The only way our profession, the one called “singing teaching”, is going to go forward is by paying attention to voice science. We can’t live as if voice research doesn’t matter to what we teach and we can’t hide from what voice science is telling us about how we make sung sounds.
Many people, however, still think that science is science and singing is singing and never the two shall meet. That’s unfortunate. As long as we view things as being unrelated to each other, we will be at a disadvantage. We all have much to learn from each other and the free exchange of information is more important than any other activity we can cultivate.
If you have never been to a voice science conference, you should go. There are many now, all over the world, and they are valuable if you are serious about singing. Not every presentation at every conference is worth while or for everyone but there is generally enough information at them that you can come away with at least one new data point or exercise. It is also a way to meet your peers and share with them as well and that kind of networking grows over time. It is worth the effort to return and return to the conferences you enjoy, as the friendships cultivated this way can be lasting and valuable.
I wouldn’t trade my voice science conference attendance for anything. It is always a high point for me and it is much more interesting than the conferences offered by NATS. I typically find those not very compelling because they have topics that often don’t relate to the musical world I’m in or to the practical application of singing in my studio. It can be expensive to go but I view the expense as part of professional development and yes, even at my age, I am still developing. You are never too old to learn.
If you attend a voice science conference and you see a presentation you don’t understand, be brave enough to go to the presenter and ask some basic questions. You never know what you might discover. And, once you get the lay of the land, do some research yourself and submit it for presentation. You might get invited to stand up there yourself. Then you would be a voice scientist. Don’t raise your eyebrows! It happened to me.
Check out The Voice Foundation and investigate their Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice which takes place next week in Philadelphia. www.voicefoundation.org