Daily Archives: August 6, 2009

Radical rules for righteous singing

Radical Rules for Righteous Singing


from Jeffrey Carter

1. The righteous singer understands that singing, while using the same body parts as speaking, is a completely different activity, requiring a new way of thinking.  And the singer understands that it’s going to be awkward for a while!

2. The righteous singer doesn’t even begin to approach making sound until the physique is set and prepared and active.

3. The righteous singer talks and thinks more about the breath than the throat, and realizes that everything rides on the breath. Without it, the singer shouldn’t try to make noise, because that exactly what unenergized, breath- devoid singing is.

4. The righteous singer strives for and achieves vigorous, virile vowels of vivid vivacity.

5. The righteous singer strives for and achieves crisp, clean consonants of concise clarity.

6. The righteous singer always views melody as forward-moving, rather than up and down. Thus the singer doesn’t get concerned about high pitches, since they’re part of the melodic line!

7. The righteous singer views the text as of equal importance to the melody, and always interprets the melody in light of the text, not the reverse. The music flows from the words.

8. The righteous singer always remembers that things happen around us, and things happen to us. It’s what happens in us that really matters.

9. The righteous singer takes chances and causes things to happen, rather than responding or reacting to the musical environment surrounding them.

10. The righteous singer watches and listens, knowing that the voice is learned from visual as well as aural instruction, and that watching fine singers is more a learning experience than all the listening in the world.

11. The righteous singer is aware of the difference between simply remembering and really memorizing/living/internalizing a song. Memory takes time. Anyone can cram overnight.

© Jeffrey Carter 2002


Every office day this week has ended with increasing productivity, something that after Monday’s total wash-out of my schedule really needed to happen!

I spent three hours today on continuing tweaks of the http://www.webster.edu/music website.  I also got in a good two hours on revisions of the departmental handbook that needs to go to press next week. The music building hallways have all been painted now, so the physical fabric of the building is looking better.

Tomorrow is filled with meetings, unusual for a Friday, but what are we to do? Meet I will.

The pickling is complete, 21 quarts later.

Tonight?  Gateway Men’s Chorus work until I drop.


For many years now, I’ve kept two pictures close to me, either on my dressing table or on my nightstand.

I was ordained as a minister in May 1984.  Several years later, I gave up my ordination papers when I converted to Episcopalian.  From that 1984 Sunday, this photo includes my parents, Richard and Marie Carter, me, and my sisters Beth and Karen.


This photo from 25 years ago reveals all of us to tip the scales at a much lighter weight!

My paternal grandfather died in November 1985.  Just a few weeks later, my parents began pursuing an appointment to missionary work. They were commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention as missionaries in June 1986, and departed six months later for language school in Costa Rica.  Their first and only appointment was to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Mom died there in 1998.  Pop retired as a missionary in 2000.  This photo, from the day of their commissioning at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, includes Flora Carter (age 76), my parents (age 51 and 48), and Ruth Blocher (age 78).  This is the only photo I have of my grandmothers together.