Associate Professor of Voice, Shenandoah Conservatory Artistic Director of the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute
“Change starts in our classrooms and our studios…showing our young people, and especially BIPOC, that all musics deserve to be studied and taught and sung…that we respect that they know more than we do about their own music…that we need their expertise and experience in the classrooms and voice studios of the future…that they have a place in academia to train to be teachers whose musics are included and valued, and who can pass that on to the next generation of music makers.”
An excellent article by Jessica Baldwin from the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute.
When we as voice teachers are learning how to teach new-to-us (and maybe also to the student) styles of singing, we seem to focus on technique and style: what the vocal folds and vocal tract are doing, where the rhythmic emphases are, what the common note patterns are, how the words are pronounced, etc. We attend workshop after workshop to learn how to help our students sound more authentic.
But learning a style of singing is much more than just learning the sound. The “right” sounds can’t be fully known without an understanding of the human experiences through which they were born: the culture, history, and reason for existing, as well as the way they are taught, learned, and performed within the community. If we’re imitating sounds without an understanding of their lifeblood, we will not only miss the mark, but we’ll miss the point. Music is born from people…
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