Research Article|Articles in Press

A Human-Centered Design Approach to SOVTE Straw Phonation Instruction

Published:February 25, 2023DOI:



      Extensive research has demonstrated that straw/tube phonation exercises produce positive effects on the voice quality of the user. The purpose of this study was to explore pedagogical practices employed by a range of voice professionals when using SOVTEs by applying human-centered design approaches to examine workflow and communication between teachers and students.


      The researchers conducted a series of five participatory role-playing workshop activities at a multi-disciplinary vocology conference that included speech-language pathologists, voice scientists, physicians, singing teachers, acting voice teachers, choral directors, and singers. Volunteers were asked to assume the role of teaching or learning straw phonation exercises. The other participants from each workshop were asked to provide written and verbal feedback regarding the teacher/student dynamics and what they found most important and relevant in terms of best practices for SOVTEs. Expert evaluators subsequently provided similar feedback based on video recordings of the workshops.


      While there was variability noted in teaching techniques and results, common themes emerged in the analysis. Successful and unsuccessful student and teacher techniques were identified by the workshop participants. Through the video analysis, the research team identified themes in instructional teaching, experiential learning, and straw articulation and mechanics.


      The benefits of straw/tube phonation exercises on voice quality have been well-established and are clear. As we continue to refine best practices in SOVTEs and, in particular, straw phonation, involvement of experts in HCD as part of multidisciplinary teams may lead to the eventual design of SOVTE tools that provide greater precision, consistency, and effectiveness both in clinical and pedagogical settings, and aid in the differentiation of SOVTE approaches within the taxonomy of vocal habilitation and rehabilitation techniques.

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