A Choralosophy Oxford Series episode!
One of the most challenging aspects of being a teacher of singing is dealing with the male changing voice. Not only are we undereducated on the physiology of the issue, we are often inconsiderate of the psychology as well. In this conversation, I have called in a true expert to help us parse this out. Professor Martin Ashley is the editor-in-chief of the research journal of the Association of British Choral Directors, and has done EXTENSIVE peer reviewed work on not only the male changing voice during puberty and at all stages, but also the issue of the struggle to keep boys singing. Join us as we discuss an overview of the body and mind of the adolescent male singer, the issues that face choir directors in teaching during the change and much more.
Martin Ashley is currently editor-in-chief of the research journal of the Association of British Choral Directors, having retired as Head of Education Research at Edge Hill University in 2013. Trained as a middle school music teacher, he worked in a variety of school settings before moving to the University of the West of England, gaining a post-doctoral fellowship for musical learning and boys’ understanding of voice. An AHRC funded collaboration with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and University of York resulted in significant outputs on “cambiata” and the adolescent male voice. He has published widely on singing during early adolescence, working with a paediatric specialist on the timing of puberty and voice change. He has published work on historical trends in puberty, Tudor pitch and the sixteenth century mean voice. His most recently published book was Singing in the Lower Secondary School for OUP and his forthcoming book is Dead Composers and Living Boys. In response to the covid pandemic, he assembled a small team of virologists and public health professionals to produce a rapid response review for ABCD and a smartphone app to monitor risk mitigation in choral singing, for which he received the Sir Charles Grove prize for outstanding contribution to the musical life of the country.