Singing Our Way to Awareness:

Trusting the River Through the Practice of Environmental Vocal Exploration (EVE)


  • Nicola Oddy


vocal improvisation, listening awareness, environment, soundsinging, environmental vocal exploration


This article explores vocal improvisation as a practice of listening awareness. I examine
the use of the voice when singing in place as a way of changing perceptions of the
self and the environment, through an improvisational performance practice I call
environmental vocal exploration (EVE). This article describes the project The Singing
Field: A Performance of Environmental Vocal Exploration, a summer-long commitment
from five singers who joined me in six EVE performances in various locations, during
which we used vocal improvisation as our primary way of interacting with different
environments and with each other. The performers shared their perspectives through
interviews, debriefs, and journal writing. Using autoethnographic, ethnographic, and
research-creation methodologies to analyze our experiences, I developed the concepts of
environmental countertransference, environmental vocalist, and xeno-song. The results of my
research highlight that singing with listening awareness in place can create a relationship
between self and place, leading to a new awareness and attunement to both.

Author Biography

Nicola Oddy

Nicola has been a certified music therapist for nearly 40 years with people of all ages
and abilities. She engages with “singing as a listening practice” in workshops and in her
current work as a supervisor for professional music therapists. She has taught part-time
at Concordia University since 2010 and currently teaches at Carleton University. Her
research with Environmental Vocal Exploration can be seen at

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