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The Impact of Mental Health on Voice
Sometimes, all you need to take your life in an innovative direction is the right questions. This week’s guest, Dr. Jenevora Williams, became a specialist in the field of singer vocal health by teaching boy choristers at Westminster Abbey.
Realizing no one had done a lot of research into how vocal training was affecting children’s health, Dr. Williams took it upon herself to studying the groups of singers she was working with. What she found made her understand how important it is to have someone advocate for the safety and mental well-being of not only children but also singers in general.
Today, Dr. Williams is helping to advance the study of vocal health by training the next generation of rehab specialists. She also continues to work one-on-one with singers and has many important insights into how a person’s mental health influences their physical well-being and performance.
Join us as Jenevora shares how her work with children now impacts all singers. Discover how a singer’s state of mind relates to the state of their voice. And learn what a rehab specialist can do to help untangle a singer’s mental issues — and which professional lines they must learn not to cross.
In this episode, you’ll learn about:
- The music and science background that led Dr. Williams to become the first singing teacher to earn a PhD in voice science in the U.K. 8:27
- The unexpected discoveries she made about how vocal training impacts young singers 13:25
- The importance of advocating for the well-being of child performers — and allowing children to advocate for themselves 19:15
- The training program Dr. Williams is developing to help train rehab specialists 24:02
- The charity she’s developing to benefit speech therapy departments and music teachers 27:25
- The time it takes to properly diagnose a person’s vocal issues 29:30
- Ways teachers can structure their in-person and online classes to care for their voices 30:50
- The trends Dr. Williams sees in the problems singers come to her with 35:32
- The way social, mental, and emotional problems can manifest physically in a singer 38:01
- How Dr. Williams works with singers to acknowledge their emotions and link them to their physical state 39:16
- The professional lines a vocal coach must be careful not to cross when working with a singer’s mental and emotional issues 41:38
Dr. Jenevora Williams offers many free resources for teachers and students on her website. You can gain access to her courses on teaching children’s voices as well as online courses for music teachers and choral directors beginning their careers.
The “running commentaries” that detail Jenevora’s thoughts on teaching and learning can be found on her YouTube channel.
Watch a recording of Jenevora’s IVA webinar “Looking After Children’s Voices” which examines the vocal health issues that impact children.
Find the most recent edition of Jenevora’s book, “Teaching Singing to Children and Young Adults,” which includes up-to-date material on the psychology of learning and group teaching.
Singers and performers who need expert health and wellbeing services can find resources at the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).
Jenevora also works with the Voice Care Centre, London’s first multidisciplinary centre for rehabilitating and maintaining your voice. Singers can find help from teams of specialists ranging from talking therapists, vocal osteopaths, nutritionists, vocal massage therapists, and more.
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What videos of young singers would you like us to react to or analyze? Let us know by leaving a comment on the video versions of our podcast on YouTube. You can also catch clips of past episodes on Instagram? Please make sure to subscribe, like, and follow us!
About the Institute for Vocal Advancement
At IVA, we provide the teaching tools to help you offer the type of functional training voice students need. Our trainers teach from the empathic mindset students benefit from, showing you how to be a better vocal coach by example. 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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