Vocal Performance Expert Strikes a Chord

by Marketing Services Office - Cedarville, OH

Cedarville students with a passion for singing recently had a unique opportunity to attend a two-day vocal pedagogy workshop by Dr. Stephen Austin, an internationally renowned voice teacher and vocal pedagogy professor.

Austin encouraged participants to view singing as more than just “pleasing audiences.” He noted, “If your heart is in the right place, your voice will be central to what you do and you will put [in] the time and effort to honor Christ with your gift.”

Austin suggested that sometimes music majors don’t bring the same amount of discipline to their studies as do other students—like math or science majors. And that, he says, is a mistake. “If this is what you really want to do and you’ve been gifted by God to do it, then you need to be disciplined to do it,” he advised.

While at Cedarville, Austin discussed artistry and technique and had participants sing for him. The real challenge, he said, is to get students to understand the application of vocal training and be open and comfortable to make changes. “Because the voice is such a personal thing, changing can be unsettling and scary,” he noted.

Austin also explained how music education can prepare students for a variety of professional endeavors and reminded them to give their training an honest shot. “Don’t give up too quickly,” he shared. “If you’ve honored God in your effort, He will bless you.”

Austin specializes in studying how the vocal mechanism works and the techniques that teachers of the past used to guide famous vocalists. A vocal pedagogy professor at the University of North Texas, Austin mentors performers around the world and writes a regular column in the Journal of Singing.

To give students the opportunity to interact from top industry professionals and to open doors for internships and career positions, Cedarville University often brings top professionals like Austin to campus. Jon Spoelstra, teams division president of Mandalay Sports Entertainment; Georgeann Georges, vice president of global operations at Culligan International; and Larry Seawell, president and CEO of The Hercules Tire and Rubber Company, have been among the recent guests.