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“Classical vs Contemporary”

“Classical vs Contemporary”

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Published by: Dr Daniel K. Robinson on Nov 03, 2010
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05/12/2014

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Djarts Voice Coaching ~ www.djarts.com.au
 
© Daniel K. Robinson - 2010Page
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“Classicalvs.Contemporary”
 
By Daniel K. Robinson
(2010)
 
 “
If you want to learn how to sing then you need to have classical singinglessons…then you can sing anything!
” If this statement sounds familiar, I’m notsurprised. I’ve heard it more times than I care to remember, but sadly this alltoo familiar misconception is still widely and, ignorantly held to in the widercommunity.Robert Edwin, internationally acclaimed contemporary voice teacher writes, “Ournaïve colleagues who say, “‘Singing is singing. If you have a solid classicaltechnique, you can sing anything’ are inviting vocal disaster if they imposeclassical vocal technique and sounds on the [contemporary] style of singing…” (1998, p. 61). Both classical and contemporary singers are vocal athletes, buteach task requires specific skills. If you required an athlete training for the polevault to develop her skills by only running a 400 metre hurdle her ability toachieve the desired goal will be seriously thwarted. And vice versa. Both tasksrequire running and jumping, but they are very different disciplines. So it is withlearning to sing. It is not enough for students of contemporary singing to simplysing contemporary repertoire – Pop, Rock, Jazz, etc. – on a classical technique. “Contemporary style has its own unique problems and challenges for the voice” (Dawson, 2005, p. 58). This is not to suggest that one style is more difficult oreven superior than the other. They are simply different, requiring different skillsand, as a result, different training.Opponents of this view often argue that contemporary singing is potentiallyhazardous to the voice. Actually, any form of singing done carelessly is open tovoice damage, whether it is Opera or Heavy Metal. Leading voice scientist RobertSataloff warns, “It is neither helpful nor scientifically justified to dismiss anyparticular genre (including hard rock) as medically unacceptable. With sufficientunderstanding, patience, voice team skill and patient compliance, a vocally ‘rightway’ can be found to do almost anything” (Robert Thayer Sataloff, Baroody,Emerich, & Carroll, 2006, p. 285).So how do you know that you are receiving vocal training appropriate to yourvocal style? The following points will help you discern that your voice training istask specific:·
Breath Management:
Classical teachers often encourage their students todevelop an increase in their volume of air. This in turn leads to an increasein pressure directly beneath the vocal folds. The increase in pressure, whilstnecessary for the classical voice, will ultimately lead to the contemporaryvoice constricting. Contemporary singers should be encouraged to developa breath management system which enables an even flow of air withoutunnecessary increases in
sub-glottal 
pressure.·
Lower Register Shortener Dominant:
Classical singing teachers willgenerally encourage the development of the upper register (especially in

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