Valborg Werbeck-Svärdström

History of School

werbeck Valborg Svärdström (married Werbeck-Svärdström) was born in northern Sweden in 1879. Singing was something she had always been able to do. In singing she didn’t know any difficulties, neither in the highest registers (A’’’), nor in the lowest ones. Breathing trouble did not exist, coloratura came of its own accord.

“Singing was simply my element. I simply could not grasp how people could become ‘hoarse’ or ‘tired’ from singing – for me it was just the most direct expression of my whole, untroubled child’s being,” Werbeck.

At the age of fifteen, she entered the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm as a singing pupil. There she began to feel ill-at-ease when singing the customary exercises. This feeling grew more and more intense in the course of the instruction. She got an infection of the neck glands. The doctors could not understand the origin but it gradually began to impair her singing. The troubles grew, the highest tones of the three line octave began to be lost. In spite of these troubles, in her twenty-first year she was accepted as a member of the Court Opera in Stockholm. In her twenty-fifth year she got a sort of paralysis of the vocal cords. Her voice refused to work. Since she didn’t find a new, wholesome way of singing on her tours through France, Italy and Germany, she began to develop her own approach to the voice phenomena, elaborating exercises by means of which she gradually regained her voice. From these exercises she went on to develop her own singing method and was able to take up her public activity as a opera singer anew. Her voice was placed under great demands which she was still able to meet only by practicing according to her new way of singing. Even she had no luck of recognition, on the highest of her career as an artist, she had only one longing: to “make an end” and to build up her new school of singing, a “School for Uncovering the Voice.”

In 1912 she met Dr. Rudolf Steiner who encouraged her in her work. Their collaboration (1912-1924) brought acknowledgment of the “School for Uncovering the Voice” as a correct way of voice training. In her work with people with special needs she lay a basis for the therapeutical application of the “School for Uncovering the Voice.” This pioneering work she carried out energetically and faithfully until her death.