Get Off the Sofa and Sing


How to Get Off the Sofa and Sing Like a Professional (Opera) Singer is by the author, broadcaster and singer Robert Little.

Robert says:

“It’s now some time since I decided I wanted to learn how to sing. It took me about ten years to pluck up the courage and find the opportunity to begin to learn to sing – which was just as well since an adult male should be at least eighteen years old before starting to have his voice trained. It’s a skill, an art and a technique which, many years later, I’m still trying to perfect.

Get Off the Sofa

“This booklet tells something of my sojourn in singing but it sets out a lot more of the singing technique that I’ve learnt along the way. That technique, along with some excellent vocal coaching, has been culled from professional opera singers who, in turn, learnt their technique from the rather stern teacher of experience and, in one case, the even sterner (but ultimately hugely rewarding) experience of working with a world-class singing teacher in Rome.

“I hope that you’ll have at least as much fun from this extremely demanding but rewarding performing art as I’ve had over the years.”

What the experts said when we asked them to review the manuscript:

“Bob Little’s useful book takes a singer interested in perfecting their technique by the hand and shows them in easy steps what can be achieved. Understanding that singing in public is also about confidence, through amusing anecdotes and inspiring quotations Little shows that he has learned from the best and applied what he himself has learned to his love of being on the stage. This book is both practical and wonderfully inspirational. When I next want to ensure I keep in tune I, too, will lift my eyebrows!”

Professor Frank Banks, The Open University

“The author’s infectious enthusiasm and humorous approach to his subject permeates the whole text of this new e-book, and gracefully offsets his insistence on the continuous and unyielding self-discipline necessary for success in this demanding musical art form.

“It’s delightfully illuminated by a series of entertaining quotations – not only does it include pearls of practical wisdom from celebrated operatic stars, but also apposite philosophical ‘nuggets’ from a range of literary heroes.

“The teaching of singing technique has always been something of a minefield. There is the inescapable and probably unrealistic demand for words and metaphors which can adequately convey internal sensation and desired physical response in and from another person. In this case, the nettle has been securely and successfully grasped, and a whole series of challenging exercises, with particular emphasis on the correct production of pure vowel sounds, are provided. Many would argue that this is the most significant aspect of the singer’s armoury.

“Robert Little first sets the scene in an introduction, which includes both a comprehensive account of the professional career of his inspiring teacher Edgar Evans – for many years a principal tenor at Covent Garden – and also his own, occasionally faltering, steps as he gradually acquires and hones his own singing techniques. These are skilfully described and, by means of a series of exercises, form the principal topic of the book. Key to the understanding of the exercises is the provision of a music notation and note lettering diagram that can be readily used by voices of all ranges.

“This book will surely be a source of encouragement and a useful guide for the aspiring singer.”

John Falk, retired (formerly assistant director of studies and head of student services at Trinity College of Music, London)

“This is an absolute gem of a ‘how to’ book!

For those even slightly interested in the art (and the science) of singing, this book has much to say. It is in layman’s language, very readable, with anecdotes and a bit of musical knowledge thrown in. Robert Little uses his experience of the operatic stage and concert hall to describe the life of singing, and tells of his inspirational teacher, Edgar Evans, a leading tenor at Covent Garden for over thirty years. But above all the little – or Little – book tells of the technique of singing. What happens when you sing? How do you know what type voice you have? These questions and many others are answered and Robert Little’s enthusiasm for singing is infectious. Read this book and you are likely to catch the singing fever! I heartily recommend it.”

Margaret Johnson, vocal coach and musical director of the Putteridge Bury Gilbert and Sullivan Society (including musical director for the Society’s production at the 2011 International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, in Buxton, Derbyshire)

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