Skip to content

Ep.125 A Young Person’s Guide to Vocal Health’ Book Review with Olivia Sparkhall

Choral leader, singer, teacher, composer, and now author Olivia Sparkhall is joining Alexa this week to discuss her book, ‘A Young Person’s Guide to Vocal Health’. The book is a simple guide to help you understand what’s good (and what’s bad!) when looking after your ‘vocal instrument’, and how you can keep your voice in great shape. It shows you the best ways to maintain good vocal health and how to avoid or deal with problems that young people will face.


    • Olivia wrote her book in response to her 20-year experience as a secondary school teacher and choir director. She noticed consistent questions from children about their voices and singing, prompting her to gather these queries. As she engaged in voice pedagogy, Olivia saw the opportunity for research and gradually transformed her idea into a comprehensive book that evolved from initial plans for worksheets.

    • Olivia noticed a recurring issue even before her book’s inception, children sought help with their voices only when problems emerged, particularly on performance or exam days. Addressing these challenges so close to the event posed difficulties in finding effective remedies.

    • When children asked Oliva questions that she didn’t know the answer to, she had to go off and do research on that topic, for example, the effects of chlorine in swimming pools. When asked about how sport could affect the voice she found some peer-reviewed papers to reference.


‘There wasn’t something aimed at young people for young people to read’

‘I hadn’t realised how important colour would be for the children to understand the different aspects of vocal health’

‘I was thinking about what sort of child would need a book like this’

‘I’d love it to be in school libraries’



Social Media:

    • Hande: @oliviasparkhall

Get your copy of ‘A Young Person’s Guide to Vocal Health’ by Olivia Sparkhall, here:

Relevant Links & Mentions:

    • Singing Teachers Talk Podcast – Ep. 90 Help! I’ve Got a Voice Problem with Lydia Hart and Stephen King

    • Teaching Singing to Children and Young Adults by Dr Jenevora Williams

    • Singing Teachers Talk Podcast – Ep.75 Vocal Rehabilitation for Singers with Dr Jenevora Williams

    • Singing Teachers Talk Podcast – Ep.120 Understanding Singing and Fitness with With Duncan Rock


Olivia Sparkhall is a singing specialist, choir trainer, and award-winning choral conductor. A secondary school music teacher for 24 years, Olivia has a wealth of experience directing choirs, leading vocal workshops, and teaching singing. In preparation for writing A Young Person’s Guide to Vocal Health, Olivia read for a Master’s in Voice Pedagogy and has since had articles published on vocal warm-ups for children, choral music written by women, and composing for the community. Olivia directs several choirs as well as being in demand as a vocal workshop leader, leading masterclasses to help groups improve their singing. Olivia is a prize-winning composer whose compositions have been performed in concerts and services worldwide as well as on BBC radio and television.