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Singer-songwriter Matthew Quek Delves Deep Into The Intricacies Of Vocal Physiology And Pedagogy

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By Author: Matthew Quek
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A Chance Encounter that Started His Journey
As a child in secondary school, Matthew wanted to join the school’s drama club because he felt that it was a platform to express his emotions and showcase his flair for performing. “As an introvert, I wanted to have an outlet to express myself artistically. Naturally, joining the drama club was my first choice,” recounted Matthew.
Unfortunately, there was hardly any Drama practice sessions and he could not find a CCA in which he felt he truly belonged to.
It was then that his parents asked him to consider joining the inaugural all boys school choir. Under the tutelage of his then-choir instructor, acclaimed local choir conductor Mr Nelson Kwei, Matthew saw himself looking forward to choir practice sessions, and was chosen to assume the role of baritone section leader.

His interest in vocal pedagogy1 and singing as form of artistic expression was further cemented when he passed the stringent choir auditions in junior college, and was appointed as the bass section leader and to sing the National Anthem in front of the entire school a cappella style. This was his inaugural exposure in terms of public performance on a solo capacity.

After his Basic Military Training in his National Service, Matthew was posted to the SAF Music and Drama Company and became the Music-in-Charge of the SAF Acapella Choir, a period of his life where he was exposed to different genres of music and greatly widened his repertoire.

His passion in singing was greatly enhanced when he scored a Distinction in Grade 8 (Singing) from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and also attained an Associate of the Trinity College of London (ATCL) Vocal Performance Diploma under the tutelage of his classical singing mentor, MdmElena Ng.

By this time, Matthew was trained in both the classical and contemporary genres. However, he wanted to gain more experience, training, clarification and vocal breakthroughs. He began to do active research and contacted many regional and international teachers in relation to Vocal Pedagogy and Techniques.

Finding the ‘Vocal Truth’
After more than two decades of experience in his craft, Matthew is now looking to sharpen his knowledge and mastery in the area of vocal pedagogy. “I started to feel the lack of satisfaction in merely knowing how to sing and perform. I wanted to learn more skills about singing and just how the voice really works, so that I can impart my skills and knowledge to more people in a simplified and yet effective manner,” quipped Matthew on his growing curiosity in exploring for the “Vocal Truth”.

1 Pedagogy, most commonly understood as the approach to teaching, refers to the theory and practice of learning, and how this process influences, and is influenced by, the social, political and psychological development of learners.
His quest led him to reach out to Internationally renowned voice coaches like Jeffrey AllenandMariam Jaskierowicz Arman. Their teachings led him to a reach a far deeper understanding on singing as a natural manner of Vocal Production and enabled him to remedy many vocal fallacies that he was taught previously.

Currently, he is under the guidance of internationally revered Italian teachers Marianna Brilla and Lisa Paglin, where he is on his way to attaining the zenith of ‘Natural and EfortlessVocal Performance and Pedagogy’- areas that both instructors have been teaching him. Matthew is the only Singaporean to be accepted as their student, a privilege and honour he greatly values and treasures.

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