by Robin Earl
studied with many voice teachers before I began teaching—Four years in
college and several years private, before my journey of 20 years
teaching. My favorite teacher was different from the others. He showed
me how to use the best of classical teachings to apply to pop music and
other styles. (He was a Chinese opera singer but I noticed he got great
results with professional pop singers in my area.) Classical lessons can
hurt or help, depending on how you apply them!
1. Use that great ‘core support’ foundation. Many classically trained singers have learned great support for their singing, great tone, power, focus.
2. Use your knowledge of diction.
Classical singers take many classes on pronunciation, study diphthongs,
voiced and unvoiced consonances. Use the principles to see why your
high notes aren’t working, what is going on with each vowel and
consonant in the problem words.
3. Use vocal exercises.
Keep up with the skill and training exercises. Add more free-form
exercises as well, created from sounds and song phrases to get away from
all ‘note to note’ exercises.
4. Use vibrato exercises. Learn the style of vibrato that is appropriate for your genre.
5. Sing with flow. Sometimes its’ easy to tell if a singer ‘reads music,’
and most of their singing has been with sheet music. The important
thing is to express the emotion of the song— it should sound to the
listener like you are just thinking those thoughts for the first time.
Communicate the message. Going with the flow as the sentences flow, like
speech but with a melody. I’ve heard many pop singers have too stiff of
a performance because of lack of relevant training to their genre. If
your singing is ‘note to note,’ it doesn’t sound natural. It might be over-pronounced, over-controlled, and too stiff for a pop, rock, country song.
Whatever style you are singing, find the joy in expressing it! If you need help with these issues, partner with a coach.