It can be very useful for someone to know what happens to their voice when they “lose it,” and knowing how to properly diet and make good lifestyle choices can be effective when it comes to taking care of their voice.
To discuss the importance of vocal health, Rachael Gates, visiting assistant professor of voice and pedagogy at Grand Valley State University, will be giving a lecture titled “Demystifying the Voice” Tuesday, April 4, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons Multipurpose Room. The event is free and open to anyone who is interested.
During her lecture, Gates will focus on potential vocal dangers and disorders, a variety of medical procedures, diagnoses and vocal health.
“We can’t take (the voice) out like the other instruments to examine it easily without a major surgery,” Gates said. “I wanted to equip myself as a singer with vocabulary and a deep understanding of my instrument I could share with others.”
Gates said she has made it her mission to understand her voice as much as she can.
Gates said it could be advantageous for individuals dealing with vocal problems to understand how their voice works so they can communicate more effectively with their physicians.
“If something goes wrong with somebody’s voice and they have to go to a physician, they can speak in a very intelligent way with their physician,” Gates said.
In this scenario, the patient would theoretically have a greater role in the diagnosis and treatment of the issue.
“I hope, especially for the artist(s) that come, they will take away a much more intelligent way of expressing their instruments and a better idea of knowing how to find a qualified physician who can really help them as an artist,” Gates said.
She said a lot of singers rely on abstract explanations of how to operate the voice and how to improve it.
Dale Schriemer, associate professor of music and the director of the GVSU Opera Theatre, stressed the importance of an individual’s voice and taking care of it.
“To not be able to communicate effectively with people, you lose connection with the world,” he said. “We only get one (voice). You want to take care of your ability to communicate.”
Gates is a singing health specialist who has written a vocal health book and pedagogy text, “The Owner’s Manual to the Voice.” Her background is performing and directing opera. She has sung in multiple countries and worked in various capacities at multiple universities, including Yale University and Northwestern University.
This seminar can apply to a broader audience, as Gates has experience with teaching in many fields. She has designed and taught successful interdisciplinary courses in vocal health for students studying broadcast journalism, medicine, speech-language pathology, theater, choral conducting, music education and performance. She maintains a private studio where she teaches not only singers, but teachers, preachers and lawyers as well.
For more information about the event, visit www.gvsu.edu/events/demystify-the-voice-with-dr-rachael-gates/.