Why music theory is critical for vocalists

Why music theory is critical for vocalists

Many musicians, vocalists and instrumentalists alike, are proud of their ability to be excellent singers/players without ever learning to read music. Learning musicianship entirely by ear is indeed an incredible feat, deserving of respect and admiration, and with all the technologies available to us now, it’s easier than ever for vocalists to get away with learning pieces via youtube or iTunes. However, as a singer’s career advances they will find themselves in ensembles and performance situations where quick sight reading is essential and small errors on rhythms or rests are not acceptable. Truly great vocalists understand how their melody fits into the larger picture of the accompaniment and the instruments around them. In order to have this perspective, it is critical to learn music theory as a part of your voice study. As a singer versed in theory, here are some ways you will have a leg up:

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Tips for choosing a voice teacher

Tips for choosing a voice teacher

Choosing a voice teacher is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a beginning singer. A voice teacher who is a great fit for your personality and goals can take you a long way in your vocal development and musical goals, but a teacher who is not the best fit may stall your growth unnecessarily. There are many good instructors out there; it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you. Here are a few tips that will help you know what to look for.

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Tips for singing high notes with great tone quality

Tips for singing high notes with great tone quality

Singing high notes with accurate pitch and tone quality is a challenging skill for most vocalists. Singing well in the extremes of your natural range requires a careful approach and more energy and mechanics than singing in your comfortable middle range, but with a few simple tricks of the trade, you can approach and sustain high pitches with greater ease and confidence.

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Why voice classification isn't that important

Why voice classification isn't that important

One of the most common questions beginning singers ask is, “what type of voice do I have, soprano or alto? Tenor or bass?” It’s easy to understand the urgency of this question, as new singers are anxious to learn about the unique strengths of their instrument, plus they want to be able to choose roles and songs that will fit with their voice type. Much to their dismay, I usually answer this question by saying that it’s not as important as they think, and that I don’t like using strict labels in vocal instruction. I explain that voice type is a convention used mostly in choral and opera music, and modern singers would be smarter to focus their attention on creating a versatile, consistent, flexible voice that can sing a wide variety of music, rather than stick themselves into a box and sing material written exclusively for their type.

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Singing: it’s more complicated than it looks!

Singing: it’s more complicated than it looks!

As a vocal instructor I have the pleasure of working with many new students who have never studied voice before, and sometimes have never studied instrumental music either. One of the comments I consistently hear from them is, “wow! I never realized how many things singers are doing all at once, while they’re performing!” Indeed. Singing is a very complex art, but our job as performers is to make it look easy and natural. It appears we are succeeding, as most amateur singers are surprised by how much is demanded of them when they start taking their songs to the next level.


For those unaware of the nuances happening behind the scenes during a vocal performance, or for those of us who are aware and just want to be appreciated for our capacity to handle so many elements simultaneously, here is a list of what singers normally do during a performance:

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Selecting the best songs for your voice

Selecting the best songs for your voice

When you have an upcoming recital or audition, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what song you’ll sing for this performance opportunity. The song you select will make a big impact on how you prepare and how you’ll maximize showing off your voice within the particular setting. Here are a few things to consider when you’re making your choice:

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