Estill Voice Training

Additional Information

Jo Estill and her Work:

Jo Estill was a professional classical singer with an international career in Opera and Lieder. In her 40’s, Estill discovered that her true passions were vocal research and teaching. She enrolled in a doctoral program in the Speech and Hearing department at the City University of New York and began 25 years of research in the physiology, acoustics, and perception of voice quality. Through this research, Jo Estill identified how structures in the vocal track move to make singing sounds in differing styles. She became a leading authority on producing a healthy belt and an expert in teaching singers to develop vocally healthy opera, twang, belt, falsetto, sob, and speech sounds and to “cross over” between singing styles. Jo Estill’s research developed into a scientifically based system of teaching the mechanics of voice use separate from the artistry of interpretation. This research was published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, The Journal of Voice, Medical Problems of Performing Arts, and most recently, in Vocal Fold Physiology: Voice Quality Control, and Vocal Fold Physiology: Controlling Complexity and Chaos. In 1988 she founded Estill Voice Training™ to protect and promote her work. For 30 years, Jo Estill taught Estill Figures for Voice™ to voice professionals and to students in colleges and performer training programs such as London’s Central School for Speech and Drama. Her method has been used to train singers, actors, teachers, speech pathologists and anyone who wants to explore their vocal potential.

Some Jo Estill Quotes

“I do this for one reason. I want everybody to sing. I want everybody to use their voice.”
“If I could…teach everyone to do what I had done – then everybody would learn that he was born with a great voice. They needn’t “look” at someone else singing, they could sing themselves.”
“What singers learn with “compulsory figures” is what the voice is capable of doing without regard to historical performance practice, cultural biases, or aesthetic preferences. The study is concerned with developing a mechanical awareness of the voice as a variable sound-making instrument.”
"Careful practice makes you aware of the tiny motions, the control that goes into singing “easily.”
“While the breath does help start the vocal folds vibrating, the breath will respond and behave differently depending on what it meets on the way out to the mouth.”
“We are talking about the habit of experiencing the physical sensations of voice and speech with relaxed energy and the habit of awareness and recognition of these sensations – never the habit of performing these actions without awareness.”
“Much of the mystery about singing derives from not knowing where to work or how to sustain the effort… It is important to become aware of your body by listening to the messages delivered to the brain about the state of the muscles you are using in any task.”
“More people in the world want to sing than do sing.”
“No two voices are alike in the sounds they make. One can make the same observation about faces. Even though no two smiles are alike, we all use the same muscles to smile and we know what those muscles are and how they do what they do.”
“The study of voice is a craft anyone can learn aside from whatever use is made of the voice.”
“The training in craft, or physiology, would be the same for all persons wishing to enhance the level of their voice skills. One simply has to learn how the body works and how to control the related parts.”
“Show everyone in the world how beautiful they are inside. Because if they know how beautiful they are inside, then there is nothing they can’t dream – nothing they can’t dream and do.”
"Your voice production mechanism has parts like any other instrument, but it isn’t only one instrument. It can be changed and shaped to perform like a number of different instruments – to sound like an oboe, a brilliant trumpet, an empty hollow flute – it’s a whole orchestra in one package…You need to know the parts of the instrument you can control…You need to know the feeling that goes with moving each part into one of their two or three end positions…You need to know the changes in sound that occur when you move each of these parts into one of these two or three positions.”

For More Information on Estill:

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