A Systematic Approach to Voice: The Art of Studio Application

First Edition

Kari Ragan

Details: 200 pages, B&W, Softcover, 6" x 9"

ISBN13: 978-1-63550-223-7

© 2020 | Coming Soon

Release Date: 06/19/2020

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A Systematic Approach to Voice: The Art of Studio Application is a professional resource presenting a framework for the integration of science-informed principles of voice production and pedagogical application in the training of singers. Author Dr. Kari Ragan has spent years using this organizational template of the five voice systems – respiration, phonation, registration, articulation and resonance – to identify technical challenges and design corrective vocal exercises in order to facilitate efficient singing. 

Each of the voice system chapters contains a brief overview of the mechanics as well as key points for teachers, or “teacher takeaways.” The book’s core offering is vocal exercises which, framed within a systematic approach, provide strategies for the art of studio application. The intent is to create an approach that leads to technically proficient singing working in service of great artistry.

Key Features

  • Over 85 vocal exercises for studio application framed within a systematic approach
  • Brief overview of the mechanics of each voice system
  • Introduction of several kinesthetic singing tools
  • Extensive discussion on semi-occluded vocal tract (SOVT) exercises
  • Sample warm-up protocols





Chapter 1. A Systematic Approach

The Heuristic Nature of a Systematic Approach

Kinesthetic Singing Tools

Considerations for Alterations of Vocal Exercises



Selected Resources


Chapter 2. The Twenty-First Century Voice Teacher

The Benefits of Cross-training the Voice Athlete

Voice Habilitation

Vocal Warm-ups Versus Vocal Function Exercises

Motor Learning Theory and the Singer




Chapter 3. A Systematic Approach to Respiration

Overview of Respiration



Teacher Takeaways of Respiration

Application of Respiration

            Body Awareness Exercises

                        Exercise 3–1 Large Ball~Stretching and Lengthening

                        Exercise 3–2 Large Ball~Posture and Alignment

            Coordination Exercises

                        Exercise 3–3 Sustaining Unvoiced Consonants

                        Exercise 3–4 Rhythmic Patterns on Unvoiced Consonant /s/, /f/, /θ/, /ʃ/

                        Exercise 3–5 Alternating Unvoiced/Voiced Consonant Pairs

                        Exercise 3–6 Flow-ball by POWERbreathe

                        Exercise 3–7 Flow-ball Voiceless Staccato

                        Exercise 3–8 Flow-ball Voiceless Messa di Voce

                        Exercise 3–9 Flow-ball Voiced “Flownation”

            Breath Depletion Exercises

                        Exercise 3–10 Breath Depletion Prior to Inhalation

                        Exercise 3–11 Breath Depletion Conditioning

            Adding Resonance with /m/

                        Exercise 3–12 /ʃum/ Patterns

            Rib Cage Expansion

                        Exercise 3–13 Exercise Band

            Respiratory Release

                        Exercise 3–14 Pelvic Floor Release

                        Exercise 3–15 Xiphoid Process Area Release

            Core Engagement

                        Exercise 3–16 Encouraging Core Engagement Through Exercise Balls

                        Exercise 3–17 Large Ball Squat

                        Exercise 3–18 Exercise Band Core Engagement



Selected Resources


Chapter 4. A Systematic Approach to Phonation

Overview of Phonation

Teacher Takeaways of Phonation

Overview of Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract (SOVT) Postures

            Diameter of Straw or Tube

            Length of Straw or Tube

            Material of Straw or Tube

            Straw or Tube in Water (Water Bubbles)

                        The Use of an Anesthesia Mask to Facilitate an SOVT Posture

Teacher Takeaways for SOVT Postures

Application of Phonation

            Straw Phonation/Pitch Glides

                        Exercise 4–1 Straw Phonation Pitch Glides~Small Intervals

                        Exercise 4–2 Straw Phonation Pitch Glides~Full Range

                        Exercise 4–3 Straw Phonation Pitch Glides~ Varying Intervals

                        Exercise 4–4 Straw Phonation Scales

                        Exercise 4–5 Straw Phonation Pitch Glides to Vowels

            Water Bubbles

                        Exercise 4–6 Water Bubble Pitch Glides

                        Exercise 4–7 Water Bubble Repertoire

            Lip Trills

                        Exercise 4–8 Arpeggio Lip Trills

                        Exercise 4–9 Chromatic Lip Trills

            Vocal Onsets and Offsets

                        Exercise 4–10 Mastering Staccato

                        Exercise 4–11 Water Bubble Staccato

                        Exercise 4–12 Staccato to Legato

            Vocal Fry

                        Exercise 4–13 Vocal Fry~Sustaining

                        Exercise 4–14 Vocal Fry to Chest Registration

                        Exercise 4–15 Vocal Fry to Head Registration



Selected Resources


Chapter 5. A Systematic Approach to Registration

Overview of Registration

Teacher Takeaways of Registration

Application of Registration

            Female Head Registration Isolation

                        Exercise 5–1 Soft /u/~Secondo Passaggio

                        Exercise 5–2 Sustained Head Registration Isolation

                        Exercise 5–3 Head Register Isolation Crescendo

                        Exercise 5–4 Advanced Head Register Isolation

                        Exercise 5–5 Advanced Head Registration~Bel Canto Inspired

            Male Head Registration Isolation

                        Exercise 5–6 Soft /u/ for Balanced Registration

                        Exercise 5–7 Head Registration Isolation Through Variation of Dynamics and Vowels

                        Exercise 5–8 Building a Bridge Across RegistersMale Registration Coordination

                        Exercise 5–9 Using Head Registration to Develop High Notes in Chest Registration

                        Exercise 5–10 Messa di Voce Through the Secondo Passaggio

            Female Chest Registration Isolation

                        Exercise 5–11 Chest Registration Isolation

                        Exercise 5–12 Using Head Registration to Facilitate Efficient Chest Registration

                        Exercise 5–13 Building a Bridge to Belting

            Mixed Registration for a Broad Spectrum of Sound

                        Exercise 5–14 “Meow” ~ CCM Mixed Registration

                        Exercise 5–15 “My” ~ CCM Mixed Registration

                        Exercise 5–16 Arpeggio~Mixed Registration

                        Exercise 5–17 Ode to Joan Lader

                        Exercise 5–18 Alternating Registration

                        Exercise 5–19 Mastering Messa di Voce



Selected Resources


Chapter 6. A Systematic Approach to Articulation

Overview of Articulation

            The Jaw

            The Tongue

            The Soft Palate

            The Pharynx

Teacher Takeaways of Articulation

Application of Articulation

            Jaw Stretches

                        Exercise 6–1 Preparing the Jaw

            Jaw Voiced Exercises

                        Exercise 6–2 Wine Cork Between Front Teeth

                        Exercise 6–3 Wine Cork Between Molars

                        Exercise 6–4 Masseter Muscle Release

            Tongue Stretches

                        Exercise 6–5 Tongue Out Stretch

                        Exercise 6–6 Tongue Curl Stretch

                        Exercise 6–7 Underside of Tongue Stretch

                        Exercise 6–8 Circular Tongue Stretch

            Tongue Voice Exercises

                        Exercise 6–9 Dental Consonants

                        Exercise 6–10 Palatal Consonants

                        Exercise 6–11 Developing Jaw and Tongue Independence

                        Exercise 6–12 Voiced Raspberry and Tongue Trills

                        Exercise 6–13 Base of Tongue Disengagement        

                        Exercise 6–14 Candy on the Tongue

                        Exercise 6–15 Gauze on the Tongue

                        Exercise 6–16 Ode to Barbara Doscher

                        Exercise 6–17 Dental/Palatal Consonant Combinations

            Soft Palate Stretches

                        Exercise 6–18 Isolating the Soft Palate Activation

                        Exercise 6–19 Soft Palate Exploration with Voicing

                        Exercise 6–20 Using Nasality to Explore the Contrast of Soft Palate Elevation

                        Exercise 6–21 Thumb in Mouth Against the Soft Palate



Selected Resources


Chapter 7. A Systematic Approach to Resonance

Overview of Resonance

High Frequency Spectral Content: Vocal Ring

 Classical Singer’s Lofted Resonance Strategy

 CCM Singer’s Brassy (Twang) Resonance Strategy

 Western Classical Vs. CCM

Teacher Takeaways

Application of Resonance

            Exercise 7–1 Chant Speech~Humming

            Exercise 7–2 Pitch Glides~Humming

            Exercise 7–3 Using /hm/ to Facilitate Resonance

            Exercise 7–4 Ode to Ellen Faull

            Exercise 7–5 Alternating /hm/ with a Vowel Series

            Exercise 7–6 Bending Forward

            Exercise 7–7 Lying Over A Ball

            Exercise 7–8 Chopstick Between the Teeth

            Exercise 7–9 Retroflex /ɹ/

            Exercise 7–10 Y-Buzz

            Exercise 7–11 Facilitating Brassy Resonance~Twang


Chapter 8. Sample Vocal Warm-up Routines

Classical Female (Middle/High School, Undergraduate, Avocational Singer)

Classical Female (Undergraduate/Graduate, Emerging Professional, Professional Singer)

Classical Male (Middle/High School, Undergraduate, Avocational Singer)

Classical Male (Undergraduate/Graduate, Emerging Professional, Professional Singer)

Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Female (Beginner/Intermediate)

Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Female (Intermediate/Advanced)

Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Male (Beginner/Intermediate)

Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Male (Intermediate/Advanced)



Kari Ragan

Kari Ragan, DMA, MM, BM is both an academic and private voice studio teacher. At the University of Washington, Dr. Ragan teaches voice and voice pedagogy, and works in affiliation with the Laryngology program as a singing voice specialist (SVS) to rehabilitate injured singers. She has maintained a thriving independent studio teaching both classical and Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) genres to professional and avocational singers for over thirty-five years. She regularly appears as a workshop and master class clinician, and has presented multiple lectures at prestigious voice conferences.

Learn More

Purchase of A Systematic Approach to Voice: The Art of Studio Application comes with access to supplementary materials on a PluralPlus companion website.

To access the materials, you must register on the companion website and log in using the access code printed on the inside front cover of your book.

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