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Thinking Outside the Voice Box

Adolescent Voice Change in Music Education

Bridget Sweet

Publication Date - 01 November 2019

ISBN: 9780190916381

224 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock


The changing adolescent voice counts among the most awkward of topics voice teachers and choir directors face. Adolescent voice students already find themselves at a volatile developmental time in their lives, and the stresses and possible embarrassments of unpredictable vocal capabilities make participation in voice-based music an especially fraught event. In this practical teaching guide, author Bridget Sweet encourages a holistic approach to female and male adolescent voice change. Sweet's approach takes full consideration of the body, brain, and auditory system; vocal anatomy and physiology in general, as well as during male and female voice change; and the impact of hormones on the adolescent voice, especially for female singers. Beyond the physical, it also addresses the emotional and psychological components: ideas of resolve and perseverance that are essential to adolescent navigation of voice change; and exploration of portrayals and stereotypes in pop culture that influence how people anticipate voice change experiences for teens and 'tweens, from The Brady Bunch to The Wonder Years to The Simpsons. As a whole, Teaching Outside the Voice Box encourages music educators to more effectively and compassionately assist students through this developmental experience.


  • Equally focused on female and male adolescent voice change
  • Offers practical tips to approach each voice individually
  • Facilitates a full understanding of adolescent voice change
  • Surveys perspectives from voice educators and researchers spanning the past century

About the Author(s)

Bridget Sweet is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she teaches music education pedagogy, including choral methods and literature, middle-level general music methods, graduate courses in music education, as well as a course focused on the development of healthy practices for all musicians. Sweet has worked extensively with adolescent singers as a teacher, clinician, and adjudicator. She is author of Growing Musicians: Teaching Music in Middle School and Beyond (2016) and her research interests include middle level choral music education, female and male adolescent voice change, educating and empowering adolescent music students, and intersections of diversity and the music classroom.


"Thinking outside the Voice Box is a captivating and entertaining read, rich with insightful and compassionate strategies for teachers at all levels of experience." -- Music Educators Journal

"Thinking Outside the Voice Box offers the choral music educator refreshed and valuable information and ideas for understanding and teaching the complete adolescent undergoing voice change. Sweet's knowledgeable and uplifting approach makes the subject of this book both provocative and pleasant to read." -- American Music Teacher Journal

Table of Contents

    Introduction: Framing

    1. The Adolescent
    2. Anatomy and Physiology
    3. Strength From Within
    4. Voice Change in Pop Culture
    5. Exploring Eminent Perspectives
    6. Emerging Considerations

    Notes and Resources
    Index of Images

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