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10 Things Rockers Won’t Learn from Classical Singing

10 Things Rockers Won’t Learn from Classical SingingAll singers should know the limits of other genres for informing their own –says Jeannette LoVetri

There is a point of view in the world (internationally) that says classical singing training sets you up to sing anything. That is simply not true.

Singers of contemporary genres are sometimes told they “should “ be classically trained to be a REAL singer. However, I want all contemporary singers to understand what classical singing [training] will not do for you:


    Classical training will not teach you how to improvise a vocal line or bend the notes

  1. Rhythm & Style. Classical singing will not teach you how to work off the rhythm in rock and pop styles; it will not help you develop a free style, suited to the material you are singing and your own voice. You will not learn how to improvise a vocal line, or bend the notes by sliding into them.
  2. Tech Matters. You can’t discover how to work with a microphone, monitors, a speaker and a sound engineer, because classical singing doesn’t use any of those things. You won’t discover how to amplify yourself in different venues and on different equipment because they don’t do that, either.
  3. Vocal Noises & Landscape. You won’t learn how to make vocal noises for effect or how to use the interplay of sounds between you and the band to good effect. It’s not possible to learn how to create a total sound landscape in the studio, using all the effects that are now easily available, to get an overall texture in the music.
  4. Movement. You cannot learn how to move around a stage while singing and playing an instrument, or how to sit still and play drums or piano while singing, as the skills are not related to what classical singers typically do.
  5. Rhythm. Classical singing won’t teach you how to do syncopation, or specific rhythms to great effect.
  6. 280x200-vocal

    Rock makes extra demands on the voice that classical singing does not

  7. Sonic Creativity. Classical singing won’t teach you how to combine words, pitches, phrases, volume, and meaning into something that is unique to you and to each song you sing.
  8. Vocal Health. Classical singing won’t teach you how to keep your voice healthy, as what classical singers do is not the same as what rockers do, and a rocker has to understand what extra demands rock makes on the voice that classical singing does not. Both are challenging forms, but they are different.
  9. Speaking Voice. If you would like to be able to work with a speaking voice dominant sound as your primary vocal output classical training will not help because classical singing is pretty far away from normal speech sounds. You won’t learn how to get your speaking voice to be a great singing voice from classical singing.
  10. Marketing. You won’t learn how to market yourself and get work, because classical singers get work in a very different way than a rocker or pop singer does. You won’t find out the best way to work in a band because classical singers never work in a band, traveling together and creating together.
  11. History. Rock singing comes from jazz and blues, so you won’t learn about the history of your preferred musical form because classical singing comes from European royalty and aristocracy and from the Church. They have nothing to do with each other.

My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry

Signe Gry Thorup Signe Gry Thorup - Solitaire

Nice rendition. Heartfelt, sincere. You sang honestly, and that’s always good. The song itself is simple and repetitive and many of the verses and the chorus were almost exactly the same, which makes it hard to stay interested in what you are singing. Try to find different variations as the song goes on, both with the music itself and the words. Watch out for using the register switch as a way to be expressive. Vary that more.

Why I chose Signe Gry Thorup as a Finalist

You are my choice for moving forward in the Singing Competition due to your heartfelt and sincere approach to this song.


Jeannette LoVetri is the creator of Somatic Voicework, her method for teaching Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM), a term she herself created which has since become widely used. She has been teaching singing since 1971, arriving in New York City in 1975 and currently lectures and teaches across the world.


  • Hi Jeannette,
    I am sorry, but I do not agree with all of your points, though some of them are quite valid. For example, the original improvisation comes from the ornamentation of arias. Though many classical singers do not move much, they still must use their bodies to get around the stage while acting. There are some very syncopated rhythms in classical music, and as far as vocal health goes, I think classical singers must take even better care, because they cannot perform with the “gravel” in their voice as can a popular singer.

  • MediaSELLS

    I would say 4, 5, 7, 8, & 10 are completely off the mark. To the point where I question the author’s credibility now.

  • Jody Shealy

    so dumb. Nothing is going to make you a complete musician but classical training is great for teaching vocal health and proper projection. Be serious.

  • Noelle Slaney

    Doesn’t teach you rhythm and creativity? Fuck right off. Clearly you’ve never worked on Dvorak or anything remotely modern. Furthermore, classical singers are constantly expressive. We work to combine volume, phrasing, emotion, colour, poetry etc. to create something meaningful to us as ARTISTS. We don’t just stand up and sing a bunch of notes. True rock my be a freer form of music and you can take that anyway you like, but don’t discredit classical singers as having no creativity and passion. Disgusting.

  • john

    That is the most naive, biggest bunch of uninformed malarkey that I have read in decades. Classical music affords the singer limitless modes if expression, passion and sensitivity. You can’t “do syncopation” (whatever that means) with classical music? Is the author out of her mind?? “Classical” music offers limitless means of experimentation with a myriad of effects utilizing the voice in inovative and creative ways involving rhythm, melody, spoken voice, and improvisation, that well surpasses those of the rock genre. TC Helicon has defamed itself by even associating itself with such uninformed, narrow-minded drivel.

  • Arik Semagin

    Waaay off. All I see is the attempt to jack up her own “credibility” and add marketing push to her own vocal school or whatever she does in NYC. Classic and rock singing is not black and white opposite polarities. The key is to use the best elements of both. BTW microphones are used everywhere nowadays, as well as digital mixing consoles, signal processors, etc.etc, so from technical standpoint classical singing uses all these resources no less than rock acts.

  • When I see the title, I thought this article is going to lay out some rock stars’ ego, ignorance, or arrogance.
    “Rock makes extra demand….” Hmm, I thought classical singing is more demanding than popular style.

  • The not so Young Ones

    “Rock singing comes from jazz and blues, so you won’t learn about the
    history of your preferred musical form because classical singing comes
    from European royalty and aristocracy and from the Church. They have
    nothing to do with each other.”

    Where do I begin…this article is waaaaay off in just about every point. Classical styles of singing are incorporated into rock music as well – look at Iron Maiden or Within Temptation to name but two. Jazz and blues have nothing to do with the Church? What about Gospel? Does Jeannette reaslise that classical composers and performers WERE the rock stars of their day?

    As for the band/ business/ promotional side, well, of course they are handled differently – is this any great revelation? This has nothing to do with the technical aspects of either style, so totally irrelevant.

    Classical singing won’t teach you how to keep your voice healthy?

    Good grief, I can’t read any more….

  • Mike

    The article’s accurate. Nice job

  • It would be better if you explain why you think this article is accurate. Also, where is Jeannette?

  • Jack Bridges

    So this has been pulled out of someone’s arse. Wow.

  • Celena Hazleton

    Learning to become a great singer was always a life goal of mine as becoming a pop star was what I wanted as a child. I had tried singing lessons at various different stages of my life but I just felt the prices of lessons so I gave up on 5 different teachers. However, about a year ago I came across a program online that taught me how to sing through online lessons which not only was much cheaper but it has allowed me to become a very excellent vocalist. I highly recommended you to check out the full learn to sing guide at the following link:

    solutionwax*com/learntosing (obviously change the * for a dot as it won’t let me post links here) just take some time to watch the video on that website and then go ahead with the full lesson guide where I can assure you that it will completely transform your singing voice.

    Even just after a week of following the lessons I could see a massive improvement and now just over a year later, my voice has been completely transformed to the point that I have joined an alt rock band called ‘Sleeping Souls’(shameless plug lol) and perform at gigs all the time now!

    These lessons are not just for people who consider themselves as beginners, they work fantastic for all sorts of singing ability levels and apply to every different genre of music (whether you are interested in classical, jazz, rock, pop etc). Anyway if you are interested in learning to sing or just generally improve your voice with professional advice, check out that website. I’m sorry if I have rambled with my comment here but just wanted to share some advice to fellow musicians & singers out there

  • Jaclyn

    Oh man. This was hard to read. If you don’t address the passive and active muscles groups that cause laryngeal changes in the chest dominant space verses the head dominant space, then you don’t know basic pedagogy and you have no idea how Classical training affects modern training and vice versa.

    As for movement, bend, agility between notes, improvise… this article really just demonstrates a massive gap in experience and understanding of the classical and operatic forms.

    The internet truly scares me for future vocalist. The most uneducated statements can be made, with vigor, that can ruin a voice forever.

  • Kathy Coneys Alexander

    I think this article is helpful, and I don’t agree with all the criticism. I have studied classical voice (I have a bachelor of Music) and I am not in the least offended by the notion that rock, jazz and pop require different skills and techniques that classical training doesn’t offer.