Lynn Helding

Coordinator, Vocology & Voice Pedagogy

Professor of Practice


Lynn Helding serves as Coordinator of Vocology & Voice Pedagogy and studio voice teacher at the USC Thornton School of Music. She is the author of The Musician’s Mind: Teaching, Learning & Performance in the Age of Brain Science, the chapter “Brain” in Your Voice: An Inside View 3rd ed. by Scott McCoy, and an associate editor of the Journal of Singing. A devoted teacher, among her private clients are members of the Los Angeles Opera and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and her voice students have been accepted with fellowships to the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, among others. She was recognized as a “legendary figure in the field of voice pedagogy” by the Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University, receiving their 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Helding created the “Mindful Voice” column in the Journal of Singing, authoring it from its debut in October 2009 to the final installment in October 2017, in order to advance her proposition that cognitive science must be considered the “Third Pillar of Voice Science” . Helding’s extensive research in the cognitive and neurosciences, with an emphasis on motor learning theory and “expertise studies” from social psychology, forms the foundation of both “Mindful Voice” and The Musician’s Mind.

Helding’s voice science honors include the 2005 Van L. Lawrence Fellowship, jointly awarded by the by the Voice Foundation and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Foundation to singers who have “demonstrated excellence in their profession as singing teachers, and have shown knowledge of voice science,” and election to chair the founding of the first non-profit vocology association PAVA, incorporated in 2014 as a 501(c)(6) non-profit association.

Helding’s stage credits include leading roles with Harrisburg Opera, Nashville Opera, and Ohio Light Opera. Her passion for contemporary American song inspired her to commission new works and to refashion the traditional recital into theatrical performance pieces presented throughout the United States, Australia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Iceland where her performances were broadcast on Icelandic National Radio. Highlights in chamber music include Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, broadcast on Nashville Public Television, and Good Night, written for her and the Baltic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra by Icelandic composer Thorkell Sigurbjornnson.

Helding studied voice at the University of Montana with Esther England, in Vienna, Austria with Kammersänger Otto Edelmann, and at Indiana University with Dale Moore, where she was the first singer ever accepted to pursue the prestigious Artist Diploma. She earned her master’s degree in vocal pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University under the direction of Scott McCoy, and in the voice studio of Chris Arneson. She completed the Summer Vocology Institute directed by voice scientist Ingo Titze at the National Center for Voice and Speech, and periodically returns as guest SVI faculty. Previous to USC, she served twenty-two years as Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Performance Studies at Dickinson College. Please see www.lynnhelding.com for more information.

Professional experience

Career Highlights:

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award, Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) Vocal Pedagogy Institute, Shenandoah University
  • Van L. Lawrence Voice Science Fellowship, 2005
  • Fellowship, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, 1996
  • Finalist, Mae Whitaker International Vocal Competition, 1992
  • First place, Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, NW Region (Seattle), 1982


Academic degrees