Breakout Session

Alternative Facts: The Cognitive Dissonance of Hearing Versus Feeling

Monday, June 25 • 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Presenter: Lynn Helding
Introduced by: Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk
Location: Cohiba 10-11

Sound perception is one of the biggest impediments to student singers’ learning. Because singers’ sounds are generated from within their own bodies, they have a choice of two feedback systems: external auditory feedback (what the acoustic of the room sends back to their ears), and internal feedback, or proprioception – what their bodies’ sensory systems signal. This choice creates a dilemma for singers in the learning stage: they experience both external and internal feedback simultaneously – facts and “alternative facts.” This dichotomy can create the struggle known in psychology as cognitive dissonance. Practical solutions for resolving this dissonance are offered by considering tenets from learning theory, including specific methods of “Deliberate Practice” (Ericsson) and thoughts on “Desirable Difficulties” (Bjork).

About Lynn Helding

Lynn_Helding.jpgLynn Helding is associate professor of practice in voice and vocal pedagogy at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She is an associate editor of Journal of Singing and founding author of its “Mindful Voice” column. Honors include election to head the founding of the first non-profit vocology association, PAVA, and the 2005 Van L. Lawrence Fellowship. Her stage credits include leading roles with Harrisburg Opera, Nashville Opera, Tennessee Opera Theatre, and Ohio Light Opera; and solo recitals throughout the US, Italy, France, England, Germany, Spain, Australia and Iceland. She studied voice at the University of Montana, in Vienna, Austria, and Indiana University, where she was the first singer accepted to the Artist Diploma in Voice. She earned her master’s degree in vocal pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and completed the Summer Vocology Institute at the NCVS, where she has returned as guest faculty.