Classical training for musical theater singing: Registration issues in the female voice

Date of Completion

January 2009


Music|Theater|Education, Music




Until recently, there have been two broad schools of vocal training in the United States—classical and non-classical, which have generally been kept separate. The dissertation was written to help bridge that gap, providing classical teachers with a method for training musical theater singers. This dissertation traces the development of the American Musical Theater singing style using female voice types as a guide. A discussion of the technical vocal requirements for musical theater singers demonstrates the need for a classical approach to vocal technique, in addition to a healthy production of chest voice, belting, and mix. Issues of semantics are addressed and terminology is chosen based on its practicality for use in the vocal studio. Current sources on registration issues in the female voice, particularly belting in musical theater style, are summarized, and vocal exercises from these sources are analyzed with regard to their usefulness in strengthening and smoothing out the vocal registers. Vocal exercises are also provided with detailed instructions on how to both perform and teach them. Areas of instruction deal with introducing and strengthening the use of head voice, healthy use of chest and mix, and avoidance of register breaks. A process for selecting appropriate musical theater repertoire and tools for applying and integrating the vocal technique to the repertoire are also offered. ^