Honoring the Masters. Sharing the Journey.

James McKinney

Voice Teacher, Author, Baritone
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“… This is the cornerstone of effective voice teaching and choral work–discriminatory hearing assisted by acute observation.” – James McKinney

James C. McKinney was an American baritone and voice teacher. He was born on January 11, 1921 in Minden, Louisiana and died in Fort Worth, Texas on April 12, 1998. He earned a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music from Louisiana State University. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California, where he studied under renowned voice pedagogue William Vennard. McKinney acknowledged the enormous influence of Vennard on his own pedagogy. McKinney wrote that one thing that distinguished Vennard was his “ability to accept opinions and methods differing from his own.”

McKinney was a Distinguished Professor of Voice and Dean of the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1950-1994. During his career, he became known as a teacher of voice teachers. His celebrated book, “The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults,” was published in 1982. This text has helped countless voice teachers and singers hone their diagnostic skills. At the end of the book, McKinney writes:

“The main purpose of this book has been to encourage the use of the diagnostic process in the correction of vocal faults–to suggest methods of identifying and evaluating auditory and visual clues to vocal problems. This is the cornerstone of effective voice teaching and choral work–discriminatory hearing assisted by acute observation. If this book has helped you in any small way to know what is wrong with the sounds you are hearing and what you can do to make them sound better, the writer has been amply rewarded.” (p.201)


  1. James C. McKinney, The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults, Broadman Press: 1982.
  2. https://prabook.com/web/james_carroll.mckinney/240463

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