What I think about Gary Catona and his Voice Builder program
I first encountered Gary Catona's work about roughly 10 years ago, and I was immediately intrigued by what this man has to offer to the vocal training world.
My first impression about this man was that this is not an ordinary voice teacher.
In fact, he calls himself a voice builder instead of voice teacher or vocal coach, which is the first time I was introduced to the concept of Voice building.
Also, I thought this man was pretty old school vocal gentleman who really reminds of voice teachers from the old Italian singing school.
He dresses nicely in suit jacket but often wearing classic jeans to go with it, which adds a little modern feels to his old school gentleman style.
In this post I would like to share with you some of my general thoughts about Gary Catona's work and what he is bringing to the vocal training world.
What is Voice building? Why does it matter?
I didn't use to believe you have to build a voice for singing.
Being trained in the Mix school (or SLS), I was taught to work with the voice that we already have and try to maximize it and beautify it by adjusting the vocal tract.
Gary Catona was the first one who introduced the concept of Voice-Building to me through his work - the Voice Builder app and e-book A Revolution in Singing.
Voice building implies that the singing voice is an instrument that has to be built, sometimes from scratch.
The fact that everyone is born with a voice to speak with doesn't cut it for professional singing.
You need to build those vocal muscles in order to sing, kind of like a runner building the leg muscles to run and compete on the track.
Have a weak voice? Maybe you need to build your voice...
Over the years of me teaching students, I didn't quite understand why some students, a lot of them female Asian singers, are not able to sing with power and edge.
No matter how I try to "mix" and adjust their voices, the most they could do is sing just a little bit louder during the lesson with all the vocal tricks I was throwing at them.
However, my work with them was ineffective overall. Their voices did not grow a bit in the long run.
After experiencing what Gary Catona called Voice Building myself, I understood that some voices are weak because the vocal muscles are weak.
Even if you have a pretty decent voice already, imagine how your voice could grow if you start your own voice building program.
What's cool about Gary Catona's Training System
Gary Catona has developed his own very unique training system and put out products that could help singers who are interested in voice building.
I have bought and trained with his vocal training app Voice Builder years ago and thought it was a rather interesting experience.
The app is designed with detailed and intricate visual aids of a human face showing you the facial expression for you to mimic while practice the exercise to build your voice.
Personally, I feel kind of weird to be following the app to practice my voice, because I'm a singer that need to understand the details behind to trust and do the practice.
Gary Catona does a have a vocal training DVD Ultimate Voice Builder I have yet to try. I'll share with you my thoughts on it once I do find the time to check it out.
Fortunately, the App and the DVD are very affordably priced for most of us.
I did finish reading his 400-page ebook A Revolution in Singing, and I was fascinated with his understand and knowledge of vocal pedagogy and singing history, mostly from the Italian tradition that dates all the way back to the Schola Cantorum back in the middle ages and the Castrato singers.
I only read about those in my graduate studies in music school and have never heard modern voice teachers and vocal coaches talk about them. Gary is the first one.
Of course, being knowledgeable about vocal history and science doesn't necessarily make someone a great voice teacher.
Singing is really about sensation on the singer's part. As long as you can get the feeling while you sing, you're good to go!
What I don't like about Gary's Training system...
You notice that Gary's ebook is titled A Revolution in Singing.
Whenever I hear the word Revolution or Innovative, I will take more caution, maybe raise a red flag.
The main reason is that singing is not a new art form. The most effective singing methods have all been developed. We just have to find them.
Gary Catona has developed his own vocal training system - The Catona method, designed for voice-building.
I love the fact that Gary promoting and helping people with voice building.
It's just that building a voice is not that easy.
You really need a good trainer to guide you through the voice building process, or it might be a little dangerous to do it on your own.
While Gary's vocal products are great, he really doesn't have his own complete online training course like Singing Success or The Four Pillars of Singing, in which students are trained very extensively in a detailed fashion at an affordable one-time purchase.
It's obvious that Gary's main focus in his career is teaching in-person lessons.
A lot of his clients are big name celebrities, which means he is really expensive.
A couple of years ago, he told me over email that his rate was $250 per voice building session.
How many of us can afford that?
My overall conclusion about Gary Catona's Vocal Training
It's great...but most of us can't study with Gary privately.
The most we can afford is buying his Voice Builder training app and DVD, but I think it's going to be really hard to train your own voice with just that.
It's probably going to be like trying to become a bodybuilder by reading a book or watching a DVD.
So, I love Gary's teaching on Voice building. I think it's a very legit concept and approach.
But, I wished Gary would put out a complete training program like Robert Lunte's online singing course, so more people will benefit from his teachings.
Anyway, that's all I have for Gary Catona! Leave a comment if you have anything you want to discuss.