While I presume that most voice teachers will not find a great deal of new material here, this book is an excellent resource for quick reference. The information is factual and clear, without a great deal of opinion. The book divides vocal faults into various categories, faults related to: Posture; Breathing and Support; Phonation; Registration; Classification; Resonation; Articulation; Speaking Voice; Coordination. Although the focus on faults may appear to be a negative approach, the book is intended for teachers, not students. Highly recommended (for teachers) - this is a book my bookcase wouldn't be without.
Laying out the right way to teach voice
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
I've read several books on Voice Pedagogy and this is clearly the best one. James McKinney, the author, is a former student of William Vennard, a great voice teacher and voice pedagogue. McKinney treats his book in a somewhat similar way that the MD might treat a patient (though, naturally, there are many differences between the M.D. and the voice teacher). I especially like McKinney's concept that the observation begins as soon as the student walks in the door. How do they stand? Talk? Act? McKinney's chapters cover all the right areas of vocal production all in the right order: posture, breathing and support, phonation, registration, voice classification, resonation, articulation, the speaking voice, and coordination. What I really like about the book is that McKinney dispenses with all the mumbo-jumbo of some voice books and gets right to the point. During each chapter, he notes the various problems associated with each chapter heading (problems relating to vowels which are too dark) and gives several concrete options for fixing the selected problem. If there are things McKinney doesn't know about (such as the exact cause of vibrato), he states the latest theories and scientific evidence, gives his personal opinion from his experience, and states that he doesn't really know. He does all this as well in a very clear fashion. There are two things I don't like about this book, and I must say that they're not extremely significant. First, McKinney uses phonetic symbols instead of IPA symbols. Also, he doesn't have a conclusion. The book stops abruptly at the end. But these aren't "dealbreakers." If I had to recommend voice pedagogy books, this would be one of the first, along with books by Clifton Ware, Oren Brown, and Richard Miller (good but more technical).
An excellent resource!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
As a singer and a teacher of singers, I found this book a great resource. It is written in common sense and easily understood terminology, which is very useful. I highly recommend this book as a superb addition to every serious singer's bookshelf.
A Primary Foundational and Clear Resource
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
McKinney is the direct descendant--vocally speaking--of the great pedagogue, William Vennard. His technical bent and his ability to communicate in easy-to-understand language has made him indispensable to an increasing number of voice teachers, choral conductors and singers. His systematic approach to the subject, as illustrated in the table of contents, makes the book a resource to keep handy (The Nature of Sound, Posture, Breathing and Support, Phonation, Registration, Voice Classification, Resonation, Articulation, The Speaking Voice, and Coordination). I use this as the foundation for teaching vocal pedagogy to college music-voice majors. If you are looking for a fundamental and thorough knowledge of singing; or, want to learn how to spot and correct vocal faults, this is the resource to have. Other highly-recommended sources often come with a lot of "jargon" and terms in Italian and German and French that one needs dictionaries to translate. Wading through such material may be productive for a music researcher, but difficult for someone who's primary language is English who is also looking for ready answers. In my estimation, James C. McKinney's work is a jewel in the growing library of vocal-pedagogy resources. I would even go so far as to say that if there were a "bible" for vocal pedagogy - this should be it. Time will continue to prove its worth.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
As a voice teacher I find myself frequently turning to McKinney's wise guidance. This is a great resource for teachers and students alike and avoids using obscure pedagogical terms that might confuse the reader. McKinney gives excellent overviews of the all aspects of the singing voice such as posture, breathing, phonation, registration, voice classification, resonation, articulation, the speaking voice, and coordination. He also includes useful diagrams of the voice mechanism to provide a an even more concrete idea of exactly how the voice works. It is an indispensible tool I would be lost without.
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