Lynn Helding

Coordinator, Vocology & Voice Pedagogy

Professor of Practice

  • Program:
    Vocal Arts & Opera
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition
  • Instrument:
    Voice Pedagogy


Lynn Helding serves as Coordinator of Vocology & Voice Pedagogy and studio voice teacher at the USC Thornton School of Music. Ms. Helding is a thought-leader within the dynamic field of contemporary voice science, or vocology, and thus was elected to head the founding of the first non-profit vocology association, PAVA. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Singing and creator/author of the journal’s “Mindful Voice” column, which illuminates current research in the cognitive, neuro- and social sciences as they relate to music teaching, learning and performance. She is in demand as a master teacher and popular lecturer on cognitive topics at universities, conferences and workshops across the United States and Canada.

Lynn Helding’s stage credits include the title role in the first American production of Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo, and leading mezzo-soprano roles with Harrisburg Opera, Nashville Opera, Tennessee Opera Theatre, and Ohio Light Opera. A deep commitment to art song led her to create Made in America, a narrative song recital of works by eighteen American composers which toured Italy, France, England, Germany, Spain, Australia and Iceland, and the theatrical performance piece This is My Letter to the World, a song recital which featured spoken fragments of Emily Dickson’s letters interspersed with Dickinson songs by composers Aaron Copland, Jake Heggie, William Bolcolm and Lori Laitman, which premiered at the Brook Center for Music in New York City. Her highlights in chamber music include the title role in Schoenberg’s Perrot Lunaire, broadcast on Nashville Public Television, and Good Night, written for Lynn Helding and the Baltic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra by Icelandic composer Thorkell Sigurbjornnson, which premiered at Miller Theatre’s “New Works” series in New York.

Lynn Helding studied voice at the University of Montana, in Vienna, Austria, and at Indiana University, where she was the first singer ever accepted to pursue the prestigious Artist Diploma in Voice. She earned her master’s degree in vocal pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and completed the Summer Vocology Institute of the National Center for Voice and Speech in Salt Lake City, where she has returned as guest faculty. Her voice teachers include Esther England, Dale Moore, and Chris Arneson, and voice science mentors Scott McCoy, Ingo Titze and Katherine Verdolini-Abbott. Previous to USC, she taught voice for four years at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, and more recently served twenty-two years as Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Performance Studies at Dickinson College.

Professional experience

Career Highlights:

  • Lynn Helding Broadcast on NPR’s WAMC “Vocology — The Science and Art of the Voice,” Thursday March 5, 2015 (Listen Here)
  • 2005 recipient of the National Van Lawrence Fellowship, jointly awarded by the NATS Foundation and the Voice Foundation to those who have “demonstrated excellence in their profession as singing teachers, and have shown knowledge of voice science.”

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • 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


  • Associate Editor, Journal of Singing (October, 2012 – present)
  • Mindful Voice, regular column in Journal of Singing (JOS) September 2009 – present).

Academic degrees

  • Master’s Degree in Vocal Pedagogy; Honors: With Distinction; Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, NJ, 2005
  • Artist Diploma, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1988