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The Essentials of Beautiful Singing


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About the Author

Karen Tillotson Bauer has spent more than thirty years teaching singing in the voice studio, in pedagogy classes, and in choral settings for undergraduate and graduate students. She has taught numerous master classes in the United States and abroad, most recently at the University of London, England. She has taught voice and staged opera for the Opera Festival di Roma, Italy, as well as at North Park University in Chicago, where she is director of the Master of Music in Vocal Performance. Bauer's passion for teaching professionally bound singers and training future voice teachers has led to this unique three-step approach to singing.


Learning how to sing beautifully and effectively is greatly facilitated by a volume such as this. Experienced teachers. . . will discover innovative ways to teach students how to sing. The Essentials of Beautiful Singing is an excellent guide to the kinesthetic exploration of the vocal art. * Journal of Singing *
This is a how-to manual in the truest sense. Bauer, an experienced voice teacher, eschews the technical information and jargon currently found in most vocal pedagogy books and concentrates instead on the physical experience of singing. Her kinesthetic approach espouses a mind-body coordination supported by sound technical principles imparted and recalled by simple language prompts. The explanations provided for each of the three steps of her method are uncomplicated and adaptable to a wide variety of teaching styles. Though she cultivates simplicity in style and terminology, the author reveals a keen understanding of the vocal mechanism and also familiarity with modern advances in vocal science and pedagogy. . . . [W]hen Bauer addresses musical skills: her overly detailed analysis of musical/textual syntax and legato risks inhibiting a student's natural musical inclinations. Experienced singers and novices should still find the vast majority of the book enlightening and refreshing in its ease of use and practicality. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. * CHOICE *
The Essentials of Beautiful Singing is written in a direct, clear manner. The reading level is appropriate for college students as well as many younger teenagers. The terminology used in the book is in line with modern voice research, with Bauer thoughtfully explaining her reasoning for the terms she uses. The book provides a[n] . . . understandable introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet, and the vocal exercises can be directly applied to both vocal and choral settings. [The book is] helpful for any voice teacher and . . . useful as assigned reading for voice students. . . .Its effective and targeted exercises, and clear descriptions of how to correct common vocal faults make this a handy companion to anyone who works with singers of all ages. * International Choral Bulletin *
The Essentials of Beautiful Singing deserves a space on the shelf of any serious voice teacher in training if for no other reason than the promising ratio of brevity to effectiveness. By resisting the urge to be comprehensive, Bauer's book accomplishes something that standard vocal pedagogy texts often do not: it allows the reader to step into the mind of a teacher who is not only interested in healthfully produced, repeatable results, but also the most simple version of the dependable process that gives rise to those results. In my experience, this-a process that allows them to sing well when they leave the studio-is what students most desire to take away from their voice lessons. * VOICEPrints: Journal of The New York Singing Teachers' Association *
Bauer's book is a welcome one if only because there is a death of texts which focus on singing from a kinesthetic perspective. Look through most publisher's catalogues and what will you find? Multiple treatises which promote the teaching of singing from a 'declarative' standpoint, that is, by acquiring stacks of facts regarding anatomy, physiology and acoustics. Great stuff to be sure, but anyone who knows anything about learning theory knows that this is not the way one learns to sing-which Bauer makes clear in her introduction....Knowing the facts regarding anatomy, physiology and acoustics may be essential for the voice teacher and scientist, but this knowledge does not help the student learn to sing any more than knowing how a car engine is built teaches one to drive. It is for this reason alone that Bauer's approach of 'cultivated simplicity' should be welcomed by information-overloaded students and teachers of singing....Well-written and easily comprehended, The Essentials of Beautiful Singing: A Three-Step Kinesthetic Approach needs to be in your library. * VoiceTalk *
Bauer's helpful approach is not merely one teacher's bag of tricks or collection of sometimes useful images. Rather, it applies the functional understanding gleaned from voice science to the voice studio in a manner that accentuates practical, reliable, and repeatable techniques. The valuable philosophies found within The Essential of Beautiful Singing deserve to be widely shared and enthusiastically practiced among singers and voice teachers alike. Reviewed by Brian Manternach. * Classical Singer Magazine *

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