For instrumental technique, see Musical technique. Vocal pedagogy is the study of the art and science of voice instruction. It is used in the teaching of singing and assists in defining what singing is, how singing works, and how proper singing technique is accomplished. Vocal pedagogy covers a broad range of aspects of singing, ranging from the physiological methods of teaching vocal children of vocal production to the artistic aspects of interpretation of songs from different genres or historical eras.
Human anatomy and physiology as it relates to the physical process of singing. All of these different concepts are a part of developing proper vocal technique. Not all vocal teachers have the same opinions within every topic of study which causes variations in pedagogical approaches and vocal technique. Within Western culture, the study of vocal pedagogy began in Ancient Greece. Scholars such as Alypius and Pythagoras studied and made observations on the art of singing.
The first surviving record of a systematized approach to teaching singing was developed in the medieval monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church sometime near the beginning of the 13th century. With the onset of the Renaissance in the 15th century, the study of singing began to move outside of the church. It was not until the development of opera in the 17th century that vocal pedagogy began to break away from some of the established thinking of the monastic writers and develop deeper understandings of the physical process of singing and its relation to key concepts like vocal registration and vocal resonation. Voice teachers in the 19th century continued to train singers for careers in opera. Manuel Patricio Rodríguez García is often considered one of the most important voice teachers of the 19th century, and is credited with the development of the laryngoscope and the beginning of modern voice pedagogy. Mathilde Marchesi was both an important singer and teacher of singing at the turn of the 20th century. The field of voice pedagogy became more fully developed in the middle of the 20th century.
Appelman and Vennard were also part of a group of voice instructors who developed courses of study for beginning voice teachers, adding these scientific ideas to the standard exercises and empirical ways to improve vocal technique, and by 1980 the subject of voice pedagogy was beginning to be included in many college music degree programs for singers and vocal music educators. More recent works by authors such as Richard Miller and Johan Sundberg have increased the general knowledge of voice teachers, and scientific and practical aspects of voice pedagogy continue to be studied and discussed by professionals. There are basically three major approaches to vocal pedagogy, all related to how the mechanistic and psychological controls are employed within the act of singing. Some voice instructors advocate an extreme mechanistic approach that believes that singing is largely a matter of getting the right physical parts in the right places at the right time, and that correcting vocal faults is accomplished by calling direct attention to the parts which are not working well. There are four physical processes involved in producing vocal sound: respiration, phonation, resonation, and articulation. Although these four processes are to be considered separately, in actual practice they merge into one coordinated function. With an effective singer or speaker, one should rarely be reminded of the process involved as their mind and body are so coordinated that one only perceives the resulting unified function.