Contemporary vs traditional singing techniques [Video]

Church worship bands often have a mix of people: young and old, classically trained, contemporary trained, or those with no training and simply reflecting the cultural norms they grew up with.

Blending those styles can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, particularly with vocalists where most worship bands wanting to play contemporary songs will want a contemporary sound to the vocals (even if they don’t really understand what that really “means”). It’s a lot more than simply applying less vibrato as this short video lesson explains.

Musicademy vocals coach, Cat Mayne, takes us through a number of key differences between contemporary and traditional singing styles. These include:

  • Larynx – the very basics
  • Vowel sounds
  • Fullness of voice
  • Attack
  • Vibrato

She then looks at microphone technique and shares three things to further consider:

  • Volume
  • Fulness of voice
  • Vibrato

Cat created the video to demonstrate the techniques that Chris Steynor references in his article on coaching classical singers to sing in a contemporary style. So do watch the video, then read the article.

Coaching classical singers to sing in a contemporary style

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Articles Cat has written on vocals

Vocal warm-up exercises explained

Bad habits of vocalists and what to do about them #1. Breathing

Bad habits of vocalists and what to do about them #2. Posture


Cat MayneCat Mayne has been a vocal coach for Musicademy for nearly 10 years(!) teaching both in local rock & pop courses and worship seminars. From choral beginnings she gained a vocal scholarship with the Berkshire Young Musicians Trust before going on to study on the Music and Worship course at the London School of Theology. She has worked extensively as a soloist performing a wide range of styles (although she is definitely a jazz and soul girl at heart, when she’s not belting out Broadway tunes!). Cat also works with choirs and bands offering coaching on a whole range of vocal and performance technique and is a worship leader at her local church. In her ‘spare’ time she is currently working on writing some original material, focusing on using music effectively to facilitate more intimate expressions of worship.