Evidence-based singing…and living

”How am I doing this?” This is the question that Josephine (Jo) Estill, the founder-teacher of Estill Voice Training, sought to answer. Although she could have been satisfied with having had a successful singing career, she spent the last four decades of her life as a voice science researcher and teacher, in search of the answer.

Discovering “how” something works has multiple benefits. Take a hand-held can opener for example. One may be taken with the overall design of the tool or even ponder the laws of physics at play in its mechanics. However, that information alone won’t silence a growling stomach. An understanding of how the tool is made and how it works is required before a morsel of the can’s contents can be enjoyed.

What Jo Estill wanted was evidence for how her voice worked. It is because of her determination to know, along with many other voice scientists and researchers around the world, that we have an ever-increasing level of evidence of how the voice works when we speak and sing.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) has become the standard for many occupations and professions. The medical profession was first to embrace EBP in the belief that scientific evidence should inform practices. What is surprising is the fact that this mindset has only been around since the early 1990’s. YES. For only three decades.

Researcher Matthew J. Leach explains why: “The movement towards evidence-based practices attempt to encourage…professionals and other decision-makers to pay more attention to evidence to inform their decision-making. The goal of evidence-based practice is to eliminate unsound or outdated practices in favor of more effective ones by shifting the basis for decision-making from tradition, intuition, and unsystematic experience to firmly grounded scientific research.1

It is my privilege to provide my students access to lessons in singing that are evidence based. If you would be interested in learning more about evidence-based singing, please contact me.

One final word. Look around the world today. Where could the adoption of evidence-based practice be helpful in solving societal problems?

1 Leach, Matthew J. (2006). “Evidence-based practice: A framework for clinical practice and research design.” International Journal of Nursing Practice. 12 (5): 248-251.

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