Advanced Vocal Ped Syllabus

Instructor: Ian Howell, M. Mus.
Time and Location: Mondays 2-3:50 pm, JH367
Office Hours: by appointment


Required Materials

  1. Practical Vocal Acoustics Kenneth Bozeman (2013)
  2. Readings and multimedia DVDs/online videos
  3. Access to a computer (Mac or PC) and the Internet
  4. Regularly referenced materials found at (login info sent via email)


Introduction to Vocal Pedagogy: Process, Structure, and Function; or instructor approval


Not open to freshmen or sophomores; open to all graduate students, and juniors and seniors with instructor permission

Course Description

Building upon the knowledge gained in Introduction to Vocal Pedagogy, Advanced Vocal Pedagogy is geared toward students specifically interested in learning how to teach voice. This course offers a practical approach to evaluating voices, diagnosing technical flaws, and offering targeted solutions. Also covered are studio ethics, repertory selection, historical pedagogy, and suggestions for building and maintaining a studio. Heavily practicums based, students will teach several voice lessons to non-majors, observe NEC faculty members teach, and work with computer based voice analysis software. Students will read several peer-reviewed articles from voice science and voice pedagogy journals, give a presentation demonstrating original thought in the field of vocal pedagogy, and write a final essay exploring their philosophical and practical approaches to teaching voice.

As the PRIMARY OBJECTIVES of this course, students will:

  1. Gain the confidence to evaluate singers, diagnose specific issues, and create a progressive teaching plan;
  2. Place their teaching approach within the context of both historical and modern methods;
  3. Develop independent thinking skills, leading to the possibility of original research;
  4. Develop the skills needed to write technically about singing;
  5. Be exposed to a broad cross-section of pedagogy literature, both historical and modern, and understand how teaching vocabulary has changed over time;
  6. Understand the role of voice doctors and voice therapists in the training of singers;
  7. Be prepared to open a teaching studio.

Course Assignments in Brief

  1. Specific weekly assignments (including readings) will vary from unit to unit. In a week with a reading assignment, students will write a short reaction to the assigned readings in a private online forum and briefly comment upon two of the reactions of their colleagues. These reactions should be several sentences long, concise, and demonstrate not only an effort to comprehend the readings, but also an effort to find connections between the author’s thesis and your current understanding of the voice. Ask each other questions, challenge the author, &c. Deadlines appear below.
  2. Starting with the third week of class, students will teach weekly 30-minute lessons to one another or non-voice majors. Students will record these lessons and answer the following questions. These will be published for group comments on the class website.
    1. What did you address that worked well?
    2. What did you choose not to address?
    3. What did you miss that would have been helpful? E.g. upon listening to the recording, what feedback would you give yourself to improve?
    4. What problems did your student have that you felt unqualified to address?
  3. Students will read one vocal pedagogy book not otherwise covered in class and summarize it in a presentation for their colleagues and a annotated bibliography entry.
  4. As time and schedules permit, we will regularly take turns working with voice students in class.
  5. Students will give a 30-minute final presentation to the class, demonstrating original thought related to their study of vocal pedagogy. Examples: A computer analysis of a variety of recordings to demonstrate a pedagogical point, a survey of NEC students, a proposed method for addressing specific technical issues, a thorough editing of a problematic vocal pedagogy related wikipedia page. Your topic must be cleared with the instructor. You must submit a final paper (MM performance 1,000-1,500 words; MM pedagogy 2,000-2,500 words) in conjunction with this presentation.
  6. Students will work on specific body mapping exercises, and demonstrate an ability to isolate the engagement of several critical parts of the singing body (adduction of the folds, articulation of the soft palate, muscles of inhalation, etc…)
  7. Students will observe 3 hours of voice lessons taught by NEC faculty, and 3 hours of studio classes. Students will write short (250 words max) reactions to each of these experiences.
  8. Students will write a final essay (750 words max) outlining their philosophical and practical approach to teaching voice.

There is no final exam. 


Participation/Readings/teaching assessments 20%
30-minute presentation 20%
Journal article essays 20%
Voice Lesson/studio class observations/essays 20%
Final essay 20%


Technical Requirements for all Written Work

Any written assignments must be submitted as either a WORD or PAGES file (weekly readings reactions will be submitted via my website). Please use a 12pt font, either Helvetica, Times, or Times New Roman, double-spaced. Include your name, my name, the course number, and the date in a header. Include a title for your assignment. Use the Chicago (short version by Kate Turabian) or Modern Language Association style guide when preparing your work.

Submit all work electronically in a WORD (.doc or .docx) or PAGES file to:

Due Dates

            Weekly readings reactions are due by 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time zone) each Friday evening. Your comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. each Sunday.

All other written work must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on the designated due date.

Please feel free to turn in any assignment ahead of time. I will allow you one rewrite (based on my comments) for a higher grade. A half grade will be subtracted for each day following the due date. You are required to have access to your school email, which automatically time and date stamps your emails. Plan ahead to turn your materials in on time. Communicate with me early if there is going to be an issue.

Academic Integrity

This class follows the academic integrity policy of this conservatory. Plagiarism is a serious offense, and you could be expelled from school for it. Document all quotes in your written work. Document all borrowed ideas in your written work, even if (especially if) you have paraphrased! If you are not sure, cite it. Use the Chicago (short version by Kate Turabian) or Modern Language Association style guide when preparing your work. These style guides outline how to create footnotes and bibliographies.

Class Attendance and Participation

You are expected to come to all classes on time, having completed all assignments, ready to discuss the material. If you must miss class for an approved reason (meaning a medical emergency or performance/competition/big audition), make sure to get written approval from Dean Handel. Otherwise your participation grade will suffer. If you miss more than three classes for any reason, you should talk to me about your future in the course. In any case, if you miss class, plan on making up the work in some manner.

Have a question or concern? Talk with me early on.

Preliminary Course Calendar (Subject to Change)

UNIT 1: Survey of Methods and Functional Training

Week 1 Introduction, review of syllabus, a survey of methods, and Listening

Read for next time: Excerpt from Reid, Bel Canto (website)

Week 2 Survey of Methods

No reading

Week 4 (2/2/14): Survey of Methods

Read for next time: TBA

UNIT 2: Brain Hacks and Faulty Maps

Week 5 (2/9/14)Class Meets

Read for next time: TBA from Bozeman

Week 6:  (2/16/14): President’s Day Weekend – NO CLASS

Read for next time: TBA from Bozeman

Week 7 (2/23/14): Class Meets

Read for next time: TBA from Bozeman

Week 8 (3/2/14): Class Meets – In class observations

No reading assignment or TBA

UNIT 3: Observations

Week 9 (3/9/14): Class meets

Observations – Notes Due Sunday

Week 10 (3/16/14): Spring Break – NO CLASS

Week 11 (3/23/14): Class meets

Observations – Notes Due Sunday

Week 12 (3/30/14): In Class Observations (Come to class!)

Observations – Notes Due Sunday

UNIT 4: Repertory Selection and Studio Ethics

Week 13 (4/7/14): Repertory Selection

Reading TBA

Week 14 (4/14/14): Studio Ethics

UNIT 5: Presentations

Week 15 (4/21/14): Discussion of Final Projects

Week 16 (4/28/14): Final Projects #1

Week 17 (Week of May 5th TBA): Final Projects #2

Course Bibliography

Arneson, Christopher. Voice Repertoire from a Developmental Perspective. Deleware: Inside View Press, (anticipated) 2013.

Bozeman, Kenneth W. Practical Vocal Acoustics: Pedagogic Applications for Teachers and Singers. Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2013.

Brown, Howard M. and Rebecca Stewart. “Workshop IV. Voice Types in Josquin’s Music.” Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis  35,  1/2, Proceedings of the Josquin Symposium. Cologne (1985): pp. 97-193.

Coffin, Berton. Historical Vocal Pedagogy Classics. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1989.

Doscher, Barbara M. The Functional Unity of the Singing Voice. London: Scarecrow, 1994.

Feldenkrais, Moshé. Awareness Through Movement: Health Exercises for Personal Growth. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Garcia II, Manuel. A Complete Treatise on the Art of Singing. The editions of 1847 and 1872 edited and translated by Donald V. Paschke. New York: Da Capo Press, 1975.

Garcia, Manuel. Exercises and Method for Singing. London: T. Boosey & Co., 1824.

Hines, Jerome. Great Singers on Great Singing. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1982.

McCoy, Scott. Your Voice: An Inside View. Delaware: Inside View Press, 2012.

McKinney, James C. The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults. Nashville: Genevox Music Group, 1994.

Miller, Donald. Resonance in Singing. Princeton: Inside View Press, 2008.

Miller, Richard. On the Art of Singing. New York: Oxford University, 1996.

___________. The Structure of Singing: System and Art in Vocal Technique. New York: Schirmer, 1986.

Ravens, Simon. “‘A Sweet Shrill Voice’: The Countertenor and Vocal Scoring in Tudor England.” Early Music 26, 1 (Feb., 1998), pp. 122-134.

Reid, Cornelius L. “Functional Vocal Training.” Journal of Orgonomy 4, 2 (1970):  231-249.

______________. “Functional Vocal Training, Part 2.” Journal of Orgonomy 5, 1 (1971):  231-249.

______________. Voice: Psyche and Soma. New York: J. Patelson Music, 1975.

Smith, W. Stephen. The Naked Voice. Oxford: Oxford University, 2007.

Sundberg, Johan. The Science of the Singing Voice. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University, 1987.

Titze, Ingo R. Principles of Voice Production. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1994.

Titze, Ingo and Katherine Verdolini Abbott. Vocology: The Science and Practice of Voice Habilitation. ???: National Center for Voice and Speech, 2012.

Vennard, William. Singing: The Mechanism and the Technic. New York: Carl Fischer, 1967.

Additional videos and media from The National Center for Voice and Speech and Inside View Press.