We congratulate Angelika Nair as winner of the 2020 Van Lawrence Fellowship Award jointly sponsored by NATS, the NATS Foundation, and the Voice Foundation. Nair is a professional singer, trained Vocologist (NCVS), voice pedagogue, and owner of Pro Voce LLC, a voice studio in Austria and the USA providing private vocal instruction and habilitation. Additionally, she holds adjunct Professor of Voice positions at the College of Saint Elisabeth and Drew University. As this year’s Fellowship Awardee, she proposed the research project Tongue-Tuning. Physioacoustic and Pedagogy of Morphological Changes in the Tongue during Formant Tuning.
Dr. Nair researches and specializes in the use of voice technology and kinesthesis and pioneered the practical use and implications of ultrasound as both a voice research and biofeedback tool in the voice studio. Using MRI, Ultrasound and spectrographic techniques, she has conducted groundbreaking research investigating the physiology of the Low Mandible Maneuver (drop of the posterior mandible) and its ramifications for resonance production, as well as the rehabituation of tongue shapes required for all phonemes in high-ranking singers (JoV 2016).
Building on these new scientific discoveries, Dr. Nair has developed a regimen of exercises combined with step-by-step instructions and pedagogical tools that help accelerate the learning of various vocal strategies (physioacoustic) and address the multitudinous challenges of sensory awareness, flexibility and control within the tongue. Her new book The Secret Life of Consonants. Make your songs and monologues as good as your warm-ups! (Compton, UK) is to be released in 2020. It is her hope that this effort to codify new insights on tongue shapes and maneuvers will benefit all voice users and practitioners!
The critical success of this work has led to publications in peer reviewed journals, 1st Place in the 15th Annual David W. Brewer Award for Best Poster, as well as presentations worldwide. Dr. Nair teaches voice workshops, master classes, and lectures at music schools, conservatories, and universities both nationally and internationally. Dr. Nair also maintains an active professional performing career throughout the United States and Europe. We express our thanks to the Van Lawrence Fellowship Committee: Robert T. Sataloff , MD, Chair; Kate Emerich, MS, CCC-SLP; Karen Brunssen, ; Matthias Echternach, MD; Brian Horne, DM; and Adam Rubin, MD.
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. It is awarded jointly by The Voice Foundation and National Association of Teachers of Singing Foundation. 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 $2000 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.