The Voice Studio of Dr. Lee Strawn
Singing Lessons In San Francisco
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"The day came when the risk
to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took
to blossom."

Anais Nin

Many of you have asked for my thoughts on people to listen to. Any list like this is highly personal and will inevitably leave out some great singers. But here goes:


Montserrat Caballe
Jessye Norman
Maria Callas
Helen Donath
Hilda Gueden
Joan Sutherland
Jussi Bjoerling
Nicolai Gedda
Geraint Evans
Leonard Warren
Lawrence Tibbett
Mattia Battistini
Dmitri Hvorostovsky


Julie Andrews "The Sound of Music"
Shirley Jones "Oklahoma"
Audra McDonald "How Glory Goes", "Ragtime"
Marin Mazzie "Ragtime", "Kiss Me Kate" (1999 Revival)
Betty Buckley "Live at Carnegie Hall"
Ethel Merman, anything from the 30s and 40s
Bernadette Peters "Into the Woods"
Amy Spangler "Kiss Me Kate" (1999)
Lea Salonga "Miss Saigon"
Brian Stokes Mitchell "Ragtime"
Robert Cuccioli "Jeckyll & Hyde"
Howard Keel "7 Brides for 7 Brothers" or "Showboat"
Gordon McRae "Oklahoma"


Jan DeGaetani
Martyn Hill
Jorma Hynninen


Sinatra, especially the early years
Whitney Houston "Whitney Houston"
Celine Dion "The Color of My Love"
Ella Fitzgerald "The Best of Ella Fitzgerald",
and the various "Songbooks"
Aretha Franklin "The Very best of Aretha Franklin"
Etta James "At Last"
Sarah Vaughn "The Divine Sarah Vaughn:
The Columbia Years"
Reba McEntire "Reba", "Greatest Hits"
Luther Vandross "Greatest Hits"
Garth Brooks "The Hits"
Dennis Jernigan
Shanai Twain


Mary Schneider "Yodeling the Classics"
Yma Sumac "Xtabay", "Mombo"
David Munrow "DUFAY, Se la face ay pale"
The Proclaimers, Scottish folk/pop group
Trio Los Panchos, Essential Mariachi trio
The Bobs, SF a capella quartette


Do Not . . .

  • smoke anything (tobacco, marijuana - whatever)
  • use drugs
  • drink alcohol the day before or the day of a performance
  • drink coffee before a performance
  • become a cheerleader
  • shout & scream at sporting events
  • go to loud clubs or bars
  • try to be heard in noisy places like bars, sport arenas, family gatherings, cars, airplanes, buses
  • stay up late the night before a performance
  • sing outdoors
  • cough
  • clear your throat continually
  • sing if it hurts to swallow
  • try to talk over a cold or laryngitis
  • sing higher or lower than is comfortable
  • "over sing" (if you are hoarse after singing, something is wrong)
  • whisper loudly, or for very long
  • raise the shoulders when inhaling
  • be a vocalist in an acid rock or heavy metal band
  • lift weights while holding your breath. EXHALE as you lift!
  • scream
  • cry
  • talk on a lower or higher pitch than is comfortable for you
  • try to change your natural speaking voice ("change your vocal image" e.g., try to be more sexy, macho, feminine, etc.)
  • talk a lot on the day of performance
  • argue with my mother
Do . . .
  • If undergoing surgery, insist that the intubation be performed by someone well acquainted with the risk to the vocal folds
  • speak at your own pitch
  • support your speaking voice just as when singing
  • get plenty of rest
  • be happy
  • avoid stress
  • avoid places with foul air - everything you breathe passes through your instrument
  • eat well (as do certain opera singers)
  • avoid dairy products prior to a performance
  • treat your body like a valuable instrument
  • if you're bedroom is heated humidify it during winter months
  • drink lots of water -- 8 glasses a day
  • "Pee Pale, Sing Clear" -- your urine should be clear -- yellowness means you are dehydrated (the more yellow it is, the worse)

    • LESSONS-FAQ To learn more about lessons with Dr. Lee Strawn.

    • LEE'S BIOGRAPHY To learn more about Dr. Lee Strawn.

    • LINKS Links to sites related to vocal technique, health, and singing Broadway and Classical music.

    • CONTACT US To contact Dr. Lee Strawn with questions or comments.

    • WELCOME To return to the home page.

Copyright The Voice Studio of Dr. Lee Strawn 2002. All rights reserved.