Ian Belsey - Teacher

Ian has been teaching singing for a over a quarter of a century, and the results of his tuition have found his students winning prizes at music competitions and festivals, gaining access to major music and drama colleges, and engagements with opera companies and West End musical shows.

He has taught at Arts Educational School, London, and has given vocal masterclasses and workshops at many colleges, and music trusts. He is currently Head of Voice at Aelfa Drama School, which is rapidly becoming one of the leading drama schools in Greater London. He is also vocal advisor to a major agency, as well as having a thriving private singing practice. 

An extract from a treatise I wrote on singing:

"Good singing is easy and difficult singing is bad." So said the great Australian Prima Donna Dame Nellie Melba when giving a lecture at the old Guildhall School of Music. How many of us have actually thought about that when commencing any sort of vocal training? Of course, it stands to reason that this should be so. However, we're also taught that it is hard to study singing, that it is a very physical activity, that the voice is delicate and once damaged may not be repairable. That breathing is important and projection and 'support' are requisites of good vocal tone. All of these statements are true - the list goes on and on and may be completely confusing to a gauche and uncertain student.

Melba was right. Easy singing means if it all appears to be working correctly and the notes flow out in an harmonious fashion, it's a pretty good bet that the body is doing exactly what it needs to do to produce a tone and is not being forced to have impositions made upon it. If it is difficult and your top note splits each time you attempt it, it's time for a re-think! 

There are many vocal coaches in the world today who are just that - vocal coaches. They can get you through an examination or play the piano to accompany you beautifully, but many have ideas about vocal pedagogy that should put any student of singing running for the door! There have been accounts of students being made to wear tight belts to 'help' support their voices. Lying on the floor with multiple books being placed on their diaphragms (for information, what most people believe to be their diaphragms working is actually their abdominals and obliques: the diaphragm is an involuntary muscle over which we have no control ), walking around the room breathing and holding breath for good breath management - all very well, but only useful if you want to dive for pearls! All of these so-called methods are potentially dangerous to good, healthy singing and show a complete misunderstanding of how the vocal mechanism works.

In the last paragraph it may be said that these various 'methods' which have been used in abundance, may have had some sort of success rate. This may well be true, but when we are young our muscles have great recovery power. As we get older, that's when we need good, sensible and easy technique! Nellie Melba was right. 

Good singing is easy, but the path to getting it so can be daunting and most confusing!

I believe the singing voice is the greatest of all the instruments, not merely because it's the only one that's actually living, and because of that, can be difficult to manage, but is also the most interesting, versatile, and in many cases, more beautiful than any other. My lessons are a mixture of technique, which is all important for good singing, and working on material to be performed in a friendly environment that can only produce good results. Why not book a lesson and see for yourself?

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