Type of Resources

Dissertation/Thesis

Date Created

8-4-2021

Abstract

Smith, Kristen J. Investigating the Utility of Ultrasound Visual Biofeedback in Voice Instruction for Two Different Singing Styles. Unpublished Master of Arts thesis, University of Northern Colorado, 2021. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential utility of incorporating real-time visual biofeedback using ultrasonography to teach important concepts of vocal pedagogy to voice students. Exploration of innovative teaching tools, such as ultrasound visual biofeedback (U-VBF) in singing instruction, may contribute to bridging the gap between voice science and pedagogy by providing alternative ways to improve students’ kinesthetic awareness, clarify complex topics in voice physiology and acoustics, and create a common dialogue between different professionals specializing in voice. The primary research questions addressed in this study were: (a) To determine the current knowledge and attitude among voice teachers regarding use of visual biofeedback in singing instruction; (b) To determine voice teachers’ interest in learning about technology, specifically U-VBF; (c) To identify external variables that influence voice teachers’ perceptions of the usefulness and ease of use of U-VBF; and (d) To determine voice teachers’ attitudes of using U-VBF in teaching after viewing an instructional video. Methods: A pre-post survey design was adopted to assess perceptions, attitude, and interest of professional voice teachers regarding use of U-VBF before and after viewing of an instructional video on the use of ultrasound to teach concepts, such as vocal timbre, for two different singing styles: musical theater and opera. Multi-sampling methods were used to recruit professional voice teachers across the U.S. and abroad. Survey data were collected between February and April 2021. Following assumptions made by the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) regarding user technology acceptance and behavior, data based on a final sample size of 56 participants were analyzed via descriptive statistics and thematic analysis of qualitative data. Results: Despite being largely unfamiliar with U-VBF, most participants initially expressed high expectations, believing it to be helpful in singing instruction, but difficult to use. Those who expressed more positive opinions regarding use of U-VBF in singing instruction also expressed higher levels of interest in using it in their teaching. Perceived usefulness, ease of use and interest of U-VBF were not found to be prominently related to select external variables. While perceived usefulness of U-VBF slightly declined post-viewing of the instructional video, perceived ease of use and participants’ opinions of effective use increased. Interest in the use of U-VBF as well as likelihood to use U-VBF marginally increased after viewing the video. Conclusions: These findings agree with the assumptions made by the TAM regarding associations between familiarity, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and interest. Comparison between the rankings for perceived usefulness of U-VBF pre- and post-viewing of the instructional video suggests a general sense of uncertainty among voice teachers regarding use of U-VBF in singing instruction. While teachers conveyed high levels of interest, opinions of U-VBF to teach vocal pedagogy concepts slightly declined following viewing of the instructional video, suggesting a lowering of expectations. However, increased perceptions regarding ease of use indicated high levels of believed self-efficacy in using U-VBF. Understanding the relationships between perceived usefulness, ease of use, and interest can shed insight on whether voice teachers would adopt U-VBF as a supplementary tool in singing instruction.

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