The Singing Teacher's Guide to Transgender Voices

The Singing Teacher's Guide to Transgender Voices

by Liz Jackson Hearns, Brian Kremer


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The Singing Teacher's Guide to Transgender Voices is the first comprehensive resource developed for training transgender and nonbinary singers. This text aids in the development of voice pedagogy tailored to the needs of transgender singers, informed by cultural competence, and bolstered by personal narratives of transgender and nonbinary singing students. The singing life of a transgender or nonbinary student can be overwhelmingly stressful. Because many of the current systems in place for singing education are so firmly anchored in gender binary systems, transgender and gender nonconforming singers are often forced into groups with which they feel they don't belong. Singers in transition are often afraid to reach out for help because the likelihood of finding a voice teacher who is competent in navigating the social, emotional, physical, and physiological challenges of transition is minimal at best. This text equips teachers with a sympathetic perspective on these unique struggles and with the knowledge and resources needed to guide students to a healthy, joyful, and safe singing life. It challenges professional and academic communities to understand the needs of transgender singers and provide evidence-based voice education and real-world opportunities that are authentic and genuine. The Singing Teacher's Guide to Transgender Voices is the first book of its kind to provide thorough, organized information on the training of transgender singers for educators in both the academic and independent teaching realms.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635500936
Publisher: Plural Pub Inc
Publication date: 05/31/2018
Product dimensions: 6.01(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Liz Jackson Hearns, MM (she/her/they/them), is the owner of The Voice Lab, Inc. in Chicago; Co-Founder of Resonate, Chicago's all-transgender chorus; and a voice instructor specializing in transgender voice. Singers and voice users from all environments seek out Liz's teaching to illuminate traditional pedagogy with new scientific discoveries and methods in a joyful and creative atmosphere. Liz has been working with transgender and gender nonconforming clients since 2014, helping develop a natural, authentic voice. She also trains fellow voice teachers in cultural and pedagogical competency to work with transgender and gender nonconforming singers. Liz has a bachelor's degree from the College of Idaho and a master's degree from North Park University, and attended the Summer Vocology Institute at the University of Utah.

Brian Kremer, MM (he/him) is an Assistant Professor of Voice and Music Theatre at Elon University as well as a professional singer, actor, and voice instructor. He vocal coaches musical productions and teaches courses in voice, specializing in contemporary singing and performance styles, including music theater, rock, pop, jazz, country, R&B, and hip-hop. Mr. Kremer guest teaches and presents on various vocal performance topics and lectures on the training of transgender singers at universities, conferences, and workshops both nationally and internationally. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University and his Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music. He also maintains Kremer Voice Design, a voice studio providing private vocal instruction.

Table of Contents

Foreword Das Janssen, PhD xi

Introduction xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Part 1 The Person

Chapter 1 Deconstructing Gender 3

Introduction 4

Gender Versus Sex 5

Gender Identity, Expression, and Perception 6

The Gender Spectrum 8

Terms and Vocabulary for LBGTQIA+ Identities 10

Problematic Terminology 19

Chapter 2 Communication 25

Introduction 26

Gender Indusivity in the Classroom and Studio 26

Insidious Gendered language 30

Preferred Name 31

Pronouns 32

Mistakes Happen 33

Safekeeping Someone's Transgender Identity 34

Student History 37

Successful Communication 39

Chapter 3 Voice Classification and Repertoire 41

Introduction 42

Sounding Masculine, Sounding Feminine 42

Identifying Voice Type 43

Repertoire 44

Universal Versus Plot-Specific Lyrics and Libretto 44

Opera 45

Music Theater 47

Art Song 48

Jazz, Pop, Rock, and Other Contemporary Commercial Music 48

Performance Traditions 49

Competitions and Choral Considerations 49

Casting 50

Implications for Future Research 51

Chapter 4 Psychological Perspective: An Interview With Kelly George Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Psychotherapist 53

Part 2 The Voice

Chapter 5 Respiration and Special Considerations for Transgender Singers 73

Introduction 74

Body-Shaping Garments 74

Talking With Students About Constrictive Garments 75

Chest Binders 77

Binding for Singers 78

Top Surgery 80

Waist Trainers 82

Types of Waist Trainers 82

Corsets for Singers 83

Body Alignment and Respiration Without Body-Shaping Garments 84

Finding Success Through the Challenges 85

Chapter 6 Hormone Therapy and Voice 87

Introduction 88

Masculinizing Hormone Therapy 88

Effects of Masculinizing Hormones on the Body 89

Effects of Masculinizing Hormones on the Voice 89

Singing Through Masculinizing Hormonal Transition 93

Feminizing Hormone Therapy 97

Effects of Feminizing Hormones on the Body 98

Effects of Feminizing Hormones on the Voice 99

Chapter 7 Pitch and Registration 103

Introduction 104

Pitch 104

Registration 110

Considerations for Low-Voice Trans Masculine Singers 110

Considerations for High-Voice Trans Feminine Singers 112

Natural, Authentic Voice 112

Chapter 8 Resonance and Articulation 115

Introduction 116

Resonance and Gender Perception 116

Masculinization of Voice Quality 118

Feminization of Voice Quality 121

Articulation 124

All the Branches of The Focus Tree 125

Chapter 9 Voice Health for Transgender Singers 127

Introduction 128

Vocal Hygiene 128

Hydration During Medical Transition 129

Nutrition 130

Voice Recovery and Cool Downs 131

Potential for Voice Disorders 131

Developing Practice Routines 132

Voice Feminization Surgery 133

Cricothyroid Approximation (CTA) 133

Thyrohyoid Elevation 134

Anterior Glottoplasty 134

Feminization Laryngoplasty (FemLar) 135

Part3 The Experience

Chapter 10 Trans Singers on Singing 141

Introduction 142

JT 142

Alexa Græ 158

Regina 169

MJ 178

Appendix 1 Sample Student Intake Form 189

Appendix 2 Transgender Inclusive and Affirming Policies 193

Appendix 3 Voice Exercises 199

Index 205

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