What is the equation behind the art and science of singing?
Item: Singing & Science: Body, Brain & Voice by Jean Callaghan, published by Compton Publishing.
Mic rating: 4.5/5
At a glance: This book is a presentation of the growing body of research into vocal function, brain function and vocal health. The author discusses new discoveries, dispels myths, addresses controversies and delves deep into neuroscience. Dr Jean Callaghan is a voice expert with a expansive academic background in vocal pedagogy.
High notes: This book is truly unbiased. There is no agenda here besides the dissemination of what we know to be true today. Some chapters are even left hanging with open ended conclusions because of inconclusive research. It is a handy, slim travel size and is littered with illustrations for comic relief.
Off pitch: This book does tend to steer more into the classical world, but the author hasn’t much choice since research into contemporary commercial music (CCM) is only now developing. Hopefully future editions will include the important work of CCM voice researchers to reach a wider audience.
Review: This book is certainly not one to take on holiday with you (unless you’re a total voice geek!) But, it should be on the book shelf of every academic, researcher, student and educator. It is a great place to start if you are looking for gaps in the research market, and you can learn from flaws in conducted studies. It is also a great way to save time by accessing several studies at once if you are in need of a clear answer. You can read it cover to cover or you can cherry pick chapters according to your needs.This book will ensure your knowledge of the voice is in tune and up to date and it gives the teacher permission to say “we just don’t know yet” when quizzed by students.