If you have a profile in the world, no matter who you are or why you have it, someone will dislike you for it. Someone will decide that you shouldn’t be there because.
That stops a lot of people. Fear is a real factor in speaking up, speaking out and taking a stand. The squeaky wheel does get the oil but sometimes not right away and sometimes the oil comes in buckets, not drops. It isn’t for the faint of heart to raise objections, challenge long and dearly held assumptions and disturb the status quo.
Of course, almost all of the people throughout history who came along and made significant changes in anything, faced the wrath of those who liked things fine they way they had been and were. Sometimes the innovators were actually threatened up to and including being physically hurt or killed. If the “keepers” were rich and powerful and the “changers” were poor and weak — you know the rest.
I wrote a while ago about the need for those who keep the traditions going. We need people to do that and to honor heritage, keep remembrance, remain true to the origins of things. We also need people to break with the past, to go in brand new directions and to seek the future, the unknown, with vigor. These two things do not need to be seen as conflicting behaviors. I very much respect the past, especially of our American CCM styles, but I also like new music, new works, and things that are creatively unusual. If we did not have people to hold on to the past, we wouldn’t have much in our museums or archives. If we didn’t have people who seek out new things, there would be no internet and no cell phones.
When someone speaks out and points out problems in how things are, seeing that there is a need for a new point of view, and that someone has the courage to bring the emerging point of view into a public venue (think Martin Luther nailing his manifesto on the church door), the person has to be able to deal with the reactions of those who do not want to be challenged. They won’t be happy. If you don’t speak out because people “won’t like you” or because you might “upset someone”, yet you realize that going along with things as they have always been isn’t really making you happy either, you are faced with a genuine dilemma. If you hide, keeping quiet, you become part of the problem. If you step up to the plate, take on the new ideas yourself and say so out loud, you become a possible target.
Classical training for singing has to change. We can’t hang on to the idea that it prepares you to sing anything anywhere at any time. We have to separate the training process out from the material. Functional training is functional training. Learning Italian or German songs has nothing to do with functional training, but they can merge at some point. Not all vocal training is functional (in fact, most is not). Learning repertoire teaches a specific set of skills but it may not be useful in addressing vocal technique problems in any way.
Contemporary Commercial Music, our styles which started mostly in the USA but have now traveled the world, deserves our respect. We need to know what the parameters of each style are and how to achieve those parameters. We need to base applied vocal training on the expectations of the marketplace, not academia, and we need to understand what does and does not interface in terms of vocal technique and function if the vocalists want to sing in more than one style.
That I have said some version of this for the past forty years is not news. It is a risk that I have to take. That I still get clobbered for doing so is not pleasant. BUT, I’m not going away. Just because other people don’t like the message doesn’t mean the message is wrong. In fact, the reaction I get is partly because my pointing out what other people refuse to admit but know is true is a guarantee for causing anger.