Orville Heyn; Courtesy of The Banff Centre for the Arts, ©2002 Donald Lee/The Banff Centre

  Intro Private Lesson
  Subsequent Lessons
  Approach to Classes
      >> Level One
      >> Level Two
  Multidisciplinary Approach

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As a Vocal Instructor/Coach, Orville Heyn takes an individual approach with each student.
Introductory Private Lesson: Assessment

Your Introductory Lesson serves many purposes. It lets Orville assess where you are in your vocal development, and the speed at which you will learn best. It also lets you assess whether Orville’s teaching style matches your learning style, as well as experience the environment in which your lessons will take place.

Through questions and a variety of exercises, Orville ascertains your level of knowledge and your assumptions about singing. Many of these assumptions can affect how you will learn, and some of them may need to be reconsidered. This question-and-answer process is one way of tapping into your needs so that together you can design a program that will help you meet your goals as a singer.

By the end of the Introductory Lesson, you will have:
  • discovered that wherever you are is the best place to commence learning from
  • experienced your voice in an encouraging new way that could surprise you
  • acquired an empowering understanding of what questions to ask of other teachers you are considering working with

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Subsequent Private Lessons

Orville works with a technique based on a classical Italian approach to singing. You will gain a greater understanding of the anatomy of the human voice, including an in-depth look at the biology of breathing if it is needed. The powerful effect of this approach will free you from the many myths that surround effective breath support. Regardless of how long you have struggled with such problems, you will come to comprehend at a gut level one comforting piece of information: Learning to breathe effectively is easy!

Every exercise that Orville assigns has a very specific purpose, and you are invited to ask as many questions as you want. All exercises are recorded so that you can practice them further at home.

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Orville’s Approach to Classes

Classes are kept small, never more than ten people in a group. This ensures that every individual receives the right amount of personal attention to address his or her specific needs. Each class is two hours long and a series runs for ten weeks.

In this class Orville introduces students to the principles of complete body awareness through vibration. It is this method that is different from any other being taught to singers today. Students witness tremendous results in themselves and each other and are motivated to practice and sing more regularly. Many an advanced student has asked Orville why it is they have never come across this method before, especially considering how well it works for so many people. Part of the answer is that no one else is teaching voice in quite this way.

Level one is divided into three parts. The first third of the class is spent on exercises that build awareness of how your voice feels throughout your body. This step is the physical equivalent of a primer. The heightened awareness you gain as a result of this practice allows for faster absorption and greater retention of the work that follows. The second third of the class is spent on developing and mastering how to practice for best results. With the aid of a warm-up CD that accompanies Level 1, students develop a detailed understanding of singing technique and how to apply it. The final third of the class continues to explore methods of practice while giving individuals the opportunity to apply what they have learnt to a song. The goal of this class is to demystify the process of singing. Instruction is always easy to understand and apply. As a result, the student finds him or herself taking a journey towards developing self-reliance as a singer.

Regardless of your level of experience, you will discover approaches that are unlike any you have studied before. That is the reason why this class is suited to students of all levels of experience and ability. Beginners will find a way of understanding and accessing a voice they never knew they had. The more advanced student who arrives with an excellent ability will begin to experience his or her voice in ways that seem unbelievably effortless and at times inspired. More importantly, students love to come to class every week because they are always taught with tremendous humour and patience. Simply put, these classes are a lot of fun.

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This class is a continuation of level 1. For the students who enter this class, the process of complete body awareness through vibration is now active within each of them when they sing. This prepares students to be challenged at much higher levels. Individuals now find that they have more focus and that their memory and ability to learn quickly are greatly improved. For instance, those who once believed they where bad at memorizing lyrics now find themselves learning whole songs in a fraction of the time it normally took them. Those who play another instrument often discover that their relationship with it begins to transform. Greater control, flexibility and ease are all of a sudden at their disposal. Students who have already studied with Orville can take this class as many times as they would like, continuing their own personal process of discovery and development. Each time they take it it’s different because they are different. Because the main principles have been learned in the first class, this group will continue to explore the many ways of applying their new awareness. The possibilities are truly endless.

Each week, students warm up and then workshop songs in the class environment with teacher assistance. The results are often startling and always inspiring for those who are observing.

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Unique Multidisciplinary Approach

Orville draws from areas beyond singing to create a holistic approach to training your voice. Among these are Effortless Mastery (a path to creative freedom as devised by Kenny Werner*), the Alexander Technique (an approach to body alignment), Vipassana meditation (a way of awakening the body to sensation), Ashtanga Yoga, the martial arts (such as Karate Do and Tai Chi), actors’ improvisation and scene study.
*Kenny Werner is a Grammy nominated master pianist and author of the best selling book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, (book and CD). New Albany, IN: Jamey Aebersold Jazz, 1996.
To find out more about Kenny, check out Links

The benefits of Orville’s multidisciplinary approach soon become evident as your focus and retention noticeably improve. Orville states, “Our current school system instills in children and adolescents alike, the belief that ‘I am good at this and bad at that.’ This would not be the case if students were taught the art of learning, the art of being a good sponge. Unfortunately, these beliefs persist into adulthood for most individuals and can often interfere with their vocal development.” Orville’s multidisciplinary approach will accelerate your rate of absorption. With increasing frequency, you experience glimpses of how you used to learn in the first few years of life. A three year old can learn a complex language and think in it in a very short period of time. Orville teaches that this function can be regained even in adulthood.

Everything you learn is then applied to exploring the musical style of your choice. Orville believes that all the technique in the world is useless if it is not first applied to the style of music you love best.

Only after you start to feel more comfortable does Orville encourage you to explore other styles of vocal expression. Exercises and song accompaniments are recorded so that you can develop your technical ability, repertoire and musical vocabulary.

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