Breakthrough

Ohio State University has announced that it will be presenting a special Voice Forum on April 4-5. One of the topics listed is “Vocal Pedagogy of Commercial Styles”. How about that?

When I started my course at Shenandoah, Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) as a genre was not yet recognized anywhere else. There was no formal course taught as a part of a recognized university master’s or doctoral program. We were the first to put forth the idea that this was not only valid training but necessary training. Subsequently, other schools have started master’s programs in music theater or offered seminars in training specifically aimed at vocal production that is not classically based. The term CCM is used widely now without issue.

Contemporary Commercial Music is finally being seen as a separate, worthy and viable alternative to classical music. People are beginning to realize that classical training (whatever that is) does not automatically set you up to sing anything, sometimes not even classical repertoire. Most of the people who say “I can sing anything” mean “I can sing anything classical”, but sometimes they can’t do that either, they just think they can. Those people are the most likely ones to say, “All you need is classical vocal training and you can sing anything.” If only that were true!

It is not unlike the idea that if you study ballet you are ready for any other kind of dance. A serious dancer will tell you that some ballet dancers never learn to be good at any other form, depending. There are dancers on Broadway who may or may not have had decades of ballet training, but all of them have jazz and modern and many also have tap, and if they don’t get it at home or at school, they get it here in New York City because they find out they need it. Ballet by itself has as much to do with tap as belting has to do with opera arias.

If you are interested in voice science, vocal pedagogy or vocal health, I encourage you to attend Ohio State University’s Voice Forum in April. Please contact Dr. Scott McCoy there at: VoiceLab@osu.edu.

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