Learning to Sing by the Book

Susan Brooks

After twenty three years of teaching voice at Gordon, Susan Brooks, professor of music, knows a thing or two about singing. That’s why she and her husband, Thomas Brooks, also a professor of music as well as a renowned choral director, have written How To Teach Teens to Sing: Voice Lessons and More, a new book for young singers and music educators alike. To be published this year, How to Teach Teens to Sing includes interactive components, CDs, photos and exercises. With another book underway for choral conductors, here’s how the Brooks describe How To Teach Teens to Sing:

“Practically all students enrolled in their high school choirs do not know how to sing. Unlike instrumentalists who by high school age have taken many  lessons on their instruments, most high school singers have had no instruction on how to properly use and improve their voices. Most of them have no skills for or experience with healthy singing. In fact nearly all teens have only been exposed to ‘pop’ singing, which in general does not foster good singing and in fact often leads to vocal problems and the deterioration of voices. It is our view that teenagers have difficulty learning to sing well, developing musical and artistic skills, and therefore contributing positively to their choruses without some solid vocal instruction. This book—a sequential set of 14 guided lessons—is designed to introduce and reinforce  the basic fundamentals of proper vocal technique to high school singers and those who teach them.

Readers of  How to Teach Teens to Sing learn the basics of vocal production and how to set up a sensible system of  learning to sing based on a sequential weekly lesson format. They’ll see real progress take place as the student (and teacher) work to improve and strengthen the voice, and improve their understanding of vocal problems and have some diagnostic tools in place to begin to correct them. Finally, they’ll experience a higher degree of expertise and feel more confident as individual voices and skills improve.

The book also includes access to a website for students and teachers containing more in-depth voice information with links to even more sources including video clips and interactive models, pictures, and graphics; an anthology of songs (hard copy); a CD of recorded piano song accompaniments, and a teacher’s DVD presenting fourteen 10-minute sample lessons which correspond to the fourteen lessons found in the text book. Teachers can watch a lesson being taught to a high school student using the actual concepts from the textbook. In other words, we wanted this to be a practical and easy-to-use resource, one we know is really needed out there, and we think it accomplishes that!”

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