The Classical Teacher’s Conundrum


If you’ve read my previous articles then you already know that we have covered four of the top five questions most commonly asked by my voice students.

So, here we are…on to the 5th and final question!!

“My former voice teacher used a more traditional, classical approach to singing. In these lessons I was told that if I sang contemporary music I would destroy my voice. Is this true?”

Being that I am a contemporary voice teacher, well, you can probably guess my answer. I have to say; I find it rather humorous when people are exposed to something they don’t thoroughly comprehend. It seems the most common reaction to such a thing is to condemn it. Unfortunately, this is the approach from the majority of the classical music world when it comes to the modern singing techniques. Instead of trying to understand the essential differences in commercial and classical singing, they would rather write it off as not being “legitimate” vocal production and that it is “dangerous” for a singer’s voice. Well, I have some news for all you purists out there. Commercial singing is far beyond being legitimized and, well, it isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. It’s all around us. You can find it on stage, on the radio, the Internet, on television, even in your churches. I mean, come on! Instead of condemning the style, doesn’t it make more sense to understand the similarities and differences, then develop a technique to legitimately teach it??

If you’ve read my bio on my About Page, then you may have figured something out. Yes, I am a well-trained classical singer and musician, with a Masters Degree in voice. I’ve not only had the experience singing and performing classical music, I also have an acute knowledge of classical vocal production. Classical singing is where I started my vocal journey and I have a deep and fond respect for it’s intricate styling and sheer essence of audible beauty. Any opera singer out there will tell you that strict and proper training on vocal technique and an understanding of the human voice are both essential in singing in the classical style. Without the knowledge of these basic elements, singing classical music can be down right destructive to a singer’s voice. However, understanding that I have been down the classical road and have now spent close to two decades singing and teaching contemporary vocals, I can attest to a certified fact that, without the exact same basic knowledge of proper vocal technique, Pop, Rock, RnB, Gospel, Blues, Soul, Country and Jazz singers will inevitably land themselves in the exact same boat.

The answer to all the Classical Voice Teachers out there that will not condone singers using a contemporary style is simple. Yes, there IS a tried and true technique to teaching commercial singers. Like anything out there, some people teach it better than others. One of the reasons that I pride myself in being one of the better instructors in commercial music is because I appreciate and understand the classical voice method as well. So, stop being so narrow minded! Take your blinders off and see the full magnificence that is the human voice. It’s a God given gift that has been given to help express emotions from deep within one’s self, one’s soul. There is more than one way to paint, more than one way to dance and there is absolutely more than one way to sing!

“But wait! What exactly is the difference between commercial and classical singing? And Hey!! What about Musical Theater singers? Where do they fit??”

So, now you want details, huh?? You’ll have to check out my next blog for all the gory details!! Until then, keep it real and keep singing!!