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Professor writes groundbreaking jazz singing textbook

April 30, 2008

KALAMAZOO--An adjunct professor in Western Michigan University's School of Music has written a groundbreaking textbook on jazz vocal pedagogy called "Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity."

Diana R. Spradling penned the work to document her decades-long appraisal of what makes for insightful singing. The book was published last year by Sound Music Publications.

Spradling spent four years doing acoustical research for the writing endeavor, in addition to tapping more than three decades of teaching expertise.

"The material in this book is the result of a forty-year quest for learning, driven by a series of seemingly unrelated events that resulted each time in an increased desire to learn more about the human voice and jazz singing," she writes in her preface.

The book reveals what vocal jazz artists actually do physically as well as vocally, and includes a study of 20 modern jazz singers--from Frank Sinatra to Bobby McFerrin. It also provides a wealth of tips and practical information, such as nine different uses of vibrato and how to practice and execute appropriate vowels, diphthongs and text treatment so as to sound more authentic.

Spradling teaches graduate and undergraduate jazz voice and vocal pedagogy at WMU. She also is the founding director of the Applied Studio Technology Laboratory, a state-of-the-art lab that acoustically analyzes sound and measures vocal behaviors such as vowel clarity, vibrato rate and width, resonance, nasality and laryngeal freedom, to name a few.

In addition, Spradling is a co-founder of the International Association for Jazz Education's Sisters in Jazz mentoring program, and has served three consecutive terms with the American Choral Directors Association as the national chair for jazz and show choirs.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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