Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts





Committee Chair

Randal Rushing

Committee Member

Susan Owen-Leinert

Committee Member

Mark Ensley

Committee Member

John Baur


American voice teacher Seth Riggs has spent the bulk of his career developing and marketing a technique for singing called Speech Levle Singing (SLS). It is a technique based on keeping the singing voice as closely related ot the speaking voice as possible. His claim is that one can use this technique to successfully sing any style of msic, from opera to the newest pop/rock song. Traditionally in the United States most voice teachers, whether in a private studio or affiliated with a college or conservatory, teach a technique based on the traditional classical music of Western Europe. The goal of this document is to compare the philosophies and practices of Riggs's training (for both his studnents and the teachers that get certifiied to teach SLS) to the philosophies and practices of more traditional teachers in the United States. The writings in Seth Riggs's book on vocal technique, Singing for the Stars, are compared to those of four distinguished authors on the subject of vocal pedagogy: Richard Miller, Oren Brown, Jerome Hines, and David Jones. Some authors help to back up Riggs's beliefs on healthy singing while others vehementy disagree with Riggs's approach. In addition to comparing literature, seven singers who have studied both classical singing and SLS were interviewed via an emailed questionnaire. The insight of singers who have studied both techniques is very beneficial for understanding how the two either compliment or contradict each other. The art of singing is so subjective that is is nearly impossible to come up with a concrete conclusion as to which approach to singing is best. However, with the amount of influence SLS (and other speech related approaches to singing) is currenntly having wiht the younger generation of American singers, a greater understanding of its merits and drawbacks should be the goal of any teacher of singing.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.