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What is the best vocal training technique for a new singer?

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Sheepi
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I have 1-2 years singing experience at a theatre school for dramatic arts. I'm looking to become technically proficient at it, and then eventually move into musical theatre and also stage performance singing when I feel like I'm competent enough.

My range is very small (second soprano area) and my voice shakes with most notes, so it's not strong.

To become a strong singer (not caring about what style it is) would opera or classical training be best? (I'm still new to singing so not really sure what all the genres are and if there's a difference between the two.)

I'm leaning towards classical training because I trained in ballet and it's always made me stronger when I moved into jazz or modern, and classical piano has made me stronger in other piano genres.

If there's something else you suggest though, let me know.

Thanks for reading and responding if you have any ideas.

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Hello...

Welcome...

I recommend that you read the posts on the "Discuss Vocal Training Programs" forum.

But I will tell you this... do NOT presume that Classical vocal training is the "end all, final authority" on voice training and technique... IF... you want to sing conteporary music. If you are not interested in singing Classical art songs and aria, then do NOT train Classical voice technique.

Check out more modern and relevant and innovative vocal training programs such as "The Four Pillars of Singing", or some of the programs found at our TMV World Teacher Workouts store

Moderators... if this becomes a discussion about different programs, please move to "Discuss Vocal Training Programs" forum

Thanks... 

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I'm inclined to think KISS is probably most efficient for a pure beginner (Keep it simple, stupid). Breath control, pitch, moving away from strain. Find a free chest voice and hold onto that, find a free head voice, hold onto that. 

Then probably focusing more on timbre and range, (vowels, closure, twang, etc).   could be wrong, but I picture trying to get the raddest timbre and awesomest hugest range right from the very start would just overwhelm people and would likely train inefficient habits that would be hard to get rid of later.

Now most people will want faster results, so what I picture being the most efficient method is probably not the 'best' for a lot of people. People will want to more radder, bigger, higher, stronger. So in reality giving them some tools to increases the radness quotient is more likely to keep someone training, or reduce the likelihood they'll give up, I think it's probably getting rid of the strain get an M1 (chest) and M2 coordination (head) very relaxed with a balanced fold closure, with decent pitching, and then increasing radness, would be less likely to train in straining or training missed notes.

The fact is, very few people are going to do that, cause they will want to sound cool now. and it's understandable. Most will probably push and strain, and squeeze, some might go hoarse. Some might go overboard. And I think that's fine. Singing for me isn't ultimately about efficiency, it's about expression. there. I love lots of singers who likely do all of the above and the above would be overkill for Bob Dylan or Lou Reed or Kurt Cobain or whatever. Erratic instruments in themselves sound nice to me, overly controlled instruments can sometimes leave me a bit cold. Best sounds pretty subjective.

But the way I picture it in my head, if what I wanted was mechanical control with less inefficient habits preventing me from moothly controlling it. Get rid of the strain, get rid of any habits that might impair smooth navigation of both registers, start pitching accurately early, training my ears and body to maneuver and pitch so accuracy was ingrained. And I'd start adding maneuvers on top of a stable base voice. Think of it like a drawing, where you want to add sunglasses to a face you're drawing. They might fall off if the nose and ears were erratically drawn so you want a solid foundation. :4: At best it might disguise mechanical flaws.

Personally, I don't 'think' I want perfection. I don't want complete control. I think I want erratic elements chaotic messy junk, quirks, flaws, just mess. So it's probably a very individual choice of how far you need to go to remove inefficient habits in order to replace them with as much control as possible. I want to sing like human with some quirks, flaws, idiosyncrasies, not a vocal engineer with mastery of my apparatus. What's best would depend very much on your goals and how much control you need to accomplish them.

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If you want to sing musical theatre get training for that I would say. Yes, there are some general movements in classical singing that are used similarly in contemporary singing, but especially for women the coordination is very different between classical singing and contemporary singing.

As a singer in musical theatre there are some expectations on the way you sing and a teacher specialized in that will probably work best to teach you that. Musical theatre uses speech and belt quality singing a lot in the low range, which is something that classical teachers and even rock singing teachers will probably want you to avoid because those modes become inefficient pretty fast in the high range. The high range is mainly sung in twang mode in musical theatre but with a lot more focus on not modifying vowels too much, which is quite different from rock singing for example where you will want to modify vowels to get a stronger sound.

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I think the best training for singing is singing being number one.  Find a bunch of musical theatre tunes that you like and start woodshedding. the more songs you learn now you won't have to learn later and you will have already sung them 1000 times.  then i would find a mentor.  Someone that is already in musical theatre that you can hang out with and learn the ropes.

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I think the best training for singing is singing being number one.  Find a bunch of musical theatre tunes that you like and start woodshedding. the more songs you learn now you won't have to learn later and you will have already sung them 1000 times.  then i would find a mentor.  Someone that is already in musical theatre that you can hang out with and learn the ropes.

That is the best and most universal training for everyone. All singers must indeed sing songs, and to do that you have to sing songs, regardless of anything else. It's possible to train inefficient habits and quirks that might be difficult to revert by simply singing songs though.

Depending on the level of proficiency and style you intend to sing, augmenting singing songs with clear instruction in the manner in how to sing, and with 'genre proper instruction' might be more or less important. Musical theater often has a pretty high level of proficiency. Not sure how much the sound varies culturally, but I've noticed similarities in sound as well. Importance of clarity in pitch and pronunciation, and things like scooping notes is particularly not appreciated due to harmonies.

Pushing chest with unclear diction would be much less likely to be effective vs a rock band so it would depend on how the person is going about woodshedding.

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That is the best and most universal training for everyone. All singers must indeed sing songs, and to do that you have to sing songs, regardless of anything else. It's possible to train inefficient habits and quirks that might be difficult to revert by simply singing songs though.

Depending on the level of proficiency and style you intend to sing, augmenting singing songs with clear instruction in the manner in how to sing, and with 'genre proper' might be more or less important. Musical theater often has a pretty high level of proficiency. Not sure how much the sound varies culturally, but I've noticed similarities in sound as well. Importance of clarity in pitch and pronunciation, and things like scooping notes, is particularly not appreciated due to harmonies.

Pushing chest with unclear diction would be much less likely to be effective vs a rock band so it would depend on how the person is going about woodshedding.

Yes.

I completely appreciate and understand where Daniel is coming from. I think it is true. And yet, in my experience, the more fundamental understanding and fundamental strength and coordination you have developed, ... the MORE you can and should sing songs to capitalize on your new strength and abilities! For example, the best thing I could of for myself is to sing songs with 90% of my time, absolutely. But that is because I already understand how the voice works, I have strength and coordination already developed to handle situations and I know how to trouble shoot vocal problems. If I am singing and I feel I am having an issue with it, I can reach into 20 years of muscle memory and training to fix the problem with ideas that I know work. I'll understand what the problem is and I'll be equipped to solve it.

On the other hand... Most students of singing don't have that experience, strength and coordination established. They simply do not. Most people are beginners, have never trained and on top of that... are not singing songs. If they are, they are singing them with bad technique which only reinforces the mistakes. There are some exceptions. There are some people that have ONLY ever sang songs and some how figured some things out and made it work and with enough time and training... and a lot of "two steps forward, one step back" to get there... they now can sing well. But that is the long road to tow and it is characterized by a lot of confusion about how the voice works, with little to no techniques to fix problems. And that may be the best you can hope for, IF... you are someone that has an exceptional voice, ear and intuition of singing, which everyone does not. Is that really the answer? Just sing songs and hope for the best and try to figure stuff out along the way?

Why make that your only path to getting better?  Why not do both...? Isn't that really the best solution and path for someone to take? In particular, beginners that are just never going to be able to stop pushing, stop grinding, stop singing falsetto, and more... if they don't pick up a book and a training program and learn WTF to do to fix a problem and get stronger.

Vocal training works, if it is good content and good ideas. There is no denying it. What it can do is save people a LOT of time and frustration in getting to their goals. It also educates. It teaches people how to identify what is going on and how to fix problems, or gives them techniques they can use to fix problems. The amount of time and frustration that one good vocal technique training program can save for someone is worth 100x the price of the product and training. You need both, especially if you are a beginner with average capabilities and potential.  

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It's as everyone says sing a boatload of songs, other then that i would grab Roberts program(the four pillars).

What makes it great for beginners is in contrary to many other programs who tend to all have some focus on closer more narrow sounds ex (mum bub, and so forth) Roberts program focuses more on twanged open vowels wich is for beginner singers perfect.

Thats the diffrence I personaly felt as a beginner like 12 years back, When your new to singing your voice usually either wanna spread to much and crack into falsetto or jam shut due to to much force. Roberts exercises will give you that extra so your voice wont fall apart and youll open up your range, after that is inplace T4P starts working more towards narrower stuff aswell as belted sounds.

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Jens, it is great to get your endorsement for "4Pillars" and it is particularly pleasing to see how you describe the program. Very insightful actually... Yes, I think you could say that early on, the program will focus on more open vowels. It is insightful to recognize that more open positions is a good place to start for beginners.

Relative to where the program has been going in the last two years, I particularly like this statement... 

T4P starts working more towards narrower stuff aswell as belted sounds.

That is absolutely true. A detailed focus on narrowed vowel training and focus and techniques on belting is what has characterized the last few years of development on the program. I have also fully incorporated the "pingy" Ah that Tamplin is really big on to help build those fatter adductor muscles. If you want to get really M1 strong and pull your chest voice and learn how to belt, "The Four Pillars of Singing" is now fully offering that as well. I haven't left anything out of this thing...

Stand by, we are about 3 weeks or less away from the new online course work system... featuring about 45 new videos, integrated training routines, media libraries and full mobility. It is just sick... I started working on it in January, and I'm almost done.  

Let's catch up offline Jens... hope your doing well.

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Jens, it is great to get your endorsement for "4Pillars" and it is particularly pleasing to see how you describe the program. Very insightful actually... Yes, I think you could say that early on, the program will focus on more open vowels. It is insightful to recognize that more open positions is a good place to start for beginners.

Relative to where the program has been going in the last two years, I particularly like this statement... 

That is absolutely true. A detailed focus on narrowed vowel training and focus and techniques on belting is what has characterized the last few years of development on the program. I have also fully incorporated the "pingy" Ah that Tamplin is really big on to help build those fatter adductor muscles. If you want to get really M1 strong and pull your chest voice and learn how to belt, "The Four Pillars of Singing" is now fully offering that as well. I haven't left anything out of this thing...

Stand by, we are about 3 weeks or less away from the new online course work system... featuring about 45 new videos, integrated training routines, media libraries and full mobility. It is just sick... I started working on it in January, and I'm almost done.  

Let's catch up offline Jens... hope your doing well.

Hehe busy as always ;) great your improving it even further, im doing well alot in school though. Trying to read up some grades at the same time Reading music, add in Girlfriend and singing on top off that lets just say i got things to do hehe. 

Yeah man lets just skype sometime and you can tell me all about those new updates :) 

cheers man

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