Thoughts on Singing by the great Pavarotti

Be Patient and Build a Solid Foundation

Pavarotti“When I started serious study (age 19) I spent the first six months vocalizing only with the vowel sounds…It was not a very interesting way to spend six months, but my teacher, Arrigo Pola, believed it was essential. Over the years I have become even more convinced of this…I believe those six months of singing nothing but vowel sounds locked something into the back of my head that was extremely helpful…”

One of the Most Difficult Things a Young Singer Must Do

“Everyone has two voices, the lower and upper registers. If you start singing from a low note and go up the scale, you will hear a place where you switch from the lower to the upper register. The sound becomes different, and in order to make the transition, you switch to a different part of your throat…It must all appear to be one voice, a voice without seams. You must not let anyone hear you change gears, but rather you must learn to sing like an automatic transmission of a Cadillac. Learning to do this correctly is one of the most difficult things a young singer must do…I struggled with this problem for six years before I really had it under control…Young singers often don’t understand this. They know they have a good voice and they want to start singing … songs.”

One of the Most Important Things a Beginning Singer Must Learn

“The other most important thing for the beginning singer is to learn to give full support from the diaphragm. People think you sing from the throat, but you actually sing from the throat and the diaphragm working together. I was already a few years into my career before I understood how extremely important this was.”

“Another important thing for a singer to learn from the very beginning is how to take care of himself. The voice is a fragile instrument that is vulnerable to many physical ailments that will damage the singing.”

Stage Fright

“People think that because I can go out and sing in front of huge crowds, I must have terrific confidence. I don’t. I have bravery, and this is different from confidence. If you are confident, it means you believe everything will be fantastic. I never assume that. I am always afraid. In fact, I think the only way to be continually successful is to be a little scared all the time. If you are not scared, it means you think something is easy. If you think something is easy, you won’t work as hard and you will not be as good as you can be.”

“No matter how much success I have had, there has never been a time when I was not working on improving my singing. There is always something new to learn…”


From “Pavarotti: My World”, Chapter 16, Thoughts on Singing