Southeast Faculty Member Featured in American Theatre Magazine


Photo of Judith Farris.

Southeast Missouri State University voice and musical theatre instructor Judith Farris was featured in January’s edition of American Theatre, advising singers how to maintain a healthy voice. 


Feb. 16, 2010 – Judith Farris, Southeast Missouri State University voice and musical theatre instructor, was featured in an article in the January issue of the international and the nation’s leading theatre publication, American Theatre magazine. 

The article, “Voice Check: 10 tips for Healthy Singing,” shared advice from 11 experts on how to protect and maintain a healthy singing voice.  The experts include voice therapists, performers, voice trainers and a choral director. 

Farris, who is a renowned contralto artist and voice instructor with a studio in New York, is amidst colleagues who have trained singing sensations such as Madonna and Roberta Flack and who have won Grammy, Tony and Emmy Awards. 

Farris stresses the importance of proper breathing and prevention of injury for professional and aspiring singers.   

In the article, Farris says, “The only physical part of singing should be breathing.  That should be naturally obtained and constantly maintained…In singing, if one’s breath is balanced, it is nearly impossible to have any kind of strain on the vocal apparatus, and the easiest and most beautiful sound is achieved.  Thus obtaining a correct vocal technique is the key to prevention of vocal problems.”

She also warns singers that while medications may be a short-term solution or a quick-fix for upcoming performances, they eventually may cause more harm to the vocalist.

“…[I]f the cause of the problem is not corrected, the issues may continue and these so-called ‘remedies’ can cause additional problems of their own,” Farris says. “At that point, the singer should have vocal rest and then seek out a good teacher to help correct the issue.  Prevention, however, is key.”

Farris herself often trains singers with vocal damage due to poor or faulty technique and assists them in renewing and building their voice.  While she focuses on coaching singers at Southeast for theatrical singing roles, she also teaches her students to master all types of singing genres.

With her many contacts and networks in theatre and music, she is also an important asset in establishing internships in New York City and other locations for Southeast’s music, dance and theatre majors.