Asheville Vocologist Patricia Sands

What is Vocology?

Patricia became a Vocologist in 2014.

Vocology is to voice what Audiology is to hearing.  Vocologists are behavioral voice specialists, and focus on the science and practice of voice habilitation. Titze and Gates coined the term in 1989 and recommended it as a field of speciality in 1990 (Vocology, Titze and Abbot, 2012, 11).

Patricia Sands singing in Spain with accompaniment

Vocologists build and strengthen the voice for specific needs.

Vocologists might be voice teachers, trained singers, speech and language pathologists (SLPs), medical doctors, or those interested in the elements and teaching of vocology. 

Vocologists work to find the ideal voice, help the professional voice user feel good about the voice, achieve maximum control over their voice, maximize the longevity of their voice, and provide tools of assessment for voice disorders (Vocology, Titze and Abbott, 2012, 14-15).

Vocologists who are not also medical doctors specializing in laryngology make referrals to qualified laryngologists for vocal issues requiring medical intervention and therapy.

Vocology is recognized academically through university coursework and organizations including but not limited to:

The National Center for Voice and Speech (NCVS), Lamar University, The University of Kansas,  The University of Memphis,  The University of Illinois, The University of Iowa, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Indiana University, and The University of Colorado, Denver.  The Pan American Vocologists Association (PAVA) is the professional association for Vocologists.

“You inspired me to put myself out there, to try harder, and to never let my character waver, both on and off stage.  The amount of knowledge that you have in your work is truly inspiring.”

- Jessica Merkley, former student

What are SOVT exercises?

Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract (SOVT) exercises stretch and unpress your vocal folds and use the vocal tract to help the folds vibrate.  Some of the SOVT exercises we will do include: vocalizing through the straw (in and out of a cup of water), exercising with the cup/hole, raspberries, and lip trills.

Occluded = obstructed so semi-occluded means semi-obstructed and the mouth is partially closed.  There is less impact, collision and stress on the vocal folds while they continue to stretch in a balanced position.

“By partially closing the vocal tract you are minimizing collisions between the folds using maximal lung pressure and maximal CT stretching” (Titze, Abbott, Vocology, 2012, 198). “Narrowing the tract minimizes collision impact and requires less air to make a sound” (302). “Vocal resonance is also trained, and middle voice or mixed voice is particularly impacted (303) in a positive way”. 

Dr. Ingo Titze (Father of Vocology who defined the word as “the science and practice of voice habilitation”) explains the benfits of straw phonation/SOVT exercises in the three videos below:

SVOT Exercise
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Play Video
SVOT Exercise
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The Science Behind the Straw NCVS456, Videos 1-3

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