Financial Disclosure: Ms. Obert is receiving an honorarium from NW Voice for presenting. She has no other financial relationships to disclose.

Non-Financial Disclosure: ​Ms. Obert has no non-financial relationships to disclose.

Keynote: Finding Your Voice: An Exploration of Pharyngeal Shapes

Voice quality, or the characteristics of voice separate from pitch and loudness, is largely determined by the shape of the tiny space between the top of the larynx and entrance to the mouth.  This space can be modified by the height of the larynx, the back one of third of the tongue, and via the pharyngeal constrictor muscles. This is the region where singers have the greatest potential to create their unique sounds. In this presentation, Obert will detail her research on pharyngeal shape and discuss its implications for singers, speech language pathologists and otolaryngologists.  This work challenges long-held beliefs about the "open throat" and "singer's formant.” 

​Workshop: Reframing our Ideas Around Tension-Practical Application in Clinic and Studio

Prevailing tenants of voice teaching revolve around the ideas of using an “open” or “relaxed” throat.  These concepts do not accurately reflect what is happening in the vocal tract. During this 30 minute workshop, Ms. Obert will lead the group in an exploration of pharyngeal narrowing along three dimensions (inferior to superior, lateral to medial, anterior to posterior) while also moving through a continuum of tension. This session will utilize gesture, visual and auditory biofeedback to enhance experiential learning with minimal (language based) instruction.

Strategies to address vibrato and vocal tremor in the clinic and studio settings
The presence of a free and easy vibrato is often recognized as a sign of a healthy voice. But what can voice teachers and speech language pathologists do when the rate of vibrato is too fast or slow or when its related pathological condition, vocal tremor, is present? Slowed rate of vibrato is more common in older people but can also occur at any age when the balance of mechanical energy between the larynx and surrounding structures is off.  Rapid vibrato on the other hand may be an indication of a problem with breath management.  Both of these conditions can be remediated following careful analysis and identification of the contributing factors. Vocal tremor, unfortunately, is not a condition that can be cured with therapy or singing lessons but the degree of severity can be greatly reduced through the use of similar strategies.  In this lecture, Obert will share case studies with before and after recordings in which she demonstrates the use of various strategies.  

Panel: Useful Lies: Pseudoscience in the Voice Studio and Clinic

​This panel will discuss phrases and ideas often used in the voice studio and clinic that could be considered “useful lies.” We often have to simplify complicated scientific ideas to help clients facilitate a change in vocal efficiency. The panel will examine some of our favorite “useful” lies and explore fact and fiction.

Kerrie Obert, MA., CCC-SLP

Kerrie Obert is one of the world’s leading experts in voice training and pedagogical practice. An internationally acclaimed speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist with over 25 years in clinical and private practice, her love of teaching voice and witnessing the remarkable responses from her clients/students/patients has been the driving force to her success.

Part scientist and part performer, Obert’s unique perspective on singing and the voice has always included a combination of research and clinical practice in conjunction with onstage experience. After completing her M.A. in speech-language pathology at The Ohio State University (OSU), Obert joined their clinical staff and worked alongside some of the top laryngologists in the country, performing thousands of endoscopies, and collaborating in research as a part of the voice and swallowing disorders division. She helped launch the singing health specialization at OSU and served as the director of medical arts for the program.

As Obert transitioned from full-time clinical work to adjunct status to expand her private studio, she began traveling extensively as an invited lecturer, helping clients achieve their singing and teaching goals. As a performer, Obert sang in bands, directed stage productions, conducted choirs, and worked as a soloist. While maintaining a private studio, she taught contemporary commercial voice at Capital University Music Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio, coaching students through the challenges that come with performing live and in recordings.

She continues to collaborate on several research projects with the OSU Department of Otolaryngology and Speech and Hearing Science and is noted for her groundbreaking discoveries on twang quality and tongue root. Her research has included collaborations in Japan, Greece, and across the United States. She is published in peer-reviewed journals such as Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology, The Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal, and Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, and has co-authored four books on voice, including The Owner’s Manual to The Voice. Obert is currently a senior lecturer with the Voice Study Centre where she works with students who are obtaining their Master's degree in voice-related research through the University of Wales Trinity St. David.