Dr. Kyle Ferrill, associate professor of voice with the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, launched The Balanced Singer Podcast earlier this summer. The podcast, which promises to bring insights from yoga, meditation, Buddhism, habit formation and more to the practices of singing and the teaching of singing, grew as a natural extension of Ferrill’s Balanced Singer Blog.
“I’ve been a practicing Buddhist since college,” says Ferrill. “I took a world religion course and the division on Buddhism really resonated with me. I immediately saw how it was relatable to all sorts of different parts of my life. It’s something I’ve since tied into all of my singing and teaching practices.”
The Balanced Singer Podcast consists of a series of 10-minute episodes that aim to be concise and mindful, with an emphasis on brevity.
“I like putting these together in little snippets, and 10 minutes has become my ideal time limit for the podcast because it doesn’t take too long to produce and also allows people listen to the whole thing at once to really get the big picture,” he says. “I’m also imagining that if other voice teachers across the country enjoy listening to the podcast, they can easily recommend it to their students without it being too onerous in regard to their schedule.”
Ferrell says the idea behind his new podcast was born in part as a musician’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s a whole lot of talk on social media these days about various imbalances in life my colleagues have discovered and one of them is finding the motivation to practice when they have no concrete goal and a whole lot of cancelled or postponed live performances,” he says. “So I’ve been talking to a lot of my colleagues about how they form habits that are intrinsically motivated by the identity of being a singer and the love of making music versus the extrinsic motivation of preparing for a concert.”
For Ferrill, the bedrock of a sustainable musical practice is balance. Topics covered range from balancing opposite elements of singing, balancing personal and professional life, to literal balance in the form of yoga discussion.
“Yoga can be a very powerful complementary practice for singers and all sorts of musicians and performers in general,” he says.
“My initial goal has been to put an episode out on a semi-weekly basis on Tuesdays or Wednesdays,” says Ferrill. “So far it’s just been me talking, but I have a growing list of guests that I’m excited to have on as featured interviews as the weeks go on.”