what you hear is what you’ve learnt

Written By Shannon Coates

On 5th November 2018

say what now?

I just had a great talk with Dr. Dan, a contemporary voice specialist based in Australia, about how our training influences what we perceive.

A singer who is classically-trained, for example, may perceive effort and strain (not to mention the possibility of injury!) in a belt sound. While a contemporary commercial singer may perceive the same in Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma.

And while I would wager that there are not many contemporary singers teaching classical voice out there (and, thus, not very many voice teachers throwing shade on classical voice production in the studio due to their perception bias) … I would also wager that the vast majority of music theatre and contemporary voice teachers out there are classically-trained. Which can be problematic when those classically-trained voice teachers do not make efforts to work through their perception bias.

So this is an appeal to my classically-trained voice teacher colleagues who teach music theatre and contemporary singing styles: the next time we hear sounds that we are sure are poorly produced, let’s open the door to questioning how much of our surety is based on perception bias. And let’s commit to acknowledging the possibility of perception bias in our teaching. And let’s do what we can to mitigate it … which is a whole other post. Or FaceBook Live. (stay tuned)




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