NYMC Faculty Publications

Maintaining Professional Performance Viability With Age

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Journal of Voice

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Speech-Language Pathology


Some classically trained singers demonstrate great performance longevity. These singers continue to produce a professionally viable voice that belies their age. This study was designed to assess selected acoustic characteristics of 10 currently performing classical singers from 2 recordings; one early, and one recent. The mean age at the early and recent recording was 39 and 64, respectively, with a mean of 25 years between recordings. Vibrato rate, extent, and consistency were calculated. The singers also completed a questionnaire to determine their strategies to maintain high-quality vocal production. From the early to recent recordings, overall, the participants demonstrated the expected decrease in vibrato rate, with little change in vibrato extent and consistency. The reported strategies included very individualized approaches regarding vocalizing regimens and maintenance of pitch accuracy. All agreed on the importance of increased self-awareness, openness to feedback, and dedicated preparation for upcoming performance. Our findings indicate that some singers are indeed ageless, but this attribute is not inherent; rather it requires diligent and devoted practice.