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Leon has more than 30 years experience in the music business as a musician, singer, sound engineer and teacher. He studied piano in Cape Town under the legendary Merton Barrow, and has spent many years playing live and recording guitar, keyboads and drums. He still plays in bands, mostly as guitarist.
His dynamic approach to vocal training brings this extensive knowledge of music and the voice together in a powerful way which is thoughtful and inspiring and very much geared to bringing out what is unique and best in each individual singer. His accurate ear allows him to understand the voice in all its nuances enabling him to get to the core of problems and correct them quickly and effectively from soprano to bass. He has a wide knowledge of musical styles and Leon's interpretation of vocal melody is outstanding - vivid and full of life.
Lessons with Leon are more than simply learning about the voice, they are a creative journey in their own right.
Every teacher has their style, and every teacher has their taste, so really what it comes down to between a voice student and teacher is whether you share a vision for the voice and whether the two people find a rhythm and communication in the lessons to achieve the goals.
I tend to work fast and hard on the technical issues to achieve power and ease throughout the range. I never put easy half-results before harder-to-achieve complete solutions, as I feel that although this may give the singer a brief flush of success, it ultimately makes the road longer.
I like voices that are bold and uncompromised right across the range, in the contemprary fashion. Building on top of that foundation, I am an expert stylist and I like to spend about half of each lesson working on songs. Not just applying vocal technique, but also on text analysis, styling, phrasing and recording. My studio is fitted to a high standard for vocal track-laying, and I make extensive use of these facilities in lessons.
1. All voices have a series of "registers" going up the scale. There may be breaks where the registers join, and some registers may be inaccessible or weak. The secret of extending range is about learning to sing seamlessly through the various registers, strongly and evenly. EVERY singer who has a big range sings this way... even if it sounds like they don't. And this technique can be learned by anyone.
2. Running out of breath does not mean you need to blow harder or learn to breathe more deeply... that way, you will just waste more air, and the problem will get worse. The secret is that you need to learn to close the vocal cords properly, using only a smooth, balanced flow of air.
3. Training your voice does NOT mean you are: artistically weak; going to lose your individuality; not a real rocker; or anything else bad... it means that you have decided to be the best you can be at something you love doing. Singing is a complex and difficult skill, and it when you get it right it's a great feeling: powerful, confident and in control!