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What the Pitch with Heather and Tom - The Vocal Advancement Podcast - #019

What the Pitch with Heather and Tom

Practical tips for improving your students’ pitching skills

As voice coaches, we need to properly assess our students’ voices before we can devise effective lesson plans for them.

But what happens when you get a student who can’t match the pitch you want them to sing?

It’s an issue that comes up a lot in our chat box. Many voice teachers wonder if these students are “tone deaf.” They worry their students can’t recognize different notes or sing tunes accurately. This creates a lot of stress when they try to understand the student’s issues and come up with proper exercises.

When this happens, it’s important to have the right teaching tools ready to help students sing in tune. In this episode, IVA co-founder and mentor teacher Heather Baker shares the “pitching tools” she collected after encountering many “tone deaf” students in her classroom.

Join us as Heather reveals why the term “tone deaf” is such a misconception. You’ll also learn what the research says about pitch recognition and formation — and how popular video games can help students improve their pitching skills!   

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  1. Why the term “tone deaf” is so inaccurate 12:20
  2. What “amusia,” the neurodevelopmental disorder that affects perception and production of musical sounds, really is — and why it isn’t a problem for most voice teachers 13:22
  3. Why only listening to different pitches doesn’t help many “tone deaf” people match pitch 16:14
  4. How growing up in musical or non-musical environments affects your ability to match pitch 20:18  
  5. What the phrase “practice makes permanent” means when developing motor functions 21:30
  6. Why listening to recordings of your own singing voice makes recreating notes easier 24:03  
  7. Why accurately demonstrating singing techniques in front of students is so important 26:41 
  8. How to pinpoint where a student’s pitching issues come from 30:07
  9. What research says about taking the time to form a mental representation of a desired pitch before producing the pitch 32:42 
  10. How the brain interprets feedback to create a more accurate pitch 36:56
  11. Why nursery rhymes are used so often when training the brain to sing 38:53 
  12. How playing the singing version of the “Guitar Hero” video game can improve pitching 40:40

Heather built her expertise in teaching by studying with some of the greatest music teachers in the world, including Seth Riggs, Kathy Kennedy, Dave Stroud, and more. Her clients include signed artists, songwriters, gigging musicians — and vocal instructors. Get in touch with her by visiting her website.

Learn more about Heather’s insights into music instruction by subscribing to the Vocal Advancement Podcast.

About the Institute for Vocal Advancement

Heather’s teaching tools are only the start of what you’ll gain when you join the IVA community. Our trainers teach from the empathic mindset students benefit from, offering numerous insights and techniques for improving your own teaching style. You’ll gain access to webinars and online courses taught by leaders in the music industry, and gain the benefits of their perspectives. 

Interested in seeing what we have to offer? 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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