Here’s how to find relevant and timely voice research that answers your most frequently asked singing questions.
When you run a busy singing studio, it’s easy for ongoing professional development to wind up on the back burner.
With so much to do to keep your business running smoothly, it can be hard to find the time to immerse yourself in the latest voice research or discussions about teaching pedagogy.
But to avoid getting stuck in a rut, it’s important (and personally rewarding) to keep learning. So we asked Kate Cubley, a researcher and vocal coach, for her tips on how singing teachers can cut through the waffle and find voice research that is helpful and informative.
How to Find Useful and Relevant Voice Research
- Think about what interests you and the challenges that you face in your singing studio. Target the topics that always crop up when you’re teaching.
- Good sources of voice information include the Voice Study Centre, Voice Care Centre, British Voice Association, Association of Teachers of Voice, and, of course, BAST Training.
- Some research papers are behind paywalls (and if you’re on a budget, you may not want to stump up to read them). So look out for open-source journals; these publications make research freely available because they deem it to be of importance.
- Research papers can be long – up to 6,000 words – and written in language that is sometimes difficult to decode. Instead of plunging right in, read the abstract first – this will summarise the contents of the paper. Then scroll to the end and read the conclusion. You can then decide if it’s worth investing time in reading the paper in its entirety.
- Take everything you read with a pinch of salt and use your own critical awareness. Ask: Does this fit in with my own teaching experience? Are there other ways of approaching a problem?
- Don’t just look for research that confirms what you think already. If you find a paper that echoes your beliefs, search out differing or opposite views that challenge your thinking or introduce you to new ideas.
- Never stop being curious. It’s useful to have a variety of ways to address an issue because what works for one student may not work for another, especially if you teach neurodiverse singers.
- Research is often categorised as ‘grey’ or ‘white’ literature. The term white literature refers to peer-reviewed, published papers. Grey literature includes blogs, conference speeches, books and other materials that haven’t been peer-reviewed. Both types of research have their merits.
For more about interpreting and understanding voice research, listen to our interview with Kate Cubley on the Singing Teachers Talk podcast.
If you’d like to watch a host of great masterclasses created specifically for singing teachers, why not sign up to BAST Training’s full membership? For just £6 a month, you’ll get access to:
- More than 70 masterclasses
- A keyboard and scales course
- Teaching clinics with top vocal coaches.