I can't remember a time when I did not sing. My earliest memories are of singing with my  mother while she baked bread or did the ironing. I sang my first solo in our church when I  was four years old.

I did not begin any formal voice training until my voice broke when I was 14 years old. I  grew up in a small village in Nova Scotia and was indeed fortunate to have Vivian Brand, a  music educator par excellence, as my first singing teacher. She taught music in the schools  in the nearby town. Every child or teenager who came in contact with her could sing because  she firmly believes we are born to sing.

When I went to the University, the professor who taught School Music Education impressed  upon us that all children, unless something is organically wrong, can sing. She gave us  various skills, exercises and ideas, (including "tone matching" games) to use with children  who were so-called "droners"--meaning they could not sing in tune. (She also impressed  upon us that droners were most often children who had not been sung to at home.) These  tone matching games developed and reinforced the coordination between the ear and the  larynx. Once this is done the child sings in tune. It can be that simple.

I applied these skills when I taught school music in Montreal between the years 1962 and  1966, to children between age 6 and 13. In this four year span, dealing with hundreds of  children, there was not one who, eventually, could not sing. At most, it took about three  months (one half-hour class lesson per week) of tone matching exercises before all were "in  tune" (and usually it took less); in the end they all sang and what fun they had doing so.

Why then are so many people reluctant to sing? Why do they feel they can not sing at all? It  is a strange situation given the fact that children love to sing and their first attempts at  speech are singing sounds. And it is even stranger, given that with the right help children  can, and want to, sing. In my experience, people who are embarrassed to sing (or who think  they cannot sing) almost always were told in school that they had an ugly voice, sang too  loudly, that they did not know how to sing or were "droners." They were excluded from  class singing or the choir and still feel hurt about it.

Children tend to believe what adults tell them and are, therefore, at the mercy of teachers  and parents. If they are told they cannot sing, they will believe it. They will not be able to  sing--at least not until their beliefs change. It is cruel to tell a child he does not know how to  sing, and people suffer for years because of it. If you are someone this has happened to, then  you have been deprived of a right that is as basic and natural as using your hands, skipping,  or breathing.
This is a very good example of what F.M. Alexander meant when he said the way we think  of a thing influences how we use it. In this case, a child being led to believe he cannot singinfluences his ability to sing. On the other hand, the way I was taught to think about children  being born to sing enabled me to help them overcome the obstacles that prevented them  from singing.

When we come to the training of singers, we see that almost every singing teacher thinks of  the voice in a somewhat different way. These various ways of thinking result in just as many  "techniques" or "methods" as there are teachers, each one attempting to produce a good  sound. These "methods" are then reflected in the physical use of the singer as he attempts to  put them into practice. Some approaches to singing are clear and trouble free, resulting in a  generally well-coordinated use of the body. Others could not be more difficult, resulting in  heavy muscular effort, gasping for breath, and unease.

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Born to Sing

I can't remember a time when I did not sing. My earliest memories are of singing with my  mother while she baked bread or did the ironing. I sang my first solo in our church when I  was four years old.

I did not begin any formal voice training until my voice broke when I was 14 years old. I  grew up in a small village in Nova Scotia and was indeed fortunate to have Vivian Brand, a  music educator par excellence, as my first singing teacher. She taught music in the schools  in the nearby town. Every child or teenager who came in contact with her could sing because  she firmly believes we are born to sing.

When I went to the University, the professor who taught School Music Education impressed  upon us that all children, unless something is organically wrong, can sing. She gave us  various skills, exercises and ideas, (including "tone matching" games) to use with children  who were so-called "droners"--meaning they could not sing in tune. (She also impressed  upon us that droners were most often children who had not been sung to at home.) These  tone matching games developed and reinforced the coordination between the ear and the  larynx. Once this is done the child sings in tune. It can be that simple.

I applied these skills when I taught school music in Montreal between the years 1962 and  1966, to children between age 6 and 13. In this four year span, dealing with hundreds of  children, there was not one who, eventually, could not sing. At most, it took about three  months (one half-hour class lesson per week) of tone matching exercises before all were "in  tune" (and usually it took less); in the end they all sang and what fun they had doing so.

Why then are so many people reluctant to sing? Why do they feel they can not sing at all? It  is a strange situation given the fact that children love to sing and their first attempts at  speech are singing sounds. And it is even stranger, given that with the right help children  can, and want to, sing. In my experience, people who are embarrassed to sing (or who think  they cannot sing) almost always were told in school that they had an ugly voice, sang too  loudly, that they did not know how to sing or were "droners." They were excluded from  class singing or the choir and still feel hurt about it.

Children tend to believe what adults tell them and are, therefore, at the mercy of teachers  and parents. If they are told they cannot sing, they will believe it. They will not be able to  sing--at least not until their beliefs change. It is cruel to tell a child he does not know how to  sing, and people suffer for years because of it. If you are someone this has happened to, then  you have been deprived of a right that is as basic and natural as using your hands, skipping,  or breathing.
This is a very good example of what F.M. Alexander meant when he said the way we think  of a thing influences how we use it. In this case, a child being led to believe he cannot singinfluences his ability to sing. On the other hand, the way I was taught to think about children  being born to sing enabled me to help them overcome the obstacles that prevented them  from singing.

When we come to the training of singers, we see that almost every singing teacher thinks of  the voice in a somewhat different way. These various ways of thinking result in just as many  "techniques" or "methods" as there are teachers, each one attempting to produce a good  sound. These "methods" are then reflected in the physical use of the singer as he attempts to  put them into practice. Some approaches to singing are clear and trouble free, resulting in a  generally well-coordinated use of the body. Others could not be more difficult, resulting in  heavy muscular effort, gasping for breath, and unease.

(Page 1 of 13)
Last modified on Sunday, 06 May 2012 09:15
Ron Murodck

Ron Murodck

EDUCATION:
B. A., A. Mus. (Mount Allison University, Canada 1962)
Private voice study with Prof Bernard Diamant, Montreal 1962 - 1966
Private voice study with Prof Frederick Husler and Yvonne Rodd-Marling, Switzerland, 1966 - 1969
Master class with Lotte Lehmann 1962
Master classes with Gerald Moore 1967, 1969
Qualified Teacher of the Alexander Technique, London 1979

SCHOLARSHIPS:
The Canada Council
The Nova Scotia Talent Trust
The Arts Council of Great Britain
The Vaughan Williams Trust
The Greater London Council

PERFORMANCES:
With English Opera Group: at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, at the Edinburgh Festival, Aldeburgh
Festival, and in Venice and Brussels.
With Phoenix Opera Group , Park Lane Group and Handel Opera Group

SOLOS RECITALS:
Wigmore Hall, and Purcell Room, London
Gstaad Festival, Switzerland
Town Hall, Toronto
Theatre Maisonneuve, Montreal
BBC Radio Three
Radio Svizzera Italiana and Radio Zurich, Switzerland
CBC Radio in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver

SOLOIST WITH
Yehudi Menuhin conducting at the Windsor Festival and the Brighton Festival, England
Sir Neville Marriner conducting The Academy of St Martin-in-the Fields Orchestra
Gary Bertini conducting the Jerusalem Symphony
Kazimierz Kord conducting the Warsaw Philharmonic
Dr. Alexander Brott conducting the Kingston (Canada) Symphony Orchestra
Jean Claude Malgoire conducting La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy, Paris
Dr Edward Higginbottom conducting the choir of New College, Oxford
Dr Edwin Loehrer conducting the orchestra of Radio Svizzera Italiana
The Netherlands Dans Theatre in Paris in performances of "Les Noces" by

Stravinsky

"Les Noces" by Stravinsky with the Netherlands Dans Theatre in Paris

FESTIVAL APPEARANCES: Bath, Camden (London), Israel, St Denis (Paris), Saintes, Beziers (France)
Oratorio performances throughout the UK, in Canada, France and Switzerland

REVIEWS:
Many who have grown up in the German language could take an example from Ronald Murdock's interpretation of Wolf. . .he was guided by an unerring sense of the Lied form. Der Bund, Bern, Switzerland

Searle's "Fleurs du Mal" cycle and Britten's Third Canticle provided ideal vehicles for the movingly expressive tenor timbre, faultless enunciation and musical intelligence of Ronald Murdock. Felix Aprahamian, The Sunday Times, London

. . .     a virtuoso performance. Music and Musicians, London

Alongside his intelligence is an innate ability to sustain one lyrical passage after another, doing so with an interpretative flair special to him alone. The evocative manner in which he managed the broken melodic line in an altogether moving performance of Britten's "The Poet's Echo" (in Russian) was a model of impressive vocal artistry. (Wigmore Hall Recital, London.) The Daily Telegraph.

. . .     expressive line. . .striking ability to project the mood with only the slightest gestures. . .expressive voice. . .very much an artist. Eric MacLean, The Montreal Gazette

. . .an attractive, clear lyrical voice. In his first aria ("Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen" - St. Matthew Passion, Bach) he demonstrated as well an admirable precision. Globe and Mail, Toronto

TEACHING:
Private practice in London and Amsterdam

Private teaching in Stockholm, Oslo, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Berlin (Soloists at Unter den Linden Opera House), Munich (Soloists at the Bavarian State Opera), Salzburg Festival 1995, 1996, 1999, Zurich,Brussels, Milan, New York and Montreal.

Voice workshops:
Trinity College of Music, London
London School of Music, London
Cardiff School of Music and Drama,
New College, Oxford
Hanover Hochschüle für Musik
Brabants Conservatorium, Tilburg, Holland
Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia

Special workshops:
The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Black Mime Theatre Group, London
Virgin Atlantic Airline

Guest lecturer at Alexander Technique Teacher Training Centres in England, Holland and Denmark.

PAPERS GIVEN:
The Voice Research Society, London
The International Conference of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, Brighton
Care of the Professional Voice Conference, Middlesex Hospital, London
British School of Osteopathy, London
"Giving Voice" Conference in Cardiff, Wales

PUBLICATIONS:
Curiousity Recaptured (Mornum Time Press, California 1996)

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