Let the Retraining Begin……..

This post is for adult singers who have had traditional singing lessons at one time or another. This probably accounts for almost everyone who has ever had a singing lesson! Including me.

Think back to why you wanted to take singing lessons. Did you have a specific goal for your voice in mind? Or, did you leave the direction of your vocal training up to your teacher? Well, of course, you did. We trust our teachers. I know I did! If you studied at a college or university then you were probably taught by elite professors and teachers with an expertise in traditional vocal training.

Now the question is……what are you doing with your voice now? Are you teaching? Many graduates go on to teach singing as a profession. Are you performing for a living? If so, congratulations! Where are you performing? Broadway? Classical concerts? Fabulous! Way to go! You are living your dream!

It can be assumed that if you chose a secondary education in vocal training, then one or your goals must indeed be to have a profession as a singer. Did you know what kind of singer you wanted to be? There are many kinds….classical singers, jazz singers, Broadway singers, R & B singers, rock singers, country singers, folk singers. Have I missed any? Do you know where you want to work? Do you know the kind of voice you need to have to get that work?

Most students study voice because they simply love to sing! Sing anything! They don’t just like to sing classical music, they like to sing all kinds of music.

As a young student, most don’t realize that the training they are getting may not set them up adequately to work in the profession of their dreams.

To get work on Broadway, singers now need to know how to belt. Does your teacher know how to belt? I don’t mean yell or shout. I mean actually “belt” with a balance of chest register and head register at a loud volume.

To get work in R & B, singers now need to know how to do riffs and runs, easily through their entire vocal range.

To get work in jazz, singers need to understand how to make smooth, silky vocal tones with deep sultry phrasing and easy vowel transitions.

To get work in rock or country music, singers need to know how to produce their trademark sound with a balanced mix of chest register and head register, and the right amount of twang.

I am currently working with two female students in their 30’s who had traditional vocal training in their early 20’s. We are working on retraining their voice so they can make the sounds they want to make. It’s not easy as they try to undo some of the things they have been taught in the past. They both have two things in common. They both use too much head voice, and too much air. This is a common trait with classical training, and detrimental for singers who want to sing other styles.

I hope this post has been informative. Simply said, teaching the voice is in the middle of a transformation, or at least I hope it is. Susie

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