Cover image for The actor sings : discovering a musical voice for the stage
The actor sings : discovering a musical voice for the stage
Robison, Kevin.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvi, 107 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
MT956 .R63 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"Thank you for the monologues; do you have a song prepared?" Many actors shy away from singing, despite the fact that it could more than double their chances at auditions. they feel, and fear, that because they do not have a gorgeous voice, the don't have a singing voice at all - and they couldn't be further from the truth, according to Kevin Robison of PCPA.

This book is guidance and encouragement for actors who want to discover a voice for the musical stage and offers as examples actors such as Judi Dench, Gene Barry, Natasha Richardson, Zero Mostel, and others whose singing voices are not considered traditionally "beautiful," but who know how to make a song their own. Acting a song is more important than making beautiful sounds; Kevin Robison shows the actor how to work with the tools they have to discover a voice for the musical stage.

Author Notes

Kevin Robison is the resident Director of Music at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, California, where he teaches singing techniques for actors and serves as musical director for PCPA Theaterfest. In addition, Kevin conducts workshops for actors in discovering a singing voice, is a published composer of piano and choral music, and is an active composer for theatrical productions.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Equal parts encouragement and sound advice, this book reads like a pep talk for actors who have never considered themselves to be singers but desire to add an important dimension to their audition repertoires. Robison is the resident director of music at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA) in Santa Maria, CA, where he teaches singing techniques to actors and serves as musical director for the PCPA Theaterfest. He begins with the assumptions that everyone can sing and that "singing and acting are not separate events." The book discusses the importance of actors finding their singing voice and the basic physiology of the vocal mechanism, then presents numerous vocal exercises for beginners. The author concludes with important advice on how to find the right vocal teacher and practical "dos and don'ts" of auditioning that apply as much to the veteran vocalist as to the novice. Recommended for public and academic theater collections.DLaura A. Ewald, Murray State Univ. Lib., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The 20th century saw two particular phenomena that changed the landscape of voice study: the increasing availability and acceptance of voice-science research and the overwhelming popularity of contemporary music theater. Voice science has provided a body of information about exactly how the voice functions. Music theater has fostered the demand for training programs and performance opportunities from grade school through college to the professional level. These three books provide a minisurvey of ways these phenomena are being served by the literature. Drawing extensively from the teaching of Jo Estill, a pioneer in the effort to legitimize "belt" singing, Kayes (professional singer and teacher in England) meant Singing and the Actor for teachers whose primary business is preparing singers for the modern musical stage. Relying on selected voice-science information, Kayes outlines a highly mechanistic procedure to train the muscles used for singing ("Learn to 'listen with your muscles' rather than to your voice, and you will be successful"). A glossary, a list of exercises and song assignments, and an index are included. Teachers of music theater and even classical voice may find this book helpful, but students themselves should not try her suggestions unsupervised--which makes this a questionable resource for beginners. By contrast, Robison's introductory manual The Actor Sings is unusually kind, generous, and encouraging and offers simple, practical advice to beginners. His most significant sources, mentioned in "Suggested Reading," are Carolyn Sloan's Finding Your Voice (1999), Kristin Linklater's, Freeing the Natural Voice (1976), David Craig's On Singing Onstage (rev. ed., 1990), and James McKinney's The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults (rev. ed., 1994). Rare among voice texts of any kind is a chapter on finding a teacher. The young professional singer might find it a useful aid to sort through the many conflicting bits of advice gleaned from books, coaches, directors, workshops--in short, the entire support system that has developed to train those who intend to make music theater their life's work. A dose of simplicity is often needed, and Robison supplies it. Burgess and Skilbeck's The Singing and Acting Handbook is an excellent reference resource intended to create and keep alive the requisite self-knowledge, imagination, and creativity to distinguish the especially talented performer from the thousands of others. The acting and musicianship exercises that constitute the core of the book are well explained, and the purpose of each exercise is also clear. The authors' overall intention is to assure that technical mastery is always in the service of the dramatic conception. An appendix provides 28 singing exercises. The bibliography is excellent. Teachers of music theater or opera will want this in their libraries for the use of students at all levels. ; Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

Table of Contents

Part I Revealing a Singing Actor So Many Possibilities Suspending Your Disbelief Getting to Know You I Can Do That!
Part II Releasing Your Voice From Speaking to Singing Energizing Your Voice Your Vocal Mechanism Resonance: Your Acoustics Articulation: The Coordinator
Part III Applying Your Voice Finding a Teacher Your First Song Your First Singing Audition