What does it take to sing Rock ‘N’ Roll authentically but safely? This book may have the answers.
Item: So You Want to Sing Rock ‘n’ Roll: A guide for Professionals, by Matthew Edwards, published by Rowman & Littlefield (a project of the National Association of Teachers of Singing).
Mic rating: 4/5
At a glance: This book addresses the history and techniques all of major styles under the recently named umbrella ‘Contemporary Commercial Music’ (CCM), from pop and blues to hard rock. The author, Matthew Edwards teaches Voice at the pioneering Shenandoah Conservatory, and is dedicated to adding credibility to CCM Voice studies. There are a few contributions from his esteemed colleagues and plenty of references to his contemporaries and their research.
High notes: This book is a much needed addition to the small amount of books on pop singing, and it is written with the same vigor and detail as traditional classical voice texts. The large introduction section on CCM history will put any music student in good stead, and the section on health by Wendy Leborgne warns the reader about the perils encountered by gigging singers.
Off pitch: It seems that this book was rushed to the printers as there were quite a few typos, including wrongly labelled diagrams. The final chapter on education really could have done with more research in my opinion. Although it shares information on prolific voice methods and models, it is far from extensive, and includes a method which is now widely considered as irrelevant. And, I’m sorry, the cover is… well…
Voice Council reviewer says: I quoted from this book heavily whilst writing my Master’s degree thesis on CCM voice. I found it a breath of fresh air compared to the amount of hefty and expensive books on classical voice. Although this book’s mission is to break away from classical aesthetic values, it does have a few commonalities – unavoidable considering the author is classically trained himself. The crossover themes in any case are highly valuable, for example: how to avoid constriction and tongue tension and how to navigate the ‘passagio’. With the chapters on stage technology, career choices and health, this book is a handy all in 1 guide for the singer looking to refine their craft and knowledge.