Exploring the life stories of three voice istructors and their journeys as teachers from bel canto to musical theater belt
Keck, Kimberly Ann
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Colleges, universities, and conservatories are known and respected for teaching singers with the potential to become either performers or teachers-in-training through the instruction of bel canto vocal pedagogy. Recently, however, a shift towards the popular musical theater points to a desirable career path for many students. The evolution of musical theater and its rigorous performance demands has caused many teachers to believe this style of singing is deleterious to the voice. Arguments between bel canto and musical theater pedagogues validate the importance of a closer examination of how personal and professional experiences shape an individual to become a teacher of musical theater pedagogy with no formal training. This narrative inquiry sought to determine how three voice teachers’ past experiences influenced their desires, beliefs, and methods of teaching musical theater singing. The discovery of the theme of generic otherness revealed the commonality of marginalization experienced by each participant, based on their musical preferences, by their collegiate voice teachers and colleagues. Implications of this study established the need for current and future voice teachers to examine their own biases toward varied styles of singing that may in turn inhibit their teaching.