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Since I'm on a point-to-point tour in the US at the moment - zigzagging around the East Coast from New York to New Hampshire via Savannah, Boston, Baltimore and Princeton, New Jersey - my assembled thoughts may take on an even more rambling character than usual. Writing a column can induce a vertiginous sort of legitimation crisis - one's words, sentences and paragraphs are self-certifying, since the columnist can write pretty much whatever he or she fancies - and occasionally the terrifying spectre of block rears up. What shall I write about? Or, more often perhaps, what shall I not write about? For the professional writer, of course, it's much worse, the daily encounter with the blank sheet or screen. I've been reading a lot of Updike on the road or in the air - he's recently deceased and I'm in his neck of the woods - and have relished the following exchange between the fictional author Henry Bech and his current squeeze:

"You should get out of these dreary rooms, Henry. They're half the reason you're blocked."

"Am I blocked? I'd just thought of myself as a slow typist."

"What do you do, hit the space bar once a day?"

"Ouch."

So, to resume where I left off last month - singing teachers. After a gap of a few years - and some internal resistance - I have gone to a new teacher and it's been a revelation. Some of the discoveries have been matters of small physical adjustments, things which have a palpable effect on the ease or placing of a voice but which, once discovered, have to be worked on over weeks and months before they can become second nature. In the end, technique has to be subordinate to the music itself and its transmission, but achieving that is, of course, the hardest technical task of all.

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Jeff Parks
June 19th, 2010
4:06 AM
I loved the article. I believe the bottom line, from reading it, is that the interpolation of spirit over physical vocal ability of a singer equals a given result. This process is aided by standard techniques used in singing. Of course, correct me if I'm wrong. Ian, you are an inspiration to me. I love your vocal skills and musical interpretations. Please write more articles on "Standpoint." It looks like it has been a year since the last. I am still looking for the book you were wanting to write regarding singing. Sincerely, Jeff Parks

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