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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Vocal coach ~ Amanda Colliver

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Vocal coach to the stars spills on celeb singing classes
By Han Wei Chou | Posted: 05 September 2012 1551 hrs
This story was printed from channelnewsasia.com

Title: Vocal coach to the stars spills on celeb singing classes
By :Han Wei Chou
Date :05 September 2012 1551 hrs (SST)
URL :http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/entertainmentfeatures/view/1224130/1/.html

SINGAPORE: Amanda Colliver walked away from her 23-year career as a top opera singer in Australia 11 years ago to take stock of her life, before going into teaching in 2004.

Over the course of her career, she has worked with Hollywood biggest stars like Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, as well as homegrown singer Kit Chan.

And it has been a rather interesting ride.

"Ewan McGregor came into a singing lesson with a glass of wine. I thought it was really funny. He is such a lad.

"I think he had been out partying and he had carried it with him to the singing lesson for 'Moulin Rouge'."

"That's probably the difference [working] with celebrities - they can do what they want!" recounted Colliver with a laugh.

She went on to describe how Kidman looked "amazing" and had an "otherworldly" beauty when she met her for the first time, but was really a "girl next door" during her singing classes.

"Actually, apart from the 'zoo' value ... the fact that they are celebrities and how they look in real life, they are the same as everyone else," said Colliver.

"Most of them are very down-to-earth."

"I am kind of a hippy"

Like her clients, Colliver is a little special.

"I am kind of a hippy," she said, explaining that she believes singing isn't just about technique and prefers to take a more "holistic" approach towards vocal coaching.

"Singers don't tend to be into spiritual or metaphysical development," said the Singapore-based vocal coach.

"I believe very much in the body, the mind and the spirit.

"Singing is completely tied to your emotional well-being," she continued, as she leaned back in her chair on the porch of her Bohemian home, decorated with all sorts of tribal knick-knacks and exotic antiques.

"Your body is responding to your mind. You're dealing with psychological issues, which affect the body, which affect the voice," she continued.

"You have to get the psychological part right, because it tends to sabotage your performances," said Colliver.

Colliver said she wants to spread the word about her "organic" approach to vocal training, which was why she wrote "Can Anybody Sing?", a book that advocates learning to sing "from the inside out".

The misconception

"Can Anybody Sing?", which will be released on September 21, isn't a technical manual, though it does contain tips and exercises on key singing techniques like breath control.

Colliver describes her book as one which tackles issues like finding the right motivation to overcome obstacles in singing, examines the psychology behind the physical production of sounds, and explores the perennial question: Can Anybody Sing?

"A lot of people ask me that," said Colliver, resting her fingers thoughtfully on her chin.

"A lot of people think 'You either have it or you don't'. I don't necessarily agree. It is [often] mixed up with the question 'Can anybody sing well'," she explained.

"Generally we say you can't sing because you are singing not very well … and I'm saying 'Actually that (the concept that people must sing well if they choose to sing) stops a lot of us [from] singing'."

She noted that it is these pre-conceived ideas about what it means to be a singer, along with stress arising from personal insecurities, which act as a barrier for aspiring singers and singers who want to improve.

According to Colliver, the first step for any aspiring singer is to get their mindset right by "removing the 'but' and putting in 'so'".

"Instead of 'I want to sing but …', I'd rather go 'I want to sing so … How will I do it? Who will I learn from? When will I want to do this.'?" Colliver said.

She actually took her own advice when she was writing "Can Anyone Sing?"

Colliver, who described herself as "not much of a writer", stopped finding reasons not to write the book, and took an online writing course so she could complete it.

"I discovered that I liked to write!" said Colliver.


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