Last week one of my students and I were discussing in what direction he should take his training. He has worked on the West End in London and has been admitted to one of the top musical theatre programs in New York. He’d had some advice, however, that he should be aware which technique he was training and consider classical programs as well.
My student has a natural musical-theatre sound and can also sing pop material, and he can also sing classical arias. His timbre and style sounds most at home with musical-theatre and pop, however. I told him that since he has God-given musical-theatre timbre, he should focus there, as classical singers who train first and foremost in classical technique focus primarily on classical repertoire, and sing musical-theatre and pop with a classical sound.
He and I have been training the mixed-belt technique, and he was not aware that mixed-belt and classical technique involved different exercises. I explained to him the brightness of vowels in the belt-training vs. the round vowels of the classical training. And we also discussed that he could sing both repertoire, and where, and the kind of work and lifestyle he wanted was part of his decision.
I trained first in the classical technique, as that voice came naturally to me, but had a pop style voice that I could also use. When I switched to writing my own music I started training that voice with the mixed-belt technique. Now I can sing both repertoires, thought my pop voice still does have some of the smoothness of the classical training, and I strip the vibrato out to use it. I train different days, only pop exercises on a pop day, and classical exercises on a classical day. And I use almost entirely head voice when I sing classical, and a mix of head and chest (the mixed-belt) when I sing my own material.
Following easily? Need more information? Next week I’ll post more to explain the different voices, and possibilities …
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