My home turf is the intersection of academic voice pedagogy and the practical application of that academic knowledge in the independent voice studio (yeah; there aren’t a lot of folks living in my neighbourhood).
I hold three degrees from the University of Toronto (woohoo! a matched set! #sofancy): a BMus in Vocal Performance, and an MMus and DMA in Vocal Performance, Specializing in Voice Pedagogy. During my time as a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, I was privileged to collaborate with William Aide in a recital of German lied, with Kate Carver in a recital featuring the works of living Canadian composers, and with Steven Philcox in a recital showcasing the world premiere of Alexander Rapoport’s Three English Love Songs.
Working closely with my thesis supervisor (and voice teacher), Lorna MacDonald, I delivered a 1000-page tome entitled –wait for it– Singing Terminology Usage: A Quantitative, Interdisciplinary Study, which contains a short history of the development of three voice-related fields (voice pedagogy, speech-language pathology, and laryngology), how those three fields intersect in their work with singers, and the results of a quantitative study exploring the language use of the practitioners in those three fields around the breathing terminology we use to describe breathing for singing. (You’re going to want to take a deep breath after getting through that last sentence. #yourewelcome)
Following several years as a Teaching Assistant to Lorna MacDonald for the undergraduate voice pedagogy class at the University of Toronto, I began instructing the class in 2013; the same year I was the recipient of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Foundation’s Voice Pedagogy Award, and was invited to present my research at The Voice Foundation’s Annual Symposium in Philadelphia. Not content to confine the #voicepedlove to a single institution (or city), I have also instructed undergraduate voice pedagogy courses at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2014; the same year that I was invited to present my research at the International Congress of Voice Teachers, which convened in Brisbane, Australia.
I have maintained an active, full-time voice studio since 2003 in my home town (essentially a city-sized suburb of Toronto), and in Toronto since 2008, working with all the people. Clients (current and former) include teenagers galore, very young singers (like, six-years-old), adult avocational singers in all styles, folks recovering from vocal injury, singers with graduate degrees in singing who never thought they would enjoy singing again, folks who want to learn one song to surprise their partner on their wedding day, classically-trained singers who want to learn how to belt, trebles, jazz singers who want to explore their range, Elvis and Buddy Holly impersonators, self-professed ‘tone-deaf’ singers who want to be more successful at karaoke, pop/rock/metal singers who want to go on tour without fear of “shredding” their folds, contemporary worship leaders, pro-track classical singers working their audition rep, pro music theatre singers who need a tune-up before they start a run, singer-songwriters who need somewhere safe to figure out how to perfect their performances, and life-long choral singers who want to know how to sing well for as long as possible so their love affair with community singing can sustain them into their final decades.
More recently, in addition to a select few younger singers and professional-track singers, and a handful of dedicated adult avocational singers, my studio has evolved to serve lots and lots of professional voice teachers. You know the ones: they’re super-passionate and they’re thrilled to invest in developing their understanding of how the voice works and how to teach more effectively.
Well, I do my best to spread the #voicepedlove so independent voice teachers who didn’t get the chance to take a voice pedagogy course (or who took one so long ago that they can’t remember the textbook they used, never mind what was in it) get the information they need to teach their faces off even more than they already are.
I spread the love by:
And? I went ahead and developed The Vocal Instrument 101, an online course for voice teachers and singers that addresses the anatomy and function of the voice in a humorous and informative way.
If you’re curious about what the houses in my neighbourhood look like? I hope you’ll stop by for tea sometime: www.shannon-coates.com