What exactly is Estill Voice Training (often abbreviated EVT)? Many of you may not have heard about it, or even know what it is all about.
Pronounced as “Es-Till” Voice Training, this voice model uses science to demystify the workings of the human voice, and apply this knowledge to speaking, singing and other uses of the voice. In layman terms, through Estill Voice Training, you will know how to tweak your voice in order to create the speaking or singing tone that you desire.
This vocal system was founded by Josephine Antoinette Estill (25 April 1921 – 9 December 2010) in 1988, and she had been doing research on voice since 1979. Through her research, she began to design vocal exercises that help singers and speakers develop specific control over individual structures within the vocal mechanism.
Just like what Jo Estill said, “Everyone has a beautiful voice…you just have to know how to use it!”, this vocal system is not limited to any style of singing and or voice usage.
Many speech and language therapists have also given testimonial that the exercises in Estill Voice Training are valuable in their voice therapy for their patients!
Look at some feedback from participants who had attended the Estill Voice Training Course:
“Estill voice is a life changing method. It’s like an insta-filter to your voice spending your time in the dark and suddenly having light in the dark. That’s what it feels like!” – Tania Levy, Vocal Coach
“Would highly recommend this introductory course to Anyone who is interested in how our voice works scientifically and how to isolate and aurally recognise which individual muscles affects what comes out when we use our voice.” David Tao – Classical Opera and Broadway Singing Instructor
“I think from the Estill Workshop I have learnt, how to use different types of styles and also how to achieve different types of voices, and most importantly, some of the therapy techniques that I may be able to apply to my patients for future voice therapy!” – Fahimah Thalib, Speech Therapist
Apart from educating pop singers, a number of universities as well as educational boards have incorporated or taken reference from Estill Voice Training terminology, for instance:
- Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia : Estill-based Vocal Technique is taught in the Drama Centre
- London College of Music (LCM) uses Estill Voice Training terminology in its guidelines on the suggested development of vocal technique as part of the music theatre syllabus
- Motherwell College in Scotland and Bird College in London, includes Estill Voice Training in its BA Honours Musical Theatre and BA Honours Acting programmes
- Mars Hill College, North Carolina include Estill Voice Training in their curriculum for their Voice Performance and Musical Theatre programmes
With Estill Voice Training, we can certainly have a much deeper understanding of our physiology, and identify and isolate the structures in the voice box (or the larynx) that we wish to manipulate and change, in order to produce the voice quality that we want.
This makes it easier for voice coaches and singing instructors, because we no longer need to rely on vague suggestions like, “You need to sing with more emotion!”. We can guide students to move specific vocal structures in order to produce the associated vocal tones.
In other words, there is no need to guess or try to understand what the instructor meant by ‘putting more emotion in your singing’, but we can spell out exactly what needs to be done to create that more emotional sound in the human voice.
For example, to sing Adele’s song ‘Hello’ (or other emotional songs), many other instructors would just say to put in more emotions and to feel the song more when singing, but the student would not usually know how to do it, or even what sound to make.
But with Estill Voice Training, to create a singing tone with more emotion, we would tilt the thyroid, thin out the vocal folds, and sometimes even lower the larynx to produce the appropriate tone.
It all sounds complicated, but with practice, it becomes really easy and also specific!
In Estill Voice Training, there are a total of 13 Figures for Voice, and each of these figures or vocal tasks helps us to establish control over a specific structure of the vocal mechanism, in an isolated setting.
This means that when we move one of the structures, we do not move the other structures along with it, and so we can isolate the changes to our vocal tone with specificity.
“Estill figures lead to a much greater freedom and flexibility in the demanding work of the singer and actor.” Janice Chapman, the operatic singer, voice teacher and researcher.
Practising these 13 Figures for Voice is a great way for singers and speakers to understand their own voice better, and also achieve greater vocal mastery.
This also allows speech therapists to teach these Figures to their clients, and focus on specific vocal structures that help to reduce constriction and encourage healthy vocal habits.
“Estill is a great course for non-singers and speech therapists. Understanding how the voice works and how to change each aspect in isolation and then to combine into qualities has me great insight into my own voice and into clinical application” – Chloe Ang, Speech Therapist
Whether you want to increase your vocal range, learn how to belt safely, or increase vocal power and improve breath control, the Estill Voice Model provides practical solutions in achieving them healthily.
In Feb 2021, Naomi Eyers, Estill Voice Training Certified Course Instructor, will be conducting a 5-day Estill Voice Training Course in Singapore. Come attend and experience the Estill Voice Model for yourself!
Estill Voice Training Course in Singapore (Online)
19, 20, 21 February (Fri-Sun) and 27, 28 February (Sat, Sun)
930am to 5pm
Pricing (Materials not included)
Early Bird: $800
SALTS Members: $720