Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 00:00
It’s Marissa Lee here. And I’m so excited to be sharing today solo round episode with you. Whether you’re a member of the voice community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. And my mission, which has been inspired by my own personal and professional journey is to empower you to share your gift with others. Now is the time for you to discover your voice in life, develop a positive mindset, and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, and you can become the director of your own life. It’s time for you to live your best live. It’s time now, for A Voice and Beyond. So, without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 00:42
This week, on A Voice and Beyond, we welcome Travis Sherwood who holds a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music Degree from the University of Southern California. Travis currently serves as Assistant Professor of Voice and Vocal Area Coordinator on the faculty of San Diego State University School of Music and Dance. Travis frequently lectures and presents on the subjects of artistic literacy, student centered pedagogy, voice pedagogy, and vocal literature. In this episode, Travis discusses his research into the traditions, evolution and limitations of the Master-Apprentice Model. Travis tells us that this learning environment establishes a clear hierarchy of power in the teacher-student relationship. He explains that the master apprentice tradition is rooted in the experiences of the master, requiring students to value the teachers observations of their voice over their own. From an inferior position, students become dependent on their teachers, often ignoring their bodies in pursuit of the correct way to sing. Additionally, in this student-centered pedagogy, students frequently silence their artistic and technical instincts. Travis warns us that by perpetuating this tradition, we’re not creating safe spaces where students can be expressive, artistic and explore their voices autonomously. He states there are still certain elements of this tradition permeating in our profession. And as voice teachers, we must check in on ourselves to ensure we’re not perpetuating this teaching model. He suggests that we can begin by questioning whether our teaching is grounded in a student centric philosophy and that our teaching values and builds off the knowledge and experiences of our students. Travis believes that as we move into the future, the master apprentice model can limit the possibility of evolution in the voice teaching field. This is a most fascinating and informative interview with Travis Sherwood and one that will inspire many of us to reflect on our current teaching practices. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 03:47
Welcome to A Voice and Beyond our guest this week is Travis Sherwood. How are you travel?
Travis Sherwood 03:55
I’m doing well. Marisa, how are you?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 03:57
I’m doing good. And I’m so excited to see you because the one and only time I’ve ever met you was in Vienna at ICBT back in August. And we ended up a bit of a chat and getting to know each other very briefly, but it was your presentation. I was so impressed with and I thought I have to have you on the show and learn a little bit more about the topic that you were presenting on and that was about the Master-Apprentice Model. And I’ll just intro you to our listeners who may or may not know who you are. So Travis, you serve as Assistant Professor of Voice and Vocal Area Coordinator on the faculty of San Diego State University School of Music and Dance. What a terrible place to live San Diego I feel feel so sorry for you.
Travis Sherwood 04:05
I know it’s it’s I do what I have to you know it just so horrible with the beautiful sunshine and the 70 degree weather all the time. But yeah, it’s just so awful. It’s just so ugly looking at the ocean.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 05:08
I hear you bemoaning life right now. It’s so tragic. So you frequently lead master classes as well as, as well as lecturer and present on the subjects of artistic literacy, students centric pedagogy, voice pedagogy and vocal literature, you hold Doctor of Musical Arts and a Master of Music Degree from the University of Southern California. Okay, so that touches upon that student-centric learning. I suppose that’s where we can lead into your interest in that Master-Apprentice Model. But you’re also a baritone, and you’ve received praise for your powerful voice and emotionally point performances around the world as an opera singer, concert artist, recitalist and to perform across a wide range of musical genres and styles. So let’s get to know you. What was your training background? Well, I have my bachelor’s degree from Westminster Choir College, where I studied voice performance and music education. And so I guess I always knew that I was going to be an educator in some way. But I realized that going into the K-12 classroom was not my my goal. And so I kept pursuing degrees, as one does, I guess, in in our field, and I went on to get a master’s at University of Southern California, in performance. And then that was sort of like, I was finishing that up, we were entering a recession here in the States, and the economy was really not doing all that great, sort of, I guess, like we are right now. And the economy was really floundering. And so USC offered me the opportunity to stay on my doctorate. And at first, I just started my doctorate as sort of a, I don’t really have anything else to do. Sure, I’ll start a doctorate right now. Why not? Why not? Why not right. And as I was progressing, throughout the degree, I realized that teaching in the studio was going up, I really wanted to do, because, through my TA ship, I was doing a lot of individual lessons, as well as teaching voice classes. And I realized that that was that was a real focus of mine. And so that’s how I kind of came to the career that I have right now, where that’s primarily what I do in studio teaching.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 07:29
Yes. So along your trajectory there into teaching, you must have had singing teachers yourself. Because you you obviously you must be a trained baritone. What was your learning experience, like as a student?
Travis Sherwood 08:17
Yeah, I would first like to say I had some fantastic teachers throughout the years. My undergraduate teacher at Westminster was Martin Kenzie, who is just a prince among men, I mean, just a really fantastic human being. And I learned a lot from him about the fundamentals of singing, but more so I would say about the fundamentals of teaching. And Marvin is really a prime example of a student-centered teacher. But I don’t know that he would really ever use that word, I think he would just say it’s good teaching, right. And so from an early age, I was really exposed to student-centered teaching in the voice studio. I didn’t necessarily recognize it to be that at the time, but now when I reflect back on it, I realized that’s what I was. That’s what I was experiencing. And then when I went throughout my my other degrees, I started with a variety of teachers, my teacher at USC, was had a very successful performing career. And so he was in and out at times. And so they would bring in different teachers to sub for him. And so I had a variety of perspectives throughout my time there, which now is the teacher I reflect on. And I’m very grateful for it because it gives me sort of a much larger perspective of what it means to teach voice. But I did experience at times, that sort of Master-Apprentice Model, when you look at what we’ve experienced historically as the profession, that’s where we began, and that is really perpetuated through contemporary times through the 21st century.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 09:54
Okay, so then when you started to teach, did you start teaching your students In the way that you were taught, were you actually perpetuating with that knowing?
Travis Sherwood 10:05
I would say that there were certain elements of my teaching that definitely did. Yeah, absolutely. Because we all, at the beginning of a certain extent, teach the way that we were taught, right. We’re just sort of mimicking what we consider it to be the best practices of our teachers and hoping that it sinks in with our students. I think back on the students that I taught, especially while I was you know, a teaching assistant for my masters and my doctorate, and I would love to give them all a refund now, you know, because, because now, like, being, you know, I’ve been out for quite some time now I’m, this is my 10th year of full time teaching beyond my degrees. And so I’ve definitely grown a lot as a teacher. But there were certain elements of that Master-Apprentice tradition that I certainly perpetuated early in my career, basically, I think it was I was just trying to carry on in a role that I understood. Yes. Right. And students I found in still would love to fall into that apprentice role, often, because that’s the role that they understand. You know? And so yeah, absolutely. There were times where I perpetuated that
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 11:17
I’ve come across a couple of those students this week, who have a practice and would rather spend their lesson practicing under my guidance. I’m not here to be paid to help you practice. You haven’t figured this out, you’re at the university level, and we have a problem. But tell us what inspired your curiosity into the Master-Apprentice Model? And, like, maybe let’s start by describing what is it and how did it come to be?
Travis Sherwood 11:51
Yeah, well, the history of it, the Master-Apprentice tradition actually goes way back. It goes beyond music in singing, right? This was one of the earliest models of formal education that we had primarily in Europe is where it started, right? It hits its stride in the 16th century. And it’s adopted by guilds throughout Europe to educate young people in any trade or craft. Yeah. So if you wanted to learn how to make shoes, then you went and you became an apprentice for a cobbler. If you wanted to be a carpenter, then you apprentice with a carpenter. Right. And so that model, though, is very different than what we see today. Because you would actually move in with whoever that master was, the apprentice would move in with them, essentially become. Yeah, yeah, they would move in with them. And even the cobbler? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And you would essentially, you’d enter into a contract with them, and you would become what was considered to be a member of the family, though, of course, like the concept of family at this time was very different than what we perceive now. You know, family was top down structure with the master at the top was almost always the man of the house, right? So it’s a very patriarchal philosophy. And there was this idea that patriarch of the home, the master of the home, receives his power from God, essentially. And so he exercises his divine right to educate every member of the household, not only whatever the skill or craft was, but also in morality, in religion, basically, in every aspect of becoming a developed human being, or at least what was considered to be a developed human being, you know, of this time. So this master-apprentice, traditionally it wasn’t, but it was not only a important part of an educational structure, but it was also an important part of sort of like a socioeconomic structure, because it really limited who had access to education. And it was the master who made the decision who had access to education. And so it actually, it helped discourage individual thought, and also helped me keep people at a certain socioeconomic level. Right. And so keeping the master higher, well, everybody who was not deemed worthy the opportunity to study they will not have the opportunity to you know, become a carpenter or become a shoemaker or become a singer.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 14:27
Wow, that’s incredible. And it holds so seems so unethical. I mean, by today’s standards, that is so unethical, you’d be locked up or something like that almost. Absolutely, yes. And I love that you touched upon that it was the man because when you say “Master”, you think of master is the full term for Mr. Isn’t it? So it has that that gender bias, so you have a socioeconomic bias, you have a gender bias, you have this elitism, you have this role there is this religious factor. I mean, wars happened because of all this stuff now.
Travis Sherwood 15:14
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 15:16
And when you break it down, it is seriously messed up.
Travis Sherwood 15:20
It really is. And, you know, if you look at it in terms of take it out of the, the larger context, and look at what did this mean for us training singer, right. And so, the singer would move in with the master teacher, they would receive daily voice lessons, the singer was often forbidden to practice outside of the purview of the masters, so they only sang in front of the master, right, the master controlled any and all repertoire that was going to be assigned, often repertoire would not be assigned. Sometimes for more than a year of study, just studying vocaleses in studying the fundamentals the technique, at the same time, they would also be studying morality, religion, and usually at least one other instrument, because at this time, it was considered a singer would no be proficient at at least one other instrument, especially if you were going to be a master teacher. They would also of course, work on languages and history and performance practice. And all of this stuff, which that individualized attention sounds really good. But of course, it also limits any input from the student in terms of artistry and creativity, right? It was all the master’s answer is correct and the student has to just learn what the master is feeding them, essentially.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 16:38
So it is 100%, excluding any type of vocal freedom, vocal expressivity, emotional engagement to the repertoire, it’s just destroying individuality and authenticity. Absolutely. So where was the joy in singing?
Travis Sherwood 16:59
That’s a wonderful question. I mean, I think, you know, you were still able to progress through this program, and hopefully end up having a career, which was the ultimate goal and be able to make, you know, socioeconomic advancement for yourself and maybe your family as well. But you were entered into a contract with this master a literal contract. So your family signed you over to them and said, You are in control of their education, right, and the master would not be paid for their teaching, until after the singer began a professional career. And so the apprentice singer essentially becomes a financial investment for the master. Yes, they need to make sure that this singer gets out and has a career if they want to receive any sort of return on their investment. And at that point, if they do go out and have a career that apprentice singer was often owed, they owed the master about half of their income for the first couple of years of their career. Now each contract was, of course different. But that was that was about the average. And so it was, was a huge financial investment for the master, but also a huge financial investment for the apprentice to
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 18:11
Yes. And at what age did these apprentices would they assigned or relinquished by their families to a master?
Travis Sherwood 18:21
It really depended on the situation it could happen at any age throughout throughout childhood, but sometimes it would happen very young, particularly for boys. So for example, like the pre-pubescent boy started voice lessons, and he would be a voice soprano at that time, most of the time, and the master teacher decided that he wanted to preserve the integrity of that voice, soprano voice, it was often the master teacher who had a big part of the decision whether or not he should be castrated.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 18:53
Alright, I’m speechless.
Travis Sherwood 18:56
You want you want to talk about ultimate control? Right?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 18:59
I’m absolutely like, right at this second speechless, it makes me want to cry. What? I’m sure it wasn’t so miserable. Or maybe it was so miserable. We really don’t know the emotional impact this must have had on these boys. But what placeable authority and control it is really, in today’s day and age, it is so sick, because we talk about holding safe spaces for our students. This is the extremity of holding a safe space for students. So these four boys, they could have lived with these people had this light being castrated and then maybe not even have had a career. Correct. And then have no family. Correct. Oh, wow. When I was going to interview you, I knew this was messed up. But this is even worse than what I thought and I don’t I think our community even realizes the extent of this.
Travis Sherwood 20:04
That’s why I think understanding the history of the Master-Apprentice tradition is so important. When we see the elements that are still permeating our current pedagogy, right? We need to understand that these many of these elements have a much darker past. Oh, yes, you know, and so when we advocate for getting rid of them, or for evolving and becoming more student-centered, that it’s important to have the history behind it as to why we are advocating for this change.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 20:38
Okay, so what were the benefits of this training? Were there any benefits?
Travis Sherwood 20:44
I suppose, yes, there had to have been benefits, of course, individualized attention, right. I mean, usually master teachers would basically take on one students at a time, get them through and then take out another one, sometimes they would take on more than one at a time, but it was a lot of really individualized attention. I’m sure there are many students today who would love to have a daily voice lesson from their teacher. I mean, that would be you know, there would be benefits to that for sure. Also, having that investment from the teacher to where they really wanted to make sure that you went out and had a career. Yeah, that I think that would be really important. So the teacher essentially acts as like an impresario, or artistic manager for you, that would be welcomed by by many students today. Right, but the freedoms that you have to give up to have that? I don’t know that that is what’s best for our profession. In fact, I do know that is not what’s best for our profession going forward.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 21:48
Well, from my perspective, my goal with my students is for them to become autonomous. When I teach a lesson, even what I give them to do in their practice, is always something that they don’t have to think about, how do I actually do this, they leave knowing exactly what they’ve got to do, and give them all those tools. So when they go home, they don’t need me there. And that’s what I always say to them. Look, this is a no brainer way of fixing this problem. You can do this at home, you don’t need me holding your hand. So I always give them the easiest way to practice and to work on something that is a problem for them. Because that is what we want for our students.
Travis Sherwood 22:35
Absolutely. I think you as voice teachers, we’re basically always trying to put ourselves out of a job, right? Like, one of the first things I say to my students, is, when I start with a new student, I say, “I want you to get to a point where you feel like you do not need me,” that is my goal. I want to help you get there as fast as I can, you know, because it is it’s all about helping students become autonomous artists, where they make choices, and they trust those choices in both their technique. And in their artistry, right, which of course we know that to inform each other. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the two, if we are trying to create a dependent relationship, right, which is what we see in the Master-Apprentice Model, is that dependent relationship. Yes, right. Where the student is dependent upon the master for all of the answers in the master is dependent upon the student to justify their their thoughts, right. And also, financially, I gotta get this person through, and I gotta make sure that they have a career so that I’m going to get the money back out of this.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 23:42
Yes, so there are those limitations we’ve just talked about where the student is totally dependent. And also, their artistry is kind of being diminished. And their sense of personal expression is pretty much non-existent. Other other limitations to that that teaching model?
Travis Sherwood 24:06
There’s a ton of limitations and the limitations are as limited as the perspective of the master, right, because the master controls every aspect of the education. So if the master is honed in on only Western Classical music, and that is the only music that we are going to sing that we’re going to pursue, well, then that is the only music that their students are going to sing and their students are going to pursue write, which we know is extraordinarily limiting, and not going to fit for every student. Also, this ends up becoming sort of a methodical approach to teaching where it’s, I have this one method for teaching people how to sing and that is it and we’re going to use this method and that’s the method that is going to work well we understand as teachers of singers, right, that every singing body is different, right? It’s not possible to teach with one method that we need to teach the person, we need to talk to them, we need to ask questions, we need to know how things are feeling in their body, what are they thinking about in the moment of singing, that is inspiring them to open up and sing with this freedom or to feel some sort of resistance or tension in the body, right. And the idea that I as a teacher will ever understand a student’s body better than they do is utterly preposterous to me, right, there’s no way that I will understand that I might understand, like the anatomy and the physiology and the science of acoustics and stuff like that better than them. But I do not understand what they are feeling in their body better than they do.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 25:48
Yes. And not only that, but we haven’t walked a day in their shoes, we haven’t lived a day in their lives. We don’t know what’s going on with them emotionally and mentally as well. We don’t know what’s going on outside of that voice studio, unless they’re prepared to share. And then we’re not psychologists, and today, there’s a lot of talk about creating safe spaces for our students, we need to hold space for our students, voices to be heard. We talk about authenticity, we talk about vulnerability, we talk about exploring artistry and vocal identity. So there’s a lot of mental and emotional implications then with this kind of teaching model. And hear that by what you’re saying, now we’re moved from the 16th century. And I, you’re referring to today’s teaching, and there are teachers out there that still continue to use this type of teaching, this is what I was taught. And this is what I’m going to teach you. And you can’t sing anything but Western Classical music. And we’re going to talk about that in a moment. Because I have a lot to say about that, as you can imagine. But what are some of those mental and emotional implications that you come across in some of your research?
Travis Sherwood 27:12
Yeah, well, I think, you know, it’s, it’s the student being able to share a piece of themselves in their singing right? In in their artistry, technique exists to allow the body the freedom to be expressive, right technique does not exist in a vacuum. In my opinion, I think we probably both agree on that. Yes, yeah, absolutely. So when we look at technique from a Master-Apprentice model, then technique exists in a vacuum, right? Because technique exists based on what works for the master and how they feel they’re able to be expressive, and how they are able to communicate with their audience. And the way that my students experience emotion now is different than the way that I do most of my students are at a very different age than I am, most of them are much, much younger than I am. And so the way that they experienced the motion is very different. When I think back about the way I experienced the motion from 18 to 21, or 22 years old was like different than I do now. Absolutely. Right. And so the way that that comes through in your singing, it’s going to be different at that age, as well. So allowing them the freedom, allowing them the space, creating the space, right in the studio for them to express what they are feeling through the technique that they have on that given day. I think that that’s such an important part of what we do as student-centered teachers.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 28:45
Yes. And you would spend your whole lesson as a student trying to please the teacher.
Travis Sherwood 28:52
Right. That’s right. I think part of that is, at least in the states are a lot of art students. When they get to the undergraduate level, they have grown up in an educational system that works on a binary, right, where they they need to find the right answer. There is a right answer. And there is a wrong answer.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 29:12
Ah yes. 100%. And there’s a good sound or a beautiful sound. And there’s an awful sound.
Travis Sherwood 29:20
Right, right. And so I find that students often in lessons are striving to get things right. And in that Master-Apprentice Model that’s based on a binary there is the master’s opinion, which is the right one, and everything else is wrong. Right? Well, in student-centered learning, that’s not true. There is no one right way to sing it and there’s no one right way to feel singing. There’s no one right way to experience your voice in the moment of singing. I think back I was working when I was a student I was working with a teacher when I was a soprano, and she was giving your lesson, and she’s a lovely person in a very beautiful voice. And I respect her singing very much. But she kept telling me that I needed to feel resonance in my cheekbones. And that I needed to feel that in my cheekbones. I have never once in my life felt any sort of vibration or resonance with my cheekbones while singing. I’m sure she did, right? I’m sure she did. But like, if you were to put the two of us side by side, we’re very different humans. And we’re very different instruments in terms of our voice type. And so I spent a long time trying to figure out how to find resonance in my cheekbones, which just isn’t it’s not in the cards for me, I think. I feel it very differently. And so I think that’s one one of the drawbacks of that Master-Apprentice Model is that like, “Oh, this is what I feel what I’m saying, This is what’s right, you should feel that too.”
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 30:55
Yes. And for the teachers themselves, okay, we’ve talked about the students, but the teachers themselves. I believe that as teachers, we should be lifelong learners, we should never stop learning doesn’t matter how long you’ve been teaching for, you need to continue your education. And our teaching industry is constantly evolving, music is evolving, the landscape of music is constantly changing, its dynamic. So what limitations then are there for the teacher themselves?
Travis Sherwood 31:31
Absolutely. Yeah. And that Master-Apprentice Model? It’s, I mean, the the idea of master right, is that you have mastered the art of saying, you, you know, it’s all, which we know is not possible, that we have to be lifelong learners. And if I’m honest, I learned things from my students on a daily basis. Yes, yes. I will ask them questions in the lesson. Now, what did that feel like? What were you thinking about when, in the moment of singing there? And they will answer and I think that is such a fantastic way to phrase that that is so profound, I have never thought about it that well, I want to try that my singing, like, you know, I’m gonna use that phrase with students. And so some of the terminology that I’ll use in lessons I have, you know, stolen from students, because they’re great observers of their, their own voice and their own experience. And so in that Master-Apprentice Model, again, you’re not open to that you’re not open to inviting students to share their experiences, and to talk about what they’re thinking and feeling in the moment of singing, right? And so you, you lose that opportunity to learn from them as the teacher.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 32:40
Yes. I always say to my students, when we’re exploring something new, or we’re working on something a little different in the lesson, I always say, “Look, there’s no right or wrong here. Just tell me in your words, what you’re feeling.” And based on what they tell me, is how I will speak back to them. Right. And the other thing too, sometimes I always like to gauge in terms of effort level, you know, with one being the least amount of effort, and 10 being the greatest amount of effort. Where does that sit for you? And I might think it’s around the seventh or an eighth, they say six, I’ll work on a six. It’s never about that feedback from our students is so important, because we were not in their minds. And I even talk about volume levels. You know, where do you feel that is? Are you think that’s five? Okay, let’s try for a for now, there’s no right or wrong here. Let’s work at what you perceive to be a four?
Travis Sherwood 33:46
Absolutely. I think one of the points you brought up that is so important in student-centered teaching is embracing the vocabulary of the student. 100%. So often, I’ll hear where students will sing in then the teacher will ask them what they’re experiencing, the student tries to explain it, and then the teacher goes off on a diatribe. You’re using this word wrong. No, that’s not the word that you want to use to describe that. No, that’s an incorrect vocabulary word. Like, who cares about all that stuff? Right? Like, that’s, there’s time to learn that stuff, of course, right? But if a student maybe, you know, calls a part of their body by the wrong name, right? They are they’re describing their anatomy and that maybe they don’t do it exactly correctly, who cares?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 34:32
Or even terminology around registers, because look, there’s 1000 different names for all the different registers, and I know in the US is predominantly still head and chest, whereas here, we’re kind of leaning towards M 1, M 2, the different modalities So and there’s a real push to use that language but the students still use head and chest and I go, Well look, whatever you call it is what I’m gonna call it I’m not, I’m not a terminology snob. I think we have to speak in the language that our students know, in that lesson, we don’t always have time to give them a vocabulary lesson and it’s about, the less we can get them out of their heads.
Travis Sherwood 35:17
Right. And when you when you start giving that vocabulary lesson that is creating that hierarchy, right? You are saying, I know more about singing than you do. And so I’m the master, you are the student, and students will back down, they will just they will take that submissive role, right? And they will just try to get the right answer from you. And so the next time you ask them to describe what they’re feeling, or what they’re thinking in the mode of singing, they’re going to spend more effort searching for the right vocabulary to please you than they are to actually like, share what they are thinking or feeling in the moment of singing.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 35:55
Yeah, I’m not there to preach. I’m there to get the best out of the student. And in whatever way that works for them is how I look at it. Have you seen this model still being used? At present? Yes?
Travis Sherwood 36:12
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, at least certain elements of it. Right. You know, of course, lots of has changed. I many students do not live with their voice teachers, you know, anymore. And I think we’re probably all very thankful for that. Thank goodness. Yes. Right. Exactly. I’m glad we got rid of that.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 36:30
You may not have a family in the future, or now.
Travis Sherwood 36:36
That’s true. That’s true. You’re absolutely correct. Yeah. Yeah, we can we can be very thankful for that.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 36:45
No, Travis is running around.
Travis Sherwood 36:48
That’s right. No, we wouldn’t want. That’s funny. But you know, I think there are definitely certain elements that are permeating the profession, right? There are plenty of teachers who still control all the repertoire that their students say, right, they would not give the students any input and repertoire. There are plenty of teachers who insist that the students sing the repertoire for them before they go out and sing it in public. Right? No, you haven’t sung it for me yet? No, you cannot go out and perform it. Right. There are plenty of teachers who don’t create space in the lesson by asking open and guided questions so that students have an opportunity to talk about their experience, right? There are plenty of teachers who still look at the teaching of thinking as sort of like a diagnosis and correction of faults, rather than establishing a process for an efficient technique that is going to give them the freedom to be expressive. Yeah, there are plenty of teachers who perpetuate studio politics by claiming to have the secret to vocal technique. And the only way to get that secret is to study in their studio.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 37:59
Some methodologies can fall into that category, teachers who believe they have the Holy Grail, or hold the secret. And if you pay me a lot of money, I will give you the secret, but I will drip feed it to you in the same order that I drip feed to every other student that comes in and pays that same amount of money.
Travis Sherwood 38:23
Methodologies are a direct descendant of the Master-Apprentice tradition. No doubt.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 38:28
Never thought of that. Wow. And so this method, okay, let’s this model of teaching. I want to talk about CCM in a second. But it must also prevent the classical world of teaching from evolving too.
Travis Sherwood 38:46
Absolutely, yeah, it completely limits the possibility for evolution, right? Because often evolution comes through new ideas, you know, if all we’re doing is perpetuating the same old ideas that we were taught, then evolution is going to cease?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 39:03
Yes. And has the landscape of classical music change at all, like the actual music itself over the years and is this model not accommodating that landscape?
Travis Sherwood 39:17
Well, I mean, I think the landscape of classical music has definitely changed and evolved over time. I think it’s also important to point out that like, when we started in the 16th century, with this Master-Apprentice Model and singing, that it did evolve over time, right. And so then when we get into the 19th century, it kind of deprecates in these two different divergent paths, right, those who continue down this road of master-apprentice, it’s all about the methodology, and those who start to embrace a more student centered or co-learner structure. Right? And a lot of this honestly has to do with the scientific evolution that happened at that time, right, we’re in the 19th century, we’re in the peak of the Industrial Revolution. And so there’s this product or process philosophy driving society. And so there are certain teachers who continue to embrace that, right? And they, they, they embrace the scientific evolution in singing in actually start to begin to use that as another way of really establishing the hierarchy between master and apprentice, right. And then there are other teachers who embrace the science, but at the same time, realize that singing is an art. And so we allow the art to be informed by what we understand in science, but not let science determine the art. Right. And this deprecation, I believe, has continued throughout the 20th century, and now into the 21st century as well. So it’s important to say that we have in the 19th century really had teachers on both sides of the equation that it just hasn’t been, it just hasn’t been master apprentice the entire time.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 41:07
Right. You touched on an important point there of science. And voice science has really evolved over the past. I don’t know, when two years, especially with all this, looking at acoustics and everything else, which I put my hand up, and I say, I’m not that clever at acoustics, you know, but I own that. There’s other things I’m good at as a teacher, and especially being good at student centered learning. How does that impact all of this? To me, if you’re, as you said, if you’re looking at science, and can we be student centered and be really good science based voice teachers?
Travis Sherwood 41:51
I think it’s it’s a balancing act. I think Voice Science offers a lot to our profession, right. But I think it also has the potential to create an even further divide between the student and the teacher. And so when the teacher understands the science, and they kind of hold that over the student’s head, as though I understand the anatomy and physiology of singing, and therefore I understand your body better than you do, right. As we said earlier, that’s the misnomer. There’s no way that that’s possible, you might understand the functionality of the body better than they do, but you don’t understand what they’re experiencing in their own body. So I do think that Voice Science has a potential to serve the profession, but it also has the potential to really dig into that divide. And I worry about the evidence based movement in voice pedagogy. Because evidence based in its at its core, is not student paced, is not student-centered. It’s based in the scientific evidence. And I don’t see how students centered an evidence base can coexist. I’d love to have a conversation with somebody who is a diehard to evidence based pedagogue and debate that issue, I’d love for them to prove me wrong, which maybe they very well can.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 43:19
Maybe we could do that on this platform. I’ll see who I can. There’s a couple of names that come to mind.
Travis Sherwood 43:28
That would be that would be wonderful. Yeah, I would, I would love that opportunity. I love who proven wrong about it. Because I do think there’s a lot of value in the research that that is happening. But if it creates, if it’s used in the lesson, to further that divide, and create a hierarchy between student and teacher, then in my book, it is it’s not worth it.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 43:49
Two comments there. First up, it’s I feel it’s also creating a divide in our teaching community, as those who say, Look at me, and look at what I know. And it’s this way, or the highway, and if you don’t understand this, then you’re not a good teacher and you’re not worthy. Then I feel to what you’re saying. Is that you by teaching this way, or having that mentality around science, you’re holding students to ransom.
Travis Sherwood 44:23
Yes. Absolutely. That’s a good way to put it. Yes, you are. You are you pay me and I will bestow my scientific knowledge upon you at which point you will you will know how to say, which is of course not. Not not true. Yeah.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 44:41
Wow. So this apprentice, Master-Apprentice Model. Is that part of the reason why there’s still this hierarchy this Eurocentric Model in higher education, does it still does it exacerbate this hierarchy? Low art mentality, this binary system, where it’s not just about good or bad, but it’s CCM versus classical music.
Travis Sherwood 45:09
It absolutely does, right. Because again, it’s all within the experience of the teacher, you know, and so the teacher has only experienced Western Classical music, and they see that to be the high art. Right, then that is what they are going to inculcate to their students with. And then that student theoretically would go on and teach the way that they that they were taught. So it certainly plays a big impact into that idea of Western Classical as being the top, and then everything else being somewhat underneath. And I think this is even in the vocabulary that we use. And one of my personal pet peeves, I hate the term “classically trained”, because it makes it sound as though like even when, when a musical theater singers, CCM, or jazz or whoever says “classically trained” to me, it makes it sound as though classical is still being considered the point at which we judge all the leaders. Yes, the point we use to judge all other all other forms. No, it’s about it’s about an efficient technique, which you could use in classical music, if that’s what you choose to sing. But you could also use it in CCM, you could also use elements of that in musical theater, in jazz in whatever genre you you are going to say.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 46:30
It’s a worry, actually, because when you think about it, people that continue to endorse this, especially in higher education, it is unethical, because potentially, they’re teaching students who are paying hundreds of 1000s of dollars, brand education, and they can possibly end up with no job. Absolutely. And if you’re doing an arts like a law degree, you don’t go into a law degree expecting that you’re not going to work at the end of it, that you’re not going to end up being a lawyer working somewhere in a law practice or in the judicial system somewhere. It’s, once again, it goes back to ethics. And this whole model that you’re talking about, we have a code of ethics, and one of them isn’t one of the top things, do no harm. This, to me sounds really harmful.
Travis Sherwood 47:21
It absolutely is really harmful. And also, like the Western Classical aesthetic is just one aesthetic, right? And it might not be ingrained to somebody’s identity, the sound that we make the vocal aesthetic that we make as humans is a huge part of who we are a huge part of our identity, even just start speaking voice is a huge part of our identity, right? And so when we engage in this vocal aesthetic in the moment of singing, it’s very expressive is expressive of our innermost feelings. And it’s something that’s really primal, and it can be something that’s really. Yes, courageously vulnerable at the same time. Right? Yes. And so when we deny students the opportunity to engage in a vocal aesthetic, that is part of their identity in the moment of singing, we’re really doing a disservice to our students, absolutely, if you want to look at it from a historical perspective. All right, in the 19th century, in Britain, vocal pedagogy was often referred to as voice culture. All right, and so culture was also synonymous with the word civilization. Yeah. And so as Britain was going out in, they were colonizing the world. Essentially.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 48:45
They came to Australia.
Travis Sherwood 48:48
Exactly, exactly. Yeah. They’re going out and colonizing the world, they would also teach this Western Classical aesthetic of sound as being what it was called “civilized”. Right. And other sounds were considered uncivilized. All right. And so I think it’s important that like, if we, if we understand this, yeah, that it becomes this like sort of symbolic gesture, of sort of colonizing not only a country, but also somebody’s body and identity. Yeah. And so I think it’s really important that that contemporary pedagogues are aware of the Eurocentric aesthetics that might sort of permeate their pedagogy. Right? And if you are honoring your identity as the teacher over the students in that Master-Apprentice Model, then you’re really perpetuating these hegemonic colonialist practices.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 49:52
Oh my gosh, well as a pop rock singer, who’s had a career for 45 years and that. That’s not bad considering I’m only 21 years old.
Travis Sherwood 50:03
That’s not bad at all.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 50:04
That’s not bad. Okay, so I’m what you call the immaculate deception. I am highly uncivilized. I’m extremely highly, highly uncivilized. I would be a savage according to what you’ve just described.
Travis Sherwood 50:26
Well, I think that’s why it’s important for us, again, back history is so important, because it allows us to contextualize it and today, that even today, we’re again, we’re not going out and colonizing new countries, I guess that’s a whole nother conversation that we can have. Probably beyond the scope of today’s interview. So you know, if we are trying to create safer spaces for our students in the studio, right, one of one of the aspects of that we have to do is embrace aesthetics beyond the Western Classical. If not, then we’re denying students the opportunity to express their identity in the moment of thinking, potentially.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 51:10
So moving into the future, how can we check in with ourselves as teachers to ensure that we’re not perpetuating this model?
Travis Sherwood 51:20
I think there’s I mean, there’s lots of really practical practices that we can engage with, a lot of it has to do just with asking ourselves a bunch of questions, right? Am I valuing science over the sensations of my students? At this moment? Is this lecture on vocal anatomy for me? Or for my students? Like, am I am I giving this information to show them that I know it? Or is this something that’s actually going to help them? Right now, in this moment I’m singing, right? Is now the time to embrace the bold, artistic choice that my students just made? Or should I give them a lesson on historical performance practice? And all the reasons why what they just did was was not correct. So I think those are some of the just the basic questions that we can ask ourselves and engage with. But there’s a lot of really student-centered practices, I think, number one, ask open and guided questions in the voice lesson. I think a lot of the questions that are asked in voice lessons, especially in the Master-Apprentice Model, when a question is to ask, it’s a closed question. So there is one right answer to that question.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 52:29
Okay. Right. It’s basically a yes or no, right? Right or wrong.
Travis Sherwood 52:35
Exactly. In open and guided questions. There’s so many, there’s so many options, right? For the students, they can.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 52:43
How can we phrase the question then? So yeah, sample?
Travis Sherwood 52:47
Absolutely. So like a closed question that we want to try to avoid students saying something, we give them feedback, and then they think something again, and we say, didn’t that feel better? Wasn’t that better? Right? That’s a very, that’s a very closed question. Absolutely. Yes. Right. It’s, there’s one answer to that, obviously, and you’re giving them the answer in the question. And the student feels like they have to say, Yes, right. Yeah. When we know, we want them the freedom to say no, that didn’t feel better at all.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 53:20
Or give us the verb. Right, exactly. And once again, I always add a disclaimer, there’s no right or wrong answer here. But how does that feel for you just describe in your own words, and it’s fine for you to just say what you feel or what you think.
Travis Sherwood 53:38
Right? Right. Sometimes a student will sing something, maybe I give some feedback, or they’ll sing something, and I won’t even give feedback. I will just say, “What do you think about that? How did that feel? What were you thinking about in the moment of singing?” Right? Those are questions that I can’t know the answer to, until they tell me, right, so I’m not looking for one right answer. I don’t know. I don’t know what they were thinking about in the moment of singing. I don’t know what they were feeling. But the answers to those questions can really help me guide what I want to say next to them. Absolutely right. And so we engage in a dialogue. It’s not me teaching in them listening. It’s not a lecture, it becomes a co-learner structure, where we are engaging in a dialogue, I am learning from them, they are learning from me, we are both engaged in the moment. And we see where this journey takes us giving the students space in the left hand to make choices. I’ve started in the past year or two. I have students come in and I’ll say, “What exercise have you been enjoying lately?” You know, or “What exercise have you been using to start your practicing lately?” And then they’ll tell me, and that’s the exercise that we use to start the lesson. Right? And it’s very revealing in that moment, what exercise have they been using? And they’ll tell me and we’ll do it. We’ll we’ll go through, you know, we’ll do it many times and take it throughout the voice, however, it’s appropriate with that exercise. And then I’ll ask them a question like, “So why do you choose to start with that exercise? What do you what are you trying to accomplish with that in you’re practicing?” You know, and that’s probably why I’m trying to really make sure I’m connecting support to vibration, or, um, you know, sometimes the answer will be like, I don’t know, I just like it, or it makes me feel good, or it energizes me or it helps me focus and find calm, right. And so having space for that in the lesson, space, so students realize that the exercises that we teach them are not the end all be all, that when you’re working on developing a process for singing, that every exercise, you’re saying, just challenges, elements of your process in different ways. But it’s, it’s all working on the same thing. Every exercise you’ve seen works on support, every exercise you’ve seen works on resonance, right? If you’re supporting and you’re resonating a tone, you’re addressing these issues. Yeah, the way that you accompany exercises at the piano can actually be either teacher-centered, or student-centered. If you always double the students melody, that’s not student-centered, that is actually teacher-centered, because you as the teacher at the piano are in control of the tempo that they’re going to sing, you are in control of when they sing, you’re in control of every aspect of the phrase, right? So if you are to accompany maybe something where you just give them like a 1571 underneath, right, that’s just some sort of simple chord progression. There are a lot of times, I will just tremolo you know, harmonic support underneath, so that there’s no set rhythmic structure for the student, but they decide when they’re going to breathe when it’s time for them to sing. They’re in control of the entire process. And they are leading, just as we will want them to lead when they start to collaborate and repertoire. Right. And so it’s like a tour, it’s little elements, little changes like that, that you can make choosing repertoire, right, making sure that choosing repertoire is a formative process for both you and the student. So you ask them, What do you want? What do you want to work on? What are your preferences? Do you have a specific piece that you’d like to sing? A lot of times students will say, Oh, no, no, I don’t you know, whatever you think is best, whatever you think is best. And that’s when you need to just push a little bit harder and ask a few more questions. What about a specific language? What about a style? What about a composer? What about a genre? What about a mood? Do you want to sing a happy song? You want to sing a sad song? You want to sing a song about love? You want to sing something slow? You want to sing something fast? Right? There’s so many, like, just sort of bare bones questions that you can ask that can start to make repertoire, selection of formative process, because of course, the goal is that they will eventually feel comfortable picking repertoire for their own voice.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 58:10
Exactly. Exactly. And in CCM, like in my teaching studio, I asked my students who you listening to recently, what music do you have on your playlist? What are some of the artists that? Who are they that you’re listening to? What styles of music? Have you been listening to? Is there someone that’s come out recently that you’re really enjoying their music. So there are ways that we can do that in the CCM studio too. And the other thing that we can do in our studio, is we can adapt repertoire, we don’t have to sing it the way that the composer intended. We can change, we can speed things up, we can change keys, we can find other versions of the same song. So we can adapt repertoire for the student to make then we can improvise notes.
Travis Sherwood 59:06
And you know, all those options actually exist within Western Classical repertoire, too. We just don’t explore the mind. Right? I mean, the idea of changing keys. Yes, of course, we do that with art song all the time. But it doesn’t have to be just like the standard public keys we can find things in, especially with technology nowadays, we can buy things in any key that we want. Really, right. The idea of having improvisation in their ornamentation right is appropriate in a lot of styles of Western Classical music, finding a different arrangement. I love to assign folk tunes in often all find different arrangements of the same folk tune to sort of fit the aesthetic or the development of the music, the musical development of the student at that time. And so we have those options too. I think we just don’t explore them enough sometimes. We kind of feel stuck with like. We’re going to say Schubert, we’re going to do it in the original key. And that’s going to be, that’s going to be it.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:00:04
A lot of classical teachers would feel that they’re dishonouring, the composer by doing that, is there an allegiance to, to that composer? That they feel that there, it’s a boundary violation in the studio to do that?
Travis Sherwood 1:00:19
I suppose so. But I don’t know. I don’t feel that way. I think I’m there to I’m there to serve the student. In particularly in the studio, if the music is there to also serve the development of the student groups? And what are the overall goals of the student? What are they trying to achieve? Right, then I’m willing to be very flexible in terms of repertoire and finding repertoire that is going to help them achieve their goals. And sometimes that means focusing on one genre, sometimes that means focusing on multiple genres within one lesson, right? And if that’s what that student wants to do, and that is what is best for them at that moment, then that’s what we need to do. And we can’t allow our own insecurities with repertoire, or genres are also in higher ed, often curriculum, right? Get in the way of the development of these individual artists.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:01:15
I was going to use the word fear, I suppose for a lot of teachers, they would be fearful of stepping outside of their own comfort zone, fear of the unknown. What are you hoping to achieve? Or hoping to inspire change within our voice teaching community with your research and your work? are you advocating for change?
Travis Sherwood 1:01:37
Absolutely, I think first off, we as as a profession, we really need to take a look at the word pedagogy, and take it at its face value, right? Often when we talk about pedagogy in terms of the teaching of singing, we think about anatomy. And we think about physiology. And we think about sort of like the process of singing pedagogy when you take the word and it’s at its original context is really about the art of teaching. It’s about communicating information, rights. And I don’t know that a lot of us think about that. And they’re actually when you look at the sort of the canon, you look at the research within our field, there’s not a unwritten about the art of teaching. There’s a lot written about what we need to teach, but not how we need to teach it. And so I would love for us to start as a profession, grounding our pedagogy in a philosophy in allowing that to drive the choices that we make in the studio. And so if we ground our pedagogy in a student centered philosophy, that’s when we’ll start to realize whether the choices we are making are student-centered, or perhaps the choices and traditions that we have been engaging with, are a bit more on the teacher-centered side.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:03:06
Yes, well, I’m all for the work that you’re doing. I was so pleased to hear your lecture, your presentation at ICBT, I felt that there was a little bit of a changing of the guard there at that conference where there was more talk about student centered learning, I did a presentation myself, our dear colleague, David Cisco, also spoke about this and, and it was very pleasing to hear all of this, rather than hearing the usual talk that goes on and look at what I know, this is how it’s done. It’s, this is it. We’ve got the Holy Grail here, we have the secret. We’ve done this research and something that no one really cares about, and is of no use to anybody, but it’s given me a PhD, you know? Anyway, I’m, us Australians are very upfront that we don’t. What advice we’re going to start wrapping up because you’ve been very generous with your time here, and I could talk to you forever about all of this. I just want to keep learning more. I’m being selfish here. What advice would you give to teachers in our community at the moment, based on on your research?
Travis Sherwood 1:04:30
I would say the best advice I could gave his question, question, what you’re doing, not in a way to developing insecurity right in what we have to offer as a teacher, but questioning our practices, right? Questioning, am I instructing this way because this is the way that I am taught? Is what I’m doing right now really in the best interest of the student? Is my method of instruction or my way of instructing, is it allowing me to be presence in the lesson truly present and reacting to the information that the student is providing me, right? Or am I on the structured methodology, this schedule of well, we do this set of exercises, and then we move on to repertoire, if I tell them to support more, and then they’ll see them next week. Right, you know, like, really questioning, am I staying in the moment? am I allowing all the students in the AI space to be creative artists? You know, and so I think that would be the best advice that I give is just just to question and re-question and and think about it and have conversations with other people who are also thinking about these things, or possibly even people who aren’t thinking about these things, and just seeing what they have to say, and attend conferences like ICBT. I think that that was it was a beautiful conference. And I loved when I went I was I was nervous. It was my first was my first time at an international conference and presenting at one. And I was, I was nervous that people were going to stand up and boo when I started talking about student-centered learning, but I attended, I attended your presentation beforehand, and I just sort of breathed the sigh of relief. I was like, oh, there’s somebody out here who thinks the way that I do this is wonderful. And then I gave my presentation. And there was lots of positive feedback afterwards. And people asking really wonderful questions. And then directly following David Cisco stands up and gives his presentation was sort of like handing off the baton in a really beautiful way. And I think he did just such a dynamic job of continuing to sort of preach the word of student-centered learning.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:06:43
And you know, what’s really wonderful about what you’ve just said, is that I come from the CCM world, you come predominantly from the classical world, and he’s from the music theater world. And here we are from three different worlds. And we’re all talking about the same thing. So it doesn’t matter what world you live in, it’s still crucial to our teaching that the student-centric teaching applies. And so what are you up to now, in terms of all of this?
Travis Sherwood 1:07:18
Well, I’m finalizing some edits on an article for the Journal of singing, which will be about the history of the master apprentice tradition. So it’s very much based on based on the research that we talked about today, in the research that I presented at icbt. I also did a poster presentation on this same topic at the National nats Conference this past summer, as well. And so that I’m excited to put that article put the sort of finishing touches on that and get it in publication. And then down the road, I would love to write a book about student-centered learning in the voice studio. And I think it’s such it’s such an important idea for us to really have a book on pedagogy of teaching, right? In the voice studio, rather than just on sort of what we teach. But how we can teach it, you know, and so, the way I dream about this book, because I would structure it by talking about the history first, right, and then I would structure the rest of the book, like a voice lesson, I would talk about vocal Leazes, and the warm up portion of the voice lesson and how that can be student-centered. And then I will talk about the repertoire portion of the voice lesson, and how that can be student centered and choosing a repertoire. And then also a chapter on the assessment of vocal instruction and how we can make that formative process as well. And then some final thoughts and a conclusion.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:08:49
You’ve just given your book away.
Travis Sherwood 1:08:52
Well, somebody else wants to write it then please go ahead.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:08:57
it’s your book. Well look, we’re going to share links to you and especially your website, because you have some of your presentations up there. I did a stalk of your website, and there is a lot of information there a lot of useful information, stuff that we’ve been talking about in this interview. So if anyone wants to find out more, they can reach out to you by the links that we’re sharing the show notes. They can go to your website. It has been an absolute joy Travis it truly has. I’m so glad that I met you at ICBT. See, that’s what happens when you go to conferences and you travel. You don’t know the work that’s being done somewhere else. And the value of that work.
Travis Sherwood 1:09:41
Absolutely. Here we are on opposite sides of the world. And it’s just it’s so wonderful to have made that connection in beautiful Austria and now to have been a guest on this podcast was really truly a pleasure. And I thank you so much for asking me to be here today.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:09:59
No, no, no, thank you. Thank you.
Travis Sherwood 1:10:02
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:10:03
All the best to you in the future. And I hope that we cross paths at another conference.
Travis Sherwood 1:10:09
Me too. Absolutely.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:10:10
Do you any in mind for next year?
Travis Sherwood 1:10:12
I’m not sure right now I actually I’m presenting at a regional conference in January, on practical applications of student centered learning in the voice studio in Long Beach, California. But beyond that, I don’t have any specific plans right now.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:10:28
Okay, well, look, take it easy, Travis, thank you so much. And I look forward to reading your article when it is published and look forward to hearing about the book in the future, but hopefully that we will cross paths before then.
Travis Sherwood 1:10:42
Absolutely. Thank you so much Marisa.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:10:44
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:10:49
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of A Voice and Beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self-care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow, so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag #AVoiceAndBeyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you’d like to help me, please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple Podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway. Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of A Voice and Beyond.