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Is beautiful singing a gift or can it be developed?

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The more exposed I am to other vocalists, coaches and teachers, the less I feel beautiful singing can be taught. That's not to say good singing techniques shouldn't be employed. All musicians should learn proper breathing, phrasing and expression. I stress these elements even in my piano studio and correlate them to singing & speaking. But more and more I believe the voice that's pleasing to hear, full of resonance and tonal interest, is simply a gift. It's the product of a configuration of anatomy...the instrument God has given you. The same piece well-learned sounds better on an in-tune Steinway concert grand than on an old Wurlitzer spinet. The player is the same but the instrument is superior. I just watched a clip of Pavarotti demonstrating how to hit those high notes without straining--but he couldn't explain it! I wonder these days how much vocal pedagogy is perpetuated out of fear that beautiful singing might be exposed as genetically-based.


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