Vocal Technique: An Organizing Principle for Singers, Part 1

By  | October 6, 2011 | 3 Comments | Filed under: Features, Vocal Technique

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Ian Howell is a countertenor based in Boston, Massachusetts. He regularly performs as a concert and operatic soloist all across North America and writes from time to time. He was educated at Yale and Capital Universities, sang with Chanticleer from 2000-04, and is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts student at the New England Conservatory of Music. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.


  • Sherry Blackford

    I appreciate this article, Ian. I was a teaching protege of Dan Merriman in the 1980s, and have taught Dan’s Grid method ever since. Do you know if anyone is still teaching the Grid, or if it is still evolving? You mentioned Lynn Vardaman, and your understanding of vocal biomechanics seems spot on, so I thought you might know. Thanks again for the clear and sensible article. Please feel free to contact me on Google+ if you have information about the Grid. –Sherry Blackford.

  • Steve Watts

    This is solid gold thinking! Thank you Ian for taking the time – and drawing on extensive research, experience and basically a big brain – to write this terrific piece. I stumbled across your article in a Google-wander and have created an immediate link in my bookmarks; there is much to return to here!

    You encapsulate so much of what I have come to understand over many years of study with the wonderful Michelle Wegwart, here in the UK. Latterly, I have been following Michelle’s ‘Train the trainers’ programme, for those of her singers who have the need to facilitate vocal development for others. Of all the teaching I have done over many years (including of brass originally and of acting – as a trained professional actor), singing is the most thrilling, terrifying and rewarding branch of teaching I do. I am now going to click on your link: ‘How to practise practising singing’.

    Again, thank you. All good wishes, Steve Watts

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