top of page

Vocal education is self-education

Everyone wants to sing well with a beautiful voice if they can. Every person's voice is different, just like our faces. The first important step to improve your singing is to think that your own voice is beautiful. Then you will want to cherish and nurture your beautiful voice.

Improving your vocal technique requires deep self-love (= patience), because in the process of developing your voice, it is essential to face yourself honestly, accept yourself as you are, focus on your life no matter what, and make steady progress.

From this experience, I believe that what I learned from my vocal teacher was "life" called "vocal music." And that learning continues to this day.

I have been involved in vocal education since returning from Germany in 2012.
In Germany, I not only specialized in vocal music, but also studied vocal lessons, choral direction, conducting, anatomy, and piano accompaniment necessary for vocal lessons at the Vocal Education Department of the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar.
In addition to these, another subject that I found very interesting was "Breathing with Two Tendencies." (For details, please see my experience below.) This is an experiential study born from the idea that "breathing, which is repeated continuously from the time a person is born until the end of their life, enriches their life by matching it to their own body."
Research on this topic has been conducted in Germany for over 70 years, and is currently being led by Dr. Christian Hagener. Discussions are also held among singers at many state opera houses, and it is actively being adopted in vocal education at music universities and other institutions. Many related documents have also been published.
I am currently conducting research into this breathing technique with the help of government funding, in collaboration with professors from other universities who specialize in performance science. In my lessons, I aim to teach each student vocal technique suited to their own body and rich musical expression based on this breathing technique.
If you would like to learn carefully from the basics, or if you are having trouble with breathing or vocal techniques, we offer consultations and trial lessons, so please contact us via the contact form on our website.
● Singers who graduated from a vocal music major and are currently singing
● Those who want to further improve their breathing technique and vocalization skills after graduating from a music college.
● Students applying to music universities and music high schools majoring in vocal music
● Vocal music major, music education major and university students
● Music teachers who teach choral singing at elementary, junior high, or high schools
● Singing enthusiasts who want to find more joy in life through singing and learning vocal music
●Those who are aiming to perform in musicals or plays
●Elementary and junior high school students who want to learn vocal music, solfege, singing with piano, etc. for the purpose of emotional education.

● German Diction for Singers (face-to-face and online)


My Experience with Two-Tendency Breathing

The process of learning vocal music for a beginner begins with imitating the singing style of a trusted teacher.
However, there are probably many students who are troubled by the fact that the teacher's breathing and singing techniques do not suit their own bodies.
There is no debate that steadily improving vocal technique requires the student's own talent and effort, as well as the teacher's teaching ability and human qualities. However, in the field of vocal music, isn't it also important to first consider whether all people have the same breathing techniques?

Breathing techniques
This is because it is so important for a singer that they will feel like "grabbing at any straw to learn a breathing technique that suits their body!"
I moved to Germany in 2006 and for six years until 2012, I took vocal lessons twice a week as a student of my mentor, Marietta Zumbült.
I still vividly remember that my first year of lessons was a nightmare. It wasn't because I was scared of the teacher (laughs). I would get very nauseous when I was singing hard, and after 30 minutes I often couldn't sing any more.
One day, Professor Zumbuert told me, "Miki's breathing method may not suit my breathing method. From today on, we will try a different way."
What was going on in my head? The conversation was in German, which I'm not used to, so I thought I must have misheard something again.
Anyway, from that day on, I began taking lessons using a breathing technique that was completely opposite to what I had been doing up until then.
However, it didn't take long for me to instinctively understand that this is what it means for something to naturally fit into my body!
Since then, I never felt sick during lessons, my breathing became smoother, and my voice became more flexible. I remember vividly that day, feeling as happy as a fish in water.
In other words, Professor Zumbuerth and I had different breathing techniques.
Now, I am grateful for the detour-like experience of the past year and for my mentor's bold decision-making.
Because when trying to understand one world, looking at it from the other side can lead to new discoveries and a deeper understanding.
And this bold change of direction was backed by a sincere desire to somehow improve my singing!
Needless to say, that experience is now of great help to me in teaching students who have different breathing techniques than I do.
If a teacher and student happen to have the same type of breathing technique, the teacher can easily convey its essence to the student because he or she feels it in his or her own body, and can also choose the words necessary to help the student master it relatively smoothly.
And needless to say, the students who receive it can feel it smoothly in their own bodies.
However, if this is not the case, that is, if the teacher and student have different types of breathing techniques, if the instructors share knowledge about these different types of breathing techniques and teach lessons together, the teacher can teach the student in a breathing technique that suits their body.
This is also extremely important in maintaining the trust between teacher and student, which is essential in vocal lessons.
I believe that it will be extremely meaningful for the development of vocal education if more singers in Japan become aware of the existence of these different types of breathing techniques and if further research into them progresses.

"The ideal breathing method is not just abdominal breathing?!"

The video of the Vocal Lecture Concert Vol.1 ~ Abdominal breathing? Chest breathing? Which breathing method suits you? ~ (Affiliated project by the Agency for Cultural Affairs) held on November 13, 2021 will be made public. The lecture is in the first half and the concert is in the second half.

This is a must-read for professional singers who are struggling with breathing techniques, vocal students, choir and vocal music enthusiasts, wind instrument players, keyboard players who accompany others, and teachers involved in music education.

An interview with Yasuhiro Yamamoto (abdominal breathing) and Tokiko Mori (thoracic breathing), who are currently active at the forefront of the field.

A real-time scientific experiment on stage by Eriko Aiba (University of Electro-Communications) and Yoshie Matsui (Toyohashi University of Technology), specialists in performance science. The changes in abdominal and chest circumferences are displayed in real-time waveforms while abdominal breathing (Yasuhiro Yamamoto) and thoracic breathing (Mirai Kusumoto) sing Caro mio ben. (We recommend viewing on as large a screen as possible.)

In addition, based on the data measured during this lecture concert, we presented a paper at the Japanese Society for Music Cognition and Perception, held in Tokyo from October 8th to 9th, 2022, and received an Award for Poster Selection.

~ Exhalation-conscious breathing (abdominal breathing) and inhalation-conscious breathing (thoracic breathing) in singing ~ Kusumoto Miki (Osaka Shin-ai Gakuin University), Aiba Eriko (University of Electro-Communications), Tsuzaki Minoru (Kyoto City University of Arts), Okano Masahiro (Kobe University)

bottom of page