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Jackie Evancho (America's Got Talent finalist)

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juliansader
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Hi everyone,

I am actually surprised that there haven't been many comments about Jackie Evancho on this forum yet!

(For those that haven't heard her yet, here is a link to her singing Pie Jesu in America's Got Talent - Top 10:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ar0r02FZng.)

Any thoughts on her technique?

I am certainly impressed - for a 10-year old, she appears to have excellent technique. In fact, when she sang a duet with Sarah Brightman during the finals, Jackie appeared to have better control over her voice than Sarah.

However, I have never worked with highly trained child singers or children's choirs myself, so I don't know - are there perhaps many other 10-year olds out there with similarly good technique? Does Jackie only sound different because she uses a dark timbre?

I noticed that Jackie's mouth moves rapidly when she does vibrato. Is she using some kind of 'mouth vibrato', or is the movement a sign of a very loose tongue and jaw together with a 'laryngeal vibrato'?

I often hear negative statements such as:

- Voice training is harmful to children's voices

- Voice training for children is useless since they will have to re-learn their technique when they hit puberty

- "Children are not able to co-ordinate or control their breathing voluntarily" (this very weird statement is from CVI's handbook...)

- "I suggest that when working with children and young people you avoid technical issues. Instead work from a musical point of view - concentrating on songs, expression, phrasing, and so on." (Also from CVI.)

Is there any truth to any of these statements?

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This could turn into a controversial discussion, and by all means it should.

Jackie did a great performance, loved that stuff. But many of the children I see on shows like this(We got the exact same thing here in sweden) are just puppets to their teachers and the performances are so fake and only technically impressive. And I find that sad, because I personally do not think this is the best way to introduce singing to children. Singing should at it's core be about acting out emotions, not doing it perfectly bel canto style because your parents wants you too.

Yes, puberty will be a big hinder for many boys. I remember being able to curb perfectly before puberty, and now 5 years later I'm still figuring out how to do it that freely(And I was quite ashamed of my singing for 4 years because junior high works that way). I did however get a nice overdrive after puberty which I like :)

Have fun with the kids IMO and don't be too serious, doing hardcore scales everyday is not what I would want my childhood to persist of at least. :)

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Hi everyone,

I am actually surprised that there haven't been many comments about Jackie Evancho on this forum yet!

(For those that haven't heard her yet, here is a link to her singing Pie Jesu in America's Got Talent - Top 10:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ar0r02FZng.)

Any thoughts on her technique?

I am certainly impressed - for a 10-year old, she appears to have excellent technique. In fact, when she sang a duet with Sarah Brightman during the finals, Jackie appeared to have better control over her voice that Sarah.

However, I have never worked with highly trained child singers or children's choirs myself, so I don't know - are there perhaps many other 10-year olds out there with similarly good technique? Does Jackie only sound different because she uses a dark timbre?

I noticed that Jackie's mouth moves rapidly when she does vibrato. Is she using some kind of 'mouth vibrato', or is the movement a sign of a very loose tongue and jaw together with a 'laryngeal vibrato'?

I often hear negative statements such as:

- Voice training is harmful to children's voices

- Voice training for children is useless since they will have to re-learn their technique when they hit puberty

- "Children are not able to co-ordinate or control their breathing voluntarily" (this very weird statement is from CVI's handbook...)

- "I suggest that when working with children and young people you avoid technical issues. Instead work from a musical point of view - concentrating on songs, expression, phrasing, and so on." (Also from CVI.)

Is there any truth to any of these statements?

beautiful, no question...but these shows are so dramatic it's sickening at times.

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Hi everyone,

I am actually surprised that there haven't been many comments about Jackie Evancho on this forum yet!

(For those that haven't heard her yet, here is a link to her singing Pie Jesu in America's Got Talent - Top 10:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ar0r02FZng.)

Any thoughts on her technique?

I am certainly impressed - for a 10-year old, she appears to have excellent technique. In fact, when she sang a duet with Sarah Brightman during the finals, Jackie appeared to have better control over her voice than Sarah.

However, I have never worked with highly trained child singers or children's choirs myself, so I don't know - are there perhaps many other 10-year olds out there with similarly good technique? Does Jackie only sound different because she uses a dark timbre?

I noticed that Jackie's mouth moves rapidly when she does vibrato. Is she using some kind of 'mouth vibrato', or is the movement a sign of a very loose tongue and jaw together with a 'laryngeal vibrato'?

I often hear negative statements such as:

- Voice training is harmful to children's voices

- Voice training for children is useless since they will have to re-learn their technique when they hit puberty

- "Children are not able to co-ordinate or control their breathing voluntarily" (this very weird statement is from CVI's handbook...)

- "I suggest that when working with children and young people you avoid technical issues. Instead work from a musical point of view - concentrating on songs, expression, phrasing, and so on." (Also from CVI.)

Is there any truth to any of these statements?

juliansader: I started directing children's choirs in 1978, and these sorts of voices appear, all on their own, every once in a while. The youngest I know of whas 6 when I met her, and had a very pure young voice then... and got better over the 3 years I knew her. She was not taking training as a soloist, and to my knowledge, only needed guidance in vowel formation. We never worked in her choir on breath management. I don't know what this young lady is doing these days.

The next one I met was a young lady of 9, who already knew she wanted to be an opera singer. She'd had no formal lessons, but had a stunning top voice, including a perfectly formed, free head tone on the soprano top Bb... she came over to me the day we met, and said... Hey, Mr. Fraser.... want to hear my 'opera voice'? There were two other girls in that same choir a few years later with similar sorts of instruments and interests.

The three I just alluded to went on to sing very well, and are now in college or graduate school as singers, headed for careers as musicians.

Sadly, these sorts of voices do not occur as often at a young age as they used to. The freeness of tone and high head voice quality are easily taught in school settings, but they are not in most current curricula. Kids who only yell on the playground and never get to sing higher than the D above middle C do not learn the transitional sensations which lead to the top, and it is much harder to teach it to them later after vocal mutation and the self-consciousness of adolescence are in full-swing.

With respect to the jaw motions associated with the vibrato... I think this is the result of singing too much, and applying too much power to the thin-fold configuration. Yes, her jaw is loose (as it should be), but cyclical motions like this synched up with the vibrato are not good. Charlotte Church had the same thing in her early years. If not addressed, it can turn into a wobble including large tongue motions as well... not pretty.

As to the other claims... there are many singers who performed as youngsters that went on to excellent careers as singers, including many guys who became starss before their voices changed. If done with good guidance, I see no reason to wait, and many of the concepts of good singing can be taught to the youngster with no fear of spoiling their voices. If they receive training as the voice is changing, they can avoid many of the problems.

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