A Vocal Health and Wellness Program

JR Fralick
Chair, Vocal Studies Department,
Coordinator, Vocal Pedagogy Emphasis
jfralick@bw.edu

Overview

The emphasis in vocal pedagogy is an interdisciplinary program between the Conservatory of Music, the communication sciences & disorders department and the Baldwin Wallace Speech Clinic. It is a unique program for undergraduate students that has received national attention and is made possible because of the collaborative relationship between faculty.

What is vocal pedagogy? It is a broad field related to voice. Vocal pedagogy begins with an understanding of how the voice works, which is taught in MUC 305X The Pedagogy of Music: Voice. In this course, students study the anatomy and physiology of the voice so that they can understand their instrument.

Photo of JR Fralick with Student

In the broadest sense, vocal pedagogy encompasses habilitation, rehabilitation and scientific research. The vocal pedagogy emphasis offers exploration of these topics.

Habilitation is training the vocalist to use good habits in singing and/or speaking. This habitual training is what voice teachers do every day: teaching vocalists to produce a beautiful tone through healthy and efficient voice use.

Rehabilitation is helping the injured voice. Voice professionals like speech-language pathologists, voice teachers, singing voice specialists and speaking voice specialists work with voice users to recover from injury, surgery, vocal pathology, misuse or other vocal issues.

Voice Science is the field of research in how voice is made. Voice scientists conducted the research that led to protocols commonly employed by conservatories of music during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Career Opportunities

Vocal pedagogy can lead to jobs in teaching, the vocal health industry or related medical fields, such as ear-nose-throat or otolaryngology.

Curriculum

The vocal pedagogy emphasis consists of three required courses and other experiences that satisfy the 11-12 credit requirement as well as a project that is chosen by the student and overseen by the vocal pedagogy coordinator, Dr. JR Fralick.

Required Courses

MUC 305 The Pedagogy of Music (spring semester; 2 or 3 credits)
MUC 341 Vocal Pedagogy (even-numbered fall semesters; 3 credits)

One or more course(s) chosen from the following:

CSD 225 Phonetic and Phonology (3 credits)
CSD 321 Anatomy and Physiology (3 credits)
CSD 341 Voice & Fluency Disorders (3 credits)
CSD 351 Speech & Hearing Science (3 credits)

Independent Study, Course Assistant, and/or Faculty-Student Collaboration courses (1-3 credits)

Learn more about these courses in the University catalog.

Student Experiences

Voice Seminars

Focusing on the 4 Pillars of Interprofessional Education, Students from the Voice Department, Communication Sciences & Disorders, and Speech-Language Pathology program participate together in a day-long training and learning seminar about voice, professions in voice, how the voice works, and voice evaluations, which include videostroboscopy.

Supervised Voice Teaching

MUC 341 has a significant component of teaching and some students continue teaching in subsequent semesters.

The Baldwin Wallace Speech Lab

The Baldwin Wallace Speech Lab includes Kay Elemetrics Pentax Computerized Speech Lab (CSL) equipment. Voce Vista is the Vocal Acoustic software used in the vocal pedagogy emphasis courses.

Course Assistant

The University offers course assistant positions for credit or compensation. With faculty collaboration, vocal pedagogy emphasis students are welcome to apply for positions as course assistants for vocal pedagogy courses, class voice and diction courses.

Sing With Intent

Researched, created and operated by vocal pedagogy emphasis students is the choir (currently virtual) Sing With Intent. In the choir, individuals with Parkinson’s Disease explore their singing voices and enjoy musical experiences that promote vocal health. Enthusiastic observations of the group include "This was one of the most uplifting and inspiring moments that I have experienced this semester," and "[it was] a bright, shining light of positivity and hope in this stressful time."

Student Research Projects

Each student in the vocal pedagogy emphasis program completes a research project of their choice. Past projects include: the changing voice, transgender voice, weight training and vocal health, Sing With Intent and continued voice teaching practice.

Faculty Coordinator

JR FralickJR Fralick, D.M.A., vocologist, received his academic training in vocal pedagogy at The Ohio State University, where he studied anatomy & physiology, philosophies of teaching voice and the teaching practicum under Dr. Karen Peeler. He returned for summer study with Kerrie Obert.

During the summers of 2000 and 2001 Dr. Fralick attended the selective and rigorous Summer Vocology Institute at the National Center for Voice in Denver, Colorado. Under the tutelage of Dr. Ingo Titze, he studied the principles of voice production; voice rehabilitation and habilitation with Kate Emmerich, voice science with Drs. Brad Story and Jan Sveç, and vocal pedagogy with Oren Brown. He earned graduate credit for this program through the University of Iowa.

JR Fralick benefitted greatly from spending time in Dr. Barbara Doscher’s voice studio as a guest observer and voice student in Boulder, Colorado and from continued voice studies with Inçi Bashar. He participated in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Intern Teaching Program, where he worked with master teachers Jack Coldiron, Leslie Guinn, Barbara Honn and Lindsey Christiansen and observed Dr. Tom Cleveland at the National Center for Voice in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Fralick has led instructive workshops and given presentations on vocal health, vocal pedagogy, and voice disorders. He has helped patients who have suffered from voice disorders like vocal fold nodules, vocal fold cysts, and vocal fold trauma induced by intubation. At Baldwin Wallace University he coordinates the Vocal Pedagogy Emphasis as a member of the Voice Faculty. Dr. Fralick is a member of the Pan American Vocology Association and a past member of NATS.

Communication Sciences & Disorders Faculty

View the faculty list.

Conservatory Voice Faculty

View the faculty list.