What's New > NATS launches Science-Informed Voice Pedagogy Resources
On July 1, the National Association of Teachers of Singing launched the Science-Informed Voice Pedagogy Resources page.
These resources are the result of a 7-year NATS community effort to create and implement a common core of science-informed voice pedagogy content and resources, to be used freely by voice professionals who teach voice pedagogy, voice science and/or vocology in an academic, degree-granting setting. The ultimate goal of this effort is to provide a consistent level of pedagogy instruction across the country, with a NATS-recognized, science-informed voice pedagogy curriculum in use in college and university music schools. Nevertheless, the resources are available to all NATS members with an interest in science-informed voice pedagogy, regardless of the genre, style or setting within which they teach. Additionally, as a truly crowd-sourced project, these resources are not considered definitive, but rather living documents that will continue to evolve with input from both current and future NATS members.
This project was spearheaded by members of the recently formed Voice Pedagogy Subcommittee of the NATS Voice Science Advisory Committee (Lynn Helding, chair, with Allen Henderson and John Nix), whose mission is to “develop, promote and disseminate uniform curricula grounded in science-informed voice knowledge, and to advise teachers engaged in pedagogy instruction.” The subcommittee’s main goal was to substantiate the considerable work of two Voice Pedagogy “Interest Group” Summits held in 2015 at the Ohio State University and in 2018 at the University of Southern California. As documented in the Journal of Singing article, “Voice Pedagogy for the 21st Century: The Summation of Two Summits,” by Amelia Rollings Bigler and Katherine Osborne:
“… fifty academic voice pedagogy teachers from across the United States and Canada to consider[ed] the question, “What skills are possessed by the ideal singing teacher?” A total of thirty-seven pedagogues attended the  summit, representing thirty-five unique universities with programs in classical, musical theatre, and contemporary commercial music styles. These meetings aimed to establish and recommend a logical curriculum that prepares and trains those entering the voice teaching profession with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.”
Step one of this goal was to ascertain the current state of voice pedagogy instruction in the U.S. and Canada. In the fall of 2021, the Voice Pedagogy Subcommittee produced a Pedagogy Survey, receiving detailed responses from 191 voice pedagogy teachers. A key finding of the survey was that voice pedagogy is typically delivered as a one-term course at both the undergraduate and master’s degree levels. While the one-course model may be the norm at most institutions, the advantages of a two-course sequence were evident: those few who do, reported covering a richer slate of topics, including varied singing styles, the “Laws of Practice” from Motor Learning research, the use of technology in the studio, ethical teaching, teaching trans voices, psychology and voice, observation of experienced teachers, and an expanded practicum component where students are able to practice-teach in a supervised situation. Consequently, the Voice Pedagogy Subcommittee’s next initiative is to provide advocacy and support for the establishment of a two-term voice pedagogy course sequence (offered at both the graduate and undergraduate levels) as the recommended minimum standard in higher education; (NATS members may see the complete “Survey Results” on the Pedagogy Resources page).
Another benefit of the NATS Voice Pedagogy Survey was the percentage of respondents (63%) who checked the “I am very interested in participating” and “Count me in!” responses when asked to volunteer their time to research and supply the specific information for use at the July, 1, 2022 NATS Pre-Conference workshop, “Teaching Voice Pedagogy in the Classroom: Toward a Common Core Curriculum of Science-Informed Knowledge.” In January 2022, 44 NATS members joined this workshop preparation effort, staffing four working groups charged with researching science-informed resources, syllabi, terminology and continuing education programs. The work of these NATS members throughout the spring (curated by Helding, Henderson and Nix) resulted in the many free resources unveiled at the NATS pre-conference workshop and now available on the Science-Informed Voice Pedagogy Resources page on the NATS website.
Members may follow the link above, or simply type in the search term “pedagogy” in the search bar on the NATS home page.