Jun 21 2015

Jussi Bjorling Presentation

Michael Mayer

First, I want to say thank you for the many responses to my request for your two biggest questions about the voice. These give me lots of ideas of what you want to learn and understand better. (And if you didn’t respond you are still welcome to do so. See the previous blog post for details.)

The obvious reality is I probably won’t ever be able to answer each of these questions specifically and individually. But in my next blog post I will address what I consider to be the starting point to answering pretty much every vocal question/problem.

Now to the topic of this post. Last weekend I was in Salt Lake City for the Jussi Bjorling Society-USA International Conference. JBS-USA is an appreciation society for the historic Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling.

I have been a member for 15 years and on the Board of Directors for 5 years. This is the fourth conference I’ve been to since 2001, but the reason I’m telling you this is because this time I was a presenter.

The title of my presentation was “How’d He Do That!? – The Functional Aspects of Jussi Bjorling’s Singing.”

I feel there is a lot we can learn from observing and studying various singers. But for me Jussi Bjorling is the one singer above all that we can use as a model of optimal vocalism.

So if you are interested I am including the Video here so you can see what I had to say. I should say this was for an audience of non-singers, so I try not to get too technical. Which actually should be a good thing for everyone. Enjoy!

(One other thing, the gentleman that sits and stands in front of the camera a couple times is Jussi’s oldest son, Anders.)

Comments and questions are welcome as always.

  1. This video is fantastic. Please! make more!
    you are the only voice teacher I trust. Your teachings are also very useful for wind players. I play the flute. Though it is not the same, my playing has changed completely by doing what you say about atack, breathing, etc. even resonators!
    THANK YOU!

  2. Just finished watching! I loved the lecture. As a contralto (who sings the 2nd B below middle C in full chest), I was disappointed to hear you say (to paraphrase) that deep voiced singers can’t help but bring our chest up instead of head voice down. To remedy this I’ve spent the last 18 months training myself to start from head and pull it down to chest (after also realising the vocal ‘cover’ technique I was practicing sounded awful and foggy). Therefore I’d appreciate encouragement that it IS possible for lower voiced singers to initiate from their light voice! (Will practice the ‘grover’). Also, props for the awesome advice on vocal attack “on the breath ” – this really helped me with 1. vocal courage, 2. staying in tune and 3. having more than enough breath for long phrases!!

  3. Sir,
    I am 74 years old and being a son of a music teacher, i have been a serious student of Indian Classical Music for 70 years.Did Masters in Economics And Doctorate in Music.served as an executive in Life Insc. corporation of India for 35 yers. For next two months I will be in Cleveland,Ohio.
    I am a regular follower of your blog and YOUR JUSSI BJORING pressentation IS EXCELLENT AND USEFUL. I help students and professionals of our classical music to regain their natural voices using the Western Concepts. THESE HAVE TO BE SUITABLY ADOPTED. .YOUR THINKING IS SOUND AND USEFUL TO ANY SYSTEM, BECAUSE IT RESTORES AND STRENGTHENS THE NATURAL VOICE WHICH IS RARE THESE DAYS. YOUR DEMONSTRATIONS WERE USEFUL AND INDICATED THE POWER OF YOUR VOICE AND INDIRECTLY THE VALIDITY AND SOLIDITY OF YOUR VOCAL PHILOSOPHY.
    KINDLY CORRECT THE FAULTY MISLEADING AND MEANINGLESS HUMOROUS SUB TITLES. YOU MAY AS WELL PUBLISH YOUR ARTICLE BASED ON THE VIDEO IN YOUR NEXT ISSUE OF VOCAL WISDOM.COM.
    KINDLY CONTINUE YOUR WORTHY CONTRIBUTION. GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS YOU
    Dr. Vidyadhar Pandit of Pune ,India dt. 16TH July 2015

  4. Hello, May. Thanks for your feedback. And congratulations for making positive changes. I want to clarify my statement, heavier voices have a natural tendency to bring the low up but we need to train ourselves to rebalance the other direction. So not only is it possible, it is necessary. Otherwise we will end up heavy and uncomfortable. Hope that helps!

  5. Dr. Pandit, thank you for your generous feedback. It is encouraging to hear. I didn’t even consider the subtitles, they are obviously auto-generated by YouTube. But I will look into turning them off.

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