Felipe Carvalho

Organizing Information on Singing Technique - Unto Caesar what is Caesar's

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12 minutes ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

t can be taken in a number of *metaphorical* ways and the literal one too! People come up with the weirdest theories to explain it.

I remember a guy that thought that chest resonance meant that the chest bones affected the sound for example.

People believe the silliest stuff if they invest enough of themselves on it.

    Sing the sound forward and feel the vibration in the mask is just as silly sounding as the bones of the chest effecting sound. I guess that should be disregarded also? But if you do not at least try these silly sounding ideas you could miss out on an important part of vocal production.

    Some of the most respected singers and teachers describe support as the action you use when using the bathroom. Silly isn't it?

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Certainly. And some might have strong beliefs about it. But it's their skill you want to tap in, not their religion.

I use the ideas of forward placement and focus myself. Its part of the reason I made this thread, because these concepts will not survive much longer if they are not taken for what they are and they are useful to pass on concepts that can not be made explicit, to communicate notions you can only acquire experientially.

But these are just practical ideas that lose meaning without the experience and skill that originated them to support it because they will depend heavily on context to have a chance of working.

And it's this dependence on skill that will no doubt trigger a bunch people (already does) since they will be excluded.

Which is very fun :) , but oh well who cares?

Predicting a possible argument, no it does not mean that skill by itself is enough to justify anything you say, it means that being able to do something is the least necessary to talk about practical aspects of such something.

Trivial, but for some weird reason on singing it's necessary to say it out loud.

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23 minutes ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

Certainly. And some might have strong beliefs about it. But it's their skill you want to tap in, not their religion.

     Yes. And for myself(I know I can only speak for myself) key elements were missing. Maybe from assuming,on their part, that some things are natural, and on my part assuming that the instruction was complete, the action sets up the conditions for the resulting sound.

     It is not hard for you and kickingtone to figure out that I have not had formal training or even have been in front of a teacher. Both of you probably wonder why I even think I have any qualifications to talk about any of this. I do not. I know I do not.  But, I am here and I am willing to look like a fool. I also know what I sounded like when I started and how I sound now, and what made improvements for me. I do not think that everyone is going to have the same problems or solutions. And I do not think that if I was to sing something for any of you that you would be impressed. Hardly. Maybe that is part of my own problem, there have been several here who think they sound great and are highly upset if you mention flat notes or give suggestions for improvement in tone. Maybe I should be like that and convince myself that I sound great.(that was sarcasm).

    Because I have NOT had formal training I am not sucked into the "religion of" category. I do not have to go into the debate of "My method is better because my teacher said". And I do not think I have to be right because of anything my teacher said. If some new silly thing comes along and I try it and it works, cool. 

    But when a method Does not work even though you did everything as suggested, then something is wrong or missing.

    The GOOD thing about having several different schools of singing SLS, TVS, CVT, Estil, Classical, Bel Canto. Appoggio.....is that what is missing in one may be the focus of another. And there is still some other off the wall things that have helped me, that make just as much sense as breathing into your back and leaning the breath on the middle of your chest or sending the tone through the middle of your eyes.

     Things that worked like they said it would even if they gave credit to the wrong muscle group or giving credit to air pressure when cord closure was the issue.

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Another example of why I feel its necessary to say this clearly no matter who gets bothered by it.

Someome made a thread on a video from Michael Trimble on reddit, a video on appoggio. A guy ,who on another thread said that he was studying singing for like 2 months, says this about the video:

"Don’t listen to this clown. Anyone who knows anything about breathing knows that pulling in the abdomen or compressing the ribs or thorax in general are actions that align with exhaling, not inhaling... pulling in the abs to inhale forces clavicular breathing and prevents costal diaphragmatic breathing. This guy is a fake teacher making shit up. You can’t “lean the breath” against the chest. It’s just made up nonsense"

And sure enough a lot of people would (and did) believe this dude writing such certain and definitive words on breathing tech.

It's sad, first because you can count that a couple of years from now this guy will either regret the wasted time or sill be locked to his religion that originated such opiniated contribution. Second because probably will take a few along the ride.

And third because a bunch of other people gets suspicious about technique due to the conflict of *apparently* equaly valid opinions.

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1 hour ago, MDEW said:

And there is still some other off the wall things that have helped me, that make just as much sense as breathing into your back and leaning the breath on the middle of your chest or sending the tone through the middle of your eyes.

       I suppose you realize that I used that example because it does not make sense on the surface but does after you use it?  The belly breathing that most people advocate can be done without the ribs expanding. When you pull your lower abdomen in while breathing in, the lower ribs and back have to expand and it is easier to keep the ribs from collapsing in this position. 

      One of the things I do not like about Michael is that he over does it when demonstrating what he considers "wrong" technique.

     I am not sure what I was doing wrong but I had better luck with the tongue root thing than  setting my coordination by breathing the larynx down. I think it had something to do with not enough cord closure. With the tongue root I was louder whether I wanted to be or not and had a richer sound. Still there may have been something else happening while I was believing that I was using the tongue root.

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9 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

Another example of why I feel its necessary to say this clearly no matter who gets bothered by it.

Someome made a thread on a video from Michael Trimble on reddit, a video on appoggio. A guy ,who on another thread said that he was studying singing for like 2 months, says this about the video:

"Don’t listen to this clown. Anyone who knows anything about breathing knows that pulling in the abdomen or compressing the ribs or thorax in general are actions that align with exhaling, not inhaling... pulling in the abs to inhale forces clavicular breathing and prevents costal diaphragmatic breathing. This guy is a fake teacher making shit up. You can’t “lean the breath” against the chest. It’s just made up nonsense"

The guy sounds angry. He probably tried appoggio, but it didn't work for him. Then he latched on to a simple "explanation" to account for his "failure". Successfully discouraging other people helps makes him feel vindicated and like less of a "failure" in his mind. This is commonplace. Some people manage to hold themselves back by normalizing their shortcomings.

This is the internet. People have to read the intent behind "information". It is not always kosher.

I recommend looking up Tenelli, first. His video series actually says "step by step" in the title, and the viewer should be left in no doubt that they may encounter counter-intuitive elements in the process. They will be more prepared for the kind of response you found on reddit.

Trimble is more flamboyant and adds theatrics to his video. That's his style. To understand his videos, you have to allow for it. Maybe he is catering to a narrower target audience than Tenelli. You gonna tell Trimble, "don't do that"?

When I was starting out, I found Tenelli first. That could be good fortune, but I don't think that I would have been thrown by Trimble's idiosyncrasies if I had found his videos first. I wasn't into classical music, and I had no idea who the two famous tenors were. What caught my attention was the content of what they were saying. Superficial presentation counted for little. Both demonstrate that they have deliberated on alternative or opposing ideas, particularly Tenelli -- this means that they have come to well-considered conclusions (unlike the person you quoted from reddit). Both of them do talk of "the TRUE beautiful sound" etc. and it is clear that they believe that theirs is the big kahuna of all singing. I could make allowances for that and set it aside without favour or prejudice. It didn't affect anything material, and I didn't have to take it on board.

Of course, I later discovered who each was, but by that time, my interest was already based on sound judgment (no pun intended).

So, basically, getting a sense of who the author of an idea is, is a skill you have to stand or fall by. It's a life skill, not peculiar to singing. It could be reading between the lines of the spiel of a plumber you are asking a quote from. Does he know his stuff? Base that on the wrong cues and you could find yourself stiffed.

9 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

It's sad, first because you can count that a couple of years from now this guy will either regret the wasted time or sill be locked to his religion that originated such opiniated contribution. Second because probably will take a few along the ride.

And third because a bunch of other people gets suspicious about technique due to the conflict of *apparently* equaly valid opinions.

Yep, managing "appearances" and finding your way is a life skill.

And the best life coach is life itself.

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15 hours ago, kickingtone said:

The guy sounds angry. He probably tried appoggio, but it didn't work for him. Then he latched on to a simple "explanation" to account for his "failure". Successfully discouraging other people helps makes him feel vindicated and like less of a "failure" in his mind. This is commonplace. Some people manage to hold themselves back by normalizing their shortcomings.

This is the internet. People have to read the intent behind "information". It is not always kosher.

Nah, he could not have "tried" anything in classical technique training for the short period of time he reported before, besides that, you are again mind reading and attributing whatever you imagine the motives of the person as "intent". It does not matter if he said that because he had a gun to his head, or because he believes he will save the world. In fact the guy himself is irrelevant, it´s the fact that this kind of thing happens that is relevant to the subject (information and avoiding confusion).

Tenelli and Trimble might have their styles, sure, but I am not talking about styles of communication. And no, I have no intention of telling people how they should write or make content on technique. I am simply pointing underlying ideas that seems to be present when people talk about technique and stating that being aware of it can prevent confusion and allow information to be useful.

I am also saying with it that on the practical aspects (references and sensations descriptions), the possibility of the information being of any use will depend highly on the skill of the source, because they are attempts to directly guide to experience. And of course it will also be much more effective when working directly with the person. Pretty sure if you listen to 10 different singers that learned "appoggio" from a youtube video you will get 10 different things and none will have anything to do with the actual technique.

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5 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

Nah, he could not have "tried" anything in classical technique training for the short period of time he reported before, besides that, you are again mind reading and attributing whatever you imagine the motives of the person as "intent". It does not matter if he said that because he had a gun to his head, or because he believes he will save the world.

A "mind reader" doesn't say "probably". You are the one making the absolute assumption, claiming that he "could not have tried". You are wrong. Just because such an attempt is likely to be poor, doesn't mean that it could not be made. Some people give up very quickly, especially when they have crazy expectations and hardly any part of what they are doing comes naturally for them

btw. perhaps you can point us to where the guy actually said he'd trying to sing "for like two weeks". Because I took that comment of yours also with a pinch of salt. It sounded to me more like something someone would say just to emphasize their point, rather than be accurate. Yes, I am always reading between the lines. :-)

You are also misunderstanding my original point about INTENT. It was about "goals" -- what the learner intends to achieve in terms of genre, sound etc.  For example, a rock singer may advise a beginner to start his training with cord closure exercises, using the -aa- vowel. But that might not be appropriate if the beginner's INTENT is to become an opera singer. He may need to start with support. Often that INTENT does not get discussed and the beginner ends up following questionable advice. In one particular case, the student DID tell the teacher her intent, and the teacher told her it was "all the same at the beginning" -- ignored the intent. At the end of the primary course, the student was distraught. She'd lost what she liked about her voice. The teacher had taken her backwards in terms of her intent. That is why I say that the context of INTENT is critical when discussing method. Taking it for granted can lead to crossed lines, dogma and absolute advice, where relative advice is needed.

5 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

.. In fact the guy himself is irrelevant, it´s the fact that this kind of thing happens that is relevant to the subject (information and avoiding confusion).

Not at all. You have to have a sense of when it happens (who is doing it). If someone is angry, for example, look out for distortion, exaggeration or unwarranted dismissive attitude, etc. Or if you have a flamboyant character, like Michael Trimble, factor that in. And when you watch a video, ignore all those guitars strung up on the wall behind the guy, all the gear, the 2000 dollar mic, and whatever he is wearing to "look the part". People get confused when they buy into sideshows that ANYBODY -- any old quack -- can use to impress.

There is a lot of pressure on beginners to shut up and listen to the maestros. But this opens the door to quacks and imitators. I advise beginners to be critical, and bring life experience to the table. You are not a beginner there.

6 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

...but I am not talking about styles of communication...

Styles of communication can lead to confusion. (Take sarcasm, for example). The internet cannot be policed in that respect. The onus is on the user to be aware of style, and what and what not to take literally.

6 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

Pretty sure if you listen to 10 different singers that learned "appoggio" from a youtube video you will get 10 different things and none will have anything to do with the actual technique.

That's an exaggeration. If you think that nothing practical can be learned about appoggio from YT vids, then you are wrong. Yes, there is something that Tenelli calls "pure appoggio", which no doubt requires you to be learning face-to-face with a maestro. That's for pros. But there are elements of appoggio, like the support system, which are accessible to youtubers.

My sense is that if appoggio, or any other method for that matter, feels really awkward at the beginning, then you'll probably need face-to-face tuition to get it right, if you want to persist with it. But, if the glove seems to fit at the beginning, youtube videos can really help you to improve. And you basically know, especially with something like appoggio, because the differences in what the experts are saying will seem to you to be nowhere near as contradictory as people make out. You'll be able to feel and understand what they are saying, and why it is being expressed differently.

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5 hours ago, kickingtone said:

That's an exaggeration. If you think that nothing practical can be learned about appoggio from YT vids, then you are wrong. Yes, there is something that Tenelli calls "pure appoggio", which no doubt requires you to be learning face-to-face with a maestro. That's for pros. But there are elements of appoggio, like the support system, which are accessible to youtubers.

Nope. People of course *claim* they learned stuff and yada yada. The practical outcome however tells a very different story. lol even on my own videos where I try to constrain things as much as I can and show simplistic versions of things, I am pretty sure the "omg I did what you said and it worked" comments would have practical outcomes that are just completely off.

You can acquire a sense of how things are supposed to go, but to actually learn even with accurate mechanical descriptions and clear sound references it is already very hard, just with the practical advices on sensations and references it becomes random. You send your voice here, feel that, and something comes out. Heaven knows what that something will be.

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57 minutes ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

Nope. People of course *claim* they learned stuff and yada yada. The practical outcome however tells a very different story. lol even on my own videos where I try to constrain things as much as I can and show simplistic versions of things, I am pretty sure the "omg I did what you said and it worked" comments would have practical outcomes that are just completely off.

You can acquire a sense of how things are supposed to go, but to actually learn even with accurate mechanical descriptions and clear sound references it is already very hard, just with the practical advices on sensations and references it becomes random. You send your voice here, feel that, and something comes out. Heaven knows what that something will be.

(You've moved the goalposts. The original point only relied on a perceived attempt, and perceived failure, by the person. That is enough to get some people frustrated enough to write off a technique.)

On your new point, you are trying to go from the specific to the general, which is where you go wrong.

People can and do learn how to implement elements of appoggio from online sources. There are even singers who say that they don't use appoggio, but are told by experts that they are doing it "whether they realize it or not". So the idea that it requires some mystical face-to-face induction is incorrect. For some people the basic coordination will come naturally. It is like cord closure. Some people naturally have heavy cord closure, so methods related to that would come more naturally to them.

Appoggio actually has some very natural and innate elements which people may lose to a greater or lesser extent as they get older. So it can be a rediscovery, in part.

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Not really, my point did not rely on a perceived attempt and a perceived failure. I simply brought up a bit of non-sense people write due to their own confusion. You were the one who proceeded to mind read the intentions of the dude, to that I said, and I repeat: "who cares?"

And no, the whole people "think they learned" does not convince me one bit, you for example believe that you learned stuff from these videos don´t you? Let´s have a listen:

The very fact that you actually believe you are in position to talk about practical matters while singing like this is more evidence supporting my claim that it just leads to random useless stuff. There is nothing in-between the lines to read when we look at the actual outcome, it is just poor.

Drop the mental gymnastics and get real.

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50 minutes ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

...does not convince me one bit...

I couldn't care less whether you are convinced of anything or not.

50 minutes ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

The very fact that you actually believe you are in position to talk about practical matters while singing like this is more evidence supporting my claim that it just leads to random useless stuff. There is nothing in-between the lines to read when we look at the actual outcome, it is just poor.

Drop the mental gymnastics and get real.

Again you think that your opinion is so important, lol.

The clip, btw, was me deliberately picking a dry space to sing in. The object is to hear your voice in a dry space. It is good practice. I have no issue with it, thanks.

Maybe you can post your own dry space a cappella vocals for me to comment on, LOL!

I have heard your carefully edited singing and covers, and I don't even rate that.

I haven't bothered commenting, because it doesn't interest me. Neither does your technique.

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... uhm... wth is going on in here?

I really have little idea... but as far as that singing sample was concerned. I thought it was ok. For what it was. I didn't hear anything overtly "bad". It's just Kick giving a simple little vocal sample... I don't get the standard that it is being judged by?  Is Kick claiming that this is an amazing feat of vocal execution? What are the expectations here?

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Hi Rob, the clip is for a thread I opened "elsewhere" entitled "Singing in a dry space for practice..."

The purpose is to use the dryness of the environment to encourage the singer to drive a response from it. It is just a practice tool.

I don't know why Felipe brought it up (out of context) or what his issue with it is. As you can see, and have said, it is not a production piece!

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28 minutes ago, Robert Lunte said:

... uhm... wth is going on in here?

I really have little idea... but as far as that singing sample was concerned. I thought it was ok. For what it was. I didn't hear anything overtly "bad". It's just Kick giving a simple little vocal sample... I don't get the standard that it is being judged by?  Is Kick claiming that this is an amazing feat of vocal execution? What are the expectations here?

Nah, "random non-singer dude singing on the shower" quality, by anyone who is being honest standard. And certainly by the standards of "someone who actually has a clue about vocal technique", a bad joke.

It is yet another example of what I am talking about here.

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So...

On 8/3/2019 at 4:30 AM, MDEW said:

 I am not sure what I was doing wrong but I had better luck with the tongue root thing than  setting my coordination by breathing the larynx down. I think it had something to do with not enough cord closure. With the tongue root I was louder whether I wanted to be or not and had a richer sound. Still there may have been something else happening while I was believing that I was using the tongue root.

I have one theory for why one method comes more naturally than others. I think our natural abilities are strongly influenced by which sounds interest us in our formative years. Our voices get built around the sounds that we like, or are expected to use (accents).

So I think it is easier to pick a method that matches ones natural voice.

That may not always be possible...

I also suspect that if ones musical taste shifts a lot, then one may not have the benefit of their formative years in producing the vocals of their acquired taste. They have to learn more as an adult.

Just a theory!

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3 hours ago, kickingtone said:

So...

I have one theory for why one method comes more naturally than others. I think our natural abilities are strongly influenced by which sounds interest us in our formative years. Our voices get built around the sounds that we like, or are expected to use (accents).

So I think it is easier to pick a method that matches ones natural voice.

That may not always be possible...

I also suspect that if ones musical taste shifts a lot, then one may not have the benefit of their formative years in producing the vocals of their acquired taste. They have to learn more as an adult.

Just a theory!

 Thanks for the comment. I actually know what the root of the problem was. My whole family sang, brothers sister cousins aunts uncles....and would get together every saturday night for quite a few years. Mostly Bluegrass and Bluegrass gospel. On the surface pretty cool to be a part of. Being a part was the problem. Everyone had their part. I was one of the younger ones. I would constantly search for my part trying to not "step" on the harmony of the other singers.

     When there is 4 part harmony and you already have 10 singing you cannot help but to step on another persons "Part".  But I would start singing and others would direct me to stand by another person so I would not "Step on" their part. My singing became soft quiet and unsure. At other times, along with the normal adult talk of children should be quiet....Do not try to sing like "____" sing like yourself. For someone under 10 what does that mean? So the quiet singing and singing in my room continued.

       Still with my harmonies( when not harmonizing to my own recordings) I choose a harmony that is either monotone or sing the bass where everyone realizes that some of the notes are going to be the same as other singers only an octave lower.

       The songs I listened to away from the family were more towards Country Rock and southern Rock, Allman Brothers, Skynyrd, 3 Dog Night, Doobie Brothers and of course Motown. This is early 70s. A lot of the songs sat in the G4 range. In the trouble zone. Trying to sing them quietly does not work.

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More on the subject of applying strictly practical ideas without orientation, and how it can lead to confusion, another post from reddit:

 

"I wish I never got into ‘support’

renderTimingPixel.pngEver since I learned about breath support I haven’t sang well basically 90% percent of the time.

Before I learned about support the odds of me singing really well were a lot more common than when I go out of my way to support.

I think I’m going to go back to that and just hope that I find it then at least I can be like okay so what I’m I doing? What did I do...

Does anyone else feel this way?

"

When asked about taking lessons:

"When I say learned support I haven’t learned how to support but I mean that I learned I should support. So I am trying and failing to support."

 

Picking descriptions of sensations and mental references such as "pretend you are inhaling" without checking/asserting whether it is producing a positive result has a very high chance of doing nothing, or hindering, instead of helping.

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However, being too rigid stifles innovation and some fun out of training, the business of teaching and singing. 

Anecdotes and visualization ideas should be minimized, but not completely removed. They have some use.

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My own opinion(one of thousands), is that some of these ideas are taken one piece at a time. Different schools or methods or tips that address or focus on one piece of the puzzle. Twang, cord closure, appoggio, support, Larynx position, Tone in your head, movement in the Abs, nothing in the throat.....

If one is off the others will not work. It is not that one will fix the other. They work together.

And you do not use one technique to sing you use many in the same song.

And that is why I like Roberts Program. He will go through the onset one factor at a time, Then sing or exercise.... Of course this IS for training. To get the components to work together.

The singing is still YOU singing with the goals you have in mind. I also think that even being told over and over that THIS IS FOR TRAINING. They try to use it in singing and forget to add the Expression of singing. These are tools and ideas to help you express or interpret the music. Not hard and fast rules you have to live by.

As for SINGING there is other things to consider, like timing, expression, dynamics, how to use them and why, legato, staccato, to add vibrato or not, melisma or straight pitch,  to distort or not to distort. These are your choices and tools not rules to live by.

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19 minutes ago, Robert Lunte said:

However, being too rigid stifles innovation and some fun out of training, the business of teaching and singing. 

Anecdotes and visualization ideas should be minimized, but not completely removed. They have some use.

I agree,  but I am not defending the removal of visualization and sensations, I mean I see no problem on someone learning just by it.

On the contrary, I am also saying that a good deal of the relevant stuff there is to learn on singing technique exists only in experiential knowledge and can not be transmited just by saying "now increase the space in your pharynx while keeping the interarytenoids engaged and preventing the TA from over contracting".

And it´s exactly because I think that these tools are important that I believe it´s very important to see how, where and why they fail. Because it does and it even fails more often than people report it does.

I am defending that one of the primary reasons they fail is because they are simply a tool to transmit experiential knowledge, not the knowledge itself. And so when you have something like classical teaching where almost all is done through visualization and sensation, having the tools without the master intervention is like buying a fancy pants chisel and expecting it to sculpt wood by itself.

Or in simple terms, these are just tools, and as such they are as dumb as they can be useful. The quality of the intervention will depend on the person using them. For someone that is starting out picking this information alone... What will happen is what I am linking here.

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Yes of course. Kinesthetics. This is why I am a big advocate for teaching students how to practice/train with home study programs. I don’t get why so many other reputable methods and institutions harp all day long about science, method, book knowledge and then at the end of the day... nobody dares to simply demonstrate and teach people how to train. 

“Here’s your chisel”

”thanks !,... how do I use it, can you show me or teach me how”?

”... no, sorry can’t do that because I don’t really know how to use it myself or never tried... but thanks for the $20k tuition payments and good luck ... let us know how it goes ... don’t forget to make your loan payments...”

Agreed Felipe. My advise would be to build a practice that also holds teaching students how to train, in just a practical way... as part of what you do.  

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Ironically, Felipe's earlier rant highlights the huge flaw in his incoherent quest.

He has demonstrated that he is an example of the thing that he is trying to reduce, LOL!

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