Review AICI- Italy

by Ilaria Cecchirini - May 2018


"A Practical guide for the expressive singer", it is not a method of singing and does not suggest any, as the author explicitly says in the introduction, but a series of tips and recommendations that help to become the most complete singer, taken from the experience of Van Doorn as a teacher over 25 years of work in schools, workshops and master classes.

The book is divided into 10 parts and has a total of 43 chapters that Van Doorn puts in the hands of interested parties to use it as they like, whether it is read from the beginning to the end or take advantage of only a few specific chapters.


From the first part, in which we speak in general of the voice and its relationship with the body and the inefficient one passes to the use of breathing, to the various aspects of technique, the different styles and how to find the repertoire; the elements of musical theory, embellishments and variations, technology linked to singing, ending with further advice on how to work in the studio, being on stage, being in a band, making auditions and finally keeping the voice in good shape.


The manual does not indulge in details of anatomy and focuses rather on practical matters, on how to solve problems of intonation or register, rather than wrong breathing or overly nasal sound; or explain how to orient yourself to get the best out of a band on stage and how it should be the concert sets, amplifiers, mixers and what are the types of microphone, up to advise you never lend your own to anyone, for hygienic reasons, that for someone novice they may not be so obvious.


Each chapter is enriched with exercises that are easy to understand and explained from many sides.


The argument giving importance to details sometimes considered irrelevant, for example, urging the singer to afford to make mistakes, as it is often the best way to learn; or how to prepare a song to memorize it better or how to relate to the public or to your band when we are on stage, or how to sing best while you are accompanied with an instrument.


Van Doorn therefore gives a complete picture of modern singing, seen from different perspectives, since no singer is equal to the other and each song has a different meaning for each of us, but above all is designed to be exploited at different levels, in a practical way, although, she emphasizes that for her, singing is not only that, but in the complexity of the subject she has noticed that the simplest bases are often lacking.


She ends this articulate and rich volume with a little advice that every singer or teacher should always remember; do not be afraid to make mistakes, accept your voice and its limits, sleep a lot and wear a scarf in cold weather. Simple, but not trivial, to keep always at hand.