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The Problem With Voice Classification

Voice Classification

Voice classification are stupid in my opinion. The only good thing about them is its a quick way of describing your general range and color on a resume or in a conversation. The stupid thing is how much weight and importance people put on these classifications. Alto's can sing high and sopranos can often sing low. Many singers handicap themselves mentally by telling themselves they cannot sing in a certain range because its not their part. Additionally, telling a director you're an alto can sometimes result in that director never giving you a light and gentle high part, but many altos are still capable of doing this. Voice classifications all too often simply limit singers instead of helping them.

In my not so humble opinion, voice classifications are a description of where a singer is the singing pitch-wise on average and the general color they are singing. For this reason, a singer could sing soprano or mezzo depending on the colors they choose. You could be a tenor 80% of the time and baritone 20%. I describe these to my students as ranges and colors rather than people. You may shine the best in the bass range and color, which would realistically make you a bass, but I simply avoid this language in my studio to avoid limiting students. Only with professional singers or classical singers will I narrow a singer into a category, as it is necessary for classical style and when pursuing a specialization area as a professional.

In short, I don't think voice classification should be a thing until a singer is far along the path of singing and not be part of a singer's identity until out of college even for vocal music majors. If you need help expanding your range into other voice parts or colors, sign up for singing lessons with me or leave a comment and I'll try to help out!

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