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Singers Edge


Welcome to another exciting time on Singers’ Edge.

First, i’d like to apologize for the little delay in the publication of this next edition.

This week’s publication focuses on competence and performance as regards the voice and singing.

Ferdinand de Saussure, a famous scholar often regarded as the father of modern Linguistics, in a book published posthumously in his name, first made a distinction between competence and performance in relation to language. According to him in a book titled ‘A Course in General Linguistics’ postulated that competence is the innate knowledge a speaker has about his language; while performance on the other hand, is the actual utterance of language in real speech situation.

Correlating the above postulation to this subject of discourse, we can say that competence is the innate knowledge a singer has about music; while performance is the actual expression of music via singing.

This actually means that one’s level of performance (i.e. singing) is directly proportional to his level of competence. On the other hand, one’s level of competence cannot generally account for one’s level of performance.

Interestingly, you may wonder at the relevance of this subject to the reality of singing or vocal enhancement. But patiently read through to see where we will arrive at.

It is often said that you cannot give what you don’t have. This statement remains true because the best level at which you can sing is determined by how much you know in your inside. In other words, the knowledge and proper application of the rules of singing is what really matters, and not just about having a fantastic voice.

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Competence as mentioned earlier cannot generally account for how well one can sing because other factors also play key roles to the way you perform. Such factors include present emotional state, state of the voice, breath-control, diction, rhythm and knowledge of sound.

Suffice us to note that at this stage, it would be unnecessary to start talking about vocal enhancement tips, when you’ve not yet been able to ascertain your present vocal and singing state.

Knowing your level of competence is the first step to achieving singing success; just as one cannot give a permanent solution to a problem unless he first identifies the problem; study the processes that led to it, before proffering the right solution to the problem identified.

Ascertaining your level of competence also requires a systematic empirical approach.


Note: this stage requires you to work with a competent voice coach; and the results or findings must be properly documented.

Use a simple chorus to run a scale, starting on the lowest key on your lower register and gradually modulate (by full tone i.e. two keys) till the highest key you can sing on your upper register.

During this exercise, the coach will help look out for the following:

  • Your kind of voice texture
  • Your pitch range (i.e. the convenient keys you sing on)
  • Your vocal category (i.e. low, mid or high range voice)
  • The number of octaves in your pitch repertoire.

In cause of this exercise, your voice coach should also be able to help you check the following:

  • Your level of vocal clarity
  • If you have the right or poor breath support
  • If your diction is right or not
  • Your ability to follow rhythm
  • Your level of familiarity of sound

Properly document your results and findings, as they will be very useful in subsequent practical.

If you painstakingly undergo this exercise, you’re sure on your way to attaining professionalism.

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Best wishes

Maestro Vic Signature

Maestro Vic



Forward questions bothering on this subject of discourse or on related topics to:

Look out for the first edition premiering on 10th November, 2014.

For bookings on seminars, talk-shows and grooming:


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