ATLANTA — The Emory Voice Center has established a partnership with The Atlanta Opera to launch the Vocal Immersion Program (VIP), which aims to teach choral students at Coan Middle School about vocal hygiene — activities that encourage a healthy voice such as drinking water or avoiding smoking — while also providing them with choral training.
VIP founder Adam Klein, assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Emory University School of Medicine and assistant director of the Emory Voice Center, and Marina Gilman, speech pathologist and voice and singing specialist with the Emory Voice Center, presented lectures to the local students on voice and vocal hygiene.
Klein said he came up with the idea for the program because Emory offers University-Community Partnership grants, which fund partnerships that address community needs in the metro Atlanta area. Because of the VIP, Coan Middle School, which previously lost funding for the arts, has been able to continue its choral program.
“[The VIP] has evolved into a potential way to deliver arts in schools systems that are losing that line of program,” Klein said. “It could be a way to try to provide an alternative for children who want to participate in chorus but don’t have that option due to lack of funding.”
While Klein lectured on the anatomy and physiology of the voice, Gilman said she gave a lecture on vocal health and taught the students warm-up exercises to keep their voices healthy for speaking and singing. Gilman said she wanted the students to understand the importance of nurturing and caring for their voices. She said she feels the program is important because it provided a unique opportunity for students who do not usually get to experience many different activities, she said.
“The program gives young students a sense of the voice in a way they don’t usually get exposed to,” Gilman said.
By Elizabeth Howell