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Collaborative Co-Teaching in Voice

A fundamental tenet of the Applied Performance Sciences Hub is the APPLIED aspect! As a main priority, we directly apply current research findings in action through innovation and collaboration

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Want to hear more about this Applied Initiative of the APS Hub? Listen to Theodora Nestorova speak about this in a recent interview on the VocalFri Podcast.

Co-Teaching and Specialist Consultation in Individual Voice Lessons

Since 2021 , Associate Professor of Voice and APS Hub Team Member, John Mac Master facilitated a collaborative teaching method within his weekly voice studio classes,  through the invitation of specialists, such as Mental Performance Consultant (MPC) Camille Charbonneau and Vocologist/Singing Voice Scientist (& APS Hub Team Member) Theodora Nestorova.  These specialists gave lecture presentations and interactive workshops to the combined group of both undergraduate and graduate voice students in the studio class. The topics covered ranged from Mental Skills to Body Mapping to Breathing/Respiration for Singers.

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The innovative facet of this initiative lies in its collaborative, active teaching approach; these specialist visits were integrated into the existing group voice studio class framework and resulted in significant benefits for the voice students. Initial exposure to the knowledge is paramount, but oftentimes lectures are stand-alone presentations without any practical application to the topics they introduce. Following the specialists’ lecture presentations, the students were guided through practical application of the skills discussed, through interactive workshops. 

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Co-Teaching and Specialist Consultation in Individual Voice Lessons

Oftentimes, students face specific issues impeding their performance, which may be out of the scope of practice of their instructors. Associate Professor of Voice and APS Hub Team Member, John Mac Master, remains proactive in referring his students out to specialists for consultations on various issues. To aid his students facing specific oromyofascial challenges over the 2023-2024 academic year, Professor Mac Master has enlisted the consultation of Ph.D. Candidate trained in Vocal Pedagogy (& APS Hub Team Member), Theodora Nestorova.

A certified Circumlargyngeal Manual Massage Therapist, as well as a singer, teacher, and researcher herself, Theodora Nestorova works with several of John Mac Master’s voice students in and outside of their individual voice lessons.

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Through evidence-based and science-informed approaches, these co-teaching sessions have proved their immense benefit to the students involved, including:

  • Immediate tension release  

  • Enhancement of singing technique progress

  • Optimal transfer and retention into all areas of singing through targeted follow-up consultation sessions

  • Referrals to a Voice Care Team for students with other health-related implications, led by otorhinolaryngologist Dr. Françoise Chagnon of AXiO Performing Arts Medicine and ENT Vocalex Clinic 

 

By co-teaching in individual one-on-one lessons, Theodora, as a Ph.D. candidate, also gains experience in refining didactic skills at the collegiate level. Likewise, Prof. Mac Master and his students experience a direct and tangible translation of scientific knowledge into artistic practice by interactive work directly incorporated into the context of an individual lesson.

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Bibliography

Brown, K. L. (2003). From Teacher-Centered to Learner-Centered Curriculum: Improving Learning in Diverse Classrooms. Education, 124, 49-54.

 

Creech A., Gaunt H. (2018). “The changing face of individual instrumental tuition: value, purpose, and potential,” in Vocal, Instrumental, and Ensemble Learning. An Oxford Handbook of Music Education, Vol. 3 eds McPherson G., Welch G. F. (Oxford: Oxford University Press; ), 145–164.

 

Lage, M. J., Platt, G. J., & Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment. The Journal of Economic Education, 31, 30-43.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1183338

 

Vlahopol, G. (2018). 8. Possible Approaches to the Concept of Collaborative Teaching in the “Music Analysis” Course. Benefits and Challenges. Review of Artistic Education,15(1) 74-83. https://doi.org/10.2478/rae-2018-0008

From the master-apprentice model to co-created learning

While co- and team-teaching approaches may be fairly novel in practical music instruction (Zhukov et al., 2021), the APS Hub is on the cutting edge of cooperation, collaboration, and cross-disciplinary connections. The innovative facet of this initiative lies in its collaborative, active teaching approach; these specialist visits were integrated into the existing studio class and individual instruction and resulted in significant benefits for the voice students. 

The concept of Collaborative Teaching itself is an innovative approach to learning, which has transformed the view of traditional teaching methods by involving two or more teachers in training a single group. The process involves:

  • A variety of flexible teaching methods meeting the learning needs of all students

  • Development of their communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity skills (Vlahopol, 2018)

 

Novel in the context of a music conservatoire/conservatory, the APS Hub’s Collaborative Teaching in Voice  Applied Initiative has continued to demonstrate that students and teachers alike rapidly enrich  their teaching and learning toolboxes. Preliminary responses and effects from students involved point to a notable increase in efficiency and improved technique and artistry in singing. Both co-teachers express the efficacy of this initiative, working toward innovating the typical trope of the traditional master-apprentice model  into a facilitator model for co-created  learning (Creech & Gaunt, 2018).

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