Paper Presentation: Teaching the Whole Singer: An Examination of Methods Used to Address Student Wellness in the Collegiate Voice Studio

Various researchers and professionals have suggested ways to incorporate wellness in the music studio (Cockey & Kalmanson, 2009; Savvidou, 2021). Because of this, an investigation of how and if collegiate voice instructors address student wellness seems warranted. This study examined the perspectives and experiences of collegiate voice instructors regarding strategies to address wellness in the collegiate voice studio. We sought to answer the following research questions: (1) What are voice instructors’ perceptions of student wellness in the collegiate studio?, (2) What methods of addressing student wellness in the voice studio have instructors used?, and (3) What methods of addressing wellness in the voice studio have instructors valued or prioritized? We invited collegiate voice instructors from 13 states (randomly selected to represent a different region of NATS) to participate in a researcher-designed survey. The survey was based on extant literature and research related to musician wellness. Data from closed-response and Likert-type prompts were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Open-ended prompts were analyzed using qualitative methods of codifying, categorizing/axial coding, and combining them into themes (Creswell & Poth, 2018; Merriam & Tisdell, 2016; Saldana, 2014), using open coding procedures (Miles et al., 2018). Findings provided insight into what strategies voice instructors valued and used to address wellness in the voice studio. All respondents (N = 74) strongly agreed that students' wellness impacts their performance abilities, which strengthens the case for addressing wellness in the voice studio. Respondents seemed to use, value, and were most familiar with breathing exercises and stretching, so future researchers may consider a study of the effectiveness of these strategies as they relate to wellness.

Melissa Baughman, PhD

Dr. Melissa Baughman is an Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Oklahoma where she supervises student teachers and instructs undergraduate and graduate courses in choral methods, conducting, and vocal pedagogy. She is dedicated to promoting student wellness and leads a wellness initiative for the OU School of Music called Breathe OUt. She also serves as a co-facilitator for the Music Teacher Health and Wellness Area for Strategic Planning and Action for the Society of Music Teacher Education (SMTE). Prior to joining the faculty at OU, Dr. Baughman taught at Middle Tennessee State University, Central Methodist University (MO), and was the director of middle and high school vocal music in Montpelier, Ohio.

As a researcher and advocate for wellness and equity in music, Melissa has presented at state, national, and international conferences sponsored by the International Society for Music Education (ISME), the European Association for Music in Schools (EAS), the National Association for Teachers of Singing (NATS), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Society for Music Teacher Education (SMTE), the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), the Oklahoma Music Educator’s Association (OkMEA), and the Missouri Music Educator’s Association (MMEA). Her research has been published in the Journal of Music Teacher Education, International Journal of Music Education, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Journal of Singing, Choral Journal, and Missouri Journal of Research in Music Education. Her essay, “Nevertheless, She Sings: Empowering Women in Choral Music” is published in the book, Relevance in the Choral Art, edited by Tim Sharp.

Praised as an “illustrious soprano,” Melissa’s performance highlights include singing the soprano solos for Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G Major, Haydn’s Kleine Orgelmesse, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore. She is currently a guest artist with the American chamber choir, Vox Nova, who received The American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music–Community Ensemble Division in 2018. As a graduate student, she received first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and Missouri Music Teachers Association (MMTA) voice competitions and was named an Emerging Artist at MU.

Dr. Baughman earned her PhD in music education with an emphasis on vocal pedagogy and choral conducting and a MM (voice performance) from the University of Missouri. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in music education (magna cum laude) and a master’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University.   

Financial Disclosure: Dr. Baughman has no financial relationships to disclose. 

Non-Financial Disclosure:
 Dr. Baughman has no non-financial relationships to disclose.