Techniques in Vocal Pedagogy

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Hitel, Madeline
Issue Date
Scholarship Sewanee 2020 , Music , Singing , Voice , Music education , Vocal pedagogy
In voice lessons, teachers often utilize different images and abstractions to help the student with any given concept. For many students, this is incredibly effective. However, there is a complex technical explanation for the success of these tools. My independent study was designed to be a comprehensive study of vocal technique. To do so, I have employed various methods to fulfill this goal. Primarily, I have been working one on one with my own voice teacher. In these sessions, I have studied laryngeal and respiratory anatomy through a review of related voice literature. Using this, I have looked at the most effective ways to apply it to different types of students. To understand the nuances of this information, I have created sample warm-ups for students of different ages, voice parts, genders, and styles. Once these were created, I spent time at the piano learning how to accompany them. After gaining a deep understanding of anatomy and its importance in warm-ups, I tested some of these warm-ups on my voice teacher. Playing them at the piano, I learned to tweak these warm-ups in the context of a lesson. As a type of fieldwork, I have observed numerous lessons from different students and voice teachers. Making detailed notes of student progressions/difficulties/responses, and lesson styles/structures, I was able to use this research to further my own vocal pedagogy. Drawing from new knowledge, I finished my research with a study on selecting repertoire for different voices. Through an overview of classical and musical theater repertoire, I have learned to assign appropriate pieces to any given student. As a culmination of this research, I will be teaching a demonstration masterclass. Choosing a student ahead of time, I will assign them a piece of music to record. To ensure the findings are unbiased, I will not give any prior specific instruction. I will then analyze this video to create a lesson plan. I will give specific technical instructions to the student and explain my reasoning. I will demonstrate my instructions and give the student a guide for how to practice moving forward.