Functional Voice Skills for Music Therapists

  • Functional Voice Skills for Music Therapists
  • Author: Schwartz, Elizabeth; Boyle, Sharon R.; & Engen, Rebecca
  • ISBN: 9781945411328
  • E-ISBN: 9781945411335

This thorough and informative book is designed to guide music therapy students, young clinicians, and educators in techniques for developing a rich, varied, engaging, and healthy clinical voice for use in music therapy practice. Because the voice is so individual and unique, the material leads each music therapist on a very personal journey of exploration and discovery. Through practical information and exercises, readers will learn how to make the most of their own authentic voice, while maintaining good vocal health. It is the enhancement of each therapist’s authentic voice that is the aim of this guide. However, within each real and authentic voice there are unexamined and unexplored depths which can be enhanced through knowledge, practice, and reflection. The therapist’s authentic voice then becomes a valuable tool in which the client can find assurances of trust, empathy, and hope.

The book initially examines historical and contemporary music therapy literature on voicework practices to discover voice qualities recommended for effective vocal interventions. Chapter Two begins the journey to discover or uncover the authentic voice through looking at the connection between the mind, body, and voice including genetics, culture, identity, environment, exposure, and experience. Chapter Three will study the physical mechanisms that create the voice including how the entire body contributes to initiating, making, and sustaining sounds. In Chapter Four, the critical nature of vocal health will take center stage. Current researchers have shown the importance of good vocal practices to sustain music therapists' ability to perform their job and this is one of the prime motivators for adding this knowledge base to the music therapy literature. Practical and immediate suggestions and solutions for maintaining vocal well-being will be outlined.

The following ten chapters are a multi-faceted and comprehensive guide to creating vocal variety and richness. Exercises will be organized by looking at how the voice can be expanded across the range of musical elements - pitch, intervals, melody, phrasing, timbre, texture, articulation, rhythm, tempo, meter, dynamics, and structure. Guidance in forming sounds, making noises, using words and chant, and rhythmic speech will also be included.

To organize and shape this journey of the voice, the book uses three levels of learning throughout: Examine It; Explore It; Experience It. The Examine It level provides suggested readings or web-based searches to better understand and integrate voice work into music therapy training and practice. In Explore It, assignments will help the reader recognize the very intimate connection between the ideas studied in the Examine It sections and personal identity. Written reflections or journaling will help give clarity to issues or accomplishments. The Experience It level gives exercises to practice the concepts presented through actually using the voice and body. All of the exercises are specifically designed with the challenges of real-world music therapy work in mind.

Additional resources include a glossary of terms, worksheets for personalized skill development plans, notated songs to practice specific skills, and an extensive reference list.



Making the Most Meaningful Use of this Book
Chapter 1 Qualities of the Voice in Clinical Practice
Chapter 2 Discovering Your Authentic Voice
Chapter 3 Mechanics of the Voice
Chapter 4 Vocal Health
Chapter 5 Getting Started – Assessing and Planning
Chapter 6 Posture, Breath, Resonance, and Motor Movement
Chapter 7 Perception, Processing, and Production
Chapter 8 Pitch, Intervals, Key, and Melody
Chapter 9 Vowels, Consonants, Words, and Phrases
Chapter 10 Timbre and Texture
Chapter 11 Articulation, Movement, and Rhythm
Chapter 12 Tempo and Dynamics
Chapter 13 Meter and Structure
Chapter 14 Speech, Rhythmic Speaking, and Chant
Chapter 15 The Clinical Voice in Action