Theses Doctoral

Break Every Chain: Unleashing the Cultural Pedagogy of Black Gospel Singing

Jordan, Darryl Andre

Gospel singing is a musically sophisticated and culturally influential vocal performance style. Yet, its pedagogy is often expressed through the lens of formal/classical training or a Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) umbrella for all non-classical styles. This is problematic because classical training does not produce gospel singing, and most CCM styles are derivatives of the black vernacular singing practices that are foundational to gospel music. It follows that Gospel singing should be foundational to the study of CCM styles. However, in the absence of formal vocal training, little is known about how gospel singers actually develop and maintain healthy gospel singing voices. The purpose of this study is to explore with 12 professional gospel singers, their perceptions of how they have developed and maintain a vibrant and successful gospel singing voice and what role, if any, formal voice training played in that development. The exploration revealed that professional gospel singers are often not only formally trained, but gospel is a key part of their formal training. Their gospel upbringing taught them key cultural practices that both align with and expand the conversation around traditional, CCM, and the growing Gospel voice pedagogy. Their stories offer a different perspective about how gospel singers learn and how they should be taught.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Goffi-Fynn, Jeanne Corinne
Ed.D.C.T., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
July 16, 2021