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kitana
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Hello! I am gonna start going to a singing teacher that is teaching Bel Canto singing.

She seems to be more into Opera singing, but she told me that her Bel Canto exercises are possible to apply for any singing style (mainly in Pop, Musical, Jazz, RnB, Soul).

Is it possible to achieve success with nostalgic singing technique? I have been with modern singing teachers, but I never improve with them. I thought maybe if I go for more "classical exercises", I might get to where I want with my voice.

I am looking forward to my singing lessons with her, and also your feedback! :)

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A sound (heheh) bel canto approach, if taught well, will involve technical components applicable to other genres other than Classical.

However, the vowels sung in bel canto will not be English vowels... they will be 'Italianized' to some extent.

So, to help create applicability to whatever genre you enjoy, cajole your teacher into letting you do some songs in English, with some southern or country dialect, so that you can learn to shade well-made vowels into technically well-done genre-workable ones. I think you will be surprised how few changes in vowel color are needed to create the desired artistic effect, while still keeping phonation balanced and relatively tension-free.

I hope this is helpful.

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dover,

in bel canto dynamic opposition of the diaphragm is a key to the method. it's not pulled. you can't pull the diaphragm...it rises when you exhale and descends when you inhale....but you can develop lower core muscles enough to keep it controlled....basically keep it from rising too fast, too soon.

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Kitana, not to rain on the parade here, but I think it really depends on the teacher.

I suspect you're female given the name, although if I'm wrong, a lot of what I'm about to tell you is not super applicable.

In opera, the women sing in what contemporary vocalists would refer to as "falsetto". Classical teachers will call it "headvoice" when they refer to women, because it's seen as proper for women to sing like this and "false" or improper for men to sing like this. Regardless of what they want to call it, it's a very breathy, very disconnected, and not very big sound anywhere below the 5th octave.

You WILL NOT succeed in musical theatre, jazz, pop, RnB, or soul if you re relying primarily on falsetto to sing your notes in the upper register. There are places for falsetto in all of these genres, but you cannot use it for the mast majority if your singing.

If you want bel canto training to be applicable to pop styles, you need to learn how to sing in a thyroid tilt/cry setup. Tell your teacher that you want to learn to sing your high notes like operatic tenors sing theirs. They sing in a thyroid tilt/cry. While their larynx is relatively low, fundamentally it's the same setup that's used to sing high in contemporary styles.

Ultimately I believe that the path to improvement is far more dependent on the student than the teacher. The student needs to know what they want to learn and be able to convey to the teacher what they want to learn. And if the teacher can't or is unwilling to teach it to them, they need to find a new teacher.

So don't just go to bel canto lessons presuming that you will come out with a skill set that's applicable to contemporary styles. Figure out what skills you need to sing contemporary and make sure your teacher knows that's what you want to learn. If they can then give you bel canto exercises that help you develop those skills then absolutely it's great. But don't be fooled by the assertion that because a teacher is "classical" or "bel canto" that they are giving you a more solid foundation than a contemporary teacher. There are good teachers and bad teachers of all styles of singing.

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Hi again everybody,

Thanks for all that feedback that I received!

This is kinda interesting topic. What I have been thinkin about is that I know for example, that Speech Level Singing and Bel Canto are similar, but Speech is for more modern music styles, and Bel Canto for more classical.

I'm thankful that you mentioned about style. I think I need that help as well, just for me to clarify my understanding between each genre. I will go for one lesson with the Bel Canto teacher, but I might seek myself back to a SLS coach instead :) becuz I know one!

Thanks!

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I sing with what I understand from classical techniques, though I do not specifically go for covered sound, though there are some teachers and schools of thought that value that.

Some rock singers who studied opera and trained with classical lessons: Pat Benetar, Ronnie Milsap, Kip Winger (who also studied ballet.) Geoff Tate studied with Maestro David P. Kyle, who came from a classical background. Other recognized students of Kyle were Layne Staley (Alice in Chains,) Anne Wilson (Heart,) Robert Lunte (our very own benefactor.) Plus Lunte studied voice in college, as well.

One classical instructor who values the bel canto and will teach singers of different genres is Anthony Frisell, though I don't think there is skype capability yet. Primarily, you can read his books but you need to be in New York to get a lesson with him.

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I agree wirh REMYLEBEAU and thought it was put very well. Look, I love classical music, but can't help thinking that by training a certain set of muscles it will help train a compl;etely different muscles. Having said that, I think that any training is better than no training and that she's bound to learn something useful. She might want to make a plan not to stay too long...

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In opera, the women sing in what contemporary vocalists would refer to as "falsetto". Classical teachers will call it "headvoice" when they refer to women, because it's seen as proper for women to sing like this and "false" or improper for men to sing like this. Regardless of what they want to call it, it's a very breathy, very disconnected, and not very big sound anywhere below the 5th octave.

Remelebeau: from what you wrote, you and I must have differing experience of what female opera singers sound like. To me, their tone is not breathy, at all, ever. It is completely connected, resonant and powerful, and can be heard, unamplified, in an auditorium seating 2000+ people, over an orchestra, all the while maintaining clarity of tone, consistency of pitch, and fluidity of vibrato.

Do you have a recording of the kind of voice you had in mind as representative of the female opera singer? I would love to hear it.

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Hi everyone!

This falsetto sound is what I definitely have in my voice constantly when I am singing, but I thought Bel Canto and Speech Level Singing have the same type of training? What is the difference? What is diffrently happenin in the vocal tract between Bel Canto and SLS.. I thought the outcome is the same: chest - middle - head? I mean i understand the difference, one is old school way of learning, the other one is new school!

Why I chose to go to a Bel Canto teacher is becuz she lived 20 minutes from me with the bus whilst SLS coach is 30 minutes away with the train :)

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there's head voice.... pure, light, sweet, connected head voice and then there's head mix, where there is a degree of chest voice "musculature" involved in the production of the tone.

the latter is going to be stronger, and contain more ring and bite but it's going to need to be developed. you must have a teacher that can teach both.

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I know from my wife who was a voice performance major at school - soprano - they did not teach her "chest voice" or mixing chest to head. It was basically all what we would call "head voice", although they didn't refer to it as that. Later, after college, she was singing in a rock band and had to really concentrate on learning "chest voice" singing, because the more "heady" tones she would use in college in soprano arias just didn't cut it for pop / rock songs. So for her, the operatic training didn't help her develop chest voice. Maybe that has changed in recent times.

On the other hand, for males, operatic training really works on chest and passagio and transfers great to rock.

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Steven, I don't disagree with any of that. Falsetto can be incredibly loud on the pitches that female opera singers use it on. They're also very skilled in making the transition in ways that seem very smooth.

But when this method of singing is applied to contemporary music it often doesn't work so well. The "money notes" are usually on pitches that are too low for fasletto's sweet spot and the transition is harder to make if you don't have all those nice open vowels that opera has.

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If the trainning will be done directed into pop repertoire, and the teacher KNOWS what she is doing, there will be no problem.

If you start singing pop stuff using opera placement and imposition... Well, unless you are going to cover Nightwish, not a good idea. Neither woman or man will work. Even the trainning is done in a much lower placement. Just the technical concepts are used, you dont have to learn to sing arias.

The way female voices are trainned for classical repertoire is really different, but it also depends on the school. And even on pop, the notes done actually in full voice are not that many above the passagio, depends on the style and on the singer.

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This is interesting conversation, because I'm considering classical bel canto lessons myself, if I can find a teacher who is not too closed minded about this, because I'm still a rock / pop singer. Some great rock singers have had classical lessons. Sebastian Bach, Adam Lambert. Both have their own cutting style but they can sing a bit "operatic" too, and I like it.

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I agree with Steven from the perspective of a trained (or going through training) soprano creates harmonics above 3k that ring and carry across an orchestra (H6 sitting above 3K). I have never found them breathy unless you have an untrained singer (i.e. an untrained singer or singer who has dropped technique carrying "ah" above C5, C#5 will generally go breathy), either that or it's done for effect.

I believe it was Felipe who said that this ring can be quite uncomfortable close. That is especially true sitting a foot away from them on the piano and it is more noticable when the note of either flat or sharp, because the harmonics really ring out and can make you grimace. (especially an in training C#5)

Steven, the spectrogragh program you use is one I used to have many years ago, but have mislaid. Could you guide me to where it may be today? (Thanks) as I may post the Formants and harmonics for a females' C5 and D5 (unless of course you have some).

Another thing Steven said was this, "However, the vowels sung in bel canto will not be English vowels... they will be 'Italianized' to some extent."

Throughout the early grades you'll sing English (or if you are open to other languages, French, German and Latin), However when you get to Grade 4 Italian becomes a large part of the texts. Some continue to choose English until Grade 5!!!, but after that you must sing in original language of script.

If you choose Italian, there can be a bit of a learning curve and I do recommend some Italian lessons. If you know or have students in school, it's always possible to ask nicely for a language teacher to "assist". I regulary do this and have had excellent success in German especially.

Throughout a female voice's training, usually I notice A4's being their initial transition point, throughout training, A4 and B4 become stronger and the issue notes become C5 and C#5. Then suddenly D5 up to C6 / D6 the voice and tone becomes quite beautiful and in some singers this range seems to come very easily and just happens. In the early stages or training, I don't take voices outside of G5.

Scaling down from say F5 to F4 you'll notice a tonal change (especially on Ah, or oo to Ah) from C5 to B4, or B4 down to A4 and that tonal change when Head, Head, Head, Head, Mix, Mix ... etc (or if your flavour is head/chest) then Head Head Head, Head, Chest, Chest ... you will find that tonal change ugly, unless you continue to bring down head voice, possibly even down to G4 before blending downwards.

Geno has stated that some soprano training is head only, that is true in certain circles and those whom wish to go on in the classical repertoire or wish to be 1st sopranos continue to train with a head only placement. However more sopranos want to learn a wider selection of songs.

Head down placement, or head voice only singing is also known in the circles of training young voices. I would point people at the text;

The Child-Voice in Singing, by Francis E. Howard (ebook, no cost) to show.

The "mix" arena in Millers' work Eb4 to F#5 moves away from the head down only technique, and as Bob says then starts to create a "head mix". I personally find this sound more appealing in the mainstream circles and whilst acknowledges the soprano aria circles, I feel has a wider commercial sound. But a Soprano very much at A4 should be in her upper middle range.

Felipe has pointed at Nightwish, but other singers want to sing Tarja, Holyhell (Maria Breon), Epica (Simone Simons (Mezzo)), Within Temptation (Sharon den adel (Mezzo)), Evanescence Amy Lee, Warlock / Solo Doro Pesch, Heart The Wilson sisters. Just to name a few here, but it does show how sopranos and Mezzo's do have a wide range of songs to sing once they start to widen their vocal skill.

The point is that bringing head voice downwards on the scale can certainly cover some of the ugly tonal changes that happen otherwise..

The question you must ask Kitana, is what do you want, and will the "Bel Canto" teacher give you that "mixed" sound, or the classical 1st soprano sound. That's a question you may need to ask.

As Owen said, try lessons with both. Feel free to post your experiences with both as there are many here who can advise and help out, that along with you getting a feel for both will give you the direction you need.

Question are, why that choice of particular teacher ?,

Does the Classical teacher follow any grading system (ABRSM.. etc)?

Do you find that you have a section of voice where your tone is lacking, or a breathy tone is produced especially in the range A4 - C#5 ? (because if you do - I would more likely suggest the Classical coach whilst you settle your voice within that range. Once that is done then reconsider your options).

And, last question, who are your vocal hereos and what do you want to sing?, That information may help.

Regards.

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Steven, the spectrogragh program you use is one I used to have many years ago, but have mislaid. Could you guide me to where it may be today? (Thanks) as I may post the Formants and harmonics for a females' C5 and D5 (unless of course you have some).

I have a zip file of it. If you'll send me an email address privately, I will forward it to you with the settings I use.

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