Vocal Schools

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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As the demand for voice training continues to grow, more and more vocal schools pop up on the radar to meet the expanding need. Credit the surge in interest to American Idol perhaps, but there's no shortage of naturally talented voice stars seeking more regimented training to help reach the next level. Even if the bulk of these aspiring band leaders will ultimately make their livings offstage, there are plenty of careers that reward formal singing instruction and still allow vocalists to work within the ever-widening music business.

As with drum, piano, or guitar schools, vocal schools take a multidisciplinary approach to education. Colleges and universities understand that for any singer to grow as an artist, he or she must have a thorough understanding not only of voice, but of the various forms of accompaniment. Contrary to what many believe, singers are not granted carte blanche to exercise total creative control over things such as composition and lyrics. A singer who believes otherwise may find the collaborative road ahead a tough one.

What Vocal Schools Provide

The best vocal schools give their students enough latitude and encouragement to find their own voices, even if they're unsure as to what they may sound like. A lifelong voice student may meet an instructor who encourages him or her to sing in a lower register, exercise greater control, or simply opt for less theatrics. A good teacher will resist telling the student that his or her choices are "wrong." Rather, that teacher may suggest alternative pitch, breathing, or harmonizing strategies, just to name a few examples.

Vocal schools also require their students to take at least some theory work in addition to a heavy performance load. To round out a broader curriculum, these schools may insist that singers successfully complete courses in sight reading and notation, body movement, digital recording techniques, or a cappella work. There are countless other vocal lessons that may creep into a voice student's course load as well, so it's worth reading over cognate, distribution, and elective requirements before enrolling in vocal schools of any stripe.

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