Vocal Identities: The Social Construction of Professional Singers
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Tiri Bergensen Schei
The Grieg Academy, Bergen University College
TIRI B. SCHEI has been a voice teacher, singer and choir conductor for more than twenty years. She has given numerous seminars to students, singers, teachers, physiotherapists and choir singers on voice consciousness, body awareness and style expressions. She is educated as a classical singer, but has taught song in many different styles and has an interest in jazz and pop expressions. During her time as a teacher in music high schools, Tiri experienced how young singers struggled with themselves, trying to establish who they were and who they wanted to be, how they could manifest themselves and express their art through voice and body. This interest has led her to Ph.D studies at the Grieg Academy, Bergen University College in Norway. She has done in-depth interviews of a classical, a pop and a jazz singer, and is presently analyzing their narratives in a discourse theoretical perspective. The aim of her research is to increase knowledge of how vocal identity is constituted, and how the vocal cultures influence the entire lives of singers. Some central research questions are: Who becomes a singer? How is a singer molded by the different voice cultures? Who defines what song is and what good singing is? The cultural authority of the song traditions are investigated through the internalized expectations singers have of themselves.