Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Matt Styles


The music industry is always evolving, finding fresh ways of combining and presenting artforms, and adapting to meet the changing demands of audiences. Within this landscape, classical singers must actively work to maintain relevancy and expand their skillset. Cross-over and cross-genre singing is a tempting option for many, as it grants versatility and enables singers to move between two community networks. For singers who have only ever trained classically, ‘crossing over’ into the jazz genre can be intimidating. This is not helped by the lack of literature discussing cross-training or jazz vocal technique.

Through literature review and qualitative research methodology, this dissertation aims to identify the shared and contrasting elements of vocal technique in both classical and jazz singing and evaluates the ways in which these techniques are stylised to different effect. Specifically, this study seeks to determine whether a classical singer with well-established classical technique can successfully expand their skill set into the realm of jazz singing.

With this goal in mind, three professional female singers were interviewed; each of whom formally studied opera to a post-graduate level and since gained professional success as a jazz singer. Data was collected regarding their skill acquisition processes, and their performance experiences and challenges. To the same end, ethnographic research on the part of the investigator is also presented. Parallels are drawn between jazz and classical score schemas, lesson structures, and stylistic interpretations. Furthermore, the technical and styling challenges of the investigator are evaluated. Each research subject utilised a self-devised, practice-oriented method of learning and was profoundly influenced by their exposures to live-performance and use of their listening skills to imitate and emulate. Results found suggest that classical singers have the potential to successfully transition into jazz as a secondary genre.

This paper is intended to continue the discussion of cross-training as a viable possibility for classical singers wishing to sing jazz. However future research is recommended to further investigate and corroborate.



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