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Obtaining balance in the vocal studio: Healthy steps to interdependence through creating adult -to -adult relationships between student and teacher

Laurie E Lashbrook, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study looks at numerous cases of codependent behavior in the voice studio. Codependent behavior appears to be more prevalent in the voice studio than in other teaching environments because the voice is both physically and emotionally an expression of the self. The voice is a greater expression of an individual's self since it is not a separate instrument from the performer. Codependent behaviors are performed unconsciously by both student and teacher. The author determines these unhealthy behaviors evolved from dysfunction in society and defines them as codependence. Codependence inhibits the achievement of the goals of the student to study and learn. Codependence inhibits creativity in the voice studio. Within the voice studio there exists a number of codependent issues. This study looks at five main characteristics of codependence as defined by Pia Mellody, a nationally-recognized authority on codependence recovery. The five characteristics include the inability to: experience appropriate levels of self esteem, set functional boundaries, own and experience one's own reality, take care of adult needs and wants, and experience reality moderately. After exploring case studies to illustrate unhealthy codependent behaviors, the study concludes with a final chapter on interdependence. Interdependence is the goal of the healthy vocal studio. The author gives numerous tools and aids to achieve interdependence in the voice studio. The author's expertise in vocal technique—the mastery of accepted and identifiable facts of balanced voice production—remains essential. The changes were in the approach to the student. The teaching tools suggested are utilized by therapy and treatment centers and encourage growth in the student's understanding of self, reality, boundaries, choices, wants, and needs. The tools include journaling, mirror work, affirmation lists, identifying and understanding feelings, and working through grief and loss. The author includes case studies as well as personal reflections from students on their interdependence work. The desired goal for the vocal studio, interdependence, creates an environment which empowers students to become interdependent singing artists.

Subject Area

Music education|Educational psychology|Music

Recommended Citation

Lashbrook, Laurie E, "Obtaining balance in the vocal studio: Healthy steps to interdependence through creating adult -to -adult relationships between student and teacher" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI3152615.