenever you breathe, you go down there to the lower abdomen. Instead of pushing against the muscle you use as a protective floor.

Maestro Quilico's Nine Laws of Singing is available in plain text via e-mail. For your own copy, send a request to: lesson@louisquilico.com.

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