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A Joyful Noise: The Vocal Health of Worship Leaders and Contemporary Christian Singers

      Summary

      Contemporary commercial music (CCM) is a term that encompasses many styles of music. A growing subset of CCM is contemporary Christian music, a genre that has outpaced other popular styles such as Latin, jazz, and classical music. Contemporary Christian singers (CCSs) and worship leaders (WLs) are a subset of CCM musicians that face unique vocal demands and risks. They typically lack professional training and often perform in acoustically disadvantageous venues with substandard sound reinforcement systems. The vocal needs and risks of these singers are not well understood, and because of this, their training and care may be suboptimal. The aim of the present study was to investigate the vocal health of this growing population and their awareness of standard vocal hygiene principles. An online questionnaire was designed and administered to participants in the Americas, Europe, Australia, and Asia. A total of 614 participants responded to the questionnaire, which is made available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Many participants reported vocal symptoms such as vocal fatigue (n = 213; 34.7%), tickling or choking sensation (n = 149; 24.3%), loss of upper range (n = 172; 28%), and complete loss of voice (n = 25; 4.1%). One third of the participants (n = 210; 34%) indicated that they do not warm up their voices before performances and over half of the participants (n = 319; 52%) have no formal vocal training. Results suggest that this population demonstrates low awareness of vocal hygiene principles, frequently experience difficulty with their voices, and may face elevated risk of vocal pathology. Future studies of this population may confirm the vocal risks that our preliminary findings suggest.

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