Size isn’t everything but sometimes it can matter.
Vix’s first Masters degree was in Health Science (Distinction)
She specialised in clinical assessment as a lecturer at Kings College London whilst working at the walk in centre at the Royal London Hospital Whitechapel.
One of the many things you learn as an experienced vocal coach is how to assess students quickly based on your experience. A holistic approach is always essential and to find out what the individual needs are.
This blog will look at mis classification of voices based on gender. How people judge voices and instruct based on gender rather than the person in front of them.
I can have a good idea from when a person first walks into my music studio what range of voice they are likely to have without even hearing a note. Based on the correlation between height and voice. The shorter you are the higher the voice – the taller the lower the voice regardless of gender. We are talking about on average, because as with everything there are always exceptions to the rule. Let me share a story:
A sad story from a new female student about how another vocal coach was forcing her to sing high and she really struggled with pitch and reaching the notes. She was 6 foot 2. She came to me as her last attempt at trying to sing. It’s heartbreaking. In just the first lesson I’d worked out with her that she had a very low range and could sing from G2 to C4. Her face lit up and by the end of the session she was singing as she never had done before. She has continued singing at a point where she nearly gave up. Singing songs appropriate for her range.
Extensive controlled research studies suggest people can discern height from voice. You can tell the relative heights of people just by the sound of their voices.
The idea as explained by John Morton a psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis, is similar to what happens when you blow air through a bottle. If the bottle is bigger and taller, the sound is more resonant than if the bottle were smaller and shorter.
A new students height is one of the starting points for me to gauge the range for the initial warm up exercises in a place I think they’ll be comfortable in.
As with everything there are always exceptions to the rule, in vocal coaching like all education it is so important to be open minded and assess everyone individually. Size isn’t everything but sometimes it can matter.