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Body consciousness and singers: do voice teachers use mind-body methods with students and in their own practice?

A SINGER SPENDS LARGE AMOUNTS OF TIME working on technical skills, such as breath management and vocal resonance, in order to sing well. Voice teachers use any number of exercises and songs to advance this training, but before these areas of vocal training can be fully mastered, a singer must have mental and physical control over his or her body. Not only must a singer have proper body alignment to allow for efficient breathing and ease of vocal production, but he or she must also be aware of changes in body alignment during singing in order to make adjustments. The difficulty of this task is that singers are never separated from their instruments; every aspect of lifestyle from diet to leisure activities may affect their sound. Body alignment issues might seem like easy adjustments to make, but many singers struggle against their bodies. Why is it that singers often cannot maintain good body alignment consistently while singing? The problem is more complex than merely "standing up straight." Body awareness plays an important role in body alignment. The way singers carry themselves and stand on a daily basis becomes a part of who they are. Bad postural habits become one's "normal" stance, and attempts to suddenly change these habits in one lesson a week are challenging. A more correct alignment may feel awkward or even uncomfortable for a student. Instructing students to watch themselves in the mirror simply to monitor the body can stir up strong feelings of self-consciousness as well. There is no guarantee that these issues will correct themselves as singers develop, and ignoring problems with body alignment and awareness can even hinder vocal progress.

The body functions best under certain conditions, and, in turn, the singer functions better both physically and psychologically. Proper alignment allows the body to release unnecessary tension and allows the singer to engage functions, like breathing, without using excess energy. The ease of phonation and ability to tune the resonators is also dependent on the elimination of unnecessary tension and proper alignment of the body. Finally, the typical singer experiences many stressful situations, such as performances, important rehearsals, and auditions. Proper body alignment can lead to more self-confidence and poise under these stressful situations. (1)

Good postural alignment for singers is not static. It is a dynamic process, and correct postural activity from one moment to the next may change, based on how the singer is feeling or if the singer is in a recital or a staged production. Body awareness and alignment become even more crucial in staged performances, such as opera. Focus on the singing actor increasingly dominates the performance field, and singers must find ways to sing well even in compromised body positions. As the singer's body must continually change and move, he or she must develop a strong sense of self or body awareness to maintain proper alignment and strengthen his or her musical technique.

Yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, and the Feldenkrais Method are all popular body alignment and body awareness methods that may help singers and teachers improve mind-body connections. The focus on self-awareness in these methods points to an ultimate goal of the integration of the mind and body as part of one's daily life. According to an article on mind-body awareness by Wolf E. Mehling, a shift in one's awareness with these types of methods may help engage self-regulation and self-care in a new way. People may learn to deal with body sensations and then adapt movements and behavior in response. Self-care may lead people to correct poor posture or movement before pain or bad habits form rather than ignoring the body's signals. (2) Voice teacher and author Olga Averino said, "you cannot live one thing and sing another." (3) Mind-body methods may be a step in learning how to move the body more efficiently for singing and, with practice, to make this correct movement a part of daily living.

Any of these methods may help singers increase body awareness so they realize the entire body's alignment and movement are essential for efficient and healthy singing. Even with differences in practice and training, each method encourages the student to seek better self-awareness and excellent alignment to enable the body to function more efficiently. Yoga and Pilates use poses or a series of poses to connect body and mind. Iyengar, considered to be one of the world's foremost yoga teachers, believes that the poses of yoga could teach students to become highly sensitive to the body. He feels this sensitive awareness of the body would combine with the intelligence of the brain and allow the heart and brain to work in cooperation with the body. (4) Pilates' principle of concentration says one must motivate the mind to become active before a physical action happens. (5) The Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method use slow movements to work on mind-body functioning. Alexander uses the idea of "non-doing" or "inhibition" to teach students to mentally observe and then inhibit a less efficient physical action. He then instructs students to redirect movement for better use of self. The Feldenkrais Method also uses slow movements and subtle adjustments for improving efficiency, but teachers make a point not to direct students to a specific outcome. Instead, students are encouraged to explore a variety of small movements in the hopes that they will find better ways of functioning for their body. In each of these four methods, one must consciously make a movement or inhibit it. These methods challenge students to bring their innate human capacity for embodiment to a conscious level for long-term progress into everyday life. (6)

Yoga, Pilates, Alexander, and Feldenkrais do not separate mind from body; indeed they teach students that the mind-body connection is a powerful skill that also must be developed. Singers both technically and expressively must be aware of their entire instrument in order to make refined adjustments when necessary. These methods give students more avenues to develop self-awareness skills, and these heightened senses can be an important asset to a singer.

Through training and repetition, each method teaches students to notice sensations in the body as well as thoughts connected with each movement. In addition to noticing movement, students must then discriminate and discern when movements are more efficient or when the body is not properly aligned. These tasks awaken the mind-body practice needed for embodiment. Alexander and Feldenkrais proponents believe that habitual movements cause alignment problems and patterns of poor body functioning. Both methods use techniques that teach students, over time, to differentiate subtle movements to allow for greater awareness of the body and its functions, such as posture. (7) The Feldenkrais Method develops the student's awareness through exploratory movement, and Alexander Technique uses the principle of inhibition and redirection. Pilates' principles of concentration, control, precision, and fluid movement, teach a similar belief in the awareness of the body and increasing strength with efficient movement. Yoga's teachings are less focused on changing habitual patterns, but it encourages proper alignment, fluid movements, and conscious focus into one direction while still sensing how the body is working as a whole. (8) Although Iyengar has strong ideas about the importance of mind-body integration, a regular yoga class may not address this connection. Students would need independently to pursue studies on yoga's philosophies in order to fully understand the mind-body connection. Pilates developed his principles on the basis of health and function, but his principles also support a mind-body connection due to his own studies of eastern philosophy and yoga.

Voice teachers and singers have many possibilities to explore with body alignment and awareness methods, but in consideration of all the expected training that must happen while a student is in school, it can be challenging to fit anything else into a weekly lesson. Not every school can have weekly or even monthly classes on body alignment and awareness. A survey using Survey Monkey software was developed to see what is currently being used or not used, specifically focusing on Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais Method, yoga, and Pilates (see Appendix). Included in the survey were questions asking if teachers used these methods themselves or encouraged their students to seek outside work in these areas.

METHOD

Participants (Number: N = 55) for this study were professional voice instructors who chose to participate in an anonymous online survey, the software for which was provided by Survey Monkey. All subjects used the same survey. After collecting the surveys, Survey Monkey provided a summary report of all those who participated. The report shows the response sum and percentage for each question and the text from the open-ended responses. These responses were filtered and cross-tabbed based on various groups provided by the demographic information. Cross-tabbed data shows a side-by-side comparison of two or more survey questions to determine how they are interrelated. Filtered data shows specific data or patterns within the results based on participant responses. Groups developed through cross-tabbing and filtering include the number of years teaching, background education/training, and present position.

RESULTS

Information collected from these surveys provided nominal data to create sum and percentage charts. The total sum and percentages showed that 63.7% of the subjects thought it was always necessary to address a student's body alignment for singing (Figure 1), but only 42.6% said that they always address a student's body alignment in lessons (Figure 2). When asked about frequency, 48.1% of the subjects said that they "always" addressed a student's body alignment during lessons if it was a new student or a student in his or her first year of study (Figure 3). The highest percentage of frequency then dropped down to "often" in the second year and third year of study, and then to "sometimes" in the fourth year of study and beyond; however, the frequency for working on body awareness remained highest in the "often" category for all years of study (Figure 4). This trend might indicate that while body alignment issues may be less of a concern or problem as a student studies voice, the need for body awareness work continues to be a challenge throughout a student's growth and must be continually refined. The survey found that 35.3% of subjects said that they often used a body alignment method themselves, and 40.8% said that they used a body awareness method as part of their personal vocal practice. From the selection of methods used in this survey, 57.7% of the subjects said they used Alexander Technique as part of their vocal practice for body alignment and 55.8% said they used yoga (Figure 5). For body alignment, 47.8 % of subjects said they used yoga with students and 47.8% said they used Alexander Technique (Figure 6). For body awareness, 53.1% of the subjects said they used yoga and 53.1% said they used Alexander Technique (Figure 7). As for their students, subjects again used yoga and Alexander Technique the most. For body awareness, 41.3% selected yoga as the method used with students, and 50% selected Alexander Technique (Figure 8). Notably, the percentage of subjects who chose "I do not use a method" jumped from low levels of what subjects used themselves (21.2% body alignment in Figure 5 and 22.4% body awareness in Figure 7) to higher percentages in what they used with students (32.6% body alignment in Figure 6 and 34.8% body awareness in Figure 8). After reading the open-ended comments, the reason for this finding was clarified. Teachers seemed to feel more comfortable experimenting with methods like yoga, Alexander, Feldenkrais, and Pilates on themselves, but felt less qualified to use these methods in lessons since their own exposure was limited. In general, the total sum and percentage report indicates an overall awareness of the importance of body awareness and alignment as well as these particular methods used for improvement. Specifically, yoga and Alexander were the most used methods by teachers themselves and the most used methods with students. The percentages for Feldenkrais and Pilates were much lower.

After analyzing the total sum and percentage responses for the surveys, the information gleaned was placed into different groups based on demographic information. These groups include the number of years teaching, education/training background, and present teaching position. Each demographic grouping showed a high percentage of teachers using Alexander Technique and yoga for both body alignment and awareness. There were noticeable differences within a few questions, such as teaching experience. Alexander Technique had a slightly higher percentage over yoga in the "0-5 years" teaching experience group (55% and 50% respectively), while yoga had the higher percentage rate in the "more than 20 years" teaching experience group (58% compared with 41.7% choosing Alexander Technique; Figure 9). The chosen methods for body awareness in the "0-5" and "more than 20" groups had similar results (Figure 11). When working with students the highest percentage for the "more than 20" group was 54.5% selecting yoga (Figure 10). The percentage of the "0-5" group using yoga or Alexander Technique with students was split at 38.9%; however the highest percentage response for "0-5" group, although not significant, was "I do not use a method" at 44.4% (Figure 10). These findings were similar in the body awareness questions, and there was an even higher percentage of those in the "0-5" group who chose "I do not use a method" with students (52.9%; Figure 12). In the "more than 20" group, 60% of participants selected yoga as the method they used with students for body awareness (Figure 12).

DISCUSSION

The open-ended questions in the survey provided valuable information and insight into subjects' thoughts on body alignment and awareness, as well as the many methods and combinations of methods teachers use themselves and with students. One question asked subjects to respond to why they thought it was important to address a student's body alignment. Subjects often responded by correlating the role of the body's alignment with proper breathing and proper vocal tract functioning. One subject said, "Optimal spinal alignment allows the most efficient neuromusculoskeletal physiological functions." Several subjects also discussed the importance of postural alignment to avoid unnecessary tension in the body. For example, one participant stated, "If students don't use the mechanical advantage of their bony structure for support, they will unnecessarily use muscular work to stand or sit that may either interfere actively with the movements of singing or interfere indirectly by tying up muscles that should be free to move to sing." Another comment that came up several times referred to the aesthetic aspect of posture and its role in stage presence and confidence. "It contributes to a commanding stage presence," was one response. Two respondents felt that, while body alignment was important, it was not a subject they emphasized. One said, "While it is necessary for the singer to maintain a healthy posture while singing so as to avoid awkward or unhealthy muscle memory ... I would be hesitant to make a major issue of it ... I fear that too much emphasis placed on physical and/or muscular placement can lead to tension or stiffness ..."

Another question asked subjects to discuss why it is important to address a student's body awareness. Responses equated awareness with learning about themselves and staying engaged with the body and performance. A student must be aware of the body to realize when there is unnecessary tension in the body before he or she can release it. In particular, one subject said awareness was important, "So they [students] are aware of tension issues or habits when not in lessons as I only see them one hour a week. The rest of that week is spent in their own practice so it is necessary [that] they are aware of how their body is presented or the tensions through it." Another subject said, "The student is the only one who can truly know what is going on with his or her body. As a teacher, I can guide what I see outwardly, but the student must also be aware of the inward workings of his or her body." Conversely one participant stated, "I would very rarely address the issue ... I find that too much focus on the physical mechanism creates more problems often than it's worth ... I simply feel that it [body awareness] is more relevant to the pedagogue than to the singer in the early stages."

Two questions allowed respondents to write in other methods they used with students for body alignment and/or awareness in addition to or instead of yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, and Pilates. Many subjects listed variations and combinations of methods, especially with Alexander Technique. A common response was, "I am not an Alexander teacher. Therefore my teaching is merely informed by what I know from years of lessons and observations." Similarly, "My approach is loosely based on Alexander Technique." Other methods included Pilates2Voice[R], Body Mapping, Linklater, Wes Balk Tension and Release Method, and bio/visual feedback.

When asked which of the methods they used to encourage proper body alignment with students and why, many subjects' responses described various ideas and exercises from many different methods depending upon the needs of the individual student. Subjects expressed that Alexander Technique was easier to incorporate into lessons, but they might encourage students to use Pilates and yoga outside of lesson time. Another subject felt that, although yoga breathing is not necessarily the kind of breathing needed for singing, it was useful to help singers be more in touch with their breath. Starting at question 22, the survey asked subjects similar questions but inserted body awareness for body alignment. The questions were separated from body alignment to see if there would be different or similar answers. Many respondents said they used the same methods for body awareness as body alignment, and one subject even asked if the survey had accidently repeated the page. One subject said, "See previous answer about alignment; I find these two lines of questioning as identical in my teaching." Another participant answered, " I don't focus on body awareness as much as posture/alignment. Although now that I'm taking this survey I see that as a disconnect." Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, yoga, and Pilates have the connection of the mind and the body as an essential part of their principles. The subjects' responses were telling in terms of how they viewed these methods. In particular, subjects' answers revealed whether they felt different methods were more useful for body alignment compared to body awareness, or if they did not feel there was a difference. Future surveys could use even more specific questions about teachers' views of the difference or connection of the mind and body while teaching singers.

The use of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States has risen steadily since 1950. (9) Recent data from the National Health Interview Survey found that almost 4 out of 10 adults had used CAM during 2007. (10) Based on this survey, there is reason to believe that research on body alignment and awareness methods may continue to steadily increase. The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) is prominent among many professional music organizations that include lectures and workshops on mind-body methods as a regular part of conferences and activities. In general, most teachers are aware of body awareness and alignment methods, such as Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, yoga, and Pilates. Teachers overwhelmingly use Alexander Technique and yoga themselves and with students compared to Feldenkrais and Pilates. Even though these teachers are aware of Alexander Technique and often have some experience with the method through lessons or workshops, none listed themselves as being certified. These subjects often said they used methods or exercises loosely based on Alexander Technique. There are not many locations for teachers to study and become certified in Alexander Technique, and the certification process is lengthy and expensive, obstacles that limit a teacher's ability to feel fully confident using the method with students. Yoga is more accessible. Several teachers mentioned leading yoga classes with their students or encouraging them to take yoga outside of lessons. Although subjects were aware of Feldenkrais and Pilates, these were the least chosen methods. The popularity of Pilates in the fitness industry and physical therapy profession has not yet reached the same level of awareness in professional voice instructors, at least in this survey. Although Feldenkrais has been helpful to many musicians, it may not have the level of widespread use that Alexander Technique has found.

Overall, teachers do feel that it is necessary to address body alignment and body awareness for singers. They use a variety of methods to help themselves with body alignment and awareness, but they do not always feel confident using methods like Alexander or Feldenkrais, due to limited training. Not every voice teacher wants to be a certified Alexander or Feldenkrais teacher, but more access to classes or availability to work with teachers with these specialties who also have performing arts backgrounds would be beneficial. Those looking to find instruction on the Feldenkrais Method or Alexander Technique can easily search the professional organizations that certify teachers. The International Feldenkrais Federation is the coordinating organization of most Feldenkrais guilds and associations and other key Feldenkrais professional organizations worldwide. Among others, its website links to the Feldenkrais Guild of North America where anyone can search for a teacher or locations for teacher training. (11) Similarly, Alexander Technique resources for teachers and training can be found through the American Society for Alexander Technique, which is the is the largest professional association of certified Alexander Technique teachers in the United States. (12) Instruction may also be found through the Alexander Technique International, which is a worldwide organization of teachers, students, and supporters of the Alexander Technique. (13) In addition, these websites offer many specific resources for musicians looking for guidance on the benefits of these methods.

Yoga and Pilates teachers and classes are more widely available, but with so many branches and variations of each method, selecting instruction can be confusing. Although there are not many teachers who approach these methods from a musician's or singer's point of view, a quick Internet search reveals a number of yoga books and videos geared toward musicians. Those looking for face-to-face instruction can use the Yoga Alliance directory. The Yoga Alliance sets the standards for yoga instruction in the United States. (14) Searching for Pilates instruction for musicians is similar to that of yoga for musicians; however, the Pilates Method Alliance is one of the better resources for those looking for instructors dedicated to the teachings of Joseph and Clara Pilates. (15)

As interest in mind-body methods continues to grow among musicians, discovering the number of teachers who have training in specialized body awareness and body alignments methods as well as a vocal training background could be another area for further research. This research could provide valuable information for teachers and students looking for resources to enhance vocal technical and performance skills.

APPENDIX

Survey of Body Alignment/Body Awareness for Singers

1. What is your present position? Please check all that apply.

[] Private teacher

[] University/College Professor

[] Coach/Accompanist

[] Other (Please describe)

2. Past position(s): Check all that apply

[] Private teacher

[] University/College Professor

[] Coach/Accompanist

[] Other (Please describe)

3. Number of years teaching:

[] 1-5

[] 6-10

[] 11-15

[] 16-10

[] More than 20

4. Background training

[] Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Art

[] Master of Music/Master of Art

[] Doctorate of Musical Arts

[] Performance Diploma/Certificate

5. Have you read about or studied an alternative body/postural alignment and awareness methods such as Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Yoga, or Pilates?

[] Yes [] No

6. Do you think it is necessary to address a student's body/ postural alignment for singing?

Never Sometimes Neutral Often Always

1 2 3 4 5

7. Why do you think it is necessary to address a student's body/postural alignment for singing?

8. Do you address body/postural alignment in your students' voice lessons?

Never Sometimes Neutral Often Always

1 2 3 4 5

9. How frequently do you work on a student's body/postural alignment in his/her voice lesson?

a. New student/1st year of study: never, sometimes, neutral, often, always

b. 2nd year of study: never, sometimes, neutral, often, always

c. 3rd year of study: never, sometimes, neutral, often, always

d. 4th year of study and beyond: never, sometimes, neutral, often, always

10. Do you, as a singer, use an alternative body/postural alignment method as part of your complete vocal practice?
Never   Sometimes   Neutral   Often   Always

 1         2          3        4       5


11. Do you, as a singer, use any of the following methods for body/postural alignment yourself? Please check all that apply.

a. Yoga

b. Alexander Technique

c. Feldenkrais Method

d. Pilates

e. I do not use any method.

f. Other (Please describe)

12. Do you, as a teacher, use any of these body/postural alignment methods with your students, if yes, then which one(s)

a. Yoga

b. Alexander Technique

c. Feldenkrais Method

d. Pilates

e. I do not use any method.

f. Other (Please describe)

13. Do you encourage your students to pursue these body/ postural alignment methods on their own in a class or privately outside of lessons?
Never    Sometimes    Neutral    Often    Always

  1         2            3         4        5


14. Which, if any, of these methods have you used in lessons to encourage proper body/postural alignment, and why did you choose this particular method? If more than one method was used please explain your reasons.

15. Do you think it is necessary to address a student's body awareness in lessons?
Never   Sometimes   Neutral   Often   Always

  1        2          3         4       5


16. Why do you think it is necessary to address a student's body awareness while he/she is singing or during lessons?

17. How frequently do you work on a student's body awareness in lessons?

a. New student/1st year of study: never, sometimes, neutral, often, always

b. 2nd year of study: never, sometimes, neutral, often, always

c. 3rd year of study: never, sometimes, neutral, often, always

d. 4th year of study and beyond: never, sometimes, neutral, often, always

18. Do you, as a singer, use an alternative body awareness method as part of your complete vocal practice?
Never   Sometimes   Neutral   Often   Always

  1        2          3        4       5


19. Do you, as a singer, use any of the following as a body awareness methods yourself? Please check all that apply.

a. Yoga

b. Alexander Technique

c. Feldenkrais Method

d. Pilates

e. I do not use any method.

f. Other (Please describe)

20. Do you, as a teacher, use these any of these methods for body awareness with your students? If yes, then which one(s).

a. Yoga

b. Alexander Technique

c. Feldenkrais Method

d. Pilates

e. I do not use any method.

f. Other (Please describe)

21. Do you encourage your students to pursue these body awareness methods on their own in a class or privately outside of lessons?
Never   Sometimes   Neutral   Often   Always

  1         2         3         4       5


22. Which, if any, of these methods have you used in lessons to encourage body awareness, and why did you choose this particular method? If more than one method was used please explain your reasons.

NOTES

(1.) James C. McKinney, The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults: A Manual for Teachers of Singing and for Choir Directors (Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc., 1994), 33-34.

(2.) Wolf E. Mehling et al., "Body Awareness: a phenomenological inquiry into the common ground of mind-body therapies," Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 6, no. 6 (2011): 5; http://www.peh-med.com/content/6/1/6 (accessed December 19, 2011).

(3.) Olga Averino, Principles and Art of Singing (Roskilde, Denmark: Novis Publications, 1989), xiii.

(4.) B. K. S. Iyengar, "Light on Iyengar," Yoga Journal (September/ October 2005): 97; http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/1843 (accessed January 14, 2012).

(5.) Veera Khare Asher, "The Olympic Singer: Integrating Pilates Training into the Voice Studio" (DMA dissertation, University of Nevada, 2009), 51; http://search.proquest.com. libdata.lib.ua.edu/pqdtft/docview/305086518/fulltextPDF/1 349C163967E0FB17D/ 1?accountid=14472 (accessed August 8, 2011).

(6.) Mehling et al.

(7.) Sanjiv Jain, MD et al., "Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method: A Critical Overview," Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America 15 (2004): 815; DOI: 10.1016/j.pmr.2004.04.005 (accessed August 18, 2011).

(8.) Mehling et al.

(9.) Michael Frass, MD et al., "Use and acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine among the general population and medical personnel: A systematic review," The Oschner Journal 12, no.1 (2012): 45; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/22438782 (accessed October 3, 2012).

(10.) Patricia M. Barnes et al., "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007," National Health Statistics Reports 12 (December 10, 2008) 1; nccih.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/news/ nhsr12.pdf (accessed October 3, 2012).

(11.) International Feldenkrais Federation; http://feldenkraismethod.org/en (accessed March 17, 2014).

(12.) American Society for the Alexander Technique; http://www. amsatonline.org (accessed March 17, 2014).

(13.) Alexander Technique International; http://www.ati-net.com/ atiabout.php (accessed March 19, 2014).

(14.) Yoga Alliance; http://www.yogaalliance.org (accessed March 19, 2014).

(15.) Pilates Method Alliance; http://www.pilatesmethodalliance. org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1 (accessed March 19, 2014).

Soprano Dr. Dawn Neely is Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Opera Workshop at the University of West Georgia. She received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Alabama. Her most recent directing credentials include The Marriage of Figaro, Ruddigore, and Orpheus in the Underworld. She has also directed with the University of Alabama Opera Theatre, The Druid City Opera Workshop, the Richard Crittenden Opera Workshop, the Harrower Opera Workshop, and the Atlanta Opera's 24-Hour Opera Project. Dawn Neely was an Assistant Director with the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh's SummerFest season in 2015. Dr. Neely currently serves as the Southeastern Regional Governor for the National Opera Association and is active in creating workshops for the region as well as assisting with the National Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition each year.

As a soprano Dr. Neely has sung in opera, oratorio, and chamber ensembles. She has performed roles such as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Pousette in Manon, Gianetta in The Gondoliers, Geraldine in A Hand of Bridge, Laurentia in The Beautiful Bridegroom, and Despina in Cost fan tutte. She has performed throughout the southeast with the University of Alabama Contemporary Ensemble and the Druid City Ensemble. Dr. Neely's research interests include studies on body awareness and alignment methods for musicians. A special thanks to Dr. Jennifer Cowgill for her guidance with Dr. Neely's doctoral research in this area. Dr. Neely earned her 200 Level Yoga Teaching Certificate through the Yoga Alliance in 2014.
Figure 1. Question 6: Do you think
it is necessary to address a student's
body/postural alignment for singing?

Often       32.7%
Always      63.7%
Sometimes    3.6%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Figure 2. Question 8: Do you
address body/postural alignment in
your students' lessons?

Often       50.0%
Always      42.6%
Sometimes    7.4%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Figure 3. Question 9: How frequently do you work
on a student's body/postural alignment in lessons?

             New,       2nd     3rd     4th
             1st Year   Year    Year    Year +

Always       48.1%      26.4%   27.5%   28.0%
Often        44.4%      54.7%   33.3%   24.0%
Neutral      3.7%       7.5%    9.8%    16.0%
Sometimes    3.7%       11.3%   29.4%   32.0%
Never

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 4. Question 17: How frequently do you work
on a student's body awareness in lessons?

            New, 1st   2nd     3rd     4th
            Year       Year    Year    Year +

Always      43.1%      30.0%   25.0%   25.0%
Often       47.1%      58.0%   41.7%   39.6%
Neutral     3.9%       8.0%    8.3%    6.3%
Sometimes   5.9%       35      35.0%   29.2%
Never

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 5. Question 11: Do you, as a singer, use any of the
following methods for body/postural alignment yourself? Check all
that apply.

Yoga          55.8%
Alexander     57.7%
Feldenkrias   11.5%
Pilates       13.5%
No Methods    21.2%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 6. Question 12: Do you, as a teacher, use any
of these body/postural alignment methods with your
students? Which ones?

Yoga        47.8%
Alexander   47.8%
Feldenkrais 6.5%
Pilates     4.3%
No Method   32.6%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 7. Question 19: Do you, as a singer, use
any of the following methods for body awareness
yourself? Check all that apply.

Yoga          53.1%
Alexander     53.1%
Feldenkrias   14.3%
Pilates       12.2%
No Methods    22.4%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 8. Question 20: Do you, as a teacher,
use any of these body awareness methods with
your students? Which ones?

Yoga          41.3%
Alexander     50.0%
Feldenkrais   13.0%
Pilates       6.5%
No Method     34.8%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 9. Survey B, Question 11: Do you, as a singer,
use any of the following methods for body/postural
alignment yourself? Check all that apply.

              0-5     More than 20

Yoga          50.0%   58.0%
Alexander     55.0%   41.7%
Feldenkrais   0.0%    25.0%
Pilates       20.0%   8.3%
No Method     25.0%   25.0%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 10. Survey B, Question 12: Do you, as a
teacher, use any of these body/postural alignment
methods with your students?

              0-5     More than 20

Yoga          38.9%   54.5%
Alexander     38.9%   36.4%
Feldenkrais   0.0%    27.3%
Pilates       5.6%    9.1%
No Method     44.4%   27.3%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 11. Survey B, Question 19: Do you, as a singer,
use any of the following as a body awareness
method for yourself? Check all that apply.

              0-5     More than 20

Yoga          44.4%   60.0%
Alexander     50.0%   30.0%
Feldenkrais   5.6%    30.0%
Pilates       16.7%   10.0%
No Method     27.8%   10.0%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 12. Survey B, Question 20: Do you,
as a teacher, use any of these methods for
body awareness with your students?

              0-5     More than 20

Yoga          29.4%   60.0%
Alexander     41.2%   40.0%
Feldenkrais   0.0%    40.0%
Pilates       5.9%    10.0%
No Method     52.9%   30.0%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Neely, Dawn Wells
Publication:Journal of Singing
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2016
Words:5757
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