This video, shot in 2006 at California State University, Chico, was produced by Adreina and Andreini McPherson as part of a six-part series entitled, Gemmell’s Vocal Techniques. The project was completed in partial fulfillment of their Masters degree in Instructional Technology. Chico State Junior, Molly Mahoney (Mezzo-Soprano) demonstrates beautifully how the Three-Register (Head, Mixed, and Chest) Theory works. In this brief video, less than 16 minutes in length, a varied vocal repertoire is performed and effective vocalizes are presented for teaching women how to strengthen all registers and simultaneously traverse them easily, smoothly, and musically.

The McPherson sister’s video series, Gemmell’s Vocal Techniques V, features Molly’s father, John Mahoney, a wonderful Bass singer with a full, rich, and low voice. This video, when compared to the first, demonstrates clearly how men and women require different teaching techniques, especially as higher notes are accessed and upper registers are activated.

An Aural Vocal History

The following recording is a compilation of performance excerpts from 1984 to 1997 that demonstrate various approaches to singing using the same voice, yet with vastly different vocal techniques. I am so thankful to have studied with Barbara Doscher at CU-Boulder from 1994-1996 and to have learned her “functional unity” approach to singing, which continues to influence my teaching every single day!!

  1. Spring 1984. Scarlatti: Va per lo mare. Senior Recital dress rehearsal. Youthful sound, forward, bright, flexible, abundant air flow.
  2. Spring 1985. Handel: Si tra i ceppi. Recital at Old St. Paul’s Church. Tied resonance, poor intonation due to lack of vowel modification, manufactured sound, less air flow.
  3. Spring 1989. Handel: Arm, Arm Ye Brave. Resonance still tied, but vowel modification lends more ring to top and intonation is better.
  4. Summer 1996: Bach: Gottes Zeit. Free resonance, more freedom in laryngeal position, variety of timbre and articulations, abundant air flow and more flexibility in all things.
  5. Fall 1988. Puccini: La Boheme. Tied resonance, little vowel modification (except as open as possible always), dramatic and large operatic sound.
  6. Fall 1996. Brahms: Requiem. Free resonance, large sound fully engaged with “singer’s formant” evident in ring, yet still flexible and free. Added benefit: able to sing this style as required for projection over large orchestra while, using similar technique, able to negotiate Bach cantata above (#4).

Video Example of  Barbara Doscher Teaching Vocal Pedagogy

Thank you, John Nix, for posting this video from the 1980s!