Maggie Rogers was just a college student when she first met Pharrell Williams at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU. They were asked to prepare a song and bring it to class to be critiqued. She had no…
Ken Bozeman: King of Vocal Acoustics
The Art and Science of Vocal Physics
Being a good singing teacher is an art. You need to explain voice science to your students in a way that lets them understand how their voices work. At the same time, you want to make sure they don’t get so caught up in vocal theory that they can’t use their knowledge to perform.
Our guest this week knows the challenges of balancing theory and skill. Ken Bozeman is a naturally gifted singer who began his career as a performer and then spent years studying voice science. After developing his own breakthroughs in the understanding of vocal physics, he began sharing his findings in articles, books, and personal lessons. Today, he continues to teach and lecture, and has presented at several IVA conferences and workshops.
We chatted with Ken and got to know more about his early life singing in the church and practicing “shape-note singing” with his grandfather. We also learn how his vocal journey let him work with legendary vocal pedagogy pioneers like Richard Miller and vocal scientists like Heidi Moss. Join us as Ken shares his history and offers a unique perspective on the role voice science plays in effective vocal instruction.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How Ken began singing in church performances before he was nine 6:48
- How his grandfather introduced him to the practice of “shape-note singing” 8:10
- Why it took Ken eighteen years to have his first “Ah-ha!” moment on the physics that allowed professional singers to produce the sounds they need to perform 10:51
- How working with Richard Miller led to the discovery of what Ken considers the Holy Grail of vocal passaggio 14:49
- Why modern voice science doesn’t replace historic pedagogy but helps explain what the original pedagogues knew about how the voice works 19:55
- The difference between declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge — and how both contribute to voice lessons 20:55
- Ken’s in-depth explanation of how different singer’s brains cause them to hear and perceive harmonics differently 23:25
- How the procedural knowledge of music teachers allows them to know things vocal scientists don’t 27:29
Read Ken’s article “A Case for Voice Science in the Voice Studio”
The book by Richard Miller that Ken references is “The Structure of Singing”
Find Ken on his website. You’ll find a wealth of free pedagogic resources to help with your education.
You can also order his books Kinesthetic Voice Pedagogy and Practical Vocal Acoustics.
About the Institute for Vocal Advancement
Gain access to a global network of seasoned voice teachers eager to share their expertise and help you become a more effective instructor. By joining the Institute for Vocal Advancement, you’ll be able to take part in webinars and online courses used by teachers who work in every part of the music industry. See what’s coming up in our list of upcoming events and see how our Teacher Training Programs can help your career. Use the code “iva20percent” to get 20% off your first year’s course membership fee!
And don’t forget to review this podcast and check out our other episodes full of fun insights from voice professionals around the world!
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