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Music Lecturer Honored with Provost’s Teaching Award

June 03, 2019 School of Music

A portrait of Martha Randall (Photo by Roy Cox Photography).

Martha Randall recognized for excellence in the classroom with university-wide teaching award.

By Kelsey Eustace

Martha Randall, lecturer of voice and vocal pedagogy at the University of Maryland School of Music (SOM), received the 2018-19 Provost's Excellence Award for Professional Track Faculty in teaching. These university-wide awards are given annually for outstanding contributions and achievements in the categories of teaching, research and service.

Randall is a national expert in vocal pedagogy and the science behind healthy singing. In 2000, she was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Rosa Ponselle Foundation and was president of the National Association of Teachers of Singing from 2006-08. In 2009, she was inducted into the American Academy of Teachers of Singing and served as chair from 2012-18.

Since she joined SOM almost three decades ago, Randall has devoted her professional life to teaching, studying the science of singing and supporting her students.

“Martha commits to her work wholeheartedly, without reservation and always with a smile,” said Jason Geary, director of the School of Music. “She is truly a source of inspiration to her colleagues.”

Randall draws on the study of acoustics and anatomy to help students utilize and maintain their voices. To help them overcome common technical challenges singers face, she created an acoustic voice analysis lab. Acoustical analysis software and models of the larynx—the part of the throat housing the vocal folds and responsible for manipulating pitch and volume—provide visuals so students can better understand key singing concepts. Randall also takes her pedagogy class to visit a laryngologist so they can look down their throats to see how their vocal folds work.

In addition to her lab, Randall is also well known for using a beloved plastic skeleton named Yorick (after the skull in Shakespeare's "Hamlet") to teach anatomy and physiology.

Randall says her students are a constant source of inspiration. From attending their many performances to giving them thoughtful and symbolic gifts such as a pinwheel for completing their breathing exams or a music box for understanding quality of sound, Randall is exceptionally supportive. Even after graduation she remains in contact with her former students, many of whom are now internationally-known singers or instructors, and frequently attends their performances in the area.

“I have loved working with marvelous young singers, and I cheer them on as they embark on their careers,” said Randall. “I am having a glorious time.”

View the full list of awardees and learn more about the Provost’s Excellence Awards for Professional Track Faculty.