Conference: International Congress of Voice Teachers


This presentation seeks to broaden the ongoing debate about the perceived dichotomy between voice science and vocal artistry, by inviting participants to consider the pedagogical needs of choral conductors. Based on a small-scale exploratory, mixed methods research study, this session outlines the case for a revised, scientifically accurate, multi-modal imagery strategy for the training of young voices in the choral context. Much youth choral training continues to operate under traditional master-apprentice models, with conductors often working without the assistance of singing teachers or vocal coaches. Despite this, voice science, singing pedagogy and vocal health training is not often undertaken in sufficient depth by conductors. The young, often as yet untrained choral singers can be confused and misled by ineffectual and inaccurate imagery, which in the worst cases can compromise their vocal health. Set within the wider context of the voice science versus vocal artistry debate, this author asserts that the use of Philosophical Lens Theory of Imagination to evaluate current imagery employed by choral conductors can form the basis of an improved imagery taxonomy that synthesises science and art. Subsequently, utilising well established multi-modal imagery strategies from the discipline of Sports’ Psychology, we can begin to address the practical application of this revised imagery schema in choirs of individuals at various stages of vocal, physical and mental development. Presentation of findings from this study will begin to indicate the efficacy of various imagery strategies in synthesising the two competing strands of science and artistry in the choral context, and will explicitly address how improvements to choral conductor training are vital for the vocal health of young singers.