Yaakov Lemmer
Internationally-renowned Cantor
Music Director, Lincoln Square Synagogue

"So many voice teachers focus on a general "fix the sound" approach to technique.  While the traditional bel canto training works very well for naturally talented singers, most eventually find themselves working "around" vocal issues instead of getting to a cause.  By addressing specific muscle tensions, Vocal Integration works in a successfully objective, practical and methodical way that encountered neither in my own training nor in the training of my peers.  I feel fortunate that I am alleviating the direct cause of vocal issues I face not only now but down the road as my voice ages.

I think the WVS/PCC philosophy (if I can summarize or paraphrase it) is "fix the instrument not the sound".  I truly believe when Mr. Wickham says this, he is talking about the person who is singing, not just a complex system of muscles.  I believe PCC strives to create positive people who really contribute something to the performing arts."

I've seen this with many of the other students and alumni trained here in the shows I've attended--they seem at home in their bodies and in their voices on stage... this is rare.  So many singers, even established professionals I've come across look like they'd rather be anywhere but behind that microphone or on that stage.  Not so with PCC students.  They work hard to discover themselves as artists... as contributors to the art.  That comes from a much deeper place than booking a "gig" or using one's voice to interpret song... it is in my opinion a representation of one's soul.  This is what the method cultivates and I'm grateful to have found a universality in the practice of it. As an orthodox Jewish cantor this is most important to me.

"Breath support, transition through the passagio, resonance placement...' all of these were just terms that teachers and colleagues used to help me negotiate my voice.  They meant very little until I actually experienced what differentiating the individual muscle groups felt like.  My voice used to feel like two distinct instruments with a huge hole in the middle.  I had excellent agility, but it was hard to sustain any pitch with control and power.  Cantors rely on a form of improvised coloratura and our music while it works out the range significantly, few have the ability to negotiate the fine-tuning of registration and resonance through the higher ends of the tessitura.  Now I actually FEEL how to "support"... FEEL how to transition seamlessly through my registers... FEEL how to increase and decrease volume in any pitch... these are concepts that can be explained until one is blue in the face, but never realized and actualized until the causes (not the symptoms) of the imbalance is dealt with. 

Because of the significant acceleration in my technical progress, I have been appointed as a cantor in many highly-respected synagogues. As well as being honored with international recognition for recording my debut album with Dr. Mordechai Sobol and releasing my first album, I have been invited to sing with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and have been invited to take part in many European Culture Festivals which were aired on prime time national TV.  I strongly feel without the training, inspiration and support I received from WVS this would not have been a possibility."