There’s a moment in my presentation to singers and voice teachers, in my Neuro-Vocal seminars, that I have to ask:
How many of you have been told that pop singing will ruin your voice?
Hands always go up. Never less than a third of the participants, actually; both voice teachers and students.
That indicates to me that some voice teachers and college voice departments:
still adhere to the myth that classical singing is the only real singing
still believe singing with technique that is appropriate to CCM styles will actually damage the vocal folds
don’t listen to music that features CCM vocal technique
don’t consider that the overwhelming majority of singing opportunities are in CCM singing
With rare exceptions, voice teachers both love their students and want to help them improve. If a voice teacher believes that contemporary commercial music (CCM) styles will harm their students’ voices, then they cannot teach that style of singing. Even if that’s the music their students want to sing. Even if they knew how.
The problem isn't CCM singing...when it's done with healthy technique you can do it for a lifetime.
The problem isn't CCM singing. There are scores of successful, professional singers of popular styles that have been singing the same way, with the same voice, with no vocal damage, for decades. It’s obviously not hurting them. Because, just like classical singing, when it’s done with healthy technique, you can do it for a lifetime.
The problem is the education (or lack thereof) of voice teachers. People are often afraid of things they know nothing about. Experts can be guilty of adhering to old and negated “facts,” or uninformed opinions which they believe to be facts. Many experts in voice training, based on outdated or fear-based knowledge, still believe that singing with technique appropriate for popular styles will harm their students’ voices. Then, of course, they share those “facts” with their students, very few of whom (statistically) actually want to sing classical music.
Joy and creativity do not thrive under oppression, suppression, or clothes that don’t fit. If a singer wants to learn to be great at country-western music, and she’s told by her voice teacher, whom she trusts, that singing her own heart’s song will ruin her voice, she’s either going to continue her study, feeling that she’s wearing someone else’s clothes (so to speak), or she’s going to quit lessons. Neither outcome is what a loving teacher would want for their student.
So, a love note from me to all caring and committed voice teachers:
You are a teacher in the arts, on a sacred journey. You hold tender hearts in your hands. Learn to love it all. Help them find their music.