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As an academic and private voice instructor with over a decade of teaching experience, I have been a
consistent advocate for functional voice training and vocal cross-training principles. These philosophies
derive from multiple vocal music pedagogy sources throughout history. I have drawn particular inspiration
from the teachings and written works of modern vocal pedagogues Jeannette LoVetri, Cornelius Reid,
Robert Edwin, and Dr. Matthew Edwards. My Speech-Language Pathology coursework at The University
of Colorado-Boulder has reinforced these philosophies and provided me with a firm scientific
understanding of vocal anatomy and function, vocal health and common voice disorders.

Functional voice training is a form of voice training that allows students to gradually develop mechanical
control over any sung sound without sacrificing freedom or authenticity. It is aimed at the parameters of
individual musical styles and the personal capacities of students within those styles. This type of sciencebased voice training conditions the muscles of the vocal mechanism, over time, through exercises, to
respond automatically. It also provides a basis to strengthen and stabilize the overall sound, enhance
awareness of sound and kinesthetic feeling, maintain flexibility, extend pitch range, increase breathing
capacity and endurance, control vowel sound configurations, and allow for a variety of tones to be
produced without struggle. Functional voice training resembles training given to athletes to strengthen
them for particular sports, or dancers who are strong and fit but still need to understand the differences
between styles. It acknowledges that singers are, in many respects, ‘vocal athletes’ who must strengthen
and condition their vocal mechanisms over time to create unique artistic sounds freely and consistently.

Vocal cross-training is the practice of training in multiple vocal genres, such as classical, musical theatre,
jazz, or pop/rock, and learning the techniques, styles, and nuances of each one. This type of holistic voice
training can help students achieve greater marketability in today’s diverse music and theatre landscape
where they are often asked to utilize their voices in various ways to remain consistently employed. Crosstraining also rests on the idea that every music genre must be respected and performed with care and
authenticity. This means a Verdi opera aria should not be sung exactly like a pop song or vice versa. My
graduate coursework and personal research have given me unique insights into functional and stylistic
parameters for various music styles ranging from classical music and musical theatre to jazz and pop/rock.
By singing a variety of genres from throughout history, students also gain a greater respect and
understanding of different cultures and societies from around the world.

In my voice studio, I implement functional voice training and cross-training principles in various
ways. First, I encourage students to sing multiple music genres throughout their voice study. This is
designed, in part, to ensure they understand the stylistic and functional parameters of different music
genres and ultimately enter the workforce as knowledgeable and well-rounded vocal artists. I also utilize
functional strength-training vocal exercises, speech-language pathology stimuli, and diverse stylistic
repertoire to strengthen their individual instruments and overall technique. For example, all my students
learn to sing in ‘chest register’, ‘head register’, and ‘mix’. This increases their overall marketability as
vocal artists and educators. In many respects, functional voice training and vocal cross-training principles
go hand-in-hand. Both philosophies acknowledge there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to singing
training. Training must therefore be catered to each student’s unique professional goals, individual skill
level and academic requirements. By developing all parts of their voices and singing multiple genres,
students can achieve greater artistic freedom, professional marketability and overall personal fulfillment.
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