The purpose of this study was to discover the impact of overall health to the perceived performance effectiveness of professionally managed classical singers and to document some of the actual vocal health practices of these singers. To accomplish this, the researcher examined related literature in several vocal hygiene categories, including hydration, diet, the effect of acid reflux on the voice, the effect of alcohol consumption on the voice and exercise; she found little empirical evidence utilizing the elite vocal athletes of singing, professionally managed classical singers, as participants.The researcher constructed an online survey, which contained 30 questions querying singer vocal hygiene behavior. The survey was sent to 227 randomly selected professionally managed classical singers. Forty-nine singers completed the survey (response rate 21.6%). Descriptive statistics, Chi Square tests, and tests of correlation were used to answer two research questions addressing the importance of overall health in singers' performance and in factors related to hydration, diet, alcohol consumption, and exercise.
Over 81.5% of the singers surveyed rated overall health as important or very important to their singing effectiveness. There was no significant difference in vocal health impact ratings when compared by performance experience, health or gender.
The median number of 8 oz. glasses of water that singers drank daily was 8 and the mean was 7.8. When questioned about specific dietary and exercise practices, singers responded with a variety of health regimes. There was no correlation between singers' length of professional experience and their corresponding amount of weekly exercise.
The author concluded when there was no consensus regarding vocal hygiene practices, singers followed a variety of vocal hygiene regimes to maintain vocal and overall health. In conducting the literature review, the researcher discovered numerous studies about health management utilizing athletes as participants but relatively few utilizing vocal athletes. While empirical studies measuring athletic performance and hydration, diet, alcohol consumption and exercise are somewhat transferable, athletic studies do not address the impact of hydration, diet, alcohol consumption and exercise on the vocal apparatus. More empirical research is necessary to guide the vocal hygiene and health practices of this population of artists.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2010. Major: Music. Advisor: Dr. Keitha L. Hamann. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 137 pages, appendices A-B. Ill. (some col.)
Nichols, Laura L..
Investigating vocal hygiene habits in professionally managed classical singers..
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