The Differences between Classical, Music Theatre and CCM Singing | #DrDan ๐ŸŽค


– Today we’re looking at the
nine significant differences between classical, music theater,
and contemporary singing. Yes, nine! If you think learning to sing is a one-size-fits-all discipline, then this video is for you. – [Woman] Sound check. Check one, check two. (upbeat music) – G’day folks. Welcome back to Voice Essentials
where everybody sings. My name is Dr. Dan, and I’m a contemporary
singing voice specialist. I hope you noticed I specified my role with the term contemporary, and that’s because I only deal with people who sing popular culture musics
like, rock, pop and country. Now, occasionally I work
with music theater singers because I have some
experience in that field also, but even then, I recognize
that my strengths lie in teaching the more contemporary
forms of music theater, for example, rock musicals
like Chess and Rent. Now, if you’ve been watching my videos and following the Voice Essentials channel for any length of time, you will already know
that I am a big believer in task-specific instruction for voice. That is, it is no longer acceptable to think that classical
technique will adequately prepare a voice for the rigors of contemporary repertoire
and performance. And this is where today’s video comes in. I recently started reading this book, So You Want to Sing CCM:
A Guide for Performers. Now, CCM is the current, albeit, in my humble opinion, inadequate acronym for contemporary commercial music. I was delighted, actually
delighted is an understatement, I was ecstatic to find
a chapter in this book by my friend and colleague,
Dr. Matthew Edwards, titled CCM Versus Music Theater. Now, Dr. Edwards breaks down a comparison, not only between CCM and music theater, but also classical voice and performance. So, using Dr. Edwards nine headings of Training Required, Venue,
Amplified versus Unamplified, Vocal Demands, Language
and Text, Acting and Dance, Persona and Storytelling,
Other Skills Required, and Representative Universities
and Training Programs, we are going to briefly explore the differences and similarities between the three distinct disciplines of classical, music theater, and CCM. We talked about the training required for contemporary vocalists in a recent video here on the channel. Classical singers typically develop through undergraduate degrees followed by young artist programs. Classical singers also have access to many post-graduate options, unlike their music theater colleagues who usually only study at
the undergraduate level. The contemporary singer
is still the poor cousin when it comes to education,
with Dr. Edwards writing, there are approximately 23 degree programs in the United States
for commercial singers With so few options, it is very common to encounter working performers who have not come up through
the traditional pathways of their classical and
music theater counterparts. One of the most significant differences when comparing the three
disciplines is venue. Now, venues explicitly designed for classical voice performance are engineered to carry
the acoustic voice, whereas music theater
and commercial venues generally require sound reinforcement. Now, music theater venues can
be small intimate settings seating audiences of 50 through to 1,000, but the contemporary
singer can find themselves tucked into the corner of a cafe performing to three people right through to standing on a stage in
the middle of a stadium packed full of 100,000 screaming fans. Regardless of the venue size, contemporary vocalists
are always amplified, and despite what you might think, so are most music theater singers. But, as Dr. Edwards points out, classical singers almost never
perform with amplification. They take pride in their
ability to project acoustically and consider it a hallmark
of their art form. Now, you might be forgiven for thinking that the unamplified singing
of the classical performer has higher vocal demands than the music theater
and commercial singer, but you’d be wrong. Each discipline has its challenges when it comes to the demands
placed upon the voice. For example, the classical singer will often be given a night
off between performances, whereas the music theater singer may be required to sing
multiple performances in a day five to six days in a row. And the vocal demands placed
upon the contemporary vocalist don’t stop once they step off stage with meet and greets before
and after multi-set gigs lasting between two to five hours. The area that I think music
theater and commercial singers have it easier than classical
singers is, language and text. Generally, both music theater and contemporary vocal performers need to work on their
articulation and clarity of lyric, but they generally only have to do that in their native tongue. Classical singers need to sing in German, Italian, and French,
not to mention English, in order to have a full schedule. Each language has its
own nuance and challenge. Personally, I’ll stick to ‘Stralian. That was for all my Aussie subscribers. If language is one of the
most significant challenges facing classical singers,
then being a triple threat is almost certainly the biggest challenge facing music theater singers. If learning to sing isn’t enough, music theater performers
need to develop competency in acting and dancing also. Yes, opera singers need to act, and commercial singers
need to be able to dance, but in both cases, the voice
remains the primary focus. In music theater, all three
disciplines are on show. Music theater performers need to be able to sing, dance, and act. Indeed, as Dr. Edwards suggests, many directors expect
performers in music theater to put primary focus on acting
and secondary focus on voice. The skill of acting also interplays on the seventh heading,
Persona and Storytelling. Both classical and music theater singers are generally playing the character of another person on stage, whereas the contemporary vocalist is more often than not
being themselves on stage. Now, this almost sounds
like the contemporary singer gets off easy here,
but learning to present an authentic and vulnerable
persona on stage, when that person is
you, can be challenging and requires years of
performance experience to master. The other skills required
by all three disciplines include knowledge in audio, video, recording, and small business management. The classical singer does well to develop skills in stage combat, and the music theater
performer will benefit from being able to play an
instrument like piano or guitar. The contemporary singer needs to develop the ability to self-promote
using social media and platforms like YouTube,
not to mention investing into the time-consuming
art of song writing. Dr. Edwards lists a range of
representative universities and training programs as seen here. Of course, the uni’s shown
are only in the States, so I encourage you to do your homework when searching for the right university for you in your local area. I hope that today’s video
has given you a good overview of the differences between the
three different disciplines. Neither, classical, music
theater, or commercial singing has the right to claim superiority when it comes to stylistic demands, and each one of the three has
task-specific requirements when it comes to the skillful application of voice and performance. Now, if you wanna learn more about any of the three
disciplines individually, then I highly recommend investing in the So You Want To Sing
book series published by the National Association
of Teachers of Singing. I personally own eight
books from the series. I’ll leave some affiliate links in the description section below to three of the books I think
will be of particular interest to all of us here at Voice Essentials. Until I see you again in the
next Voice Essentials video, I’m Dr. Dan, sing well.

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