Brian studied voice with Maestro Franz Schuch Tovini in Vienna in 1985 and 1986. His education under the Maestro's tuition was intense with up to six half hour sessions per week.
All lessons were in German. Although Brian's German was strong, as a second language, the vocabulary is sometimes missing. Brian believes this disability was ultimately to his advantage. Brian was forced to interpret the Maestro's instruction and advice through "feel" and levels of understanding beyond what he had previously known. He describes it as "I had to learn by absorption. I found that when I was taught by others in English it was easy to hear the words spoken and then to copy what was a superficial understanding, an understanding at face value. With Schuch, I had to interpret more keenly and my sense of awareness of energy. It's flow and sound living on the energy became apparent as it had never done before. He taught me to 'leave the nest'. He taught me to understand what my voice could do if I got out of its way and enabled it."
Brian returned to the Maestro on several occasions for 5 week intervals after returning to Australia in 1987. "The best part of that was, I discovered through Schuch's observation on my return visits that I had taken the voice further each time on my own, a true indicator that I understood what I needed and this gave me considerable confidence."
Brian was asked by several colleagues to teach them but declined to teach for about 5 years. When a colleague became ill during a season of performances he agreed to assist. The improvement for that colleague led to others seeking advice and his teaching developed from there. These early students went on to enjoy successful international careers, one of them directly attributable to intensive sessions with Brian in the lead up to preparing for major auditions. Brian has subsequently assisted several colleagues when invited to do so and has assisted many other singers, teachers and others with vocal difficulties over the years.
"For several years when performing I would hear Schuch's voice inside my head as I rehearsed and did vocal exercises. Then it was my voice that guided me and at this time I knew Schuch would have been most proud. His aim was to 'finish me'. In other words to teach me to be self sufficient and not become confused by the mountain of advice that people love to share in this industry. I still listen to advice but I do not lsiten and apply blindly. I interpret what others tell me but always apply the principals Schuch Tovini instilled in me. In simple terms the aim is to find and release our natural vocal treasure which we all bury in a myriad of blockages for a myriad of reasons. The true technique is to learn how to develop a keen awareness of what the body can do to sing NOT what you think (often falsely) it can do. It's less about doing and more about allowing. The first step is to learn how to learn, NOT how to sing"
Brian has been assisting teachers, singers, speech pathologists, people with disabilty and anyone who seeks his assistance since about 1991 and on the internet with free singing tips since 2000. More than 5000 have emailed him for personal advice and visitors to his sight come from over 180 countries numbering more than 600,000 to date.
© 2023 by Brian Gilbertson