Have you heard about Estill? It is a great way to learn about your voice – if you are the right type! I mean, if you are something like a vocal nerd. There are singers who just want to sing freely and certainly don´t want to be too aware. For that type of singers I would´t recommend Estill, because in Estill awareness is everything.
How do you know if it suits you? If you are like me, and want to know exactly what is going on in your throat, your mouth, your body and everywhere inside you when you sing – then Estill might be for you. That´s how she was, too: the founder of this training, Jo Estill herself. She was an American classically trained singer, who became so passionate about the instrument itself that she went on a quest to understand it in great detail. Through her ground-breaking research from 1980´s onward, Estill Voice Training evolved into a thorough method and has become very popular in many countries. The method is taught by certified master teachers or course instructors who have gone through a very strict training and tests. That is why those taking part in courses can be certain that everything taught will be correct anatomically, physiologically and brought to students in a pedagogically sound way.
In the training you learn about different structures that affect your voice and learn to isolate them and train them separately. These are called the Compulsory Figures (term taken from figure skating). When you then learn to combine these structures in several ways, you get different sound qualities that you can use in your favourite repertoire. There is no esthetic bias; meaning that all sounds are okay, as long as they are not injurious to your voice. Everybody has a voice – everybody has a beautiful voice when it is discovered, made stronger and freer.
Estill is useful to all voice users: singers, speakers, actors, presenters, priests, teachers – and yes, even opera singers! Being one myself, I was astonished to find my voice again in a new way. It purified my old vocal habits, some of which I had taken for granted. And then I put my opera voice back together and found it was much stronger. Still, now I can sing in other styles if I wish, even belt if needed. So, if you see an Estill course given in your neighborhood, give it a try!
PS. I´m in training to become Certified Master Teacher soon.