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Classical to Pop Singing

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Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

If I take up lessons for classical singing, how hard is it to crossover to pop singing?

Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 131

Good technique is just that... good technique. As a vocalist you should be able to adapt to whatever style the music needs you to be. So a good teacher should be able to teach you to sing, and not just in that style.

But at the same time, if you want to sing pop, why don't you find a teach who will teach you pop songs as well as technique? :)


From Your Influence...

Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 794

Maybe a really good teacher would be able to teach any style, but they tend to specialize. And those who get music degrees with an emphasis in voice tend to do the more classical stuff. Having taken some voice lessons and having been in choirs for years, I find some difficulty in getting the right tone for pop music. Certainly the breathing, staying on pitch, sight reading, etc. will transfer to any style. I can't quite put my finger on what makes the voice sound "classical" other than pronunciation and some vibrato. I know it when I hear it, but changing what I'm doing to make a more pop sound is another story. From my own experience, if you want to sing a certain style, finding a teacher who does that style would be best.


Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2241

Having taken some voice lessons and having been in choirs for years, I find some difficulty in getting the right tone for pop music.

Try Autotune. It seems to be all over every pop record these days, obvious or less so, and def affects the 'pop tone' and it's live achievability. :(

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 36

As a choral music teacher who was a voice major, I think basic tenets of "classical" sound are:

a. Accuracy - unless specifically called for, we try and sing pitches with a clean attack and move precisely from one note to the next, without slides or other stylistic things which would be more associated with more contemporary styles. Jazz would be a perfect example. Occasionally you get some "fill-ins" between notes in opera singers, but even then, they are generally specific pitches, not smooth slides like a trombone.

b. Some vibrato, like you say. To some, vibrato is an "effect", which adds warmth to the sound. It is also a natural way to help keep the voice loose while singing, and not strained or tight.

c. Open vowel sounds - the idea being that we need open space in the throat (raising of the soft palate) to allow for big resonant sound. Vowels are the "sound" of your voice, not the consonants (though some consonants can be "voiced" like l, m, n, rolled r's, th [like in the word "the" and not like the word "thirsty"] v, and z). We are creating space for the voice to sound. Unified vowels are also important for choirs to be in tune with each other, and for their sound to match and line up. When we speak in American English (at least over in my neck of the woods) we tend to morph our vowels in strange dipthongs - soda becomes "soouuda" and "ooh" becomes more like "eww". It's actually quite repulsive. :lol: Anyhow, in classical singing, we try and make it more pure. Pop singers tend to be less "vowel-y" with their singing, and tend more towards singing words the way we speak them.

d. Resonance - classical vocalists train to project the voice forward through the "mask" (a term encompassing the sinuses, and generally parts of the face) instead of the throat. Most classical performances take place in non-amplified situations and venues, where they simply need to be heard in a large space, or occasionally even cut through an orchestra. Classical vocalists are encouraged to develop a large dynamic range and "sing to the back of the hall" as it were.

Anyhow - I also lead music in my church every Sunday morning which is almost all contemporary styles, and occasionally I even sing some big band standards with my school's jazz band a la Frank Sinatra, and I've found my classical training covers my technique across the board, and my vocal style is up to my judgement and preference, and is flexible. What you should really do is identify singers who have a certain pop sound you like, and find out what they are doing that makes that sound.

Hope I didn't give you more than you asked for. Hope it helps. :D

I am where my mind put me.