Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Singing Voice

Ahhh, General Music and the singing voice. Oh, to be a trained vocalist to handle all the singing in a GM classroom!

Actually, not really. An untrained, but musical voice can be a better model for general music. What?!

Yep, an untrained, but musical voice (matches pitch, has a good tone and quality), can be a better model for kids because it sounds closer to their voices.

Imagine a full power Operatic voice singing the Tree Song. Not. Going. To. Fly. with 1st graders.

Why? Kids have light treble voices without vibrato. Vibrato doesn't happen naturally until sometime after puberty. They have a really hard time matching pitch when a song is being modeled with full throttle vibrato.

I approached my student teaching with all of the lovely sounds of my classically trained Bel Canto Voice. The kids were having a hard time matching my pitches. My co-op teacher pointed out what was going on and suggested I try singing without vibrato. So I did, and it worked! Gradually I removed my vibrato as I taught over the years. I have found that my kids have become better singers because I'm providing a better vocal model, a pleasing one, and it's one they can match.

Granted, when I'm singing Art Songs, or what have you, I put vibrato back in because it's appropriate for the style. But when I want the kids to match me, out it goes. So, it's something a trained singer always has to be aware of. We want to sing the "right" way, but what's "right" depends on the situation.

So not being classically trained in voice may be a benefit for you!

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