Joyce Lucia,
Voice for Musicians
(Mel Bay, 2005)

In her introduction, Joyce Lucia, a professor at Berklee College of Music, says her book was conceived as guidance for people who are already musicians. This means that beginning students, coming to this book, are likely to need some help getting through it; the book assumes a previous knowledege of musical concepts.

For example, the book states without explanation that "Both men and women should begin vocalizing on a descending D triad (AGFED); men beginning on A3, women on A4." This exercise will teach singers to find their range.

She gives three pages of definitions of vocal terms and then assigns exercises. The student, for instance, listens to two singers perform the same song, paying close attention to the vocal qualities: use of vibrato or straight tones, and the registers the singers use. This, the author states, is a good way to grow in aural discernment.

Lucia emphasizes the importance of vowels over consenants in singing; use the wrong vowel sound and the audience is likely to be confused. She unequivocably states that there are 11 vowels in the English language, by which I assume she means we can identify 11 distinct vowel sounds. This statement is followed four pages of examples of different vowel sounds and a page of dipthong sounds. The exercise recommended is to sing all of the words listed, substituting ever other possible vowel sound.

To use this book, you're also going to have to know how to read music. The scale patterns are given in musical notation.

In all, Voice for Musicians provides some good information, but for maximum usefulness, most beginning singing students are going to have to use it in conjunction with a teacher or vocal coach.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

3 May 2008

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