Ernest George White and the history of White’s Technique

In Victorian England in the early 1880s, a young man called Ernest George White lost his voice as a result of the way he was being trained to sing at one of the London schools of music.

EGW and Edith on steps

None of the medical treatments of the time were able to help him, so he set out to discover for himself not only what had gone wrong in his vocal training but how the voice should be trained in a way that is both effective and safe.

The system he devised, which we now know as White’s Technique, restored White’s own voice and proved remarkably successful with everyone who was taught it. The Technique was simple but also completely revolutionary, as it turned upside down the accepted ideas about how the voice works. That was why White spent 25 years researching and testing his theory before publishing his first book on it.

But the musical establishment still fought White long and hard, and even today, more than a century later, has not accepted his theories. The public, though, was more open-minded. They realized that the Technique worked, and bought White’s books in large numbers.

White devoted 40 years of his life to researching, teaching, publicizing and fighting for his ideas on voice production, and we are still benefiting from his work today.

What kind of life did he lead?

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