Whether you are a classically-trained singer looking for a new musical experience, or an experienced popular musician wondering if you can also sing opera or choral music, this blog should help you understand the differences in technique and opportunity. Musicians in the 21st century often think they must stay inside a box – whether that be rock, pop, jazz, or classical music – but this simply isn’t true.
If you would like to take singing lessons in Columbia or join the rock band program at Soundcheck Rock Academy, please get in touch.
Can a Classical Singer Join a Rock Band?
Yes, classical singers often successfully join and perform in rock bands. In fact, many popular musicians have classical backgrounds: Katy Perry, Freddie Mercury, and Jason Derulo included. Granted, those would be considered “pop singers,” but the point stands. There’s nothing stopping an opera singer from introducing a gravely texture to their voice (think of Pearl Jam) or using belting technique when appropriate.
The Key Technical Differences
Classical singers will have learned to breathe deeply, avoid all tension, and project their voice as openly as possible. This is different from popular styles, predominantly because popular styles of singing use sound amplification. Opera singers rely on acoustics, and therefore must rely on technique to project their voice.
But with the help of a microphone, you can add breathiness, belting, raspiness, rawness, falsetto, chest voice, and so much more without sacrificing volume.
Musical Fundamentals are Always Worth Learning
Classical singers must learn to read notes, and rock singers generally do not. On the other hand, rock musicians always know chords and progressions, and classical singers are notoriously behind on music theory.
This doesn’t need to be the case!
There’s no reason why a classical singer can’t learn rock theory and vice versa, and both musicians would benefit from the additional knowledge. Many songwriters use their knowledge of classical genres to write rock tunes, and classical musicians can better express older music if they are knowledgeable of modern convention.