I’ve taken voice lessons from elite college and conservatory professors for a decade, and yet for the most part I was never taught to use my chest voice. I was certainly never encouraged to bring my chest voice up. The emphasis was always on mixing. This weekend I attended a NATS conference on Vocal Cross Training and it was HUGELY insightful, and humbling. While I have always considered my training to have been elite, it became glaringly clear this weekend that while I may have had an elite education, that education was severely limited in some regards. At the conference the speakers placed great emphasis on the importance of isolating the vocal registers- allowing the singer to be fully aware and in control of all colors of the voice so that their artistic and technical choices can be more expansive. Of course! How have I rejected, even feared my low for so long? Because I’m a rule follower- and I was taught that the chest wasn’t to be used, except for extreme low notes where blending was no longer possible. I wanted permission, and it wasn’t granted. (Heaven forbid I experiment on my own!) It’s shocking to me now, after hearing what I heard yesterday, that I was never coached through the process of register isolation.  Yesterday, I watched singers stand up in masterclass and belt one piece and then followed it up immediately with a classical aria. That would have been heresy at the conservatories I attended. It’s a brave new world, folks!
It was a wonderful conference with excellent speakers (Norman Spivey, Kari Ragan, etc). I learned so much, and I’m excited to try out the exercises/methodologies I was introduced to on myself and my students. I also met some wonderful new friends. I truly love teaching voice, I’m passionate about singing. I find the increasingly diverse approach to repertoire and styling within the vocal academy refreshing, though unnerving. I’m a conservative at heart, and the conservatory training is comfortable. But, I can rest on my laurels no longer, I have much to learn, and most of it will come with experimentation. Here’s goes. Time to let down my hair, open my throat and let it all out.

One Response

  1. I’m so glad you learned so much in such a short time. What a great conference. I haven’t seen you that excited about singing in a while!

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