The National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Voice Foundation have named Ian Howell of Boston, Massachusetts, as the 2022 Van L. Lawrence Fellowship Award winner. Howell will have the opportunity to attend the annual Symposium on Care of the Professional Voice and receive a $2,000 award toward his research project.
Howell is a professor at the New England Conservatory of Music where he teaches applied voice, mentors others in applied teaching, and teaches a variety of classroom voice pedagogy courses.
As the award winner, Howell plans to conduct a two-step human research study. The proposed research study title is, “Does Contact Quotient (CQDEG) Rise in the Classical Cisgender Female Extended Upper Range? Validated EGG Derived per Glottal Cycle Contact Duration Using Transnasal High-Speed Laryngoscopy.”
His project seeks to recalibrate the understanding of both the function of the understudied upper extension of the cisgender female classical voice, and the limitations of electroglottographic (EGG) technology.
He outlines the first part as gathering calibrated audio and clean EGG signals from a small group of cisgender female classical singers.
“I have completed a case study of this step and will use these data to validate and confirm those results,” Howell explains. “The second step requires capturing and analyzing high- speed laryngoscopic video signals of selected pitch patterns captured in the first step.”
Howell acknowledges the findings from his research may affect multiple subject areas.
“My research directly addresses bias within the models used for teaching voice pedagogy,” he says. “These models bleed into applied voice teaching as well, and shape what we expect a voice to be able to do.”
He strongly believes that having accurate models is essential.
“When these models are even partially inaccurate, we risk more than pushing an incomplete paradigm,” he explains. “We risk limiting our basic understanding of the singing voice. We risk categorizing entire ways of singing as exceptions to the otherwise normal — typically cisgender, male, western classical genre — way of doing things.”
Howell thanks and credits the work of Dr. Christian Herbst for how the voice pedagogy community is starting to further explore the accuracy of CDdEGG measures more broadly.
Howell plans for his project to build on and extend this area to explore “a commonly heard but frequently understudied range of the cisgender female singing voice.”
About Ian Howell
Howell is a professor of voice and vocal pedagogy at New England Conservatory in Boston. He has sung in most major concert halls across America, Europe, Canada, and Japan as a soloist and with the GRAMMY® Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer. He has presented original research at NATS, Pan American Vocology Association (PAVA), the Voice Foundation, and the Society for Music Perception and Cognition. He is published in the Journal of Voice, the Journal of Singing, Classical Singer, and VOICEPrints. His research interests include the intersection of human perception and the singing voice. During the pandemic he helped to technically develop and generate educational materials for high quality, low latency audio and video transmission solutions.
Howell received his doctorate in voice performance, with an emphasis in vocal pedagogy, from the New England Conservatory of Music. He earned his master’s degree from the Yale School of Music/Institute for Sacred Music and his bachelor’s degree from Capital University. Learn more at ianhowellcountertenor.com.
About the Fellowship
The Van L. Lawrence Fellowship was created to honor Van L. Lawrence, M.D. for his outstanding contribution to voice, and particularly to recognize the importance of the interdisciplinary education he fostered among laryngologists and singing teachers. The Voice Foundation and National Association of Teachers of Singing Foundation award it jointly. The Fellowship winner will be provided with the opportunity to attend the annual Symposium on Care of the Professional Voice and visit laryngologists, speech pathologists, voice scientists, and research centers associated with The Voice Foundation during the fellowship year, with resulting research to be considered for expedited publication in the Journal of Voice or Journal of Singing. The Fellowship winners are members of the National Association of Teachers of Singing who are actively engaged in teaching, have demonstrated excellence in their profession as singing teachers, and have shown interest in and knowledge of voice science. The Fellowship and $2,000 award are intended to provide opportunities for the Fellow to become more thoroughly acquainted with practices, techniques, technology and people involved in laryngology and voice science. It is hoped that the opportunities and contacts provided through the Fellowship experience will enhance the teacher’s ability to do meaningful interdisciplinary research, and will encourage the teacher to apply appropriate voice science advances in the studio.