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June 13, 2019
Dr. Pamela Shannon, a professor of music at Northwest Missouri State University, presented her research, “Down and Out or In and Up: The Controversy Over Breath Support for Singing,” May 30 at the Voice Foundation’s 48th Annual Symposium in Philadelphia.
While voice professionals from throughout the world gather at the annual symposium to present research findings, Shannon’s presentation contrasted the “down-and-out” singing method, which involves pushing out the lower front abdomen, with the “in-and-up” method, which encourages an expansion of all torso areas to create breath support.
“This is a topic that I feel very strongly about,” Shannon said. “For many years, I was a proponent of the ‘down-and-out’ method of breathing until I was fortunate to take some lessons with two legendary singers of the past – Virginia Zeani and Giorgio Tozzi – at the Jacobs School of Music in the late 1990s. Both of these incredible singers have direct links back to the Golden Age of bel canto singing; Zeani is now in her 90s and Tozzi passed away in 2011. They absolutely dispelled the myth of the ‘down-and-out’ method for singing and showed me that the ‘in-and-up’ method is the path to the greatest control, power and beauty in singing.”
Shannon says students have confirmed the method during her last 20 years of teaching vocal music.
“I feel a great responsibility to share this invaluable knowledge with the wider community of voice professionals as the myth of the ‘down-and-out’ method still prevails,” she said.
Shannon joined the Northwest faculty in 2002, and her academic interests include singer training, vocal pedagogy and literature, Italian bel canto, French art song and lieder recitals. She has a doctorate in music from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, a master’s degree in music from State University of New York and a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Toronto.
Her attendance at the symposium was made possible with support from Dr. Michael Steiner, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Kathryn Strickland, the chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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