Training the voice – genre agnostic?

Brad Jenks, a Chicago area voice teacher, recently made me aware of his excellent blog post. He questions the walls that exist between “classical” and “____” voice instruction. I agree with every word, and enjoy the thoughtful and good-humored way in which he describes the issue.

Peter T. Harrison also discusses this topic in Singing: Personal and Performance Values in Training. He maintains that making a voice as capable as it can be has to be prioritized over the bias toward a particular musical genre or style.

Those of us who teach young singers need to be especially careful to train the voice first, and not slant sharply to one musical genre. They need this for their vocal health. Additionally, when they are young it is only fair to expose them to a wide variety of music so that they may experience what resonates with them as artists. Limiting them technically to what seems like a good idea for their presently-favorite genre isn’t right, when they still have so much to learn about themselves and their emerging tastes and talents.

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