Reported vocal habits of first-year undergraduate musical theater majors in a preprofessional training program: a 10-year retrospective study

Erin N Donahue, Wendy D Leborgne, Susan Baker Brehm, Barbara D Weinrich
Journal of Voice: Official Journal of the Voice Foundation 2014, 28 (3): 316-23

OBJECTIVE: Collegiate-level musical theater performance students are a specialized group of vocal performers, who rely on frequent and optimal voice use for their academic advancement and ultimate livelihood. The purpose of this study was to gather information to develop a greater understanding of vocal health and practice patterns of incoming collegiate-level musical theater performers.

STUDY DESIGN: Data obtained from questionnaires completed by freshman musical theater majors were retrospectively analyzed to gather information about baseline vocal habits of the participants.

METHODS: Results of a questionnaire were obtained from incoming freshman musical theater students at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music over a period of 10 years (2002-2011). One hundred eighty-eight participants (female = 90) (male = 98) with an average age of 18.28 years (standard deviation = 0.726) were included.

RESULTS: Results specifying participants' self-reported vocal training and practice habits, vocal health and hygiene practices, and current vocal symptoms or contributing factors to potential voice problems are provided.

CONCLUSIONS: Data obtained from the participants revealed that the potential for vocal problems exists in this group of performers, as over half of the subjects reported at least one current negative vocal symptom. The findings from this study provide information that may be useful for individuals who are involved in the training of vocal performers.

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