studio locations: Midtown Manhattan and Hudson Heights

What is bel canto vocal technique? Simply put, it is a vocal technique that facilitates the vocal requirements of the bel canto operas written from about 1810 to about 1855.  It is my belief, that combined with the information available today about anatomy, this technique is the healthiest for your voice no matter what repertoire you sing. This style shows off the virtuosity of the singer. It s up to the artist to make the music live dramatically and to keep the attention of the audience. Beautiful legato singing and easy coloratura are the signatures of true bel canto and should be the foundation of vocal technique. In order to achieve this style of beautiful legato there must be vowel and register alignment with an even vibrato. The throat must be released, and the focus forward. A range of colors, dynamics, and the dramatic accent of the language are all part of the technique and style. For the often rapid fireworks of the cabalettas the student of bel canto must also be able to master all manner of embellishments - even scales, trills, staccato, and gorgeous, easy, sustained high notes. This is a discipline that requires lots of practice. Even big voices should be able to move freely and have a dynamic range.


The foundation to which all of this vocal technique is dependent upon is proper breath support. The breathing that I encourage my students to practice is a natural method sometimes called "Yoga Breathing." The inhalation starts with the expansion of a released abdomen with the upper chest receptive rather than proactive. The exhalation starts in the lower abdomen with a natural contraction of the abdominal muscles. The feeling should be one of energy rather than tension. The shallow chest breath only fills up the top portion of the lungs which can possibly strain them while tensing the rib cage and taxing the heart.  The rib cage needs to expand with flexibility not tension.  Concentrating on this method of breathing will also support your speaking voice which is vital for singers and will help you to avoid vocal fatigue. ( More details discussed during lessons/classes ). I also recommend Yoga, Alexander, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong for mind - body connection and focus.


There are many facets to singing well and a teacher must remain patient and flexible. Every voice is different and responds differently. I try to create individual vocal exercises to help with the various vocal challenges that you may have. I also rely on some standard vocal exercises that I like.


I love teaching and enjoy working with every voice type. Whether you sing Opera, Classical or Musical Theater you will need a dependable technique for a successful career. I love having the diversity of these three genres in my studio.

TECHNICAL MATTERS

Click to hear Virginia sing "Bel Raggio" from "Semiramide"

~VIRGINIA GRASSO~

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