THE ART OF TRAINING AND DEVELOPING THE VOICE:
James J. McCray
“There seems to be at present, and indeed for several years now, a great many misunderstandings, about how to train the human voice. One of these is attempting to train it by way of the effect, rather than the cause. Quite clearly stated, we sing with our vocal chords, and the result is resonance in the pharynx, and of course the bones of the head. When I began to study at the age of twenty-three in New York City, this was made obvious by most teachers, even though there were different approaches, and each one had a specific vocabulary. At that time, it was clear to everyone that the Italian School of Singing was the only one; after all, the Italian School was the beginning of it all. Today this is not the case, and many people ignore, or are not aware of this traditional, and indeed productive approach to the voice. Modernization is not always preferable, since most of the great classical music was written many years ago, and in order to fulfill its demands (and I know from my own personal experience) the so called “old fashioned” approach is the best one; in fact the only one for a singer to realize his or her full potential. At present, I will not go into how many sins some of the current stage directors have committed against some of the greatest operatic masterpieces ever written, under the guise of modernization.”
This incredible article about common misunderstandings on training a voice and what it takes to develop a voice to its full potential can be found in its entirety on the McCray Studio website.
Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Great article, Mr. McCray. I am Ray Buckingham’s widow and he always spoke very highly of you. It’s comforting to know that you continue using exercises that Ray learned from his masters as well as developed on his own. His was a genius approach and method so essential in building competent, beautiful and long lasting voices. Thank you for keeping the art of great vocal teaching alive! Best Regards, Nancy Buckingham
Dear Mrs. Buckingham,
thank you very much for your words. Mr. Buckingham’s lessons, who then became Mr.McCray’s lessons, have been proven invaluable to the development of my voice and to the voice of so many of my colleagues.
I hope I will be able one day to transmit the same knowledge to the new generations of singers the way Mr.Buckingham did to Mr.McCray and Mr.McCray did to me.
I studied with Ray Buckingham for quite some time. Glad to see the referral to Ray, and read James McCray’s insight. Are there other articles or a book by Mr. McCray that are available?
not for the time being, but another article will come soon!
Very interesting article and, to me, all what is written is true. Of course the biggest part in achieving this lies with the singer himself. It needs a good intuition and sensibility.