Functional Voice Training

The Technique

Functional Voice Training demystifies ideas about aesthetics, breathing and diaphragmatic support. It allows both teacher and singer to explore the voice and its associated muscle systems, to identify its strengths and weaknesses and establish a variety of exercises that aid in healthy vocal development or repair. Much like a fingerprint, one voice cannot be duplicated by that of another singer. It can however, be trained and built to respond to musical phrases with reflexive habits having more to do with relinquishing control than maintaining control. Singers thus learn to embrace their own voices without falsified imitation or poor concepts.

Without a comprehensive understanding of the vocal mechanism and the tonal qualities it yields, many teachers resort to a “one-size-fits-all” approach to vocal training. These teachers pass on misguided instruction without anatomical knowledge to hide vocal flaws such as breaks in the voice or lack of breath. This might be compared to an interior decorator who uses wallpaper to hide holes and cracks in walls instead of repairing them. Singers who cannot respond to such instruction often come to believe they lack in talent and that liberated, free singing is an unattainable ideal. The psychological despair of having a poorly functioning voice will cause many to leave their performance ambitions unrealised for life.
“The Liberated Voice” has a developed, extended range of well over two octaves that can sing both fully and quietly on all accessible tones. A “Liberated Voice” is one which has been trained or cultivated to allow the singer to express musical ideas freely and simply and without great bodily effort. The “Liberated Voice” gives the singer a sense of physical and emotional well-being.

When freed from undesirable muscular tensions, ALL voices are uniquely beautiful.

“Her teaching is enormously effective because she does not judge whether something is ‘right or wrong’ about the singer’s approach, but instead determines what the vocal difficulty signifies about the function of the vocal mechanism. Thus she offers the singer real help without dogma through own her personable dry humour.”

Thomas Maxeiner

Teachers of Functional Voice Training (North America)

Sharla Nafziger
New York City

Katharine Posner
South Carolina

Donna S. Reid
New York City

Kristine Anderson
Toronto, Canada

Lenore Eve
New York City

John Stewart
New York City

Eileen Smith
Stratford, ON

Teachers of Functional Voice Training (Europe)

Stefan Grunwald
Darmstadt, Germany

Monika Kopp
Cologne, Germany

Thomas Maxeiner
Hamburg, Germany

Uta Minzberg
Lagos, Portugal

Diane Severson Mori
High Wycombe,
Buckinghamshire, UK

Annette Regnitter
Cologne, Germany

Noelle Turner
Essen-Werden, Germany

Richard Staab

Maria Tuczek-Graf
Wiesbaden, Germany

Johanna Peine
Berlin, Germany

David Dunbar
Toronto, Canada



Advanced Singing Technique Master

Available for in-person instruction in the Niagara Region of Ontario, and on-line tutorial classes in Canada, the USA, UK and Europe for musically trained singers over the age of sixteen to sixty.


Blog | Articles

Qualities of Voice.

As I finish up my first week of 50 out of 100 lessons in Bremen, Germany, I realize that there are certain elements of voice we can never explain in certain rationalities, voices that break the rules and stimulate the ear to wonder. Some qualities of sound merely...

The Vagus Nerve and the Larynx

My old Maestro, Cornelius Reid often said, “destroy the voice; destroy the psyche. Restore the voice; restore the Psyche.”While my intuition and previous vocal conditions told me this was a remarkable fact rather than fiction, I could not come to a complete...