Tip of the Month
A Vocologist? What's that?
Whenever I introduce myself as a Vocologist, I get rather blank looks nine times out of ten. The term was coined by Dr. Ingo Titze, one of the leading voice scientists of our time and the current head of the National Center for Voice and Speech, based in Salt Lake City. He felt that there was a need for more vocal pedagogy amongst voice teachers at all levels, more study about the science of sound production and healthy vocal habits, and so created the Summer Vocology Institute--9 graduate hours in a grueling, but highly stimulating, 8 weeks. (I attended in 2001.)
Vocologists are not pathologists, i.e. one who works with diseases. Speech pathologists do voice rehabilitation—restoring a voice back to a normal state—a process related to, but separate from voice habilitation, done by Vocologists and defined by Dr. Ingo Titze as “the process of building and strengthening the voice to meet specific needs”. Singing is a normal state, one could say, but constant singing, intense singing, performing in shows for a living--these are not. They require strengthening of the all of the involved muscles and refinement of technical skills far beyond "normal".
So a Vocologist has a task similar to that of a regular voice teacher, but with the major difference that the health and quality of the voice are the most important focus, rather than literature. I obviously feel this is most important, or I might not have pursued this advanced knowledge. As a member of the Pan American Vocology Association, sponsored by NCVS, I continue to attend symposiums where the latest research on the voice is presented. Learning is exciting! And I love to share this information with my students!