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Background: I love all types of music. I was raised listening to Elvis, British Invasion bands, blues, soul and the like all from the general era, but my love I constantly return to is rock music: everything from The Who, Zeppelin, Iron Maiden to now, with occasional metal numbers on my playlist.

I'm taking singing lessons: my singing teacher, however, told me I'd never be able to sing to suit a typical rock sound. She said I have "a sweet, pretty tone" and a "soprano" range, and at most could do a Beatles song (despite classing them as pop).

I've only been having lessons for a month, all previous singing just being from a natural love for it. I love singing and will quite happily sing anything, but I'd also love to be able to sing along to my favourites without mourning the fact I sound too innocent for it.

I'm still young (early teens), but I'm still aspiring to be able to do the above and has damaged my confidence when singing along to rock songs (it may sound stupid, but's unfortunately true).

Is there any possibility I may be able to do this? Thanks.

  • I think the important thing to do as a singer is find the voice that is most naturally and comfortably your voice, and then sing whatever genre you like. If you write your own music and/or lyrics, again I think the best work you will do is when you find your own style. Combine your authentic expression and writing style with your authentic personal singing voice and you'll be creating something no one else could create that will be uniquely yours and (IMHO) the pinnacle of what you can achieve in music. Don't even try to sound like anyone else, sound like you. – Todd Wilcox Mar 13 '16 at 16:04
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    Think about Evanescence. Amy has a beautiful sounding voice that she uses to sing fairly dark sounding songs. That contrast is very effective. Don't try to have a different voice, and also don't let anyone else pigeon-hole you into any kind of music. – Todd Wilcox Mar 13 '16 at 16:26
  • You are limited by the physics of your "voice"(the mechanical aspects). E.g., No human will ever be able to sing a 100khz tone at this point in evolution. BUT! The human voice has evolved over millions of years and it could not do what it can do now! This tells you that the voice can change. Practice is the most important key. Your teacher seems to be inadequate. What she is really saying is: "I don't know how to help you learn to sing the way you want so I will just tell you that you can't". If I were you, I would be looking for a new teacher soon. Someone that understands the voice better. – user2691 Mar 15 '16 at 20:41
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    Your goal isn't to "sound like someone else". That is nearly impossible... But you can definitely learn to sing any style you want. Basically your goal is to develop your voice to be strong. It will always be "you"(you can't change that) but if you sing strong, it will sound "good" like all the people you want to sing like. Work hard, learn as much as you can, and in 10 years you will surpass your wildest imagination. If you give up before then, you won't get anywhere. You are literally having to "work out" the voice and build muscle strength and control just like a weightlifter. – user2691 Mar 15 '16 at 20:43
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Yes, you can achieve the voice you want.

Your teacher is wrong. Likely because she doesn’t understand that there is a technique to singing hard rock. It is not just for people who have naturally gruff voices. For example, Roger Daltrey was not born with a hard rock voice — he developed his voice with a lot of practice. He sings with total commitment and an open throat and a ton of diaphragm. When he was your age, his voice was likely sweet also.

This doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your current teacher. Just recognize that she is your first teacher, not your last. Learn everything you can from her, get the basics down — lots of hard rock singers started with The Beatles — and at some point later, move on to a teacher who can teach you the hard rock style. That teacher will help you to understand that it is not about screaming from the throat. There are techniques that will enable you to have both a hard rock sound and a long career.

Whatever Beatles you are doing, maybe you can gradually move towards “Helter Skelter,” which is The Beatles consciously doing an homage to The Who. Also, you might get started on Zeppelin with “All My Love” which would probably get your current teacher’s approval. Eventually, you will get to “The Immigrant Song.”

Soprano is great for hard rock. You can sing at the lower end of your voice but still cut through the guitars. You can murder some high notes.

The most important thing is to follow your passion. Don’t worry too much about the result. Don’t let anybody accidentally or deliberately discourage you.

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Well, of course there is a wide range of just what you can do with an educated voice. Check out "Naturträne" from Nina Hagen. With that song it's still obvious that she has had a classical soprano education and she has been pretty seminal in the Punk genre. However, her voice deteriorated a lot from the way she abused it over the course of several years.

Which is a high price to pay. At least she paid it on original songs rather than covers: she created something while paying with her voice.

That's not what you are currently asking about: I would not know a good answer then. In your situation, I'd just bother with making the best of your voice without regard of where you want to end up eventually. You'll figure out eventually your own way, and then it's up to you to specifically work on those aspects of your voice you'll need for that.

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I couldn't help thinking of Transvision Vamp while reading your post (look them up on YouTube). Don't let this teacher's comments put you off. If you have the option, swap this one out for one that will teach you what you want to know. If not, learn what you can because it's all good and everything you learn will help your future as a rock diva, and keep singing the stuff you want to sing when the teacher isn't around! With the current teacher find some stuff you both like and focus on that to build your skills.

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The range of expression that a human voice is capable of never fails to surprise me. Whether it's Bulgarian deep-throated singing, German lieder, or Korean opera. What you will be able to achieve with your voice will depend upon a couple of things:

Physiology - Some people have wider throats, and thicker vocal chords. They're just made that way. The idea of 'best fit' for your physical voice is common in classical training. A lyric soprano is highly prized for the sweetness of her tone, but she will may not have the stamina required to sing Wagner. It will wreck her voice early. But some people have the toughness for it and make a career of singing certain roles. Voices will age and develop according to use, too, and people age differently anyway. You might lose sweet top notes as you age for instance, but find they are replaced by a warmth and depth of sound in your lower register.

Musicianship - your musicianship and disposition/flair for certain kinds of music, and the way you develop this musical personality over time is also a big deal. Listen to very early Bowie. At times he seems unsure of what his style is - there is experimentation, even imitation. And then over time, he developed that characteristic sound and vibrato. And it followed through into his spoken voice; OMG, what a beautiful voice. I really prize the unique flair in a singer, and hope that you will consider it as important to develop a musical personality as it is to physically exercise and refine your voice.

Sometimes, there can be tension between what convention and personal style demand. It's also important to develop your voice carefully, and strengthen it without injuring yourself. Consult many teachers on this. Such a range of expertise out there. Some specialise in rock, and other will help you with strict classical breathing and phrasing. Freddie Mercury benefited from Opera to get the chops, be open to finding help anywhere, and - be open to growth and surprises. As your voice physically matures, you may discover style and potential you didn't originally imagine when first aiming for a certain kind of voice.

Good luck!

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