Examining “good singing” in the age of The Voice: Implications for voice pedagogy and practice

Forbes, Melissa, Krause, Amanda E., and Lowe-Brown, Xanthe (2022) Examining “good singing” in the age of The Voice: Implications for voice pedagogy and practice. In: [Presented at the ANATS Conference 2022]. From: ANATS Conference 2022: encompassing the vocal spectrum, 29 September - 2 October 2022, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

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The rise to prominence of reality TV singing shows over the past two decades has perpetuated a certain style of singing as the “winning formula”. This formula requires contestants to perform contemporary commercial music using loud, high-pitched, energized singing (usually high belt or chest-mix). What do members of the public make of this style of singing? To test a hypothesis that reality TV singing may be deemed as “good singing” by the public, this study considered how people (N = 52) described and evaluated three stylistically different versions of a melody as sung by amateurs and professional vocalists. We exposed participants to three versions of “Happy Birthday”: 1) amateurs singing “as they would normally sing”; 2) professionals performing a “plain” version; 3) the same professionals singing a version in the style of The Voice reality TV show. Quantitative and qualitative results indicate that both professional versions were considered “better singing” than the amateur singing. While respondents focused on the technical deficiencies for amateurs, descriptions of the professionals concerned style. Contrary to our hypothesis that the popularity of reality TV singing shows would influence public perceptions of good singing, participants’ preferences for “good singing” were split between the two professional versions, with people focused on sophistication and creativity (the “professional voice” version) or vocal quality (the “professional plain” version). While participants were more likely to sing along with the “amateur” version, respondents’ preferred version largely matched their chosen exemplar of “good singing”. When considering studio teaching, these findings have implications for student vocal development and learning: students’ preferences for and aspirations towards “good singing” may not align with the functional capabilities of their voices. Additional Implications will be considered, with discussion invited on the utility of evaluative statements such as “good” and “bad” in relation to singing performance benchmarks.

Item ID: 76240
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: music psychology, psychology of music, social and applied psychology of music, music education, singing, reality tv singing, music identity, "good singing", performance
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Also presented at Spheres of Singing 2022 Conference, 4-5 November 2022, Glasgow, UK

Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2022 23:51
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 50%
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3603 Music > 360304 Music performance @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 50%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130102 Music @ 50%
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