Going A New Way

Having just returned from the NATS Internship program as a master teacher, I must say that I am greatly encouraged that we are going a new way in the profession. Amongst my three colleagues I sensed no rancor towards Contemporary Commercial Music styles, although they were all strictly classical in orientation, and amongst the Interns and their students, there was an eagerness to pursue CCM without any fear. The others who were coordinators or facilitators at the program were also supportive.

How long we have waited for this day!!!!! I can only say that it was a joy to have such a reception and one that was uplifting to my spirit in exact proportion to the dampening of same after my experience at the NATS Conference in Minneapolis not too long ago.

Presenting the idea that our own American music deserves to be respected just as much as classical music was not seen as being heretical or crazy. Mentioning that singing CCM in the ways that the composers intended it to be sung was also not a cause for argument, at least not here. [This means that a belt song is sung with belt vocal production, not operatic vocal quality. While that might seem like an obvious idea, it is by no means that to the academic community of singing teachers].

At last, we are talking about vocal function and can begin to agree on some basic points about singing whatever music we want to sing. There is no more talk about finding the “pink mist in the back of the throat” and “resonating the forehead bone” as if those things were something actually possible instead of ridiculous. Halleluia! Reality sets in after 300 years!

Perhaps in decades to come when we people are hearing electronic music at the Met, singers are taught to do whatever kind of sound is necessary no matter what they music is, and it is clearly understood that all music is based upon illuminated communication of the human condition, this long and hard fought battle will be looked upon as just a trifle, a breeze that blew through. That would be fine, as what matters is that things change. It would be nice, though, if the history of this transition were not lost as the profession prides itself upon its lineage, and this link, too, belongs right there alongside of the others.

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