Moshe Berk, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a qualified voice teacher and hoarseness therapist of The Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music. He began his musical career in South Africa at the age of ten by singing in Cape Town’s Great Synagogue Choir. A decade later he studied voice development under the world-renowned opera singer Mr. Lloyd Strauss Smith. At the same time, audiences at the Cape Town Opera House were being treated to Moshe’s singing performances.
Moshe made aliyah 23 years ago where he sang in Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue choir with Chazzan Naftali Herstik under the direction of Eli Yaffe. He enrolled in Jerusalem’s Rubin Academy of Music where he received his B.Mus (Bachelor of Music) degree in 1999, graduating as an opera singer and vocal instructor. Moshe also studied at the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institution under the direction of Chazzan Naftali Herstik, and subsequently became a voice instructor there. Moshe has been privileged to share the stage with star conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kurt Mazur and Antonio Pappano, among others.
Moshe’s time nowadays is mainly occupied teaching voice development in his studios in Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem and singing with the prestigious Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Just this last month (Succos) Moshe performed the Beethoven 9th symphony with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the world renowned maestro Zubin Mehta. This month, he joins the stage with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the world-renowned Chazzan Yitzchak Meir Helfgot at the Mann Auditorium. He will also be singing with an array of top chazzanim and singers at the New Israeli Opera House in Tel Aviv, a concert of Carlebach compositions.
Music is one of the wonders of Hashem’s creations, a gift to man. It has been practiced as an art since ancient times, and in every age it has been advanced and developed in increasingly fascinating directions. No matter how hard man attempts to develop musically through the use of instruments, they still remain separate from the human body. The voice however, as a part of the body, remains the most integral instrument. As a result, the performance and the development of the voice leads to an ultimate harmony between man and music. Through his voice, man expresses his musical talents in the most direct manner possible.
Whom is Voice Development For?
As a wedding singer, baal tefila or a chazzan, voice development can help you, no matter whether you are a beginner or more advanced. It is also an invaluable aid for those who work in fields where their voice is an instrumental part of their work, such as teachers, and rebbes in cheders, who often find themselves suffering from sore throats and hoarseness.
Few people are born with the ability to sing and use their voice without much effort and eventual damage. Therefore, most people who want to use their voice beyond everyday speech, need to learn voice development.
How Does it Work?
The process of voice development in speech and in singing occurs as such: air enters through the mouth, down the air pipe (through open vocal chords) to the lungs, and from there returns to the trachea (air pipe). Friction of the air across the vocal chords turns the simple air into sound waves. Sound waves reverberate and enter the resonance cavities and then the sound exits from the mouth.
In order to illustrate this point let’s compare the human body to a guitar. The resonance cavity is the wooden box in the shape of a figure-8. When a person strums on the guitar strings, the movement of the strings create sound waves, which enter into the resonance cavity (the figure eight). The sound waves reverberate around inside the cavity and then pass back out of the hole in the guitar and the sound is heard. Because man is made of flesh and blood, and not wood, this work is more challenging.
Voice development is built on four principles: 1. Producing the sound in a high placement 2. Opening and relaxing of the throat 3. Correct diaphragm breathing 4. Support the sound column with the sound muscles
In a typical voice lesson, you learn to use the four principles in order to produce your optimal sound with resonating.
Many rebbes who have suffered from hoarseness report that because of their invaluable vocal lessons with Moshe, they were able to teach the long hours required each day. Many of his chazzanim and wedding singer students have thanked him for an increase in job offers locally and abroad as a result of their improvement and advancement after attending his lessons.