To further promote the performance of African American spirituals and art songs, this article offers a different perspective -- direct response from collegiate voice students, voice teachers, vocal coaches, and professional singers. In the spring of 2005, “The African American Art Song Survey” was developed and disseminated through the Internet to collect data from 220 voice teachers, coaches, and singers regarding their attitudes on performing African American classical vocal repertoire across racial backgrounds, receiving a response rate of 44% from 500 distributed surveys. Part I dealt with general demographic questions (gender, age, ethnic background, religious affiliation), and Part II addressed specific questions about musical training and exposure to art songs and spirituals by African Americans. Part III dealt with preferences of vocal performance style, and Part IV posed two questions regarding attitudes toward the performance of this repertoire by singers of all racial backgrounds (i.e., questions regarding perceptions of authenticity), in which the respondents were invited to explain their ratings with comments.
Music Education | Music Performance
Stephens, Emery and Helton, Caroline. (2013). Diversifying the playing field: solo performance of African American spirituals and art songs by voice students from all racial backgrounds. Journal of Singing 70(2): 165-171