Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Steve Garner

Second Reader

Dr. Mary Shambarger

Third Reader

Dr. Sim Flora


The fields of vocal pedagogy and speech pathology are often thought to be completely separate entities. This misconception has existed for decades and continues to inhibit the vocal growth of the voice student. The student is not permitted to explore the benefits that could come from a combined application of the two fields of study. This is due to the fact that a large number of voice teachers refuse to acknowledge that the scientific study of speech pathology even remotely applies to the study of the ''singing" voice. Richard Miller ( 1986) states:

There is a breed of singing teacher that assembles a set of pedagogical expressions, a group of vocalises, and a swatch of repertory that goes on, year after year, without alteration. New information is unwelcome. Such persons assume that they have always known how to teach, or that they carry on the tradition of one of their famous teachers, or that they can deliver to every singer the same technique that they "gave" to the successful pupil who now sings at the Metropolitan Opera House (p. 213).

This attitude allows for little or no change in teaching techniques and, consequently, little or no correction of the misconceptions that are being passed on from one generation of voice students to the next. Perhaps the most common misconception, as previously noted, is the belief that the fields of vocal pedagogy and speech pathology are not related. This assumption can indeed be disputed, for there are several factors that intricately unite these two fields of study.

The commonality of the fields of vocal pedagogy and speech pathology has been explored in the works of James McKinney ( 1982) who states:

The basic mechanism for speaking and singing is the same, and the physical processes are essentially the same. Speaking and singing share the same breathing apparatus, the same larynx, the same resonators, and the same articulators (p. 169).

From these facts, one can then conclude that "the way in which we speak has a direct and crucial bearing on the way we sing" (Cooper 1979). One must then ask, ''What affect does the speaking voice have upon the singing voice?"



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