Vocal Consistency and Artistic Freedom: Existentialism and Vocal Instruction in Higher Education
As voice teachers, we should strive to help our students uncover their individual sound, and to facilitate technical consistency. Further, we as teachers should ultimately guide students to positive, independent, and emotionally engaged performances on stage - or in recordings. Some teaching approaches may guide students to these experiences – others may not. A successful outcome of vocal study occurs when the student no longer needs their teacher – they are independent and autonomous singers and musicians, and are able to teach themselves – or perhaps others. This study views the student-teacher relationship in the voice student through an existentialist lens influenced by the Sartrean principles of responsibility and freedom. This study offers a perspective that hopes to foster discussion, a re-examination of, and self-reflection in the teaching practices of higher education vocal instruction.
Dr. Susan A. Boddie, Soprano and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY has been instructing music and performing internationally for over twenty-five years. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Doctoral Degree in Education from the University of Calgary with research based in the comprehensive fields of vocal pedagogy and educational philosophy. A singer-scholar, she presents at conferences and is published in peer-reviewed journals.