Mirrors and Duets

Weekly Teaching Tip – Jan. 19, 2015
by Aimee Geddes

As I was working on a duet with a couple of sisters a few weeks ago, I had an interesting

I often have my students look in the mirror when they are not making the correct vowel
shape so that they can observe what they are doing and make adjustments. I have found that I have to constantly urge them to keep their eyes on their mouth and not look back at me, no matter how tempted they are to do so. I tell them that watching their own mouth makes them more accountable for making correct vowels and also makes them more aware of any minor changes they may be feeling because they can now see them as well as hear/feel them. In this way, I have found the mirror to be one of my best friends in my studio because students learn so quickly by observing themselves.

So, I decided to apply this to duets. I had two sisters working on a song they needed to sing for a church activity. One sister tends to sing with a lighter quality than the other sister. We needed to get them to blend. Then, inspiration hit. I had had very good success with having my students watch themselves in the mirror to observe their vowels. So, I decided to have them face each other and watch each other’s vowels as they sang. As they did so, it was amazing how quickly they were able to match each other in tone quality. Their blend was almost instantaneous as long as they watched each other and matched their mouth shapes. I have since tried this with other duets with the same results.

It is amazing how long of a way a little bit of awareness goes and how quickly students can change if the goal is specific and clear.

Have fun with this and I hope it helps you in your teaching!

Related Articles


Weekly Teaching Tip – Dec. 1, 2014 by Tricia Grey Vibrato (definition): A regular, pulsing change in pitch or amplitude used to add expression to…