Associations of Education and Training with Perceived Singing Voice Function Among Professional Singers

Ana Flavia Zuim, Adam T. Lloyd, Julia D Gerhard, David Rosow, Donna Lundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The educational backgrounds of professional singers vary greatly and span from no formal training to advanced degrees in music or theater. Consequently, professional singers have a wide range of knowledge regarding basic voice care. The objective of this study was to examine associations between singers’ educational backgrounds, specifically their knowledge of vocal pedagogy and awareness of vocal health, and their perceptions of their current vocal function associated with singing. Study Design: Cross sectional survey. Methods: An online survey was distributed nationwide to over 1,000 self-identifying as a professional singer working full time as a performer. The survey included 54 questions about their background education, performance history, years of professional experience, affiliation to a professional union, general health and wellness, and the Evaluation of the Ability to Sing Easily (EASE), a 20-item scale to assess singers’ perceptions of the current status of their vocal function. Results: A total of 396 amateur and professional singers completed the survey yielding a 40% response rate. Of 396 surveys received, 154 were excluded because the respondent was not a professional singer and/or the survey was incomplete and four were excluded because the respondent was <19 years old (396–158 = 238). Of 238, 199 completed the EASE (included in this analysis sample). The respondents identified their primary singing genre(s) as follows: 29% classical, 22% musical theatre, 45% both classical and musical theatre, and 5% other contemporary styles. Overall mean (SD, range) Rasch converted EASE score was 19.9 units (9.0, 0–50). Mean EASE score was 19.6 for primary classical, 22.7 for primary musical theatre, 18.4 for both classical and musical theatre, and 23.3 for other contemporary styles (P = 0.03). Participants who were older, had more years of singing training, had a college degree or higher in music, studied classical singing in an academic or private setting, and those who received education in vocal health had significantly lower (better) EASE scores (P-values <0.05). Conclusions: Professional singers’ perception of their current vocal function differed according to their singing genre, age, extent and type of vocal training and vocal health education. Singing teachers, speech-language pathologists, and physicians could use these results to tailor voice education messages to professional singers. This knowledge could help voice care professionals to educate and treat this elite group of voice users to avoid long-term sequelae from suboptimal voice care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Voice
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • EASE score
  • Professional singers
  • Singer's education
  • Singer's perception
  • Vocal Function
  • Vocal Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN

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