About The Book

Class Voice: Fundamental Skills for Lifelong Singing is a unique undergraduate textbook which can be adapted to needs of any potential voice user, including music education students, voice students who are not majoring in music, and adult learners. By explaining the basics of singing using practical skills and examples, this text is accessible to students with a wide range of talents, interests, and expertise levels. With chapters devoted to skills for singing solo and in groups, instructors can tailor the included materials to encourage students to become thoroughly familiar with their own voices and to identify and appreciate the gifts of others.

Learning to sing is a process of trial and error. The warm-ups and other in-class performance opportunities contained in this textbook can raise student confidence and minimize anxiety. The chapters about age and size-appropriate repertoire and issues of vocal health provide vital information about preserving the vocal instrument for a lifetime of singing.

Key Features

  • Warm-up and cool-down exercise routines, including strategies for relaxing and breath management
  • Repertoire topics divided by language and genre and suggestions about how to use the repertoire to develop specific skills
  • Issues of diversity, gender, and inclusivity covered in Chapter 9 entitled “The Singing Life”
  • Suggestions for comparative listening and questions for discussion to encourage deeper learning
  • Adaptable materials which can be tailored to fit interests in choral music, musical theater, folksong, as well as Classical vocal repertoire
  • Assignments, evaluation criteria, and assessment forms for midterm and final presentations
  • A glossary of key terms
  • A bibliography with resources for research and learning
  • Information on basic musicianship skill training for those who need it
  • A PluralPlus Companion website with a suggested course outline, PowerPoint lecture slides, chapter quizzes and discussion questions with answers along with repertoire lists tailored to suit three different class voice populations

About The Authors

Brenda Smith, DMA, a lyric soprano, teaches studio voice, singer’s diction, and vocal pedagogy at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She is widely recognized for her contributions to the concept of lifelong singing through proper voice care. Brenda Smith’s most recent publication is Diction in Context: Singing in English, Italian, German, and French. She is the author of So You Want to Sing for a Lifetime: A Guide to Performer, a publication sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Dr. Smith and Dr. Robert T. Sataloff have collaborated on a variety of projects to promote vocal health through choral singing. They are the co-authors of two textbooks, Choral Pedagogy, Third Edition and Choral Pedagogy and the Older Singer that unite voice science, vocal pedagogy with choral conducting. Brenda Smith serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Voice and is a Consulting Editor for Plural Publishing. In recognition of demonstrated excellence in teaching and her interest in voice science, Dr. Smith received the Van Lawrence Fellowship in 2000, presented by The Voice Foundation and the NATS. Before joining the University of Florida faculty, she taught at Westminster Choir College, Dickinson College, and Rowan University.

Ronald Burrichter, MM, joined the faculty of the University of Florida in 1984. His festival conducting and adjudicating have taken him from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Mississippi River to the shores of the Atlantic. A lyric tenor of international reputation, he has appeared in Carnegie Hall on 13 occasions under the baton of Robert Shaw, is heard as soloist on two of the eight CDs he has recorded with Mr. Shaw, and was the tenor soloist of choice by Sir David Willcocks and the London Bach Choir, as well as Mr. Shaw with the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers in Atlanta. A Past-President of the Florida Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, Mr. Burrichter was honored by Florida ACDA for “Outstanding contributions to choral music in Florida.” At the University of Florida, Prof. Burrichter has conducted the Men’s Glee Club, the Women’s Chorale, University Choir, Chamber Singers, and currently teaches voice and voice skills, a course for instrumental music education majors.

Table Of Contents

Foreword by Robert T. Sataloff, MD, DMA, FACS
How to Use This Book

A Message to Students
A Message to Teachers

Getting Started: Studying Singing Together



Introduction. Class Voice and Strategies for Lifelong Singing 
Song: With and Without Words
Instruments versus Voice
Human Growth: Musical, Physical, Aesthetic
Speaking Voice and Singing Voice Use
Musical Skill Training and Singing
Issues of Fach and Longevity
Discussion Questions

Chapter 1. Skills for Learning to Sing
Brenda Smith

The Basics of Singing


The Why and How of Warm-Ups and Cool Downs
Discussion Questions

Chapter 2: Anatomy and Physiology of the Voice
Robert Thayer Sataloff


Chapter 3. Skills for Learning to Sing Music
Ronald Burrichter

Musicianship Skills

Singing and Rhythm
Basics of the Printed Page
Other Rhythmic Tricks
Singing and Note Learning
Understanding Aural Skill Levels
Strategies for Lifelong Music Learning

Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Learning

Music Learning
Online Resources for Music Learning
Choral Singing

Chapter 4. Skills for Learning to Sing Text
Brenda Smith

The Italian Language and Singing Skill
International Phonetic Alphabet

Tricks for Learning IPA
The Value of the International Phonetic Alphabet
Learning the IPA in English
Singing Versus Speaking Vowels and Consonants
Using the International Phonetic Alphabet as a Tool
Phonetic Transcriptions and “Rhyming Vowels”

Sounds in Italian, German, and French
Diction in Context
Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Reading

Chapter 5. Singing Solo
Brenda Smith

The Singing Art in the Western World

Bel Canto, Legato, and the Even Scale
Range, Registration, and Tessitura
Messa di Voce
 or “Measuring” the Voice
Tone Quality and Vibrato

Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Reading

Chapter 6. Singing with Others
Brenda Smith and Ronald Burrichter

Singing Together in Choirs
A Brief History of Early Choral Singing
Unison Singing
Choral Breathing

            Suggested Canons for Class Voice Use

Two-Part Singing
The Singing Life of Choral Singers

Singing Soprano in a Choir
Singing Alto in a Choir
Singing Tenor in a Choir
Singing Baritone or Bass in a Choir
Choral Singing and Tuning

Challenges of Choral Singing
Score Marking
Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Reading

Chapter 7. Skills for Mastering Repertoire
Brenda Smith and Ronald Burrichter

Warm-ups and Voice Building

Relaxation and Posture
Breathing and Resonance

Solving Vocal Problems in Repertoire
Repertoire Learning Skills
Learning a Song: Step 1 Is the Text

Word Mastery
Understanding Vowels

Materials for Score Preparation
Establishing the Context for a New Song
Sample Fact Sheet for Vocal Repertoire
Musical Preparation

Practice Strategies

Sample Practice Logs

Sample One
Sample Two
Sample Three

Practice Styles

The Role of Mindfulness and Joy in Practice

Performance Anxiety and Musical Preparation

Tips for Mindful Preparation
Performing and Mental Toughness
Physical Factors and Performance
Singing and Sharing the Stage

Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Reading

Practice Skills
Performance Anxiety


Chapter 8. Vocal Skills and Repertoire
Brenda Smith and Ronald Burrichter

What Singers Sing

Folk Songs
Early Italian Songs and Arias
British and American Song
German Lieder
French Mélodie

Learning Vocal Skills through Repertoire
Suggested Vocal Repertoire and Lesson Plans for Class Voice Study

Breath Coordination and Gentle Onset
Legato and Phrasing
Vocal Agility and Flexibility
Vocal Color and Text Painting
Range and Registration
Messa di voce

Opera, Singspiel, and Operetta

Musical Theater

Suggested Musical Theater Repertoire for Class Voice
Spirituals and African American Art Songs

Putting It All Together

Interpreting Text and Music

Performance Strategies for Class Presentations

Midterm and Final Projects and Performances
Midterm Presentation
Final Presentation
Program Notes and Research
Performance Etiquette
Criteria for Evaluation

“An die Musik” (To Music) – An International Calling Card for Singers
Discussion Questions
Recommended Online Resources

         Resources for Lesson Planning
Resources for Repertoire Acquisition
Resources for Music Purchase

Resources for Further Reading

Chapter 9. The Singing Life
Considerations for the Adolescent Singing Voice
Vincent Oakes

Singing Fundamentals for the Adolescent Voice
Phonation Onset and Duration
Non-Pitched Exercises for the Adolescent Voice
Limited Range Exercises for the Adolescent Voice
Aural Development of the Adolescent Singer
Balance and Physicality for the Developing Singer
Additional Considerations
Discussion Questions
For Further Reading

Singing and Women
Brenda Smith

Finding Your Voice
Women and Choral Singing
Healthy Voice Use
Maintaining Your Voice
Vocal Aging: To Sing or Not to Sing
Vocal Limitations and Strategies
Discussion Questions

Singing Life of Men
Ronald Burrichter

The Singing Life of Tenors
Men Falsetto Voices
The Singing of Life of Baritones and Basses
Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Reading

Gender Spectrum Voice
Erin Nicole Donahue

Working with the Gender Diverse Population
Transition and Hormones
Aspects of Voice and Verbal Communication
The Transgender or Gender Diverse Singer
Considerations for the Music Educator
Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Reading

Chapter 10. The Science of Healthy Singing
Erin Nicole Donahue

Vocal Health and Wellness
A Brief Overview of Anatomy and Physiology

Maximizing Vocal Health
Voice Disorders and Laryngeal Pathology
The Voice Care Team

Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Reading

Conclusion. The Benefits of Skillful Lifelong Singing
Brenda Smith and Ronald Burrichter

Singing Alone and With Others
The Intrinsic Value of Singing
Singing in the 21st Century
21st Century Vocal Pedagogy
Maintaining Fundamental Skills for Singing
Cautions and Strategies
Discussion Questions
Resources for Further Reading

Bibliography: Resources for Research and Learning



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