A structured, introductory program of vocal hygiene for high school choral students

John Lowe Odom


This study implemented and evaluated, over a six-week period, a researcher-developed, structured program of vocal hygiene for high school choral students. The vocal hygiene program was presented via instructional video and included instruction in physiology of the vocal mechanism, identification of vocally abusive behaviors, results of these behaviors, effects of certain drugs on the vocal mechanism, and alternatives to vocally abusive behaviors. The research sample ($N=612$) consisted of 18 high school choral ensembles from selected high schools in the state of Mississippi and was randomly divided into experimental and control groups with nine choral ensembles in each group. Two evaluation instruments, the Voice Conservation Index (VCI) and Knowledge of Voice and Vocal Abuse Test (KVVA), were administered in the sixth week. Following collection of data, t tests and two-way analyses of variance statistics were computed. Conclusions of this study were as follows: (1) the vocal hygiene program contributed significantly to students' retentive knowledge of the vocal mechanism and vocal abuse, (2) data supported related literature which indicated a need for programs of vocal hygiene and other forms of preventive management in relation to vocal abuse, (3) data revealed no significant relationships between classifications of the VCI and KVVA scores, and (4) data revealed no significant relationships between the vocal hygiene program and classifications of the VCI. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations were made that (1) efforts be made to develop and implement programs at the secondary level that will aid in producing a student population aware of vocal abuse and knowledgeable of appropriate vocal behaviors that will decrease the development of acquired vocal pathologies; (2) efforts be made to heighten awareness by music educators of vocal abuse and to train these educators in understanding the nature of vocal abuse, in identifying vocally abusive behaviors, and to implement instruction in proper vocal hygiene; and (3) replication of this study, using a more heterogeneous student population, be conducted.