Is this all-rounder book on singing and performing a worthy addition to your book collection?
Item: Find Your Voice by Jo Thompson, published by Artemis Editions.
Mic rating: 3.5/5
At a glance: The author is an established vocal coach with over 25 years of experience and plenty of celebrity clients. Her book provides straightforward advice, practical hints and simple exercises to help you find and improve your singing voice. The book covers everything from breathing techniques and resonance exercises to audition preparation and performance skills.
High notes: There is a lot of ‘real world’ advice in this book which could prove very useful for both emerging singers and working professionals. For example, she outlines various ways to play with phrasing to create feel, and she explains how you may wish to construct backing vocal harmonies. Her knowledge of the breathing process and vocal tract anatomy are refreshingly accurate and accessible too.
Off pitch: For those who are have trained in modern styles of singing, some of these teachings may feel out-dated. The author recommends keeping a low larynx at all times and is vehemently against belting. A growing body of research is inclined to disagree with these sentiments. Also, the amount of imagery used is often confusing and vague, and disconnected to the first portion of the book which is anatomical. Some illustrations to convey her image based approaches would have come in handy.
Review: This book was an enjoyable read – the tone felt like you were having a conversation with her, so you can imagine that she would be a great teacher. It is a useful book full of nuggets of advice and information for singers wishing to carve a space for themselves in the music industries. But there is nothing new here that you couldn’t find in other, more established books. Her vocal techniques seem a little stuck in the ‘old school’ classical world and it’s difficult to deny the amount of personal bias she places on her methods in lieu of widely recognised research which may rattle some readers.