This Is A Voice

Classical v Musical Theatre part 2 - Advice, techniques and a rant

March 13, 2023 Jeremy Fisher and Dr Gillyanne Kayes Season 7 Episode 2
This Is A Voice
Classical v Musical Theatre part 2 - Advice, techniques and a rant
Show Notes Transcript

Gillyanne & Jeremy answer more questions about classical vocal technique versus musical theatre vocal technique.
Which is best, should you teach either or both, what do you teach students at different ages?

Great questions submitted from our listeners too:
How can I make "So In Love" stop sounding like Puccini?
Do you teach a 16 year old classical AND musical theatre or choose one?
With a new young MT student do you focus on legit or belting?

Gillyanne talks about her PhD research into different genres, and Jeremy has a gentle rant about style, why the notes between F4 and F5 are vital, and vibrato.

Mentioned in the podcast: Singing and the Actor - the definitive book on musical theatre vocal training, now in its 23rd year

Successful Singing Auditions book - An excellent guide to the whole horrible process (The Singer Magazine)

Vocal Process Teacher Accreditation interview playlist - see what our Accredited Teachers have to say about the Accreditation Programme

Webinar 4 Finding the YOU in every song. 
We analyse performances of So In Love sung by Elenor Steber (opera), KD Lang (CCM) and Rachel York (Musical Theater) PLUS we analyse the style differences between Evelyn Tubb (classical) and Sting (CCM) singing Come Again Sweet Love by John Dowland. 
Only available in the Vocal Process Learning Lounge here

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The 12 Hours to Better Singing Teaching course online, with voice coaching techniques, vocal articulation exercises and a LOT more for the up-to-date singing teacher is here

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For real 1-1 attention on your own voice, book a voice coaching session in the singing studio with Jeremy or Gillyanne

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This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. Hello and welcome to This Is A Voice, season seven, episode two, the podcast where we get Vocal about voice. I'm Jeremy Fisher. And I'm Dr. Gillyanne Kayes. And today we're doing classical versus musical theatre. The revenge part two. The revenge? I didn't agree to that title. I thought it was the return. Uh, we're feeling feisty today. Are we getting Vocal about voice already? We are. I think we probably are. So, for those of you who listened to the podcast episode last time, uh, season seven episode one, we're talking about classical versus musical theatre training specifically. And, whether classical is better or musical theatre is better, or they're both equal or what goes on. There are also questions about whether we should be teaching musical theatre at an early stage for those who want to learn it or whether there are other things we should be teaching. And can I just chip in Jeremy and say we had some wonderful engagement last week on the YouTube channel when we did the premiere. That was great. So do watch those if you want to, because you can comment as you go along and tell us whether you agree or disagree. In fact, if you go up on the right in, in the YouTube player it says show, chat, replay, and you'll see everything live as it comes in, which is fun. Okay, so we said that there would be a sort of sub theme this time, which was going to be style or technique? Can I introduce this? Yes. Because I, I've heard this a lot. I mean, I consider myself a musical theatre specialist for obvious reasons. Singing and the Actor being one of them. And then our joint book, Successful Singing Auditions being another. I've had quite a few conversations with people on social media about differences between musical theatre and classical singing, and there is quite a lot of thought out there that it's the same basics, but just the style that's different. Okay. All right. We're going, we're digging straight in. Mm. Right. okay. If you are a man, if you are, male, identify male identifying and you have a to testosterone influenced voice Mm, then it is slightly easier for you to move styles because the basic sound that you are making is a lighter or heavier or less resonant or darker or richer or, or whatever version of the sound that you make. If you are female identifying, it gets a little trickier. Yeah, because I mean, I think what we're saying, this is obviously a generalization, but with the male identifying, you just need to change shape, resonance shape, and, for want of a better word, perhaps lighten off a little, get rid of that chiaroscuro sort of timbre setting, and you will be able to adjust and sound more like a musical theatre singer. There are other things you need to do as well. Just know. I was gonna say, I was gonna say there's a lot more to it than that. Change the legato, change the narrative style, all the rest of it all. All of the above and more. But in terms of I'm, I'm gonna use the term use of voice rather than technique. Yeah, it is probably easier in our experience. Now what tends to happen with the female identifying as soon as they're singing more contemporary styles, more contemporary musical theatre there tends to be, a more extensive use of chest mechanism, uh, mechanism 1, and taking it up higher than would be typical in Western Lyric singing. So, for example, when I trained as a classical singer and I sang, mostly leader and early music, I really did not use my chest mechanism above middle c. In fact, from the training I had, it was a bit of a no no anyway. But let's not go there because, you and I have a lot to say about the usefulness of eliciting mechanism one, don't we? Absolutely. Irrespective of genre but more typically in contemporary musical theatre a female singer will need to sing up to A4 I would say at least, oh, minimum. Okay. Okay. Minimum, at least I've told you a million times not to exaggerate. Minimum! In their mechanism one, and you hear this right across the board, that, those of us who are working in this Genre need to teach our female identifying voices to hand over very neatly between their mechanism one and mechanism two, so that they can sound similar enough in situations where similarity is needed. Not all do require it. Okay. Let's break this down because this is actually one of the important bits. We are talking the notes between the F above middle C and the F above. So c, F4 and F5. Okay. Now, if you are a classically trained soprano, mezzo or contralto, it is highly unlikely that you are going to take chest voice above that F4, anywhere into that range. You might do it for one note in one phrase, if you're a heavyweight mezzo for instance, but you're not gonna do it. You're, you are, you are not gonna sit in M one in that range, F4 to F5. If you a contemporary musical theatre singer, you are pretty much expected, not just to be able to knock out notes in that range, but to actually sit entire phrases in M one in those, between those notes, F4 to F5, and the, if you like, the ceiling for musical theatre, uh, female belters or, or the chest voice singers, or M one, whatever you wanna call it, has gone up a fifth in the last 50 years. Yeah, I have noticed that because, you know, when I was first working with people in the 1980s when Les Miserables came out, the women were coming back from their auditions saying, They wanted me to sing in chest up to the C above Middle C! Mm-hmm., which by the way, they did. And that's what they're saying. Can you do it in chest dear? And, uh, those friends of mine who came from a more classical background who were stage performers, had done a lot of opera, they couldn't do it. And they'd come back and say, but that's going to wreck my voice. And we had to learn, us teachers, how to elicit that behavior. And then later on, you know, that ceiling. I agree with you, Jeremy. It's tended to go up, although I think that our way of managing it has changed and the way we manage the resonance shapes has changed. I think there are more choices now than there used to be. People are doing some extraordinary mixes, which are either M one based or M two based, and they can often sound very similar. Um, but that's all right. The important thing, if you like, is in terms of sheer sound, the female voice has to go into that range and sit there in an M one or a chest voice, so whatever you wanna call it, it's an M one vibration with whatever resonance spaces you want above it. Oh, and. If there's anybody listening who isn't sure what we're talking about, we do have a podcast specifically on this, where we do demonstrations. We do, maybe put it in the show notes. I will do. Now I want to talk about my research. Is that all before you do, before you do? No, there's, there's, there's a lot of really great stuff in what Gillyanne's gonna say. Okay. I just want to finish the thought, which is if you are talking sheer sound, then there are a multitude of sounds that need to be created in musical theatre because as an actor you need to be employable, basically. And so as a, a musical theatre actor, singer, singer, actor, dancer, triple threat, you need to be able to move from Phantom of the Opera to Rent to Titanic to, A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder to Come From Away. And they're all in different styles. Mm-hmm. And therefore, you need to have a voice that is so flexible because not only do you need to be able to sing in all of those styles, but you need to be able to sing in those styles eight shows a week for a year. Yeah. Do you know what, oh, and by the way, rehearse another show while you're performing. Okay. Good. You've given me a lovely in to talk about my PhD. Yeah. I put a phrase in my PhD, uh, when I was in the discussion section saying, Musical theatre singers do not have the luxury of Fark I like a good fark. Absolutely. For those of you who have not come across that word, F A C H, it basically means pigeonhole. It's a German word, pigeonhole. And in the classical world, and slightly less so now, but you know, up to 15 years ago, the word "fach" basically denoted the type of music that you were gonna sing, the type of role that you were gonna sing. So it wasn't just your voice category. Nope. In musical theatre, we don't have that luxury. Nope. We do talk about category of voice. How relevant it is, in relation to the, you know, the historical Western lyric system is another matter. But what will happen is that the performers are much more cast on their dramatic type. Yep. And I would not be surprised if we talked about this once before, so you can have a soprano type instrument being cast because of their look and their energy. To sing Madame Thenadier. Yep, which is not a soprano part. And then having to learn how to navigate that in their voice. And this is what we mean by versatility. Yeah. And actually it is a challenge in musical theatre because you can. As a leading, person, be singing six to eight times a week. Oh yeah. And you could be doing four shows back to back on a Saturday and a Sunday. Yep. And if you haven't found the comfortable way of doing that with your voice, you can end up in trouble. Okay. Your PhD research. My PhD, and you can read about this particular project in the Journal of Voice. I've forgotten the title. We'll have to put it in the show notes. Don't anybody ask me what my PhD was called because I can't remember that either. Excellent. But I was interested in the relationship between, different musical genres and female identifying singers. And I looked in particular at Western Lyric or classical, musical theatre and C C M contemporary commercial music. Now, in this particular project, I was making comparisons between musical theatre singers singing more contemporary repertoire and Western lyric singers. and one of the things I did, in order to have what we call ecological validity was that I asked each singer to sing something from her normal repertoire. So each of them chose their own song, different songs, and then I asked them to create a scale. I did it with them, based on the kind of the key of the song and the range of the song. So that the scale task was sort of positioned within the context of the song itself. So it was just a straight scale, like a c major scale or going up or down in in whatever key in whatever key, yeah. In relationship to the range of the song. Yeah. And then I allowed them to choose their phoneme. So I didn't say, everybody must sing ee. Everybody must sing ah because okay, that's great for your variables, but it's going to mask some of the things the singer's doing. So, what I instructed them to do was to sing the scale in the phoneme that they found best represented the way they used their voice in the song. So the scale, nobody'd done this before. This is, and that, just let's just stop there because that's actually, for me, that's crucial as a coach, that is crucial. Mm-hmm. You do the scales, you do your exercises in the style or the feel or the sound or the genre of the song that you are about to sing. Mm-hmm. Scales and exercises do not sit separately from everything else. No. Uh, the, I can, I can have a whole conversation on that one. Mm. So, and then what I did was I sent the tests out to the, you know, the listening tests out to expert listeners and they listened to the songs and the scale separately. Everything was, uh, it was a triple blind very interesting because what happened was that they could identify the musical theatre singers from the scale tasks alone. So they didn't even have to hear the songs. It was just the way the people sang scales. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Isn't that fascinating? Yes. It was fascinating and I kind of had a little bit of flack about that in some of the feedback, when the research was published. I'm gonna stick my neck out and say some people didn't want to hear that. They didn't want to hear that the expert listeners were able to identify the musical theatre singers by their scale tasks alone, because for me, what that says is yes, they were using their voices differently than the Western Lyric singers. Okay. I love that. Off soapbox for now. Oh no, let's climb back on it. Okay. Right. We are going, going back to the thing that we actually started with, which is, is it the same basics, classical versus musical theatre technique? Is it the same basics and, and just style differences or not? Right. So the thing about, the thing about when you ask people what classical technique is, or classical technique is marvelous, and it does everything for you and it makes the tea. The thing, when you ask them, you're so bad. What is classical technique is they can't answer. It's like, please will somebody, okay. If there's anybody out there, will you please write in or do a SpeakPipe Vocal Process and record. You have 90 seconds to tell me what classical technique is. Because everybody is so protective and powerful about it. But nobody's actually told me precisely what it, what, what it requires. And it's like, oh, well that's not classical. Well, well belting is not classical. Well, that's not well, that's not well, that's not Well, what is then? Yeah, but we do it too. You know, in musical theatre we do. We do. No, we don't. No, we don't. Because I'm gonna say what I think classical technique is, and the interesting thing is it is all geared towards what the outcome that is required is, what do you want to do with the sound? What do you want? What type of sound do you wanna make? What type of phrasing do you wanna do? What type of diminuendos you know, get louder, get softer? The whole architecture, the structure of the sound, the music experience, it's a, it's a sound aesthetics, it's a sound environmental aesthetic because of the, you know, the performance situation. Oh, by the way, if you really want me to climb onto a hobby horse, let's talk vibrato. No, no, no, no, no. I've got to, no, I've got to say this. Who says that a vibrato of a major third is appropriate in any genre? Please stop doing that. Thank you. Right. So is, is it the same basics? I mean, you are making sound. Hmm. You are using your breath, you're using your resonance shapes, you're using consonants. Mm-hmm, so that's, I, that's all the same in, in any type of singing, pretty much at all. So, Is it just that it's a style difference? And the answer is no. It's, it's a different balance. And by the way, I am by no means the only researcher who has looked at this. Hmm. It's very interesting because I think the, the, the concept in people's heads who are saying that classical technique is the thing that you should teach and you should start everybody on it. And you shouldn't do any classic, you shouldn't do any non-classical until they are of age. The thing which is really interesting is the implication of that is that classical technique, you learn this classical technique and then you just alter it slightly depending on what, what the outcome is, what the music is, what the situation is. And the difficulty for me is, my first question always is, how long does it take you to learn classical technique and when pinned against the wall, a lot of teachers will say, years. And I'm going, why? Why does it take years? Why can't I not just teach it to you in a day? And the answer is context. Mm-hmm. Because the thing about classical technique in general is that there is a matching sound that is required. It needs to be usually, uh, warm and bright. It needs to be projected, it needs to beautiful, it needs to be matching. It needs to be controlled over a 2-octave range. There's a lot of goals that are built into classical singing. Most of those goals either exist less or in different balance or don't exist at all. The more contemporary you get, the less you use those particular goals, because the whole concept of why that music is there has changed. So I always think of, this is my personal take, I think of classical music, classical singing if you like, but music in general as being architectural. So we're talking long phrases, we're talking shapes. Mm-hmm. We're talking big emotions, particularly in singing, you are usually talking grand emotions. There are exceptions to that, but they tend to be the exceptions. Mm-hmm. Whereas in musical theatre, you're talking moment by moment story. Yeah. And characterization. Obviously there is characterization in opera and when we are interpreting art song and lieder. Yep. But I, I would say it's on a different level. It's much more informed by acting. And by the way, When you get into CCM, so when you are going into the, the more popular end of the, even the musical theatre cannon, but into CCM in general, it is much more about vibe. So it's e it's even less about moment to moment interaction. It's more about feel and and personal emotion and daytime stuff and everyday stuff. Everyday stuff. Vernacular stuff. Mm-hmm, conversational stuff. So I want now to pick up on something that came up from quite a lot of feedback, uh, and conversations, that we had with the last podcast. There is a concern about the developing voice as, as in the child and early teens, voice being encouraged to take on adult timbres and behaviours. And I think this is something that has possibly led, some teachers to steer away from musical theatre sounds, and I wondered if we might read some of this lovely feedback we had from Charlotte Sekotill. Okay. Do you want to read it? Yeah. Thank you for this, Charlotte. It was great. Okay. This is quite long, but there's so much good stuff in it."Fantastic podcast as always. Just some thoughts that occur to me while listening. I wondered if the exam board marking criteria are behind the styles we teach our children. They have very specific tonal outcomes and musical requirements in order to do well, and perhaps a bias towards certain exam boards and reputation, et cetera, can color our idea of Western classical technique being perceived as'the best' mm-hmm all round technique. Personally, I try to encourage a range of sounds and voice exploration that children can choose to use to be expressive within their pieces and we do talk about style. Mm-hmm. Young people are often only exposed to a limited type of genre, and family expectation can play a part in how they want to sound. I think it can be great to encourage young singers to explore a wide variety of repertoire if they're open to that, to discover the many possible sounds they can make. They do tend to clinging to one particular sound at a young age, and are often listening to singers who are very much older and trying to imitate that sound. Therefore exposure to lots of different genres will open up a world of possibility to them, which they can then use to define their own sound later." Yay. Well done Charlotte. I love that. I think that is, uh, so beautifully put and I'm sure that lots and lots of teachers will resonate with that. Thank you for that. Yes. And I just want to refer to the fact we can't say who or which exam board, but it so happens, I mean, we, we are in agreement about exam boards. Yeah. I have to say they're often very influenced by classical music values, uh, even if they're offering musical theatre exams. Two of our registered accredited trainers are currently advising examples as we speak. Yes. And we'll keep you posted. I do want to tell a little story, which is I was a consultant on, uh, repertoire actually, this was after the fact. They'd chosen the repertoire and they, they came to me and said, what, how, how can we market this to musical theatre people? Mm-hmm. And it was a musical theatre exam list. Hmm. And I spent some time looking through the repertoire list, working out what was going on. And it was very interesting because, let's say in the first 60 pieces, there were five that were contemporary musical theatre and 55 that were classical musical theatre. And I said, well, there's your problem to start with. Mm-hmm. Is that you, you, if you are looking to influence the, the contemporary musical theatre teachers, the people who actually work in the business mm-hmm, or have the knowledge of this contemporary world. You are not, they're not gonna go, they're not gonna go with it. Mm-hmm. What you are going to do is to encourage the classical teachers who want to, expand a bit into a sort of musical theatre area. They're not quite sure about it because they don't have the experience of it, but it's like, oh, we can sing that repertoire. Mm-hmm. Uh, and therefore I can put my, my children in for those exams and I'm, I'm feeling safe and comfortable. Mm-hmm. And I said, that's absolutely fine if that's what you're aiming for. But if you are wanting to attract the contemporary musical theatre teacher, You have to have the repertoire that they're gonna sing. Yeah, absolutely. I'm glad you told us that. Okay. Should we have a listen to some SpeakPipe queries? Yes, because we've had some nice ones. Yes. Okay. This is Joanna and we're moving on to some specifics, aren't we? We are. I think this is Joanna and in fact I'm gonna play two uh, one after the other because they're similar questions. Hi, Gillyanne and Jeremy, Joanna here. Thank you very much for a great podcast with the many miles that I do for my job. I've always got you both talking to me in the car and I'm learning as I drive. It's fantastic. Thank you very much. So, great topic. Musical theatre versus classical. So my question is, if you have a 16 year old that comes to you and says, I want to be a portfolio musician, I want to sing full-time, then obviously we would tell them they have to be flexible and they have to be able to sing in a variety of genres. And so would you teach them classical technique first or musical theatre technique first, or would you try to teach them both hand in hand so they understand the difference from the get-go? There's my question. Really looking forward to listening to the answer, and thank you as always for great podcast. Thank you. Bye. Can I say a few things about Joanna, because she's one of our registered accredited trainers as well. She is, she is, uh, amongst other things, currently working at, uh, GSA, working as, as a, a performance coach with the musical theatre singers there. And she also runs her own school, and she trained as a classical pianist. Actually. Her training and conservatoire. Her training is very close to mine. Mm-hmm. trained as a classic pianist and then went into opera repetiteuring, so it's very close to mine. Yeah. But she's always sung with a band. And so she comes in from two different angles, which I think is really interesting. And if you want to check her out, you could listen to her talk about her journey on the YouTube channel it's the accreditation playlist. And we'll, again, we'll put the link into that in the show notes yeah. And you can meet her there. So, oh, crikey. Now I've forgotten the question, which is , introduce them early on to. Different genres. I, let's hold, hold that thought for a moment. Cause I want to play Franka as well cause it's a similar question. Okay. Alright. Holding the thought. Hello, Jeremy Gillyanne. My question is, if you have a young singer, do you always sort of decide whether to go more the route or the more belty route? Or do you sort of teach them both, like cross teach them so that eventually they can do both? Or do you wait with belting before they are a certain age before deciding? Well, It's a bit of a messy question, but anyway, I hope it makes sense. Bye! Now that's not messy at all. And Franka, thank you for that. Yep. Franka is another one of our registered accredited teachers. She always asks great questions. Yeah. And her background is as a classical singer and, as a result of the training she'd done with us, she's now, working with different genres as well. Yes. And it, it's, , interesting to hear how people are able to make that shift. Quite a few people on the course did that, didn't they? So we, we are getting, it's two slightly different versions of a similar question. Joanna is asking classical versus musical theatre. Mm-hmm. Franka is asking the classic end of musical theatre, which is known as legit, and contemporary musical theatre. So they're similar but very slightly different. And the but in the main, the question is, which technique would you teach first? Or do you teach them So I think then my answer would be exposure to different music genres and uh, music styles as early as possible. And also, you know, letting them make some choices, you know, asking them, I know Joanna, you'll already be doing this. Asking them what they listen to. And if you find that it's quite a narrow sort of, set of, Styles and timbres, maybe invite them to listen to some others so that you can then explore those. Yeah. I think that's my answer. I want to dig into this whole question and what's, and one of the things that's behind it. You know, I think that there's a fear, not particularly from Joanna, but I think that it represents a fear, which is we must get our techniques sorted out in one area first before we even attempt to mess it up, to go into a different area. And I think that's where the classical teachers are coming from going, well, you need a solid classical technique first before you do anything to mess it up. Yeah. And I was certainly taught that. Now, if you want the answer to that, just go and listen to the end of, the last podcast that we did, which is episode one, because you have a wonderful, definitive answer to that. I don't think we need to go there again. Well, no, no. The the reason that I want to go there is because I want to say that I think that fear exists. I don't think it's real. Mm-hmm. The key bit of information is, and I keep coming back to this, which is context and level. If you are talking about I want this person to have a career at the very top of international opera, then it might not be a good idea for them to also have a, a professional performing career in contemporary musical theatre. Not the least because it muddles the, uh, the bookers and the audiences. It's actually more that Yes. Which is the audience can't quite decide where you fit. In terms of, can a voice make different sounds one after another? The answer is yes. Absolutely. Mm-hmm. Once you accept that, and some people don't, which is like, I need my strong technique and I need it to, to make this sound, and I, I need to refine this sound before I do anything else. Once you realize that a voice can switch on an instant from one genre to another and one star to another, then the whole business of, should I be teaching just this or just that, becomes a moot point. It it's like we don't even need to ask the question. The question to ask is what do you want to sing next? Mm-hmm. Now I want to bring Anniko in because she asked a lovely question, which is Anniko Toth of Koko Vocals. Yep. She asked a lovely question, which actually introduces this beautifully. What are your favorite ways of switching between say, legit MT and contemporary MT techniques in a solo musical theatre variety concert? Oh, right. She's probably speaking from experience. It's exactly what I'm talking about. And in fact, we have somebody else, Jessa, who's also sent something in. Mm-hmm. Jessa puts whole One woman shows together where she moves between genres all the time. Mm-hmm. And it's a brilliant question from Anniko. It's like, what do I do when I'm singing something that is very specifically in this style and this sound palette? And then I want to sing something that is entirely different. Can I do it safely? And how do I get myself into it? And she says, I use a swallow to switch my larynx back from twangy high contemporary into a more tilted, legit setup. But do you have any others? And what happens if you're doing it the other way around from legit to contemporary? Mm-hmm. Great question. Love it. I think my answer to that, and I have had to do this with, with people for instance, if they felt they'd been singing with a much higher larynx, is to do the yawn sigh. If you have a moment. You know, just doing the, just to allow things to lower a little bit that can help you to reset. I think the other thing that, uh, and o obviously you can do it the other way around, just moving into a higher laryngeal set, which you might do actually by swallowing. Hello, my name is Gillyanne. Okay. Now this is really interesting because you have used the swallow in the opposite way to the one Anniko has said. Yes, and I love that because the swallow can be used in either way. Absolutely. The way that she's using it, she's using the swallow to switch the larynx back from twangy high to more tilted legit, which is gonna give her more space. Mm. What she's doing is doing the swallow and allowing it to complete. So that the larynx goes back down to its neutral. Yes. And then she can do that from, she can make some more space if she wants to. From that neutral. What Gillyanne's doing is doing the swallow, but actually stopping it very slightly higher than neutral, which is going to take it into that slightly shallower, brighter space. So it's different stages of the swallow so that we get, we get the, we get the rise. And then we get the drop. Yes. Okay. Well, I hope that's useful to some people. The other thing that I did in my demonstration was that I spoke. Yes. And this is something that we do a lot using a little bit of emotional speech so that, if I'm needing to move now, let's say back into, more of a, a legit lyrical style. I might, I might do the yawn sigh and, uh, stop at the end. Oh, oh dear. I'm feeling very sad today. I might even bring my lips forward to get a little bit of chiaroscuro, and that's gonna take me into a more lyrical sound. That's very nice and very clear. Mm-hmm. Thank you. Course. And can I, and we use that a lot in our teaching, don't we? Yeah. Oh, the setting, setting something up in your speaking voice. What's so interesting about something like a musical theatre variety concert is you will often have the opportunity to speak to the audience between songs. Mm-hmm. So you can use your speaking voice setup and you can actually change your speaking voice setup while you are talking to the audience. So that's a really interesting point. You could even speak to them in the character that you are about to sing in, which is a very nice way of doing it. The other thing is there's always applause, so you can actually reset during the applause. One of the things that I will use to get, and actually interestingly I will use it either way, is uh, creak. Creak Vocal fold fry. Absolutely. Yeah, because the creak, Vocal fold fry will reset you to neutral. What is so fascinating about both of these exercises is that they get you to reset to neutral from which you can then go either brighter, shallower, or warmer, deeper. For me, and I learned this 20 something years ago, you know, I was doing all sorts of Vocal maneuvers and gymnastics and I suddenly thought, but isn't the most important thing, understanding what your own personal neutral is because you can move from it in all directions. I'm just thinking that where we were then, before we, discuss. Franka's question. So we haven't even got Franka's question yet. We we're meandering like crazy, which is that, just because you, you brought up, Anniko's question. Mm-hmm. Uh, Joy's question, which is okay. We are still not gonna answer Franka's question. No, you'll have to wait. Franka. When I'm teaching legit songs, especially those with long notes and phrases such as, so in love from Kiss Me Kate, how do I keep those phrases going without sounding like Puccini? I love that question. I just demonstrated that. And for those who maybe aren't familiar with the differences between that, say the MT "legit" sound, and uh, classical, that demo I just gave you would not pass as classical singing. Okay, let's break it. When I was singing in this tone of voice, I was still in a mechanism one. Yes. And that would work very well for So taunt me, and hurt me. Yeah. Now I did something else here. Which is because Joy said how do I keep those phrases going without sounding like Puccini? Yes. I didn't. No you cut them off. Okay. Particularly, and I'm because I know this song very well, you know, taunt me, hurt me. I know it's written as a two beat note. You do not have to sing those two beats on the vowel. Okay, let's break this down. Okay. Do you wanna do that? Let's break this down even further. The first thing is, okay, in classical, in the classical training world, the goal is to get yourself as close as possible, to the composer's intentions, whatever they were they are or were. And the only thing that you really have, and unless you've got recordings by the composer, the only thing that you have is, is the music, the written notation. And so, the goal in classical singing in general is that you sing as close as possible to exactly what's on the page, and what that means is you sing the note to its fullest extent, and particularly because classical singing is all about tone production and matching tone. You do full tone, full vibrato right to the end of that note, however along that note is. So what you are doing, and within that you can have little gradings of volume. You can do what I think of as the bloom, the swell. Mm-hmm. And then the die towards the end of the phrase. Or you can just swell and maintain. Hmm. What's interesting is that the, the goal, if you like, is matching beauty of tone. The moment that you take that into musical theatre, even in legit classic or classic musical theatre is that the goal is no longer matching tone and bloom. It's in there somewhere, but it's not the main feature. The main feature is to tell the story moment by moment. Now, if you can find a dramatic reason why you would bloom on a sound and why you would make it beautiful, then by all means, go for it. Yeah. What is so fascinating is that you can tell a classical singer singing musical theatre, by the way they deal with the long notes. And what they tend to do is hold the tone on all the way through, hold the vowel on all the way through, and then usually do a little crescendo, the vibrato stays the whole time. So everything is about shaping and matching right to the end of the phrase. Yeah. And, and you know, what I gave you was just one version. I, I think if I were to express the way to handle it verbally, I would say, allow yourself to move into mechanism one. I'm talking about female identifying voices here, not male. Um, Allow yourself to move into a mechanism one, but don't make it too heavy. Make a little bit of shaping to go for the lyricism so that, you don't end up sounding like Puccini. Uh, I think, you know, sort of almost going into a speaking voice, which is what I demoed with. It's, that's response. It's a very rounded speaking voice that, that you, that you went into, I think, I mean, I want to sort of break it down for Joy as to what to do. Okay. Cause we've told her what not to do, but here's what you do. The first thing is don't bloom on the sound. Don't increase or try and get more resonance or a bigger round, rounder vowel shape or anything like that. Just hold it straight. Don't shape the vowel. Thank you. That's beautiful. Do not shape the vowel. The vowel is already there. Mm-hmm. The second thing is experiment with holding the volume exactly the same and then holding the volume and dying on it. The, the third thing is feel that you can cut the note off early, and don't do all the same length of phrases. So do one phrase longer, one phrase shorter. Mm-hmm. The key bit for me, and it's the biggest difference between, classical and musical theatre legit, is the whole business of the vowel shaping and the, and the, the crescendo and diminuendo, the actual dynamic shaping of it is different. Hold it straighter. Did we not deconstruct three different performances of this song in one of our webinars we did. I'm gonna have to, because we have 18 webinars. Can we remember which one it was? No. Because we deconstruct a lot of songs in different webinars. Yeah. Mm-hmm. We will look this up because we actually did this, we had three different styles of performers sing this song. Yeah. And we broke it down. One was jazz, one was musical theatre, one was more classical. Yeah. Well, she was, she was, she was a professional Wagner soprano. Yeah. Okay. Well, I love that. Can we please play Franka again. Franka! I've forgotten. Sorry Franka. But you get aired twice and that's a good thing. You get aired twice. Franka van Essen in the Netherlands. Yes. Hello Jeremy and Gillyanne. My question is, if you have a young MT singer, do you always sort of decide whether to go more the legit route or the more belty route, or do you sort of teach them both like cross-teach them so that eventually they can do both? Or do you wait with belting before they are a certain age before deciding? Well, It's a bit of a messy question, but anyway, I hope it makes sense. Bye! But teaching is messy Franka. Teaching is messy, isn't it? Wouldn't it be lovely if we had one stop answers? So thank you for asking this question. Another great question. You say something Jeremy? Yes, I do. The first thing I want to ask is what age and how much experience? Mm-hmm. Because if somebody comes to you, age seven, And says, I want to sing musical theatre. And you go, just present them with all the sounds that they could possibly make. Uh, if you coming, if they're coming to you maybe at 12 and they're inexperienced, then I would probably go the slightly legit route and I probably wouldn't do, well. I, I wouldn't do belting if they hadn't had any experience of it at that age. But I would do power sounds. And again, it depends what stage of change that voice is in. If they're coming to you at 16, uh, the girls probably, again, it's about level of experience. Mm-hmm. If they've never made those sounds before mm-hmm. You introduce them to a whole range of different sounds. If they're already relatively experienced belters, then you carry on with that. I'm all for giving them a range of different sounds to play with. And there are only a few provisos about the belting, which is, it depends which stage of change they're in. Now I think this is, uh, useful to consider in terms of what's sometimes called Vocal cross training. And I'm going to talk about a client, that I had many years ago. I had quite a few clients actually who were child stars. And this particular client, had, I dunno, I think probably done Annie, you know, they've usually done Annie, people from my generation. She was a natural belter and a very good belter. And, by the time she was training later at university, Uh, bless the singing teacher she was working with there because that singing teacher said, I'm more classical, I don't think I'm right for you. Go and seek this person. I think what happened was because they'd grown up only making one kind of sound, and obviously they got cast for that and as it happened they were very good on stage as well, that it's kind of like you get used to one type of usage. And it was quite difficult to begin with to get a different way of using their voice. It's something that we discussed, uh, so that she had more versatility. Actually one of the ways that we went in was that she had grown up listening to folk music, traditional folk music, and we went in from there. And then from that we were able to do the more lyrical. Uh, musical theatre as needed. So I think we do need to be aware that when we're working with growing voices, the advantages are if we expose them bit by bit to different ways of using their voice, I would guess they develop more flexibility. And this is partly to do with level, which we spoke about last time. What we've got to remember is this client I'm talking about was as a child, an elite performer. And as it happens sometimes moving from elite performance as a child to doing a different genre and moving further up, uh, in age in your career can be problematic. It seems to me that, that there's a theme going on. It's just a theme that is appearing from this and it's, it's, in a way, it's about, flexibility. I think if you are a musical theatre based teacher, flexibility is built into your mentality. It has to be because your student has to be able to sing multiple different roles, multiple different shows, multiple different genres. Musical theatre probably contains more genres as a, as a whole than any other type of this thing. When you are dealing with classical, what you are dealing with is less about flexibility of sound and more about finding the sound that is you. And you then take that sound around the, the roles or the lieder or the opera or whatever, whatever it is that you're doing. And so the, the, it's like your, the key is to find what works for you and stick to it. And I think genuinely this is the difference between the two. And it's why the classical technical ideal is to find something and be able to do it. Now what we have to find out when we, edit the recording is whether my hiccups sound on the recording or not. And if anybody has a cure for hiccups, please let me know. I think, is that another podcast, ? No, I, well, it could well be, I bet Tor has something to say about that. I think we have done quite enough on this. If you agree with what we're saying, let us know. If you disagree strongly with what we're saying, let us know that as well. We wanna know. If you have further insights to offer, we would love to hear them. So you can either email us at, or you can go to and record yourself an answer. So we will see you next time. Thank you very much. Bye. Bye. This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Ks and Jeremy Fisher. This is a voice