Philosophers And Pedagogy

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Philosophers and Pedagogy

Philosophers and Pedagogy


In many ways, a evaluation of the pedagogical methods presented in the respective seminal works of William Vennard (Singing: the means and Technic) and Richard Miller (The Structure of Singing) are endeavours to compare two edges of the same coin, especially with consider to philosophical--and absolutely scientific--opinions. With regard to approach, however, the comparison is more a matter of "apples and oranges." Vennard's work takes a more technical approach, taking care to explain scientific obser-vations of vocal phenomena. Miller, on the other hand, deals mainly with direct application of technique. This is not to state Vennard does not exhaustively address method, or that Miller never locations the research of it, but that his approach is founded on first discussing the technical body of information (at the time of his writing) on vocal output, than from the viewpoint of direct vocal output itself, à la Miller.


Vennard begins his publication from the very starting: an academic consideration on the physics of sound. He does this to lay a basis for the physical foundation for any produc-tion study, leading up to a discussion of the voice as simply another (albeit complex) musical instrument. Miller never touches this issue of scientific and physical under-girding of acoustics outside of the direct application to a specific vocal technique, and since the purpose of this study is to compare the two, neither will we.

Miller boasts a few final remarks of warning. The most helpful expansion is not in the smaller abdominal districts, as some methods demand, but in the lateral plains. He does not prohibit swelling in the diaphragmatic region over the belly, but insists that at-tempts to push too far out or too far down are of less significance. These can lead to "crowding" the lungs, which will lead to smaller wind efficiency. "The vocalist who takes an very simple' wind, who thereby merely replaces' the breath that has been used, will have a longer wind provide than the vocalist who gatherings the lungs with breath." (28).


While Miller covers much of the preparation for the vocal "attack" in his discus-sion on breathing, it makes sense to pay special attention--as Miller himself does--to the concept of the attack. He uses Briess' idea of "dynamic equilibrium" (the aforemen-tioned balancing of all physiological and systemic elements of the vocal apparatus) to stipulate a prime form of vocal onset; indeed, it is the quintessential issue ...
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