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Book Beat: June 2002

Managing Vocal Health (Excellence in Singing Series, Volume 5)

Managing Vocal Healthby Christine Sapienza, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
(Caldwell Publishing, 2002)
Available through Amazon

It's not every day the CEO of the Grammy Foundation praises your book, or even volumes of books you have helped produce.

"It's nice to know that you can have an impact, and it's gratifying when you see positive reviews particularly from the target audience that you originally intended it for," Speech Pathology Professor Christine Sapienza says. "The topic of managing vocal health is something that is commonsensical information to people like myself in academia, but it's not commonsensical to the performers, so I am really flattered by their reaction because I feel the book is useful for them."

Christine SapienzaSapienza's contributions to the new five-volume set, Excellence in Singing, developed after she was approached at a national speech and hearing convention a few years ago by publisher Robert Caldwell. "The publisher was interested in our research findings and started talking to us about a project on vocal hygiene and excellence in singing and how to manage the different conditions or problems that singers encounter," she says.

The series is described as a tutorial for vocal coaches and vocal teachers, and Sapienza's research focuses on vocal hygiene and preserving the voice through varied techniques described in the book. "It wasn't written for a doctor or for another speech pathologist. The audience is the teacher of singing," she says. "What we often find is the voice coaches don't know the information, so the actual singer gets into trouble. Their coach, who is really like their mentor, doesn't recognize the singer is having problems, and those who do recognize the problem don't know what to do or where to send their students."

Sapienza hopes performers also pick up the books and use them to build awareness of how to take care of their voices. "They can also keep checks and balances on their vocal coach," she says. "Part of what is in that book is what type of coach you should have and what type of strategies you should and should not use in your training."

Sapienza says the chance to collaborate with colleagues has been a great opportunity to produce a comprehensive set of books. "I think the book shows a good representation of the UF team in voice and also the power of the UF collaboration with other individuals. It's a really nice representation of a cross-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and collegiality work."

—Melissa A. Douso

Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes

Spinoza: Metaphysical Themesby Olli Koistinen and John Biro, Department of Philosophy
(Oxford University Press, 2002)
Available through Amazon

Representing the best of new generation Spinoza scholars Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes is an impressive effort of previously unpublished essays edited by UF Philosophy Professor John Biro and Olli Koistinen, an Academy Research Fellow at the University of Turku in Finland.

Spinoza's philosophy has been an underserved reputation for being obscure and incomprehensible. But now, in this indispensable collection, Spinoza is portrayed in the manner he deserves—as a brilliant metaphysician who paved the way for an exciting new science. The volume focuses on several important areas, including monism, the concept of conatus, the nature of and the relation between mind and body, and Spinoza's relationship to Descartes and Leibniz.

The new physics posed difficult questions about the existence and power of God; however, it was a commonplace of 17th-century metaphysicists to claim that all force was God's. In his philosophy, Spinoza solves this problem, identifying God with nature. But what happens to individuals after that identification? And what is an individual for Spinoza? How does it act and how are its actions explained? This volume clearly addresses these and other fascinating questions. It explores Spinoza's account of the relationship between mind and body, along with his views on the ontology of values. Spinoza saw the threat of deterministic physics to mind-body interaction. How is it possible that minds act on bodies and vice versa? Furthermore, the volume examines the problem of the nature of values, asking if there is room for an independent realm of values in the new philosophy. Finally, the collection investigates problems in the interpretation of Spinoza that stem from Spinoza's debatable place in 17th-century philosophy.

—Publisher

Photo:
Jane Gibson (Sapienza)

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