Next year I will embark on a journey that marks the beginning of my life as a bird out of the nest. I am graduating from Marshall University’s music program in December with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Vocal Performance and will be further pursuing my art at a graduate school. My book collection has anything and everything to do with this journey and is comprised of books of music, about music, about singing, and a few instruments that I’ve picked up along the way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It IS annotated, so you can find out a little about each book by reading below.
Because the code is incompatible with my blog format, I chose to simply screenshot and place a picture of my interactive shelf on this blog entry (it is backlinked to my shelfari). Here she is!
Book #1 in my collection: Adventures in Singing by Clifton Ware
Adventures in Singing is a music text that I used primarily for my Vocal Techniques course. The book is designed with the idea that the reader will one day be educating young (or older) singers. Contained in this edition are diagrams of the anatomy of the voice, different techniques and ideas for teaching singers, as well as many examples of songs for beginning and intermediate singers. I originally thought about selling it back (because, after all, I am a broke college student!), but after thoroughly looking through it and integrating it into my lessons with voice students, I decided it would be absolutely worth keeping and putting into my collection.
Book #2 in my collection: The Diagnosis & Correction of Vocal Faults by James S. McKinney
The Diagnosis & Correction of Vocal Faults is a book that details (surprise!) the diagnosis and correction of common and specific vocal inefficiencies. Not only does it delve deeply into the actual techniques that cause such inefficiencies of the voice, it gives very detailed instructions on how to go about correcting these problems. The thing that I like the most about this particular book is that it is geared more toward the older developing voice rather than a younger voice. I find this to be extremely helpful in my personal study and is the reason it remains in my personal collection.
Book #3 in my collection: Musicophilia
Musicophilia is all about the effects of music on the brain. I consider it to be the musical counterpart of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. The book is more of a leisurely read (although extremely informative) and less about the scientific perspective of musical affect. It is such an easy read but remains stimulating and this is why it is a part of my collection.
Book #4 in my collection: This is Your Brain on Music
This is Your Brain on Music is a lot like Musicophilia in many ways. It studies (empirically) the effects of music on the brain and the body. Because it is more of a psychological and scientific study, it’s less easy to read but the information that can be extracted from the pages is mind-blowing. Many of the papers I’ve done during my undergraduate study at Marshall have contained quotes or snippets from this book. It takes a while to read, but it’s absolutely worth keeping in my collection.
Book #5 in my collection: The Prima Donna’s Album
This book is actually full of music that I study on a daily basis during my practices and lessons. Contained within the pages are many a beautiful aria, gorgeous embellishments, and millions of chords by composers long past. Aside from getting the music, you are also provided with the information appropriate to the music you choose to sing, such as the major work it’s from, the composer and their dates, and the translation of the piece.
Book #6 in my collection: The Structure of Singing by Richard Miller
The Structure of Singing is probably the most-loved book in my collection. Along with providing diagrams of the matured voice, it gives wonderful commentary on more important matters in the world of vocal pedagogy as written by Richard Miller, a leader in the field. Not only does it contain all of this, but it has pages upon pages of exercises for the most basic voice to the professionally honed instrument. Each page is filled with wisdom from someone who has taught the best of the best, and I hold this volume dearly to my heart as one of the most important books in my vocal education.
Book #7 in my collection: On the Art of Singing by Richard Miller
On the Art of Singing is just exactly as it sounds: a book on the art of singing. Although less specific than Structure of Singing, this book is extremely informative and contains very valuable diagrams that are more accurate than the average vocal pedagogy book. Also written by Richard Miller, it contains so many pedagogical examples and specificities that I’ve found extremely useful during my singing study.
Pictured below are just two of the many interesting instruments I’ve been able to incorporate into my musical research and courses over the past four years. Both instruments pictured my brother purchased for me and I’ve put into my collection as artifacts of my lasting relationship with music.
The first instrument (pictured above) is a pan flute. Although it isn’t directly applied to the vocal pedagogy or vocal artistry area of my study, my favorite opera (The Magic Flute) incorporates the pan flute in many ways. It becomes a leitmotif for the character Papageno, and is extremely important in the plot of the play. My brother purchased this particular instrument for me on his most recent trip to the beach, and I adore it. Naturally, it belongs in my collection.
The above-pictured instrument (also purchased on one of my brother’s beach trips!) is called a Kalimba. It is an instrument of African decent and is a modernized version of a more primitive instrument called the Mbira. As you can see, it consists of metal tongs that one must strike with their thumbs to produce sound. For a while in my musical career I was very interested in musical therapy, and this was one of the instruments I acquired that could be incorporated in that kind of study. It’s a beautiful instrument and makes equally gorgeous sounds! Again, it just fits so well into my collection, I couldn’t leave it out.