Teach them to be expressive: an application of communication accommodation theory to vocal pedagogy

Teach them to be expressive: an application of communication accommodation theory to vocal pedagogy
By Meghan McKibbon - 2014

There is a large amount of overlap between the disciplines of singing and communication, particularly in the area of expression. Recent science based pedagogy written by Richard Miller is considered foundational knowledge in the vocal community, however, there are concerns that this anatomically focused pedagogy prevents the development of creative and expressive singers. A thematic analysis of two of Miller’s pedagogical texts was used to collect excerpts focused on the topic of expression. A second phase intention analysis revealed that the discussion of expression was largely uninstructive, providing teachers with minimal methodology. There is evidence that Miller addresses the importance of expression in vocal performance, however, his style of pedagogy does not allow for an in depth exploration of the tactics necessary for its instruction. Applying concepts from communication accommodation theory to the pedagogy will allow for the expansion of existing techniques such as modeling, convergence and divergence into the area of expression aiding vocal instructors in teaching the art of musical expression.