What's New > Christian Herbst receives 2023 Van L. Lawrence Fellowship Award
The National Association of Teachers of Singing and The Voice Foundation have named Christian Herbst of Puch bei Hallein, Austria, as the 2023 Van L. Lawrence Fellowship Award winner. The honor includes the opportunity for Herbst to attend the annual Symposium on Care of the Professional Voice along with a $2,000 award toward his proposed research.
As a full-time voice scientist and singing teacher, Herbst focuses on both basic voice science as well as the acoustics and physiology of the singing voice.
In his proposal, Herbst states that there is a “fundamental conceptual mismatch” in current voice research.
“The singing voice is produced to be perceived by listeners, but measurement and assessment methods mostly focus on the acoustical properties of the generated sound,” Herbst says. “Given the non-linearities of human sound perception, respective research findings — while being scientifically correct — are thus inconsequential to a certain degree.”
Herbst intends to study this topic in collaboration with David Meyer of Shenandoah University and Brad Story of University of Arizona.
The research plans involve a new assessment to “quantify the perceptual aspects of the voice range profile (VRP) measurement,” or said another way, to measure the “carrying capacity” (German: Tragfähigkeit) of a singer’s voice across the whole range. He aims to identify pitch combinations and musical dynamics where the voice is “particularly well-suited for non-amplified stage singing with respect to perceptual loudness.”
With this research, Herbst hopes to uncover findings that will inform long-term assessment of functional singing voice development and Fach assessment.
“As such, the lessons learned in the course of this research project will not only influence my own teaching experience, but have the potential to permeate and transform pedagogical approaches across the world-wide community of voice teachers,” Herbst explains.
About Christian T. Herbst
Christian T. Herbst is an Austrian voice scientist. With a master’s degree in classical voice pedagogy from the Mozarteum University Salzburg, Herbst has taught more than 5,000 lessons as a singing voice pedagogue for nearly three decades.
Driven by his interest in the physics and the physiology of voice, he enrolled in a doctoral program in biophysics at the University of Olomouc (Czech Republic) from which he graduated in 2012. He has been active as a full-time voice researcher ever since. Herbst is affiliated with the vocal studies department at Mozarteum University Salzburg and serves as an adjunct guest professor for the Janette Ogg Voice Research Center at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia.
The focus of his scientific work is both on singing voice physiology and on the physics of voice production in mammals. He has received several international scientific awards, and has published in several top publications including the Science journal as well as a number of articles in the Journal of Singing and the Journal of Voice.
Herbst also joined fellow voice scientist Jan Svec as a guest on the 2021 December NATS Chat, “Registration: The Snake Pit of Voice Pedagogy,” which was co-hosted by The Voice Foundation.
Learn more at christian-herbst.org.
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 the Foundation Heritage Fund of the NATS Endowment award it jointly. The Fellowship winner is 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.