Emily Crawford's voice studio is built on the foundation of anatomy. Beginning with a basic understanding of the muscles and ligaments that contribute to breath and phonation, students are given an understanding of how the body naturally functions as the perfect instrument. "Complete Vocal Fitness" by Claudia Friedlander provides Emily with much of her anatomical knowledge as it applies to vocalists.
While tailored to each student's individual needs, warm-ups can include a variety of techniques! From yoga poses and meditation techniques, to sirens, and various melodic patterns with strategically chosen vowels, warm-ups function to check in with the student's health that day, and to point out any bad habits or problem areas to be focused on in the rest of the lesson.
Breath is discussed anatomically and metaphorically according to the student's needs. Based on the notion that the lungs expand outward rather than upward, students are taught an awareness of the body's function without micromanaging the lower abdominal and diaphragm that work so hard in reaction to the lungs' expansion.
Able to teach pronunciation of a variety of languages, Emily advocates for vowel elongation across genres, and discusses pronunciation using IPA (international phonetic alphabet). Influences on Emily's diction philosophy include Professor Garyth Nair's "The Craft of Singing" and Dr. Angelika Nair's papers on Lower Mandible Technique, in addition to the wealth of knowledge of her many teachers.
All students are taught to apply these techniques to the music they wish to prepare, whether for a recital, audition, or simply for fun!
Advanced students are expected to come in with a song/aria chosen and learned. Novice students are also taught practice techniques.
Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! For Emily, like so many other kids Julie Andrews' Maria from The Sound of Music taught Emily her first ear training lesson. To the left is an example of Emily's approach using Kodaly Method:
In the studio, Emily begins by teaching the major scale to students using moveable "Do". As command of the scale becomes stronger, arpeggios and triads are introduced, starting with the "I" and "V" chords. Concepts are initially taught through call and response. Eventually, the ear is tested in tandem with the eye using basic major melodies, to be sight read. These passages and the techniques to learn them are taught in a combination of in person and digital lessons.
Intermediate students are taught a "La" based minor scale as well. All triad and interval training used in the major scale lessons are now applied to the minor scale.
Rhythm is half the fun!! Rhythmic concepts are introduced using a clapping call and response method. Prior to sight singing a melody, students practice the rhythm alone.
"The right note played at the wrong time is the wrong note"-Dr. Trevor Weston, 2013.
Harmony is introduced in the form of rounds and chorales. Students first sing a major scale in a round with Emily and/or a piano. Once the major scale is easily sung in a round, folk tunes are introduced, such as "Row Row Row your Boat", "Brother John", and "Ram Sam Sam". In the studio, students will be asked to pause in the middle of these songs, to isolate what harmonies are made in the piece. To the left, is an idea of Emily's approach to beginning harmony.