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Review: The Singer’s Guide to Complete Health


Will this new book lead you to the cure you’ve been looking for?

Item: Book. The Singer’s Guide to Complete Health, edited by Anthony F. Jahn, MD, published by Oxford University Press

Price: US: 29.99 USD (Kindle) 29.00  (Ppk.), UK: 18.58 GBP (Kindle), 21.86 (Ppk.)

Mic Rating: micrating_4.5

At a Glance: Singers will find most vocal health issues with which they’ve been concerned addressed in this collection of 36 short essays by medical specialists and other professionals.  There is breadth as well as depth: everything from general physical well being to the impact of specific issues such as asthma, pregnancy, allergies, nutrition (and many more) on the singing voice.  Illustrations, diagrams and charts are included throughout. The book’s editor is the renowned Anthony F. Jahn, MD, who holds several prestigious roles including Medical Director at the New York Metropolitan Opera.

High Notes: Most of the contributors of this volume get right to the point: many of the essays are under 10 pages in length and contain theory, practical guidance and advice for specific medical conditions.  Many readers will find accessible sections that address their specific concerns.  There are also many gems such as “Sleep: The Art and the Science”, “Self Screening for Vocal Injuries” and the editor’s very accessible overview of “The Vocal Apparatus”.

Off Pitch:  An edited volume of this type cannot completely avoid unevenness: a few of the essays employ difficult language for the non-specialist while some others tend to be too general in nature.  Some contributors reference only classical singing techniques; however, the medical issues covered transcend genre and the editor and several of the contributors demonstrate a solid understanding of the demands facing rock and pop genres.

A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says:  With the majority of the essays, I felt that I was sitting in the examining room of a knowledgeable and kindly doctor who actually had time to patiently explain to me everything I wanted to know about my vocal condition. This book thus represents an important paradigm shift taking place in the field of vocal health: we are thankfully moving away from non-scientific pseudo-physicians dispensing their “private”, “secret” and expensive techniques (snake-oils) for the voice to medical experts translating their work in an accessible way.  Bravo, Dr. Jahn. This book is highly recommended for every singer and those who take care of them.