Estill Voice Training™ is the result of years of research by Estill International, building on the pioneering work of Jo Estill, a singer who posed the question 'How am I doing this?'
Estill Voice Training™ separates the science of voice production from the art of performance. Based on a solid foundation of anatomy and physiology, Estill Voice Training™ gives the singer independent control over the structures involved in making sound - then shows how to mix those structures to make six distinct voice qualities - Speech, Falsetto, Sob, Twang, Opera and Belt.
Perhaps the easiest way to understand this is to think of the structures as ingredients and the Voice Qualities as basic recipes i.e. ways to mix those ingredients. Each Voice Quality lends itself more or less to a specific genre of music, but they are really 'starting points' i.e. quick ways to set up the voice, rather than proscriptive (i.e. 'only way') choices. Using the recipe analogy, it's like having a basic cake recipe and a basic bread recipe, which you choose to start from, then adapt to your specific needs.
The video below is a great introduction to Estill Voice Training™ by Tom Burke, an Estill Certified Course Instructor and industry-leading vocal coach based in New York.
One of the guiding principles of Estill Voice Training™ is 'knowledge is power' - knowing how your voice works is a good thing! Estill gives the singer control of their voice. If you're coming from a background of understanding the voice through imagery, the anatomical nature of Estill can be a real eye-opener! Many students who come across Estill Voice Training™ for the first time have stunning insights - 'like having a new prescription for my glasses so I can everything clearer' was one description I got from a pupil.
Quite often, we find that long-standing problems are overcome simply by having a better understanding of how the voice works. But this does not mean that it is a 'quick fix'. Taking basic understanding to advanced performance can take many months of practice - Andy can help you begin this journey and keep you on the path to vocal success.
…what sound do I want to create, and which structures do I need to control to create that sound?
Due to the pioneering work of Jo Estill on Belting, Estill Voice Training™ is rapidly becoming the 'must-have' item on the CV of anyone looking to pursue a career in Musical Theatre.
Whether you're ready to launch your career or preparing to audition for a college like Mountview or Guildford, a grounding in Estill Voice Training™ will quickly show that you're serious about your voice - and your career. Read more about Musical theatre singing lessons.
It's true that Estill Voice Training™ has been mainly associated with Musical Theatre, perhaps because of the success it had in teaching Belt. However, EVT is now making deep inroads into the Opera world, as more and more conductors and coaches realise the benefits of a fact-based technique.
Perhaps the most telling sign of how far EVT has come in the Classical field is the fact that Paul Farrington (Estill Vanguard Licensee) is now Technical Voice Coach at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. If it's good enough for them...! Learn more about how Estill Voice Training can help with Opera singing lessons.
Discover your true potential and take control of your future
Some people get a little put-off when they hear about the scientific nature of Estill Voice Training™, as though they would need a thorough grounding in anatomy and physiology to benefit from it. The reality is that EVT is based on a thorough understanding of the body, but the way that information is presented makes it accessible to all voice users.
Far from 'bombarding you with scientific mumbo-jumbo' (a frequent accusation by non-Estill teachers), Andy will tailor the wealth of information available to all Certified Estill teachers to your personal needs - you only need to know what you want to know. On the other hand, if you're the kind of singer who does want to understand the science behind the technique, Andy will be more than happy to discuss it with you.
Please bear in mind that only Certified teachers are allowed to teach Estill Voice Training™. There are only around 350 in the world and less than 50 in the whole of the UK. The Level 1 and Level 2 courses are open to the public and whilst they offer a full introduction to the Estill 'model', they do not prepare the pupil to teach it - there's no such thing as a 'Level 1 / 2 Estill teacher'. This skill is only gained through an intensive and prolonged Certification process, leading to the Estill Master Trainer (EMT) exams.
Whilst it is flattering that so many teachers wish to mention Estill on their CVs these days, it's important that pupils seek training only from those who have gone through the proper certification process. At the time of writing (August 2023) Andy Follin is the only Estill Master Trainer working in the St Helens area, and one of the longest serving Estill teachers in the UK, with over 20 years of teaching experience.
If you're unsure of whether or not a teacher is certified, all Certified teachers have their profile listed on the Estill certified instructor list - you can see Andy's official profile here: Andy Follin, certified Estill Master Trainer.
Congratulations to Vocal Skills pupils Stacey Bowman and Paul McFadden who recently passed the first stage of Estill Voice Training Certification - the Estill Figure Proficiency exam. Both Paul and Stacey are continuing their Estill training with a view to becoming EMTs in the next few years.
December 2021 update - Paul McFadden has just passed his Phase 1 EMT exam, making him now an EMT-C (Estill Master Trainer - Candidate). He will become a fully-fledged EMT once he completes his Phase 2 testing, hopefully sometime in 2022.
Stacey is based in North Lancashire. You can find her website here: Stacey Bowman - Estill Figure Proficiency certified.
Paul is based in Leigh, Greater Manchester. His website is: Singing and Piano Lessons Leigh.