We examine the whys and hows of the foreign language requirements in voice degree programs, and the issues around singing and listening to songs that you cannot digest without a translation.
Singers that attain degrees in higher education often have to go through the experience of singing in a foreign language. But shouldn’t we question this paradigm, especially when the communication of the text suffers as a result? If we hold singing as an act of communication, shouldn’t attainment of language proficiency in speaking occur before singing in a language one doesn’t understand? Precedent exists for songs and opera in translation, so perhaps consideration should be made for singing well in one’s own language as a priority in the vocal training of young singers. For those wishing to train in languages, discussion of diction resources by Cheri Montgomery and David Adams are covered.