Stephen Chun-Tao Cheng's "The Tao of Voice" either captured some of today's more popular Western voice instruction techniques, helped to create them, or some combination of both. This part of the book is interesting from a cultural development perspective, but what he does with deftness, and the real benefit of the book, is to bring concepts of body-mind development into clear focus including physical training exercises to align the body-mind, emotion-focused exercises, and an understanding of the "core" that has actual functional capacity. His physical, body-mind exercises are some of the best out there, and beautifully translated from more complex body-mind practices into the voice studio. By viewing Western singing instruction through an Eastern lens, Cheng succeeds in creating a full-brain approach to singing that opens doors for singers to experience the healing power of body-mind integration. In using the Western-based exercises, he outlines popular images and exercises like the "open throat", "maintaining good posture" discussions, the "two finger opening", the "open Ah vowel", the "yawn" and "siren", and several popular vocalise exercises that expose the challenges that these Western instruction tools face. Although there is value in each, they also contain elements of confusion, particularly in how their function tends to be explained. When he attempts to explain them, he often misattributes acoustic and laryngeal phenomena. To his credit, the book was written before much of the understanding that rebuts his claims existed in common form. It is well worth the read, and is a standard in voice pedagogy.
the tao of voice
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