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 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.

Certification Details

Certificate in Advanced Anatomy for Voice Professionals

Level 6

 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).

The work undertaken for the certificate will demonstrate your understanding of vocal anatomy and function. It may also provide you with material that you may wish to develop further in other studies or for publication.

Part one: information for a student or client 500-1000 words

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” Einstein

Produce an article, leaflet or film explaining how the voice works, in a simple yet accurate manner. This can be for a young student, an amateur adult singer, a patient in the voice clinic, or it could be a series of articles for a newsletter. You can include illustrations and bullet point lists; the format can be graphic or pictorial. The content must be useful and accurate.

Part two: academic written assignment 2000 – 2500 words

Choose one from the following list, or devise your own title in consultation with Jenevora Williams:

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 one 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 knowledge

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 projects

Academic writing should be clear and unambiguous. All statements of fact are referenced with the source; ideally this is a primary source such as a research paper from a peer-reviewed journal. Just because something is published does not mean that it is evidence-based. Books written by singing teachers will contain opinion and beliefs; these may be interesting and valid, but need to be acknowledged as such. Wikipedia is not a primary source, the references in the bibliography will be. 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 – these are only negotiable in exceptional circumstances

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 Jenevora Williams

Anatomy of the body:

  • Skeletal structure, bones
  • Muscle
    • 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
    • The temperomandibular joint
  • 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, myelin formation
    • Autonomic nervous System
    • The stress response
  • 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
Day 2 with Dr Jenevora Williams

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


  • 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
  • Acoustics of the vocal tract
    • Resonance, amplification and damping
    • Acoustic properties of resonant spaces
    • Vowels and formants
    • Singer-specific acoustic challenges
Day 3 with Natalie Watson Otolaryngologist
  • 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 29th, Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st July 2018

Held at The Training Room, North Colchester Business Centre, 340 The Crescent, Colchester, Essex CO4 9AD

Residential Details:

Arrive 29th – start time: 11am – 6pm –  tea, coffee, lunch provided and overnight stay which includes breakfast.

30th – start time: 9.30am  – 5pm – tea, coffee, lunch provided and overnight stay which includes breakfast.

31st – start time 9.30am – 5pm – tea, coffee and lunch provided.


Early Bird – Non-residential – £450 (VAT inclusive)  (Deadline: May 2nd)

Early Bird – Residential – £650 (VAT inclusive)  (Deadline: May 2nd)

Early Bird Certificated option£900 (VAT inclusive) (Deadline: May 2nd)

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

‘I wanted to thank you and the team for putting on such an inspiring and interesting course. I hadn’t really grasped exactly how much detail you would be going into and as the course unfolded I was amazed at how much there is to know.  It was delivered brilliantly by all three presenters who were so knowledgeable, patient and helpful.  I have come away feeling much more secure about my own teaching methods as a result of this course and was able to see a direct connection between the anatomical things I was learning and the things I routinely say to students. I was just blown away by how inclusive and generous everybody was. I can’t wait to attend more Voice Workshop events!’

Suzzie Vango

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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