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Ep 59

Speech and language pathologist and singing voice specialist Kerrie Obert has conducted thousands of endoscopies to diagnose and help patients with laryngeal disorders. She is an author of four books, has presented globally at many events and is also the executive principal of Kerrie joins Alexa as this week’s guest on Singing Teachers Talk. 


  • Kerrie was drawn to researching the tongue because after doing so many endoscopies she noticed that people were using the pharynx and the tongue in ways that she wasn’t reading about in pedagogical books. Kerrie decided that the tongue needed more of a focus than it was getting. 
  • Strength in the back of the tongue and not enough in the front of our tongue leads to uneven muscle activity. 
  • We use the back of our tongue to shape every sound we make and we have a lot of contouring and possibilities and if we don’t work on it then we’re losing some of those possibilities. 
  • The back of the tongue has its own sensory innovations separate from the front of the tongue. That awareness is something a lot of singers can have problems with because it’s usually more associated with eating and swallowing, not singing. 
  • When we feel an emotion, our brain tells our bodies how to feel. But the reverse can also be true, if we’re in a low bad posture, that can send signals to our brains telling them that something is wrong. 


‘The more I learn about the tongue and the pharynx, the more I think this cause needs to be championed’ 

‘I like to think about the tongue being like a game of tug of war’ 

‘We think an emotion then our body feels it’


BAST Training 

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Kerrie Obert is a speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist from Columbus Ohio. Ms Obert holds degrees in both musical theatre performance and speech-language pathology. She spent nearly 20 years working at The Ohio State University JamesCare Voice & Swallowing Disorders Clinic where she performed thousands of endoscopies as part of a diagnostic team and provided therapy to patients with a wide variety of laryngeal disorders. Ms Obert was instrumental in setting up the Singing Health Specialization at OSU and served as the Director of Medical Arts for that program. Although she stepped away from her clinical duties at OSU, she remains on the faculty for research purposes. Ms Obert has written four books on voice and has conducted clinical research using acoustics, MRI and EGG. She has presented on several continents and is passionate about bridging science and art. Ms Obert is the executive principal of, an online continuing education platform for singers, speech-language pathologists and voice teachers. Her current research interests are in pharyngeal and tongue positions related to boosting high-frequency energy.

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