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Should you not do MT in HS if you eventually want to become an opera singer?

politicalsopranopoliticalsoprano 20 replies3 threads New Member

I was reading another forum here on CC and I noticed another poster said singing musical theatre could permanently damage your voice. Given, said poster was talking about doing professional shows, not high school, but I was wondering if the principle still applied.

Also, is choral singing bad? I would hope not because currently my only performance opportunities are choral and musical theatre.

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Replies to: Should you not do MT in HS if you eventually want to become an opera singer?

  • lilacsvollilacsvol 5 replies0 threads New Member
    I think you should speak to your private voice teacher, if you have one, about this. Many high school aged singers can healthfully navigate the musical theatre world provided they are working with their private teacher on choosing age appropriate repertoire and still singing with healthy technique. Mics prevent the absolute need for belting. Choral singing needs to be done healthfully as well otherwise one does run the risk of vocal abuse. Best of luck to you in your high school singing experience. :-)
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  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 4375 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Agree with lilacsvol. Realisitcallly, in HS those are the principal opportunities, along with church choirs. A good private teacher can help the student navigate the vocal requirements in a healthy way. Be aware, howeer, that in senior year they may have to give some of it up to prepare and attend the auditions required for acceptances into the schools of their choice. DD had to give up the state level choir auditions and the senior musical receving the enmity of her choir director. She had to keep her focus on her longer term goals.
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  • Irishmomof2Irishmomof2 945 replies18 threads Member
    I know several professional working opera singers who did MT in high school.
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  • bridgenailbridgenail 1203 replies6 threads Senior Member
    My daughter who will start her grad studies in VP (opera) sang in all the school musicals. She also sang at a music school on Saturdays in a program for MT and classical voice. They mixed the genres for all students. My daughter sang both and auditioned for VP and MT programs (even though it was kind of obvious that she should be in VP - it's just not as exciting as MT for high school students since that is where the attention and fun is in high school - that changes in college).

    However I will say that both the music school and high school had excellent, knowledgeable teachers who picked repertoire carefully. The high school director just happened to work in the MT, VP program on the weekends. They were careful about belting for all students. When done inappropriately I think this is where a lot of vocal strain and/or damage (rare but a potential) can occur. When done appropriately with knowledgeable teachers it can be safe. It is often the student who will make poor choices in order to have a "moment" on stage (or several moments over a weekend and you can "hear" the vocal strain). Good teachers will discourage this. We have a local unprofessional theatre company for youth in the area that does MT and the hair stands up on the back of my neck when I hear some of the kids strain. Also the shows that are picked are too difficult for young voices.

    One other consideration, a few people did suggest that my daughter NOT sing in choirs due to the need to add air to the voice and blend (and subdue your voice). No matter which choir she was in she stuck out a bit since her voice is so big. I asked her choir teacher about it. She said she don't require my daughter to modify her voice for the choir. She understood her voice and her potential and said she would not restrain her voice in any way.

    So discuss your concerns with the music teachers. Also discuss it with your child so they don't make poor choices on stage. You have valid concerns. Also go to the MT shows and make sure you are not hearing "hoarse", strained voices. You should be able to gauge the professionalism and safety of the program this way. Good luck.
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  • intuneintune 51 replies3 threads Junior Member
    My daughter also did quite a bit of MT through high school. As others have said, appropriate rep and technique are critical to maintaining your vocal quality. She absolutely refused to belt and usually did legit rep. During her undergrad auditions this year for VP/Opera many comments were made about how healthy her voice sounded, and she was accepted into a number of very competitive programs. I would say to go ahead and enjoy those MT opportunities but be ever vigilant about your vocal health. Aso, look around for the chance to do age appropriate opera with a youth company. This was an additional performance opportunity and was actually a great introduction to opera as well.
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  • politicalsopranopoliticalsoprano 20 replies3 threads New Member
    intune - unfortunately, the only youth opera company around where I live requires the children's chorus to be under a certain height and I am quite tall. :(( oh well.

    So is it bad if I am signed up to be in 2 choirs next year rather than just 1?
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  • ScubachickScubachick 319 replies4 threads Member
    My D sang in 2 choirs each year all through HS. She is a college VP major now and is required to be in the college choir. So I think you are fine to participate in chorus as long as you use good vocal technique. She also did MT in HS. Her voice teacher helped make sure she sang those parts with good technique as well (no belting), now she does opera roles in college. She is glad she did MT in HS, as it helped with learning stage presence and acting techniques that she can use now in opera. Some of her friends have not had as much stage experience as she has and simple things like "go stage right" mean nothing to them.
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  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Forum Champion Music Major 3550 replies84 threads Forum Champion
    Good advice from all here. My D is just about to graduate with her Masters in VP/opera and she took part in her high school musicals during the first three years as well as community shows and a professional Gilbert and Sullivan troupe. She was also a member of Show Choir, All County Chorus and All State, but just like Singersmom07s's D, she dropped the musical and the choirs in her senior year to concentrate on her college auditions. Her voice never did blend well in a chorus and neither her undergrad nor her graduate conservatory had choral requirements.
    Be careful with your voice and the shows that you are in; if you are planning on going into VP in college, avoid shows that require "scream belting", as those can harm you. Work with your voice teacher and get her/his advice.
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  • musicamusicamusicamusica 6388 replies80 threads Senior Member
    I think the subtext to all these answers is that by now you should be finding a private voice teacher who can answer these sort of questions. Good luck!
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  • musicamusicamusicamusica 6388 replies80 threads Senior Member
    Forgot to add--- for the simple reason that the answers will vary according to the rep, the roles involved, your fach and your relative technical development.
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