A lack of technical training
Today, sadly, there is a shortage of Singing Teachers who really know how to teach correct, natural voice production. Most Singing Schools or Singing Teachers do not even teach a technique, and so fail to give their students a solid and fundamental grounding and understanding of their voice.
Others might mention a few vague things about technique, but don’t really go into any depth or detail about it. Some Singing Teachers might do five minutes of warm up scales at the start of each lesson and brush over a few points about technique, but once again fail to convey a clear and consistent approach to the voice.
There are a small number of Singing Teachers who actually do go into immense detail about technique, but sadly teach their pupils the wrong technique, which might work for some people, but clearly does not work for most.
A plethora of false beliefs
Many Singing Teachers who do spend time on technical work will invariably teach their singing students dodgy methods of breathing, placement, mouth and lip formation and may also incorrectly diagnose what category of voice the individual possesses. Their beliefs are often based on the bad habits of ex-singers from generations ago, who would teach their pupils the cheap tricks they resorted to when their voices weren’t functioning properly.
These tricks were usually a necessary resort for singers who did not have a proper, consistent or reliable vocal method. These quick fix approaches to the voice have actually now become a method of voice production which many Singing Teachers swear by, but in truth they are far removed from the pure and balanced delivery that came from the singers of the golden age.
Too many methods
Another problem with the approach to vocal technique today is that there are different methods taught for different genres. We differentiate between “opera technique” and “contemporary technique.” Singers use terms like “classically trained” (either favourably or unfavourably) which implies that there is a difference between the technique used to sing opera compared with pop music or any other style. To be honest, there is a difference between the techniques used to sing various different styles of music today, but that is not the way it should be.
We have become so accustomed to the stereotyped voices within different genres, that we assume that that is how it is meant to be, and that we have to sound like one of those clichéd voices. This is not true, singers of the past generally did not change their method of voice production to sound like other singers. Of course, they would learn a lot about interpretation, phrasing and appropriate musical customs from singers within their favourite music category, but they would still sing with their own unique sound, a sound which was based on their speaking voice, rather than a fabricated tone. This resulted in a freshness and an originality in each and every artist’s voice, because it was their own, not an imitation of someone else’s.