Existentialism and Vocal Instruction in Higher Education


  • Susan A. Boddie Acadia University


This study explores the source of inconsistent and unemotional performances by voice students in higher education music programs. The emphasis will be on how to address this through vocal instruction. Many varying approaches to vocal instruction exist in higher education programs which appear to prolong inconsistency and unengaged performing. The research explores several existentialist principles of Jean-Paul Sartre and how these principles may inform and enhance current vocal teaching practice in higher education and perhaps better prepare new voice teachers. The following study will consider the effectiveness of the application of Sartre’s existentialist principles and how they may inform vocal instruction and improve vocal development.

Author Biography

Susan A. Boddie, Acadia University

Susan Boddie has been instructing voice and performing for over 15 years in Canada and the US. Originally from St. John's, Newfoundland, Susan received her BMus degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and her MMus degree from the Manhattan School of Music, New York studying with Patricia Misslin. She is currently a doctoral candidate in education at the University of Calgary. Currently a member of the voice faculty at Acadia University, Susan has held previous teaching appointments at the Music Faculties of Acadia University, St. Francis Xavier University, and Dalhousie University. She is also a member of the Voice Faculty at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. Susan is the past President of the Maritime Association of the Teachers of Singing and has won several teaching awards from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She is a frequent performer in the genres of opera, oratorio, and musical theatre. A singer-scholar, Susan also has a passionate interest in research. Her research interests are in educational philosophy, effective instruction, and vocal pedagogy. Upcoming concert season highlights include appearances with the NSYO as soloist for Orff's Carmina Burana, guest artist for Chamber Music Program at All Saint's Church, Nova Scotia, soloist for Mozart's Coronation Mass and Beethoven's Choral Fantasy at Acadia University.