I can’t count the number of times a student has told me, “I can’t sing with vibrato, I’m a pop singer;” or “I can’t sing an aria, I’m a musical theatre singer.” Admittedly, I was once a victim of this kind of thinking. I would say, “I can’t belt, I’m a legit singer.” Lies! I’m here to tell you that this kind of thinking is wrong. A singer with the right training can safely sing whatever style he/she wants to sing. How? Easy, technique.
Technique is technique, regardless of style. Once a singer has learned the technique they can branch into any genre. When I say technique, I do mean the meaty, gritty boring stuff that makes a good singer an exceptional singer. Soft palate, tongue placement, diaphragm, support, placement of the sound, vibrato, ironing out the different registers, vowel sounds, consonants, etc. This is tough, and sometimes boring work. But it yields the results, because every single style of music uses this same technique. There are only minor differences.
Jazz singing has a brighter sound, with minimal vibrato. Pop has a shallower sound, again with minimal vibrato. Musical theatre (depending on the song, but generally) has more vibrato and a taller sound, plus you have to act. Classical singing has lots of vibrato and a much taller sound. But if you don’t know how to engage your soft palate, place your sound, or control your vibrato, you limit yourself. And why be stuck doing only one thing when you have the potential and ability to do anything?
So now the question remains, can you learn how to do this? Yes, just find a good vocal coach. Someone who will work on building your voice with you. Again, it’s tough work, so you need to find someone who you trust and can work with for a long period of time. The work never stops, but if you’re passionate about being a versatile vocalist you will grow.
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