Student Survey


A Questionnaire sent to Students of Ryland Davies elicited the following typical responses:
 

Name: Anna Leese (New Zealand).

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

A couple of my friends at the Royal College had mentioned to me how great their teacher, Ryland Davies, was and when I asked them to describe what sort of things he works on in a lesson, I decided that those were the things I was interested in furthering regarding my own singing.

 2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

As soon as I walked into the lesson, I was struck by just how much Ryland enjoys the whole process of teaching, and of singing, and hearing others sing. And I instantly related to the technical terms he used when describing the vocal mechanism and agreed with what he said he thought I needed to work on, and how to go about it.

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

Ryland has improved my confidence in my own ability to make decisions about repertoire. We have also worked successfully on improving my physical stance on stage, but particularly the way I move/walk, which has been extremely useful. Most of all, we've worked on vowelling and legato line, which is an ongoing project (as is everything else!!); but he has helped me to enjoy my own singing, and to remember that the reason we're here is because we all love to sing!
 

Name: Nicholas Nicolaidis (South Africa).

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

I wanted to study with somebody who understood how the voice works and is passionate about singing. He came highly recommended.

 2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

He was open, honest and frank about his ideas and the manner in which he conducted his lessons. He was easy to understand and was able to clearly communicate what he wanted me to do. Everything he suggested certainly benefited and aided me in my singing. He also has a great deal of energy which is also extremely inspiring and encouraging.

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

I now have a sound understanding and grasp of the intricacies of the passagio, which has certainly improved the quality of my vocal production. We also worked on polishing up the ‘clarity on the peripheral’ from my vocal tone production, which certainly improves projection and resonance.
 

Name: Andrew Kennedy (England.)

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

I had been impressed with his reputation as a singer and a teacher and a number of my student friends had recommended him in the highest possible terms.

 2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

He teaches principles firmly rooted in the Bell Canto tradition of singing, and was able to articulate clearly what I needed to improve and how to negotiate my voice. I saw and immediate improvement in my singing which was immensely heartening!

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

Most importantly I can now sing Bach/Schubert/ Verdi with exactly the same technical approach. My voice is bright and forward and most crucially, turning my voice through the passagio is now second nature. I feel I can spend all of my time in performance thinking about musical and interpretational matters as opposed to technical aspects of performance. Ryland has helped me free my musical potential and is an immensely gifted teacher and musician for whom I have the greatest respect.
 

Name: Dawid Kimberg (South Africa.)

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

Based on advice from my friend Clint van der Linde. I decided to try for the royal college, only if I could receive lessons from Ryland Davies. I trusted Clint, implicitly as a friend and as a vocal technician enough to know that he would know that Ryland was right for me.

 2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

Well I didn’t have a consultation as such but my first lesson determined the fact that I had made the right decision. Ryland achieved results with my voice instantly and there was no misunderstanding in this regard. I liked the fact that Ryland can tell me exactly how my voice works, rather than some vague metaphorical estimation which is what most singing teachers deliver.

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

Since studying with Ryland, my entire outlook on singing has changed from something I was good at and enjoyed doing into something I will work on for my entire life, perfecting it, and now can’t live without. He has equipped me with the technical efficiency to become an expressive force. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
 

Name: Eamonn Mulhall (Ireland.)

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

I had been offered a place at the RAM and the RCM and, having had other consultations hadn’t found a suitable teacher. Subsequently, Ryland’s teaching was highly recommended to me by other musicians (Alison Roddy and Brenda Hurley.)

 2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

I felt Ryland had a clear understanding of the tenor voice and his own singing was rooted with a solid technique. He was very capable of passing on his knowledge and his ear was sensitive to subtle changes in my voice. After the lesson, I felt in a better position to tackle the repertoire I was working on in Dublin.

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

My voice now sounds richer with many more overtones and little or no straight tone. I have developed the ‘baritone’ within my tenor voice, by reflecting the sound onto my chest whilst retaining the ring it already possessed.
 

Name: Thomas Walker (Scotland.)

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

Having always been taught by tenors, I felt it was important to continue with one. So after making my decision to study at the R.C.M. I had consults with both of its tenor teachers. It was immediately apparent to me that Ryland and I would get on. Also, he spoke the same language- technically- that I was used to and trusted! I already knew this would be the case from different professionals I had spoken to about who I should study with.

 2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

It is plain to see that I sing the same repertoire as Ryland, and that is a great bonus. To be taught by someone who knows the difficult bits, has found ways round them etc is a double bonus. Also to be taught by someone who has been coached and has worked with so many great people - there is a great reservoir of knowledge there that I love to be able to tap into.

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

Technically: I feel the technique is much more grounded now. I have no worries about what note should go where. He has given me an ease and confidence about it that I lacked before.

Musically: Having earlier coming from an instrumental background I was ill-at-ease with performing as a singer. Ryland has transformed that for me and I now feel at home on the stage.

Generally everything is going in the correct direction and I have not regretted a moment of his teaching.
 

Name: Andrew Staples (England.)

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

Upon the recommendation of Dr. Neil Machie CBE.

 2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

I immediately discovered the route through the passagio which I believe will be the key to any chance of a singing career.

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

I have grown in confidence in terms of a vocal strength and vocal flexibility. Ryland has given me a range of colour and timbre as well as offering a vocal exercise regime which has already energised the action of my singing.
 

Name: Nathan Vale (England.)

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

I decided to have a consultation with Ryland for a number of reasons:

 1. I was aware that, although I was fairly happy with my progress with my current teacher, I knew I needed to work with a tenor.

 2. Having heard some of Ryland’s pupil’s sing I knew that Ryland’s pupils all had a strong technique and very good legato.

 3. I wanted to strengthen my voice and make it more polished.

  2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

I liked the work we did on vowels and the work we did trying to get the legato from vowel to vowel. I liked the worked we did on the passagio. I found that I was achieving a certain amount of success ‘naturally’ but then found more of an understanding of the passagio which will make my singing in that area of the voice  less hit and miss. This understanding was due to the consultation. I liked that the exercises we did seemed to strengthen the muscles in my throat - not contracted but generally more resilient.

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

I am building more of an understanding of the various parts of the vocal range. I feel that I am learning to contain the voice much more. I am learning to use less unnecessary force of energy through more focussed tone. My legato is improving. I am also getting an idea of how I would sing on stage through Ryland’s ideas on interpretation.
 
 Name: Jacques Imbrailo

 1. Why did you decide to have a consultation/lesson with Ryland?

I was advised to do so by his students at the time, who had wonderful things to say about his teaching. His friendly manner over the phone in our first conversation set the tone for a great relationship.

  2. What did you like about the consultation/lesson that led you to the decision of continuing to study with Ryland?

I did not have a consultation lesson with Ryland but asked for him as a teacher on the grounds of his wonderful reputation as a teacher and the recommendations of other singers and Dr Neil Mackie, Head of the Vocal Department at the RCM.
He reminded me to appreciate my own voice, that it is unique and that I should sing with my own voice and not make up a sound that is not mine. That gave me great confidence that he would take care of my voice and person which has proven true time and time again.

 3. In what way do you feel you have progressed and benefited from your time spent studying with Ryland?

I have been studying with Ryland since October 2003. I have made a huge amount of progress under the guidance of Ryland over nine months. Technically, I am a much more stable and consistent performer. My passagio is completely sorted and unnoticeable, and my voice is much more connected to my support. This means that my piano singing has improved tremendously as well as the comfort with which I sing forte and top register tones. My voice feels more honest and a truer reflection of my own person instead of wanting to make a voice which does not belong to me.
Ryland has made me love singing again. He has installed in me the wonderful insight that I must love my voice and enjoy it. Then I get the best results from it and the technical side becomes much easier because it is motivated by emotion and love for singing. He has given me the confidence to sing with my own instrument and use its unique qualities as a bonus and expression of my singing person.
 

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Ryland Davies
Last Revised:27/03/2006