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Becoming a Better Voice Coach Through Neuroscience
There’s nothing like someone saying, “You’re never going to do that again” to make you want to find a way to beat the odds.
For years, Heidi Moss Erickson worked as a professional singer in the U.S. and abroad. Then a cranial nerve injury left her with a nearly career-ending case of facial paralysis. Told she’d never sing again, Heidi turned to her background in neuroscience to study how the brain signals motor skills so she could rewire herself to sing and speak clearly again.
What she discovered enabled her to not only perform again but also help voice students calibrate their own brains and become better singers.
Today, Heidi is considered a leading expert in evidence-based vocal pedagogy. She’s taught many courses, lessons, and master classes on voice and has written numerous articles for the Journal of Singing, The Washington Post, and other popular publications.
In this episode, Heidi tells us all about her early life, education, and journey of self-discovery. Join us as Heidi shares insights on how to train the brain to perform fine motor tasks. Learn why “mistakes” are an essential part of developing a good singing voice. And discover how embracing new vocal science still allows you to honor classic voice pedagogy.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How Heidi’s early education gave her a background in both music and science 5:30
- The link she discovered between music and neuroscience 11:49
- How studying brain function allowed her to recover from a rare cranial nerve injury 13:40
- Why making mistakes while performing is necessary to give the brain the data it needs to calibrate itself 15:37
- Why Heidi intentionally makes her students sing notes improperly to help their brains develop better performance techniques 17:36
- How accepting new findings in voice science doesn’t mean you’re not honoring classic music pedagogy 20:46
- How recognizing that a brain’s calculations are made in the absence of respiration helps you train yourself to keep from feeling you’re running out of breath 24:48
- The value of accepting you can be wrong in your beliefs 30:25
- How the brain treats the voice differently from any other muscle due to the speed it takes to coordinate all your vocal muscles 33:00
The book Heidi references on human breathing is “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor
Heidi has helped many singers struggling with pitch in her IVA webinar course “Do you hear what I hear?”. Download the course to hear her insights today.
And be sure to keep up with Heidi on her website where she shares many articles and resources on voice science and effective singing practice.
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About the Institute for Vocal Advancement
Would you like access to a global network of voice coaches eager to share their expertise and help you become a more effective teacher? Then join the Institute for Vocal Advancement and you’ll be able to participate in webinars and online courses used by teachers in every part of the music industry.
See what’s coming up in our list of upcoming events and learn how our Teacher Training Programs can help your career. Use the code “iva20percent” to get 20% off your first year’s course membership fee!
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