Advanced Anatomy for the Voice Professional

Course Description
This course is aimed at voice practitioners who already have a working knowledge of anatomy and function but who wish to gain a deeper understanding in order to further their practice. The three day residential intensive is taught by three leading industry specialists and it includes an exciting opportunity to engage in one to one mentoring work with Dr Williams whilst working towards the completion of a portfolio relevant to your role. You can either attend the residential course as a standalone option or pursue full certification.

The certification programme is aimed at level 6 (3rd year undergraduate). All successful completers will receive a level 6 Certificate and will be added to the directory of certificated teachers.

Please note, this is a private training company certification. It is levelled at level 6 but is not externally accredited.

We’ve just completed all the certifications from the first course: four Distinctions, two Merits and a Pass. That’s a huge amount of work from all the teachers involved, congratulations to:

Laura Adams, Carrie Birmingham, Rob Cates, Jane Dunton, Stephen King, Susan Parkes and Sarah Stone

Less than a week to go before we do it all again with 20 more teachers, at least seven of whom are aiming to complete the certification.

Some of the comments we’ve had:

“I’ve really adored every element of the work. The Anatomy, the lectures, research, reading specialised papers, meeting new wonderful people and especially reconnecting with you! Thank you for an incredible experience and your patience with someone who hasn’t written an essay for 15 years.”

“I just wanted to say thank you for allowing me to partake in this course, I have absolutely loved the reading material (and the contact time especially!) I can honestly say I do believe it has enhanced my teaching in a very positive way. I hope to continue on to more courses, developing an even better understanding of the voice and how it works, and sharing that with my clients.”

More information

What does Certification involve?

The certification element offers you an opportunity to combine theoretical and technical
information with an element of practical application. Working closely with Dr Jenevora Williams, you
will be able to negotiate two projects designed to enable you to apply your learning to your chosen
field. It is aimed at level 6 (3rd year undergraduate) in order for you to gain a deeper understanding.

Two-part project; total for each part is 2,000 words

Choose two from the following list, or devise your own title in consultation with Jenevora

Project ideas

1) From theory to practice – Developing a teaching/Work-based strategy This is a focussed
small scale study designed to tackle technical issues within your practice. Focus on any
physiological area such as breathiness, posture, constriction, tone, tongue use, breath
management or hyperfunction.

In your summary, you will need to:

● Identify the area and explain the nature of the problem
● Explain how a thorough anatomical understanding of the targeted area can lead to a
number of strategies.
● Analyse the theory surrounding that area
● Design a teaching strategy or other work based strategy based on this new improved

2) Any error in vocal techniques, or any accomplishment of technical skill in singing usually can
be traced to techniques of breath management; control of breath management is synonymous
with control of the singing instrument.’ — Miller (1986). Critically evaluate the extent to which a
firmer grasp of the muscles of inspiration and expiration can lead to the development of a sound
strategy for teaching breathing.

3) The efficiency of the vocal apparatus depends upon the alignment of the body and the
economy with which it functions. When the spine is out of alignment, its ability to support the
body is diminished and muscles intended for other things must provide that support.’ —
Linklater (1976). Discuss to what extent does poor posture negatively impact on the quality of
voice production? Design a strategy to counter any negative postural issues that you may
commonly find among your students.

4) Breathiness is a common issue in many younger singers and some adults. With reference to
the function of the vocal folds and the adductory muscle function, explain why this occurs. Are
there any other contributory factors? Outline a system of exercises that you have used with a
particular student or group of students and evaluate the outcomes.

5) Swallowing and yawning – why are these functions of the vocal tract problematic for singers?
The relationship between the jaw and the tongue, and between the tongue and the larynx is
often intertwined and confused. Explain why this is the case and either outline a teaching
strategy to aid functional isolation, or present a case-study of a student who had presented with
tongue and/or jaw problems.

6)…the chaos in register terminology merely reflects a regrettable lack of objective
knowledge…” — Sundberg (1987). This statement was published 30 years ago: by looking at
recent research papers as well as published writings, can you assess to what extent has our
knowledge increased since this date?

7) The multi-disciplinary team is acknowledged to be the most effective for evaluating the
complexities of voice disorder. Give an outline of the development of this practice in UK voice
clinics and present a convincing argument for introducing or continuing this practice, with
particular reference to the individual skill-sets within the group.

8)The elite performer has often been described as a vocal athlete. To what extent do the
parallels with sport have relevant application to working with professional voice users.

Further Reading

A library of articles will be made available to you via dropbox

Writing up your project
● Please refer to the Harvard Referencing guidance included.

Tutorials and feedback
○ Email support and feedback is available throughout the devising and writing of your
projects. Skype or phone tutorials are also available.

● Deadlines

○ Draft hand-in for project one: TBC
○ Draft hand-in for project two: TBC
○ Final hand-in for both projects: TBC

Day 1 with Dr Alan Watson

Organisation of the body:

  • Skeletal structure
    • The supportive framework of the body, the structure of bone itself
    • Axial framework – the spine and the skull
    • Appendicular framework – the pelvis, shoulders and limbs
  • Muscle
    • Different muscle types: striated, smooth and cardiac
    • How muscle fibres are organised and the differences between fast and slow-twitch muscle fibres
    • Issues of stamina and fatigue
  • Connective tissues
    • The components of the body that provide cohesion and support; fibrous tissues varying in density and cellularity
    • Ligaments and tendons
    • Collagen and elastic tissues
    • Cartilage types
  • Joints
    • Synovial joint structure
    • Structure and joints of the spine: attachment of ribs to the vertebrae and sternum
  • Nervous system
    • Organisation of the central nervous system
    • Components of peripheral nerves (sensory and motor components)
    • The nervous control of respiratory activity and the larynx
    • Cortical sensory and motor areas and the control of movement
    • Learning of skilled motor activity

Essential body functions related to voice:

  • Respiration
  • Autonomic nervous System
  • The stress response

Essential structures related to Voice

  • Anatomy of postural and core support muscles, body balance
  • Inhalation and expiration, primary and accessory muscles
  • Anatomy of head/neck: larynx and vocal tract
Day 2 with Dr Jenevora Williams

Anatomy and applied function of the body in relation to voice:


  • Posture
    • Overall balance and alignment, the body’s relationship with gravity
    • Why specific misuse can have a general effect
  • Breathing
    • Which muscles do what and how much of this can be felt
    • How intuitive breathing patterns need to be adjusted for speakers, singers and singer/dancers
    • Air pressure and air flow
  • Functions of the larynx: intrinsic and extrinsic structures
    • Vocal fold structure: layering of tissue types
    • Vocal fold vibration: the Bernoulli effect, myoelastic-aerodynamic theory
    • Pitch: the muscles of pitch control
    • Loudness: vocal fold closure quotient, vocal fold amplitude
    • Vocal registers: the difference between register changes and resonance phenomena
    • Vocal fold behaviour: Breathiness, harshness
    • The contribution of the epiglottic area
  • The vocal tract
    • The nature of sounds generated by the larynx and how this is modified by the vocal tract to form vowels and consonants.
    • Pharynx: the constrictor muscles, the velum
    • Larynx height: constrictor and strap muscles
    • Tongue: connections between the tongue and the hyoid bone or the velum
    • Jaw: the temporomandibular joint and the muscles of biting and chewing
    • Lips and facial muscles
Day 3 with Mr Declan Costello ENT consultant
  • Applied function of the larynx using endoscopy
    See your own larynx at work, try different vocal gestures and observe the function and behaviour of the vocal folds, the arytenoids, the epiglottis and the pharyngeal wall.
  • Common pathology
    Including: nodules, polyps, cysts, gastro-oesophageal reflux
  • Endocrinology
    How hormones can affect vocal function
Dates and Fees


Sunday 22nd, Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th October 2017

The Training Academy

The Holiday Inn, Reading South, Reading, RG2 OSL

Residential Details:

Arrive 22nd: Start time 11:30am – 6:00pm – tea, coffee, lunch provided and overnight stay including access to Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and pool

23rd Start time 10:00am – 5:00pm. – tea, coffee, lunch provided and overnight stay including access to Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and pool

24th Start time 10:00am – 5:00pm – tea, coffee, lunch provided.


Early Bird – Non-residential – £450 (VAT inclusive)  (Deadline: October 6th)

Early Bird – Residential – £650 (VAT inclusive)  (Deadline: October 6th)

Early Bird Certificated option£900 (VAT inclusive) (Deadline: October 6th)

Standard fee – Non Residential – £550 (VAT inclusive)

Standard fee – Residential £750 (VAT inclusive)

Standard fee – Certificated option£1000 (VAT inclusive)

Application only – please contact for further details.

“The 3 day residential course provided me with an intense focus into the specifics of all anatomical necessities for voice use. Alongside looking at technique and biology for singing, the training included an in depth knowledge into human anatomy including skeletal and muscle functions and complex breathing mechanics. But the fun didn’t stop here.. somehow we also managed to study a variety of singing elements from health, the ageing processes, rehabilitation and even aspects of sound frequency!  Although I had recently completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Vocal Pedagogy with Voice Workshop, this course still exposed me to even more in-depth knowledge and has inspired my research ideas further for future MA study in voice science. Anyone who wants to learn more about anatomy of the voice and equip themselves with the best knowledge possible to support their own voice, or those they are teaching, would highly benefit from this course/certification. Sometimes we think we are starting to feel our feet on the ground and then suddenly a new door opens and enlightens us with new theories. Voice Workshop is constantly helping me to find new doors to open and new exciting adventures to experience!”

Carrie Birmingham

“I have just received a level 6 qualification in Advanced Anatomy for the Voice Professional having attended the most brilliant 3 day conference through Voice Workshop Ltd. The whole experience has been thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable having been guided expertly by Debbie Winter and Jenevora Williams. Every aspect of the conference from the seminars, to expert academic guidance and supporting feedback has informed and improved my singing teaching helping me to construct advanced, practical teaching strategies and giving me a renewed enthusiasm for my work. I now have more teaching confidence through my newly acquired deeper knowledge. I can now respond informatively and in detail to the many challenges of teaching singing and this gives me even more thirst for ongoing personal development. I would whole-heartedly recommend this course for the conscientious singing teacher.”

Sarah Stone

‘The Advanced Certificate in Vocal Anatomy for Voice Professionals has been an invaluable addition to my ongoing professional development as a vocal coach and singing teacher. The three-day course was a great opportunity to learn from some of the UK’s leading voice professionals and connect with other voice colleagues. The teaching was extensive and academically rich without being overwhelming, and plenty of time was given to questions.

I am very pleased that I chose the additional certification route as it has provided the academic and intellectual rigor required to delve deeper into areas I wished to develop within my own practice than might otherwise have been the case. Dr. Jenevora William’s excellent support, feedback, and tutorials have been an invaluable source of encouragement and challenge. I highly recommend this course to all those who wish to both broaden and deepen their knowledge and expertise. Voice Workshop is to be greatly commended for this and other innovative courses’

Rob Cates

Dr Jenevora Williams
(Singing Teacher Consultant and Voice Rehabilitation Specialist)

ENT Consultant Declan Costello

Dr Alan Watson
(Professor of Anatomy at Cardiff University)

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