We’ve had the privilege of getting to know many singers and voice teachers from all over the world. One of the first to find us was Joseph Moras – a voice teacher from South-west India who now lives in Dubai. We asked him to share some of his expertise with us and tell us about his musical life and work…
So, tell us a bit about how you got into singing?
My interest in singing began with my participation in my parish church choir when I was a boy of six. Singing was the greatest thing that I enjoyed during my childhood – both at home and in school. I sang in the church choir, then the school choir and by the time I was eight, I was being invited more and more to sing solo at services and parish events, although at that point, I’d had no formal training.
My father and mother both had very good, melodious voices and took great interest in singing. I can remember all of us – my parents, brothers and sisters – sitting together at home, singing hymns, folk songs and movie songs – but not every one on earth is so fortunate. Where singing had been second nature to us in our family, I began to discover that I had something which not so many people around me had – a singing voice. Singing is one of the most beautiful performing arts in the world and I’d suggest to those who are blessed in this way, that they should make it their first priority to develop their voices.
What do you like to sing?
I love singing lieder, art songs and classical songs. I often include sacred songs like Mozart’s ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ and Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’ in my performances. I think the greatest song composer is Schubert. He is my all time favourite composer.
Who or what is your biggest musical influence?
I’d say Bryn Terfel’s voice and achievements in the field of classical singing have probably been my biggest inspiration and influence. I have great admiration for this man – his powerful voice and personality.
Tell us about a recent concert you performed in.
My most recent performance was a recital before an invited audience in Dubai. Along with Dubai’s Melodia Community Choir, I sang some of my favourite sacred, opera and art songs.
Our programme included:
- Franck’s ‘Panis Angelicus’
- Lotti’s ‘Pur dicesti o bocca bocca bella’
- Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Ständchen’
- Mozart’s ‘Deh vieni alla finestra’ from Don Giovanni and ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ (Lord Most Holy)
- Giordani’s ‘Caro Mio Ben’
- Mendelssohn’s ‘It Is Enough’ and ‘O Rest In The Lord’ from ‘Elijah’
Are you a professional singer or voice teacher or is singing more of a pastime for you?
I’m not a full time professional singer but I am professional voice teacher. I train children, teenagers and adults on techniques of healthy singing.
Has your singing led you to be involved in any charitable work / fundraising?
For the last six years I have been giving my services to a special school in Dubai called ‘Al Noor Centre‘, where support is provided for children with special needs. I have trained these children for their annual concerts. I’ve also been a part of a series of concerts training children and youth for their fund raising events.
What else do you do in your spare time? Do you have time for other pastimes or interests apart from singing?
I spend my spare time too in training the children and young people from my community. Once or twice a year I arrange concerts for all my own students and the members of the choirs I train, where we present performances of vocal and choral ensemble work to their family members and friends.
Do you have a top tip for getting the most from your voice?
My top tip for any singer is DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Water not only helps in lubricating your vocal folds it heals an injured voice too. It also helps in reducing the formation of thick mucus which is often a challenge for many good singers.
Have you had any professional training?
I have studied voice with so many good teachers. I am very grateful to all of them. They’ve taught me everything from respiration, phonation, resonation and articulation. This training helped me in getting myself qualified with LTCL from the Trinity College London.
I am also thankful to the great authors of Vocal pedagogy like Oren L. Brown, Richard Miller, Stephen Smith, James McKinny and Richard Anderson. The wealth of knowledge these great people have shared in their books has helped me to reach to this stage of vocal music.
Do you have any tips for pre-performance preparation that help steady the nerves?
I think that apart from vocal warm-ups and exercises, singers should learn appropriate physical exercises. You sound better when you look fit, healthy and upright. When a singer is physically fit and flexible he makes a better impression on the audience. Singers need stamina as well as good vocal technique and doing these exercises will also help a singer maintain good posture and stamina throughout a performance.
Where do you come from? Why do you choose to live where you do?
I am from India and I was born in 1967. Until 1996, I lived, studied and worked in Mangalore a small town in the state of Karnataka in the southern part of India. For almost six years I taught music in many schools and colleges.
In 1997, I moved to Dubai when I was offered a job as a music teacher. Now I am a freelance musician living here with my wife and two children.
Do you find Your Accompanist accompaniment tracks helpful in your work?
One day as I was browsing on my laptop I just typed the word ‘piano accompaniments’ in the search fields. I was very much impressed when I found Your Accompanist. When I looked though the catalogue I found many of the tracks that I was looking for and I felt as if this site was made especially for me.
I also found a link ‘suggest a track’ where I was truly happy to suggest a few tracks which I’d also been looking for. I received a prompt reply from Christina the very next day. Since then, I have been using Your Accompanist tracks for my practices and lessons. Once when my pianist didn’t show up for a performance, I used the tracks on stage too, so Your Accompanist came to my rescue!