Is “classical” voice training best?

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The following is a post from Elisha asking about classical voice training. There is further explanations about classical “technique” (a misnomer) in the comments below the posts.

ELISHA WROTE:

I hope it is ok for me to be contacting you like this! My name is Elisha, and I was just perusing local vocal coaches and came across your page. I’m a singer who has been classically trained, but who has a bigger passion for more popular styles of music. I’ve learned to express myself in many different styles and using different tone colors, but the technique of belting in the upper range is really keeping me from getting to the next level..

I tend to overthink and analyze a lot of things, and perhaps that is part of my problem, but I am getting hung up on whether or not I should be using more of a “fake/mixed/head voice” belt or trying to work to extend my actual chest voice. I’m driving myself crazy trying different placements and thinning out the sound, but nothing seems to be quite right.. when I flip into a fake belt, it sounds fine in the extreme range (F5ish+), but in the Bb4-E5 range, it doesn’t sound “belty”enough to me.

When I’m singing a particularly taxing belting song, I’ve found that I get VERY vocally tired and sometimes can’t make it through the song (I end up losing my placement and range), and I’m just not sure what I could be doing wrong. When a song sits in that Bb4-E5 range a lot or repeatedly keeps having me belt out notes in that range, I just feel like I keep getting tighter and tighter and no matter how relaxed I try to be, there’s no stopping it…

I’m just really frustrated and starting to lose faith in my singing.. I’m also starting to fear that I am somehow damaging my voice. I’d love if you could send a few pointers my way if and when you get the chance. You can hear several samples of me singing different genres of songs on my profile for reference..

I’d also like to know what your pricing is for private voice lessons. I think I’m at my wits end and have gone as far as I can on my own, and my classical training won’t help me with the problems I am now facing. Thank you for any info and advice you can offer!

Elisha

ERIC RESPONDED:

There is hope!!

Your problems are common with “classically trained” singers – especially women. “Classically trained” to me means “voice teacher who doesn’t know how to teach students to connect the registers”.

I love and teach all styles of music, but it is NEVER ok for a voice teacher to teach singing technique if they can’t help a student seamlessly line up the voice so that they can sing any musical style or vocal range. Your teachers should have eliminated your voice “cracking” or “breaking” before pushing you into any specific style of music.

If you don’t feel your vocal range, tone and control improving within a few lessons, then work with a better teacher who will help you attain your goals faster.

Here’s a link from SingWithPower.com discussing finding a good voice teacher. Call Kathy in the office and let her know that I want to set up lesson with you. 866-910-7464

We will fix this.

Eric

Additional information from my reply to Stephen below:

One very good thing about the classical music environment is that there is a high value on the discipline of practice. Structure, organization, and practice with specific, measurable goals are very common in the practice of most classical musicians. It is that ORGANIZATION of practice, NOT the particular style of classical music, that is very important.

Also, as a singer, if you’re disciplined, organized and focused in your practice, but you’re practicing the wrong thing, what’s the point if you can sing in 5 languages or can hit a triple high C!?! If the triple high C is in a completely different balance (disconnected from the lower, chest voice) then the balance is bad, so the voice is trained poorly.

The main focus of study for a singer (from a technical standpoint) is to eliminate vocal breaks… period. Bringing that focus (with practice organization, discipline and purpose) to ANY style will make you a great singer.

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2 thoughts on “Is “classical” voice training best?

  1. Pingback: Zoso from YahooAnswers asks: F2 – A5 is this a good vocal range? | Eric Bruner Vocal Studio Blog

  2. Sing With Power Blog Post author

    Thanks, Stephen.

    One very good thing about the classical music environment is that there is a high value on the discipline of practice. Structure, organization, and practice with specific, measurable goals are very common in the practice of most classical musicians. It is that ORGANIZATION of practice, NOT the particular style of classical music, that is very important.

    Also, as a singer, if you’re disciplined, organized and focused in your practice, but you’re practicing the wrong thing, what’s the point if you can sing in 5 languages or can hit a triple high C!?! If the triple high C is in a completely different balance (disconnected from the lower, chest voice) then the balance is bad, so the voice is trained poorly.

    The main focus of study for a singer (from a technical standpoint) is to eliminate vocal breaks… period. Bringing that focus (with practice organization, discipline and purpose) to ANY style will make you a great singer.

    Reply

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