Nothing Different in 40 Years

Yesterday evening I spoke at length to a young woman who is looking to get a graduate degree in CCM vocal pedogogy. No such animal, I told her. She is also in interested in Ethnic Music. Good luck, I said. She told me how frustrated she feels that she is interested in these topics but no one takes her seriously, at least no one except me. She said she was glad I understood what she was saying. I told her not to give up trying to get some college to give her what she wants.

She said that in her early undergraduate work no one could teach her how to belt properly and she couldn’t find instruction to help her do what she wanted to do. Instead she switched schools in the hope of getting something closer to the education she had in mind and was partially successful. Here we are 40 years later, with this young woman having the same experience I had. Does that tell us something?

When I was in school, I wanted to sing like Connie Francis. I, too, had to go learn “Caro Mio Ben” although I wasn’t particularly interested in it at first (although I always loved classical music). I taught myself to belt, and didn’t get hurt, thankfully, until years later when my opera teacher pushed me into singing heavy classical material.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to spread practical, vocation training for singers who want to do pop/rock music, and couple it with vocal health, voice science/function, and general musical knowledge? Why does that seem unrealistic? I hate to think that I will die and things will still be the same.

Let’s change the system!

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One thought on “Nothing Different in 40 Years”

  1. Ah Jeanie…

    In my little program at UMass Dartmouth, we have a world/afro-american degree. Students are exposed to African tribal dance, drumming & chanting, Brazilian music, gamelon, South American musical forms, & polynesian music. There are two voice studios each containing approximately 15 to 17 students receiving private lessons. One is the traditional “classical” studio, the other is mine, jazz voice & contemporary commercial music (thanks for the title). Because the department is small, students are able to customize their course of study as long as there is academic merit involved. Musical theatre students switch between our 2 studios depending on whether they are pursuing a “legit” or “pop” sound. We have had the freedom to customize this undergraduate course of study & the program has proven successful. I have students touring Cape Verde singing traditional folkloric music, students touring nationally in rock & roll bands & jazz singers who have been recording & teaching. The number of “singer/songwriters” at the school is on the rise & there is a class voice I offer which focuses on CCM repertoire & performance. The department is developing a relationship with regional ENT’s & several voice therapists so I think we’re on the right track. I have sought you out as a teacher to INSURE we offer this course of study in the most respected, legitimate way possible. We are at the seedling stage but the roots germinating are strong. I look forward to bringing you to our school in the near future & appreciate your continued mentoring. Marcelle

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