Because of advances in scientific research, learning to sing can sometimes feel like a daunting process, especially for voice students who are required to take classes in anatomy, physiology and acoustics. There is so much to know! Where does one begin, and how does one use the information that is being taught? Can scientific knowledge teach the student to sing? One of the great voice teachers of the 20th-century had this to say about the matter:
Scientific explanations can only be grasped by those already educated in the principles of their art.—Anna E. Schoen-René
Schoen-René made her assertion in 1941, and it's taken a good fifty years for science to prove her point, with recent research affirming that there really is a difference between how one learns the principles of singing and their scientific explanation.
A ground-breaking study by Katherine Verdolini-Abbot reveals that there are indeed two modes of learning. The first is a declarative process, which involves explicit memory and the conscious acquisition of facts. This is what one does in an anatomy and physiology class. The second process is a procedural one, which involves implicit memory, repetition, attention and skill, but not the conscious remembering of facts. This is how languages, golf, and singing are learned. Got that? Being able to name the various vocal organs and their muscles doesn't help you to sing one bit. Nor does it help you to have an understanding of formants.
What does help the singer? That's the curious thing. Verdolini-Abott's research suggests that the singer must be attentive to the stimulus involved in any given task. What does this mean from a practical standpoint? It means that someone must show you what to do, how to do it, and where to focus your attention and awareness while singing.
The Shigo Voice Studio imparts the principles of singing to students via a carefully designed series of exercises. It's not a complicated piece of business. Rather, it simply takes time, patience, and practice.
It's not rocket science!