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Considering taking Opera Lessons to become an Opera Singer…? If so, do you think that you have a Vocal Box Size XXX or, perhaps, even bigger???

Considering taking Opera Lessons to become an Opera Singer…? 

If so, do you think that you have a Vocal Box Size XXX or, perhaps, even bigger??? 

Written by Diana Yampolsky


In this article, I would like to start off by talking about human genetics, anatomy and physiology. It is a common fact that people come in all shapes and sizes and that, in many instances, their body types are determined by genetics. For example; Often people inherit structures that determine their height and, in the majority of cases, also their weight. Now, what does this have to do with vocals you may ask? In fact, a lot! 

Just like people generally come in different sizes, so, respectively, their vocal boxes also come in different sizes. The size of your vocal box will usually determine the type of music material (genre) that you are able to sing in a competent manner, and which doesn't put unnecessary strain on your vocal anatomy. The very size of your vocal box will also determine the style of singing that is right for you, at least anatomically speaking. 

Having been in the business of vocal coaching and producing singers for close to four decades now, I have met a vast number of singers (some previously trained and some untrained). 

I always have noticed that many people are often inquiring about Opera Lessons! 

Especially a decade ago, those Opera Lessons very much seemed to be in fashion. 

Many parents look at opera lessons as a trend and as something they can brag about to their relatives and neighbours, like something along the lines of 'We just went to see an Opera, so my daughter is taking opera lessons now!' 

Personally, I think that many parents believe that Opera lessons are something that is safe and sound for their children. After all, there is no sex or drugs in opera, right? Also, many parents predominantly don't even want their children to grow up to be singers, they want them to become lawyers, doctors or accountants. And in the back of their minds, they know that their children likely will not grow up to be the next Opera singing legend. So in their perception, it is safe in a number of ways. But is that really so…?


How To Become An Opera Singer And Really Assure That It Will Never Happen…?

Nowadays, how many opera singers most people can name - Pavarotti? Domingo? Carreras? Bocelli? The answer is usually not too many. 

The reason for this is that really good opera singers are a genetic minority. For you sports fans, they are as rare as athletic 7 foot 6 basketball players from China. With all of the opera teachers out there you would think that opera singers are made, not born - but that really isn't the case.

Unless you are born with a 3X (or better yet 4X) size vocal box, you cannot swing (let alone sing) opera, because the opera style requires the performer to drop their jaw down low to interconnect the chest register, the throat and the head register. Unless the vocal box is really of an extra, extra, extra large size and is well arched, it won't be possible, at least without wrecking one's vocal anatomy. 

Since the whole world is trying to teach opera style… I, therefore, am bombarded by those so-called 'opera' students (victims) from all over the world with requests for voice repair. 

Go figure! 

Yes, by all means, drop your jaw as far as your knee if you were born with a vocal box the size of a 'Vocal Casanova' - figuratively speaking. (See my previous column entitled Vocal Casanova). 

The term means to have an adequate size instrument and know how to use it to its maximum capability. But don't worry, even if you have a medium, large or, better yet, extra large size vocal box, you will be able to achieve great success in any other genre of music - Pop, Rock, R&B, Country, etc. In fact, each style has its own application and none of them requires the singer to drop the jaw down. (See my previous column entitled The Technical Elements of Vocal Style.) On the contrary, bring your sound to the upper cheekbone muscles and coordinate them with your lower abdominal and upper diaphragm muscles and you will sing in style and with absolute ease and safety.

To conclude; If you really want to become a singer, please define your purpose and style and then take your training accordingly. For reference, please remember that if you want to learn how to jump a triple axel while wearing figure skates, please do not search for a hockey coach to teach you how to do it.

Stay tuned for a more detailed elaboration on the subject in my future articles.