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How to extract a practice routine out of CVT?

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Black Bones Iron
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I used to practice Singing Success, and long story short found it real inefficient.

I'm deciding to start CVT, but unlike SS, it doesn't propose a practice routine, and with lot of references to the other parts of the book, I think I'm lost in the book and can't really extract any exercises to form a routine out of it. Those CVT user guys, how do you use it?

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Great answer.

As geran suggests, one of the main underlying principles of cvt is that it must be useful for an experienced singer.

He must be able to use the book to expand his possibilities as well as correct issues that he might have.

This is one of the reasons why it isn't immediately accessible to a beginner.

Therefore they show us "what's under the hood" and that is incidentally what makes it very versatile and at the same time very overwhelming.

I don't agree however about the head-voice/low dynamics thing.

One of the fantastic things about cvt is that you don't need to worry about "passagio" or "bridging" unless you absolutely need to sing with exactly the same volume on high an low notes.

But if you will accept a volume increase on high notes compared to low, you can simply stay in the same mode all the way, and there will be no breaks.

You do however need to lighten up your mode the higher you go, but that should not be too difficult if you imitate the soundlibrary.

The best overall advise I can think of is this:

Don't go higher or lower before you are able to do it almost effortlessly. Accept the range that works for you now and keep practicing inside that range. In itself, this will be the most efficient approach because once the modes are centered, you will find it easy to expand a bit.

Al the best

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Based on my limited experience (over a year of serious and successful vocal training), I can't agree with CVT's claims that you're better off not practicing than practicing something imperfectly.

You're going to have to practice it imperfectly, in fact pretty awfully at first, if you want to get anywhere. It starts with attempting, the successfully doing comes later. Just like learning pretty much anything in life.

The best overall advise I can think of is this:

Don't go higher or lower before you are able to do it almost effortlessly. Accept the range that works for you now and keep practicing inside that range. In itself, this will be the most efficient approach because once the modes are centered, you will find it easy to expand a bit.

Seriously? How do you define "almost effortlessly?"

Look, there is no such thing as "effortless" singing. And "almost effortless", as I know it, is not the stuff to train, that's the stuff you're already good at.

If you really want results, you're going to have to stop being a wimp and train with actual effort. When I started training with actual effort, being athletic about it, rather than practicing "effortless" SS mousey sounds, that's when my voice truly started to grow.

As long as you don't practice things that induce immediate painful strain, you're fine.

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I'm not that much help with practice routines, because I'm just a hobbyist who doesn't take singing as seriously as many on this board. But I do have some tips for working with CVT.

I would say, focus on support first. There's a reason it's fundamental principle number 1. Try to understand what the sensations are (e.g. do the rocking exercise, and connect the motion to the vocalising) and apply them to singing things that you're already comfortable with. Lots of people get sidetracked by the modes because they're a distinguishing feature of CVT. I did this, got stuck in mode-land before understanding support properly, and only made modest improvements.

I also agree with Owen regarding effort. Singing challenging things is very physical and is in no way effortless. Just make sure your voice feels comfortable and you'll be fine.

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Yes geran, we don't want to "push" a coordination more suited for a lower range, that makes singing higher exponentially harder. We need to adjust the coordination as we get higher in order to get the higher notes. It's not just a matter of adding strength.

Same goes with the opposite direction I believe...though I haven't trained my low range much so I can't speak from experience

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Based on my limited experience (over a year of serious and successful vocal training), I can't agree with CVT's claims that you're better off not practicing than practicing something imperfectly.

You're going to have to practice it imperfectly, in fact pretty awfully at first, if you want to get anywhere.

You base this on your limited experience, isn't that a bit vague? Wouldn't you have to have tried the approach that I/or CVT suggest, in order to determine whether it is less efficient than what you have done?

And no you don't necessarily need to practice awfully at first. In fact this is probably why CVT says that the techniques must work instantly, otherwise you are working incorrectly.

Seriously? How do you define "almost effortlessly?"

Almost effortlessly is not just singing without strain in the neck and throat, to me that also means singing with low support-values. This is achieved by hitting the centers of the modes: Any mode takes much less support when it is centered.

Look, there is no such thing as "effortless" singing. And "almost effortless", as I know it, is not the stuff to train, that's the stuff you're already good at.

You do what you want, but I would suggest saving the hard support work for support exercises and not singing.

I'm just talking about the most efficient way of developing the voice, and I happen to think that it is done through working patiently with little effort on centering the modes.

If you really want results, you're going to have to stop being a wimp and train with actual effort.

Easy now, there are no wimps here.

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Idk Owen... let's say you KNEW exactly how to use your voice the way you did now and how to GET to that point again... 10 months ago.

If you could go back and switch some things up... wouldn't you? meaning if for example a 5 tone eh-uh scale with a slightly low larynx or something like that helped you get through your trouble areas the "best" and sing "better" then you are practicing closer to perfection (which is a subjective thing) than practicing an AH siren.

Owen when I am singing to someone I don't want them to think I am "pushing" hard at the passaggi... for artistic value sometimes... I think for training it is necessary to lean into the sound but not "push"

Isn't the point of training so the sound comes as easily as possible? Or are you training to push harder? Imo Owen you are just phrasing yourself wrong.

You learned to put effort into the "SOUND" the quality of sound. Therefore by putting in that extra effort or NEED to sound better there was a positive result in the instrument.

I'm actually quite torn because although singing is a co-ordination there must be some physical strength for example since girls are more familiar with head voice they are "stronger" in that area which could actually just be a more "perfect" falsetto ;)

Btw Owen someone here recommended CVT so I am getting it as well as TVS 3.0 and I will post how both helped me in terms of overall philosophy and practice strategy :) This may give some of us a clearer perception on this techniques and ideas.

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I agree that muscle memory can be a PITA. However, there is not ONE muscle memory that drives everything. Every muscle or muscle group has its own memory. So doing something not exactly right may improve some things while at the same time storing some wrong mechanism in your muscle memory.

To be realistic: No one is really able to do something perfectly correct the first time they do it, even with instructions. The learning mechanism is more like an evolutionary process. You usually do an excercise and do it partly wrong and partly right, so for example, you are supporting correctly but you are not lightening enough, so you are a bit 'pressed' in your phonation. Nevertheless, this will improve your support strength and maybe even gives you stronger TA. The bad part is of course that the heavier phonation goes into your muscle memory.

This is why you have to analyze often, because you don't want to train bad behaviour over a long term. If you (or your teacher) realize that you are too heavy, but your support seems to be okay, then you want to train specifically the lightening for a couple of time (maybe in falsetto), to get it into the muscle memory. After that you go back to full phonations.

That is also why I have to agree that CVT is more for the intermediate/advanced singer, because the really important suff is actually the basics (twang, support, lightening, etc.) and not the modes. The modes are just different combinations of the basics, but if you have the basics down, the modes are actually easy to learn.

So I would say: If you are a beginner it is not a good idea to have a "practice routine", because as a beginner you are usually doing many things wrong and you should adapt your training very often to specifically train the areas where you make mistakes.

Even as an advanced singer I wouldn't really do a "routine", I would also focus on the things where I can still make progress. And this is where the modes come into play. They are a nice tool to fine-tune the way you sing certain vowels on certain pitches.

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In addition to the great advices I would also recommend that people really practice the various vowels as outlined in the CVT-library. It is crucial in the beginning that you use the correct vowels within the different modes.

Thanks Rach I am actually getting the hardcopy I'm anxiously waiting for it in the mail.

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Idk Owen... let's say you KNEW exactly how to use your voice the way you did now and how to GET to that point again... 10 months ago.

If you could go back and switch some things up... wouldn't you? meaning if for example a 5 tone eh-uh scale with a slightly low larynx or something like that helped you get through your trouble areas the "best" and sing "better" then you are practicing closer to perfection (which is a subjective thing) than practicing an AH siren.

Owen when I am singing to someone I don't want them to think I am "pushing" hard at the passaggi... for artistic value sometimes... I think for training it is necessary to lean into the sound but not "push"

Isn't the point of training so the sound comes as easily as possible? Or are you training to push harder? Imo Owen you are just phrasing yourself wrong.

You learned to put effort into the "SOUND" the quality of sound. Therefore by putting in that extra effort or NEED to sound better there was a positive result in the instrument.

I'm actually quite torn because although singing is a co-ordination there must be some physical strength for example since girls are more familiar with head voice they are "stronger" in that area which could actually just be a more "perfect" falsetto ;)

Btw Owen someone here recommended CVT so I am getting it as well as TVS 3.0 and I will post how both helped me in terms of overall philosophy and practice strategy :) This may give some of us a clearer perception on this techniques and ideas.

Oh yes I would change things. But you just don't know that as a beginner. A teacher or book can help you out but it's still up to you to learn by trial and error.

To me the point of training goes WAY further than just ease...for instance if I am working on power, I know I will have to use quite a bit of effort. But I'm also training coordination inside that bulkier phonation, to improve the success and longevity of the phonation, not necessarily decrease the effort. So in that case I am not trying to reduce the effort level, just improve the success level, which is very similar.

There is often the artistic need for the perception of strength in the voice. Falsetto is super easy, but that's not what we want to train is it? We already have it, training to me is all about gradually moving into territories that are harder to pull off successfully and then working on them until they are easier to pull of successfully...doesn't mean they take less effort, they just function better.

I may have basically just said the same thing twice. Oh well.

I don't sense any difference between terms "lean" and "push"...one has a positive connotation, the other a negative, but they're essentially the same thing. The one thing I avoid at all costs when training is "pain"

Have fun with both methods, but I would seriously recommend you invest in some lessons as well...books and programs can only do so much.

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quoting geran:

so men, NEVER EVER push, do what is easy, of course you need energy to sing, but don't push, do whatever necessary to never feel strain, cause if you strain, you ARE building bad coordinations that only will limit more your range

this is just not true in all cases........if this isn't accompanied by a specific definition of push.

you do at times.....

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You base this on your limited experience, isn't that a bit vague? Wouldn't you have to have tried the approach that I/or CVT suggest, in order to determine whether it is less efficient than what you have done?

And no you don't necessarily need to practice awfully at first. In fact this is probably why CVT says that the techniques must work instantly, otherwise you are working incorrectly.

Almost effortlessly is not just singing without strain in the neck and throat, to me that also means singing with low support-values. This is achieved by hitting the centers of the modes: Any mode takes much less support when it is centered.

You do what you want, but I would suggest saving the hard support work for support exercises and not singing.

I'm just talking about the most efficient way of developing the voice, and I happen to think that it is done through working patiently with little effort on centering the modes.

Easy now, there are no wimps here.

I haven't really tried the CVT approach because it just makes zero sense to me. It's an imbalanced, unconventional way of practicing. It discourages vulnerable experimentation which I think is a very important element in the development of certain crafts including singing, where they're really no risk of trying stuff out unless you're hurting yourself in which case you'll feel it and know to stop before any damage has been done. It also ignores the principle that you get better at anything just by doing it a lot. And if you don't believe in that, think again, I guarantee there's some experience in your life where there's no explanation for how you got good at something besides you practiced like hell, even if not perfectly, and over time you got better. Is that the most efficient way to practice? I don't know, but I personally like the way it reduces anxiety when practicing. Knowing that you don't have to do things perfectly, knowing that you won't master this tomorrow and there's nothing wrong with that, knowing that you can experiment, knowing this is your time for trial and error, that you have nothing to lose...to me that is huge in freeing up the voice to explore new territory. And then finally the way of practicing CVT mentioned. And probably many many other elements of good practicing. It's just more complex than CVT makes it IMO, their suggestions regarding practicing are more idealistic than practical and can stall progress a bit I think.

I've been a musician for 12 years, so even though I have less experience with singing specifically, I've learned a lot about how to practice. I've also practiced lots of other things in life, many of which I was not "gifted" in I had to work hard for. And very rarely did I succeed without failing A LOT first. It's just the nature of practicing, you shouldn't fight it. If you fight it you will become all perfectionist, anxiety increases, you will intellectualize everything and become super confused cause you didn't just TRY any of it first, and you just stop, or practice less, or give up. It would just create this unnecessary element of hesitation that would personally slow me down, and probably would do the same for the average person, if you refuse to practice something imperfectly.

There is also no such thing as a technique working instantly. Quickly, sure, sometimes. But I'm sorry, you can't just read, from worded instructions, how to sing, out of book or program, go try it, and have it instantly come out perfectly. That's impossible. Unless you are "gifted" and already great at singing, and not having a reason to go buy the CVT book in the first place.

And here's the thing about the practicing the centerring of the CVT modes. If you just practice getting into the center of them, all individually, how can you learn to bridge that way? (by the way I'm not arguing, there is a passaggio...you can avoid it, but at certain volume levels/vowels, it is there)

How can you learn to connect those modes and not sound like you're singing with 4 separate voices, if you only ever practice staying in the center of them, and hang in that "easy" stage quite a while as a beginner? When you go to sing, you're inevitably going to want to sometimes, and I'd argue fairly often, make a sound that is not centered in a mode.

IMO the thing to get cracking on right away is training how to fill in the gaps and be able to smoothly transitioning between the modes instead of just switching to a different mode. That's what vocal training is about, it's about building the voice, not just getting more comfortable with it's primitive modes.

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You are right Rach, I'm just sharing my 2 cent opinion based on what I've heard about CVT. I do not claim to be an expert on the method, not even close.

And feel free to tell me why my statements are misunderstood if they are. Seeing CVT just from the outside I am most definitely misinterpreting it a bit, I would actually like to know more about it.

I mentioned at some point that I am interested in the book, but things like what I mentioned make me hesitate to make the investment.

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I just wondered? If a forum member here was working with a CVT coach and CVT just got dissed in this thread, is that like dissing the CVT coach a person might have? And that's different than a recent person who said that another's coach was wrong? Even though his own coach was also called into question because some here thought his coach was informing his thoughts?

I really do stink at forum politics. I'm here to sing, rather than win debates.

Any way, on topic. From what my limited knowledge is (I am very ignorant when it comes to CVT) CVT is more about a process rather than just rote scales.

And that kind of fits in with one of my other redneck mantras. It's not how much you practice, how long you practice, how long you have been singing. It is HOW you sing that is important.

So, if the CVT lingo appeals to you, work with that and apply it to whatever you want to do, scales, vocalises. Unless you just need someone there counting your scales for you.

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I just wondered? If a forum member here was working with a CVT coach and CVT just got dissed in this thread, is that like dissing the CVT coach a person might have? And that's different than a recent person who said that another's coach was wrong? Even though his own coach was also called into question because some here thought his coach was informing his thoughts?

Sort of. I apologize in advance if I offended anyone. I can see how what I said seemed to come across like an attack on CVT but that's not what I intended.

To be clear I do think CVT, from what I've heard of it, is a very good method, aside from its practicing principles, in my personal opinion.

Ron, I did NOT say "CVT does not know what they are doing, you are wasting your time, go find a new method"...that is the difference between what I said and how Justin insulted Sun's teacher.

Though I will be the first to admit I still did "react" a bit. I think I'll go back and edit my post, chill it out a bit, if no one minds.

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Well, I kind of understand you Owen. Especially if you had different voice coaching before, CVT seems VERY confusing at first glance, and the modes seem like kind of arbitrary constructs to introduce some fancy new names.

But, if you dig deeper, at some point it really starts to make sense. It just gives you an alternative view on singing, making concepts like "chest voice"/"head voice" etc., that have been confusing students for centuries, basically obsolete.

What CVT doesn't do as much as TVS for example is to "take you by the hand". It basically shows you almost everything that you can do with your voice, but it doesn't have a sort of guideline like "first you do/learn that, then you learn that, etc.", or work-flows like the TVS system.

That's why it's probably more difficult for a beginner to learn with CVT than with TVS if you only use the book. That said, imo CVT is actually more about "trial and error" because they basically say "this is everything we can teach you, learn what you see fit". With a teacher of course, it can be a totally different matter.

In my personal opinion CVT is a really good book that stands out among other programs because it uses a quite different approach (no more head/chest etc.) while still making sense and having the physiological fundament. On the other hand TVS is a really book good, too. that stands out among other programs because it shows you a very systematic "step-by-step"-way to learn singing.

I have both books and imo they go hand in hand with each other EXTREMELY well, because TVS teaches you a very solid and powerful Neutral-mode. And from neutral mode you can develop the other modes very well.

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Good post by Benny. I think many things said about CVT in this thread are great parodies. Nobody would ever interpret "the technique should work right away" as "you will be a great singer instantly". No. But if you are trying to do X and a teacher gives you advice Y in order to try to achieve goal X, the advice should at least get you closer.

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Well, I kind of understand you Owen. Especially if you had different voice coaching before, CVT seems VERY confusing at first glance, and the modes seem like kind of arbitrary constructs to introduce some fancy new names.

But, if you dig deeper, at some point it really starts to make sense. It just gives you an alternative view on singing, making concepts like "chest voice"/"head voice" etc., that have been confusing students for centuries, basically obsolete.

What CVT doesn't do as much as TVS for example is to "take you by the hand". It basically shows you almost everything that you can do with your voice, but it doesn't have a sort of guideline like "first you do/learn that, then you learn that, etc.", or work-flows like the TVS system.

That's why it's probably more difficult for a beginner to learn with CVT than with TVS if you only use the book. That said, imo CVT is actually more about "trial and error" because they basically say "this is everything we can teach you, learn what you see fit". With a teacher of course, it can be a totally different matter.

In my personal opinion CVT is a really good book that stands out among other programs because it uses a quite different approach (no more head/chest etc.) while still making sense and having the physiological fundament. On the other hand TVS is a really book good, too. that stands out among other programs because it shows you a very systematic "step-by-step"-way to learn singing.

I have both books and imo they go hand in hand with each other EXTREMELY well, because TVS teaches you a very solid and powerful Neutral-mode. And from neutral mode you can develop the other modes very well.

This sounds about right.

Good post by Benny. I think many things said about CVT in this thread are great parodies. Nobody would ever interpret "the technique should work right away" as "you will be a great singer instantly". No.

When I was a beginner, I probably would have interpreted it that way. They're basically saying the techniques work immediately if you follow all of their directions perfectly. What it doesn't point out, at least not on their website, is that it takes time to develop the ability to follow all of those directions perfectly at the same time when practicing.

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I see no need to apologize Owen. I just think you should notice that CVI is not just a little book. Like I said they nearly have more certified teachers than SLS, SS, TVS combined - I think they don't care.

You are a TVS guy and that's cool. It's all good.

I know CVT very well. I have the book, have studied the content and have even been to their school in Copenhagen two times with meetings with Cathrin Sadolin. Cutting to the chase, the content is good... but there is NO training routine and no training content. This is a HUGE missive in what they are doing. You buy the book, but no one tells you or shows you how to train the content... I suppose its part of their strategy to make you find a CVT teacher. Its how they get students for their teachers. If their book had comprehensive training content like the TVS book does, they would have less referrals to their teachers.

... and let's make one thing perfectly clear Rach and I know what Im talking about... collecting an Army of teachers doesn't mean ****. It means almost nothing... any established voice program, method, school is going to get requests from teachers that want to be a part of it... I get these EVERY day for the TVS CI program. I just had a discussion with one of my teachers in France regarding yet another teacher that wants to join the TVS CI program. The amount of teachers you recruit doesn't give you one damn bit of credibility... The reason they have so many teachers is primarily because... they market their teacher training program and it is their #1 revenue source, same for Estill. Stacking teachers deep and taking license fees and tuitions is the business they are in... they will take just about anyone that will pay the fee and don't you think for a second they wouldn't.

This means, the quantity is high and the quality is low. I don't have this problem with the TVS CI program because I don't profit off my teachers, therefore I have no incentive to recruit an army of teachers that really have no business being in my organization just because I need the money. At TVS, we have a smaller, exclusive team of teachers and we make money on our products and services, not off of our teachers.

To equate the number of teachers you have with its credibility is just a snow job Owen... TVS CI is the only program in the world that doesn't view teachers as money making units for the company.

Having said that, its a good method.... but again, if you don't have any direction, samples, demonstrations or content to train it... all you can do is read the book. The funny thing is, some ideas I have got from the CVI book, I had to practice it over TVS training content/scales... and that is the bottom-lline.

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And TVS teachers actually sing, perform regularly, gig, etc... another reason why we don't take just anyone... I like benny's post as well...

I have to agree... and I know Jens made this recommendation once before... the honest truth is... if you have the dough, buy both the CVI book and the TVS book... they DO compliment each other pretty well I think. You can practice CVI modes, over the TVS Scales. You can practice TVS training work flows and the recommended routine, with CVI vowels if you want. CVI has no specialized onsets, which is too bad... but using the TVS Specialized Onsets will help you immensely in getting the strength and coordination you need to sing TVS workouts or CVI modes.... they work well together.

Here is a live take of an Alice In Chains tribute... enjoy.

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Owen, you don't owe anyone any apologies, you are a vocal athlete from TVS that is kicking ass and making gains that the majority of the people reading these posts will never achieve because they don't practice and train. You are A#1... the idea that you can learn more by reading more books and taking in other information is not a new, novel idea... its pretty obvious.

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Yes, they are happy customers, good point... and for good reason, its a good school... Doesn't change the fact that teachers are a major "profit center" for their business. I guess that is ok, its a school... but it does create a risk of "high quantity and low quality"... We have seen this with other big vocal organizations that bloat and then the quality of the teaching goes down. Agreed on the point about the CVI book... Owen, buy their book and then come back on here and let us have it... give us your feedback on what you think and how it compares to other programs... that would seem to be the best thing to do.

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I am A#1? Damn that is a really low note! :lol:

By the way Rob, speaking of vocal gains, I finally finished "Been Here Before" last weekend...it's in the link in my signature.

And still more tough vocal songs to go! I'm generally recording them in order from easiest to sing to hardest to sing, so that as my voice gets stronger the repertoire gets harder with it instead of challenging myself too early on. Out of the 9 tracks with vocals I have 5 done. Pretty good so far.

Anyways, I'm off to go for a run and then practice vocals. I have this idea I want to try of doing dampen and release onsets into an "eh" vowel and then modifying intrinsically to "ih"...might train up some serious beef on the narrower vowels

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Yes, they are happy customers, good point... and for good reason, its a good school... Doesn't change the fact that teachers are a major "profit center" for their business. I guess that is ok, its a school... but it does create a risk of "high quantity and low quality"... We have seen this with other big vocal organizations that bloat and then the quality of the teaching goes down. Agreed on the point about the CVI book... Owen, buy their book and then come back on here and let us have it... give us your feedback on what you think and how it compares to other programs... that would seem to be the best thing to do.

Interesting that you'd recommend a product from a different vocal method. Is it really that good? My issue is exactly what we're discussing, where's the training system in that book? It's full of concepts but I think it runs the risk of being too much about learning to sing (which only leads to better training) and less about training to sing (which directly leads to better singing). Most of my biggest results in this journey have really come from the latter. I'd like more of that kind of content, you know?

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