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The topic of vocal ‘cross-training’ remains somewhat controversial within the music and theatre worlds (though far less so today than even a decade ago). Frankly, this should not be the case. While cross-training is sometimes defined as simply ‘singing different styles of music’, there is a much broader, interdisciplinary definition that frequently applies:
cross-training – exercising muscles differently than how they are normally used in order to promote optimal performance levels and mitigate against injuries.
Again, this should not be a foreign concept to performers and teachers today. Professional athletes cross-train different muscles in their bodies all the time, and singers are vocal athletes. To that end, musical theatre actors and actresses are more like triathletes– those who do several sports at once– rather than those who do just one. Among other reasons, this is because the vocal folds are primarily driven by two sets of laryngeal muscles: the thyroarytenoids (TA)
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