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Voice Ped for Real Life

Dr. Shannon Coates, wearing teal-framed glasses, a grey shirt with wing arms, and black pants, strikes a jaunty pose with her right hand on her hip. She smiles openly at the camera.

You’re so hella busy being a kickass teacher that you don’t have time to read that dusty old voice ped textbook AGAIN. (And honestly: Do you even want to? Because that is some dense reading right there, friend.)

You’re a fab teacher, and you and your students know it. But you don’t remember much from that semester of undergrad voice ped. (Or … maybe you never took voice ped in the first place.)

And you know that if you had a deeper understanding of the science of singing, you’d be able to more clearly communicate the solutions and strategies your students are looking for.

Designed for teachers just like you, The Vocal Instrument 101 delivers Phonation, Respiration, Resonance, and Registration (and even a teeeny tiiiny bit of Formants) in short, easily digestible, immediately applicable, and humourous (because: anatomy and physiology can be fun: #pinkyswear!) chunks that you can watch at your leisure (or at your work; that’s entirely up to you and I’m not judging so …)!

It’s a distillation of the information I wish I could download (Matrix-style!) to my own voice students, to my voice pedagogy students, and to my voice teaching colleagues who didn’t have a chance to go get a doctorate in voice pedagogy like I did (because: WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?!).

This course is designed to bring more clarity and joy to the teaching and diagnostic process so there’s a little less fumbling around trying to find the right terminology and a whole lot less guessing about what’s happening in the singers you work with (or in yourself).

This course is all about clear, practical information and applications that you can use in the studio (or practice room) today.

What’s New in the Course Since Dec 2021?

  • High Definition Videos
  • Video Chapters Embedded (so you can easily find the information you want to review)
  • Downloadable Workbooks
  • Certificates of Completion

(And, if you purchased previous to Dec 2021? Log in to the course to see the HD fabulousness, explore the ‘chapters’ feature, and get your well-deserved workbooks & certificates!)


  • This morning I spent some time finishing watching The Vocal Instrument 101 and I highly recommend the course. Though I'm pretty good with science and anatomy, for some reason I always got stuck on formants as wave graphs and spectrograms. Now I fully understand what's happening in the instrument. Shannon makes it fun! You're never too young or too old for this refresher as a voice teacher.

  • Shout out to Shannon Coates!! I loved The Vocal Instrument 101!! I wish Shannon had been my pedagogy teachers years ago! The course was fun and full of excellent information and I desperately wish that it had been available when I was a young lass! I think the explanation of acoustics was the best I’ve seen/heard!!

    Katharine Randolph, Voice Teacher (Houston, USA)

  • I have to give another shout out to Shannon Coates for her Vocal Instrument 101 online course. Her simple and straightforward way of explaining vocal anatomy and processes has made it so much easier to explain principles to students. I’ve taught for over 20 years and this course gave me new tools to help students find “head voice” and to understand the functional differences for contemporary technique. I can’t recommend it enough.

    Thanks Shannon

    Erin Guinup, Artistic & Executive Director at Tacoma Refugee Choir (Tacoma, USA)

Q: How many modules (or sections) are there in the course?

The course has eight modules:

  1. Sound 101
  2. The Power Source 101
  3. Respiration 101 (which has three parts)
  4. The Resonator 101 (which has two parts)
  5. Resonance 101 (which has two parts)
  6. The Vibrator 101
  7. Phonation 101
Q: How long are the modules and how long is the course in total?

Each module is between 17 and 32 minutes long. Any modules for which the content could not be delivered in under 35 minutes was segmented into smaller parts that are each not longer than 22 minutes. If you were to binge-watch the course, you’d be signing up for about four hours of voice ped goodness. Buuuut … then your brain might explode. #youvebeenwarned

Q: Is there an accompanying workbook?

As of December 2021, there IS a workbook that accompanies the course and that you will be able to download and use as you progress through the course.

Q: Can I re-watch the course a year or two down the road or am I limited to a one-time session?

The course is hosted on a platform that you sign in to so as long as you still have your sign in information and I am still alive? You will be able to access the course. (I mean, obviously my lawyer wants me to say that I reserve the right to make exceptions to this at my leisure but you get the point, right? You absolutely can access it over and over again and you are absolutely NOT limited to a one-time viewing.)

Q: How much is the course?

The course is 700USD (or 700CAD + sales tax if you’re purchasing from Canada).

Purchasing Power Parity Pricing (wow! that’s a whole lot of alliteration right there!) now available for folks from Brazil. Please send me a note if you live and work in a location with a PPP that is 1.5 or greater.

Payment Plan (WHAT IS WITH ALL OF THESE P-ALLITERATIONS?!) available; just send me a note if that’s a better way to go for you.

Q: How is the online course different from The Vocal Instrument 101 LIVE?

The material is essentially the same in both the LIVE and Online courses so if it’s just the information you are after, you can choose which option suits your learning style better.

If you enjoy self-directed learning and the ability to rewind and/or fast forward to repeat material for deeper understanding, and you are the kind of person who goes back to materials to double check on information and/or to refresh your knowledge? Then the Online Course could be a great choice for you.

If, on the other hand, you prefer a live learning environment with other students in the ‘room’ so you can ask questions and learn more by discussion? Then the LIVE Course could be a great choice for you!

Q: How do I access The Vocal Instrument 101 Online Course after I buy it?

Once you’ve clicked on that PURCHASE button, you’ll receive an automated email from me (welll … from the elves in my computer. ahem.) with a link to the online course on our learning platform.

You’ll be able to use the provided link to log in and after that you can create a profile for yourself and get to that first module!


If you’re an independent voice teacher who wants to #teachyourfaceoff EVEN HARDER THAN YOU ALREADY DO?! This is the course for you.

And just in case you’re not sure? Here’s a COURSE OUTLINE you can peruse to get even more sure. #yourewelcome

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Course Outline

– Shannon Coates –


Sound 101 : what sound is & how it is made

frequency | amplitude | timbre | duration : let’s take these super-sciency words and break ‘em down.

The Power Source 101 : anatomy & physiology of the breathing mechanism

Boyle’s Law | diaphragm | intercostal muscles | muscles vs bones : you’re actually kind of awesome at breathing (I mean, you’re still alive, right?). now let’s become super-experts on how we’re doing that breathing thing.


Respiration 101 : breathing for singing

you know that the spine should have a nice curve in it, right? SO WHY DO WE TELL SINGERS TO STAND UP STRAIGHT? you know that the diaphragm moves every time we inhale, right? SO WHY DO WE TELL SINGERS TO BREATHE FROM THE DIAPHRAGM? awww yeah: you know some things. LET’S APPLY IT TO SINGING (and maybe never use that “breathe from the diaphragm” thinggie every again).

The Resonator 101 : anatomy & physiology of the vocal tract

oral pharynx | nasal pharynx | laryngo pharynx | SO MANY PHARYNXES (PHARYNGI?
PHARYNGES? PHARYNXI? AAAAHH!) : wait. what’s a pharynx?


Resonance 101 : vocal resonance

now that you know what a pharynx is, let’s figure out how they work in creating vocal sound.


The Vibrator 101 : anatomy & physiology of the larynx

thyroid cartilage | cricoid cartilage | arytenoid cartilages : meet the OIDS. but also? meet the muscles that are named after them.


Phonation 101 : vocal sound source

how do those muscles work to create a sound source? HOWWWW?


The Vocal Instrument 101 : putting it all together

the denouement | the icing on the proverbial cake | the end of the road | the answer to LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING : don’t be silly; we all know it’s 42.

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