This book may look and seem small, but it is enormous inside. I have studied voice for years, as a hobby, and have had coaching and instruction from numerous vocal teachers and choir directors. I'm a stay-at-home-mom who has found myself in the position of not being able to study with a teacher for a while. Yet I wanted to continue to grow as a singer. I thought I might be at the point where I could do some self-study until the day when I could return to my lessons, and came online to find a book that might assist me with this. There were so many titles and authors on singing at Amazon.com. What to choose!
When this book by Oren L. Brown showed up on my recommendations list, I eagerly read the description of it: Professor at Juilliard, hmmmm, that sounds good. It comes with a CD!! Wow, this might be just what I want. ... Eeek, that sounds like a lot, but I just have a hunch this is just what I'm looking for.
I feel very strongly that this was the best [money] I have ever spent. From the very first page, I was learning, learning. The book was jam-packed with valuable information that synthesized all the fragments of learning about the voice that had accumulated with me through the years. Some of my singing teachers, God Bless their souls, had exercised me and arpeggioed me but never had been quite clear what the heck they were doing. My voice seemed to grow and get better, and my understanding about how to use it seemed to improve, but the whole teaching and learning process seemed so mysterious. Maybe in taking the time to explain what was happening, physically and scientifically, it would have taken away from the exercising of my voice and no one could spend that instruction time. But after reading through this book (which I will re-read again and again) I feel I finally understand all that I and my teachers have been trying to accomplish through these years. I have a comprehensive overview of the voice, and feel confident that I will be able to avoid harming my voice with bad habits after reading through this information. I also am encouraged to know that some things I thought were my limitations can be improved by regular practice. All of my teachers told me I had to practice, but no one ever explained to me what to practice. This book provides exercises and gives you a firm direction and purpose to the practicing you'll be doing.
What I really love is the way the author has such a deep respect and regard and fascination for the human voice. He has analyzed what happens when we sing and has explored it physically, metaphysically, scientifically, artistically.
There was improvement in my singing just from being exposed to the concepts in the book.
I read the book first, before I listened to the CD. I had trouble finding time to listen with my children interrupting, etc., so I put it in my car and have been listening there. I was thrilled and overjoyed to hear the author's voice resonate over the Bose speakers in my car. His speaking voice is one of a person who loves voice. He uses his own speaking voice so richly and well. I knew I was in good hands. The exercises on the CD are demonstrated so clearly and beautifully by the singers, with Mr. Brown's comments and explanations. It is the closest I will come to being able to study with a real person at this time when I cannot get to a vocal instructor. I feel that I could not be in better hands.
In fact, after reading this book, I highly suspect that I know a lot more than many singing teachers do about the voice. I really feel that most of what a singer will need to know is contained in this book. I probably will venture out to some of the other hot authors, but I suspect I will find a mere repetition (in various forms or another) of the concepts outlined in this book .