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David Wilken

I enjoyed reading through your teaching philosophy and found it to be very similar to my approach to teaching brass music. How do you respond to criticisms that teaching a process-oriented approach will lead to "paralysis by analysis" and that musical technique is best done through imitation, as we learn to speak purely by imitation and not through the details?



Claudia Friedlander


There's actually very little conceptual analysis in the way I teach technique. The important distinction is between training the voice to respond directly to expressive impulses vs. manipulating the voice to produce certain sounds.

Some imitation is a necessary component of any technique, vocal or instrumental - surely your students need to see and hear you demonstrate things. But for imitation to be an effective pedagogical tool, it needs to be clear that what your students are supposed to imitate are the movements & processes you're executing and not the resulting sounds.

Infants learn speech primarily through imitation, and this is also how most of us learn to walk. But if you later decide to train and strengthen your legs so you can execute the highly specific and skilled movements needed to play soccer brilliantly, imitating other soccer players will only get you so far!

The same is true for singing. Of course I find it necessary at times to ask students to observe and imitate what I'm doing, but it's crucial to make sure they are imitating my process and not trying to mimic my results.

In my opinion, imitation is a very poor foundation for vocal pedagogy. Every voice is unique. Every singer has their own reasons for singing and their own highly personal things to express.

Outi Kähkönen

Hi Claudia!
Thank you for a very interesting blog. I truly enjoyed reading your postings and do agree with your thoughts in many aspects.

I´m a singing teacher from Finland and I also have a blog about singing in which I´ve covered mostly technical aspects. You gave me lots of inspiration regarding the philosophical and spiritual level of singing.
If you are interested, go to www.wonderofvoice.wordpress.com.

It would be nice to exchange thoughts!
Best wishes,
Outi Kähkönen from Helsinki

Claudia Friedlander

Hello Outi! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I will read your blog and we should certainly keep in touch. I dream of visiting your beautiful country some day.

best, Claudia

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