Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What we (apparently) cannot learn from singing instructors

I've long been intrigued by two perhaps related "symptoms": (a) pronunciation instructors who seem to have a very high tolerance for their students' pronunciation problems (i.e., do not seem to be much affected by them or even perceive them) and (b) instructors who have great difficulty recognizing and dealing with their own "vocal health" issues (e.g, vocal stress, misuse or improper breathing).

Clip art: Clker
In this article summarized by Science Daily (with no authors noted!) investigating ability of singers to self-assess voice production problems, amateurs (not surprisingly), those over age 50-- and (surprisingly) singing instructors--were shown to be significantly less perceptive in that regard than professional singers. Why that might be the case is not explained, but (from a HICP perspective) it must have something to do with not being able to access the felt sense of the voice, either due to lack of training, age or being in a role where such (at least temporary) self awareness could be counterproductive.

I'm sure you can imagine instructional contexts where differing levels of such voice awareness could, in fact, be productive or beneficial as well. In both cases, either lack of awareness of self or other problematic voice/pronunciation, body-based vocal training such as the Lessac Method (which involves a great deal of  haptic integration) has been shown to be highly effective in establishing and managing voice awareness. If you are a singing (pronunciation) instructor, like I am, there may be much more your can learn from your body about your voice . . . and that of others.

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