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Selected Development Project
Project Title

Decoding the Role and Efficacy of Verbal Imagery in the Teaching and Learning of Singing: Case Studies in Greater China towards a Holistic Approach 

Principal Investigator Dr CHEN Ti Wei
Area of Research Project
Teaching and Learning
Project Period
From 01/2014 To 12/2015
  • To study and identify the nature of verbal imagery applied in vocal studios in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei according to the following categories formulated and developed from dance pedagogy: physical-object, physiological, musical conceptual, and non-musical conceptual imagery 
  • To observe and interview reputable voice-teachers in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei to unravel the pedagogical rationale behind their use of verbal imagery, and to learn how those verbal imageries are explained and implemented as a teaching tool for teacher-student communication  
  • To interview voice students who participated in the observation process for the purpose of identifying their perception towards the use of verbal imagery and of investigating their practical experience in applying verbal imagery in the learning of singing
  • To transcribe and inspect all collected dates, to compare and analyse data with specific focus on the influence of various Chinese languages and cultural diversity in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei, and to study the impact of lingual and cultural aspects in Greater China on the use of verbal imagery in the teaching and learning of singing
Methods Used
  • In-depth case studies involving observation of singing lessons as well as interview sessions with voice teachers and their students offer first-hand data and insights based on the pedagogical wisdom of the voice teachers and the practical experience of their students in using verbal imagery in singing.
  • Data analysis focuses not only on how verbal imageries are used as a teaching tool, but on how students perceive those verbal imageries in enhancing vocal quality and music performance as well. 
Summary of Findings
This research project is still in the preliminary stage, hence the findings are not conclusive:
  • Many researchers and academics cite the potential and practical usefulness of this study, as well as the importance of understanding how music teachers use metaphor and imagery as a means of communication in the context of individual studio instruction, especially in the ¡§concert¡¨ tradition.
  • The use of verbal imagery is implemented to bypass the challenge of technicality of voice science, thus providing a short cut to encouraging desirable vocal quality and emotional music performance.
  • Findings can be compiled as a teaching manual, so that voice teachers in Greater China will be able to effectively and appropriately use verbal imagery.
  • The impact of diverse Chinese languages and cultural influence in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei is thoroughly investigated, addressed, and discussed, so that it can be service as a learning guide to aid in the successful application of verbal imagery in the learning of voice in Greater China.
  • Chen, T. (2007). Role and Efficacy of Verbal Imagery in the Teaching of Singing: CaseStudy and Computer Vocal Analysis. Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.
Biography of Principal Investigator

Dr. Ti-wei Chen is an experienced singer, choral conductor, and music academic.  Prior to joining Hong Kong Institute of Education, Dr. Chen's professional experiences included leading the Music Talent Development Programme and the Associate Degree Foundation Programme in Music at Hong Kong Baptist University, followed by assisting the teaching of BMus degree (HK) for Kingston University.  Dr. Chen also has presented her research at many international symposiums of music education.  Consequently, her book in vocal pedagogy, entitled 'Role and Efficacy of Verbal Imagery in the Teaching of Singing: Case Study and Computerized Vocal Analysis’, was published in 2007.  Dr. Chen hopes to continuously expand her scholarly interests for raising awareness in the teaching and learning of voice by offering systematic and scientific research concerning the efficacy of verbal imagery in singing, as well as issues and special topics in the scope of music education.

Dr. Chen studied at Trinity College of Music (London) for BMus (Honours) degree, followed by obtaining her MMus degree of Advanced Musical Studies in Performance at Royal Holloway, University of London.  Later Dr. Chen also received Doctor of Philosophy in Music from Hong Kong Baptist University.
Funding Source

Early Career Scheme