Many students often ask me, how can I apply the technique that I develop in exercises to songs? This is a totally understandable question, considering the reason that most people start singing is to sing songs NOT scales! The reality is that quite often the student will first excel technically in the scales before the songs. This can be quite frustrating. However, with patience and practice the transition from technical proficiency in scales to songs starts to happen, and the benefits are huge.
The primary goal when studying ANY vocal technique should be that the technique developed can be translated into songs. I have a simple saying when it comes to voice technique verses style – a singers technical skills should ALWAYS serve the style they want to sing. But, if a singers style is masking a lack of technical skills then the singer is always limited.
Admittedly there are many modern styles of music where great vocal technique is not “stylistically appropriate”. But does this mean that vocalists who perform those styles should abandon developing their voices? I shout loudly NO!! One of the best things about studying vocal technique is that it gives the singer a platform to build on, or as I usually put it “home base”. A place of comfort for the voice to find a natural balance. This way, if a performer needs to do some things within their performance that are, by the book “bad technique” then they have the ability to rebalance the voice after the performance to their “home base”. This will aid them into finding recovery after singing off balance.
The reason I get to work with singers from all vocal genres is that they appreciate the value in having a solid foundation for them to express themselves freely as an artist. This involves “playing by the rules” sometimes. The rules are that they must A) Be able to access their full range from bottom to top of the voice. B) Do this without blowing too much or too little air. C) As far as possible keep the larynx in a neutral or slightly lower position. This is done by using a series of cause and effect type exercises that are tailored to the individuals needs.
By no means do I profess to be an expert in every vocal genre. I can however say that I have experience of working with all kinds of singers from different music backgrounds, which does in some sense mean that I have an understanding of the needs of singers from all genres. My own performance experience was in pop, RnB, jazz and some Music Theatre.
If you think that you need help to develop a better technique for any style of singing Speech Level Singing technique can really help.