What’s more natural than singing?
UGA’s School of Music is one of America’s best, and teachers such as Stephanie Tingler – an internationally known concert artist – use innovative teaching methods to turn fine singers into great ones.
Sometimes it’s pure fun: Singing Scarlatti and Handel to a disco beat to teach correct Baroque style or using a bicycle inner tube tied to the leg of her piano, which is “pulled” by students as if skiing to build abdominal resistance, awareness and strength.
As Tingler knows, singing is far more than art and repertoire. There’s a physical side to it, and research has led to techniques her students love-and that help them improve dramatically.
That might sound improbable to someone who has never studied singing or sung in a group, but such areas as kinesiology, laryngology, and psychology play important roles in singing pedagogy. While one of Tingler’s students might study the finer points of Schubert lieder, he might also be throwing around a Swedish exercise ball to learn kinesthetic awareness, relaxation, and abdominal control.
Although best-known as a performer, Tingler, who has been at UGA since 1992, is also well-known as a teacher, scholar, and author. Her research on women in music has been presented at national and international conferences. Still, she is known best as an interpreter of the art song repertoire.
When it comes to her own students, Tingler uses what works best, no matter how unusual. You might find a student plucking rubber bands to demonstrate the tension along the vocal cords, for example.
Whatever the technique, the result, as always, is beautiful music.