“So You Want To Sing CCM (Contemporary Commercial Music): A Guide for Performers” compiled by Dr. Matt Hoch, of Auburn University, also published by Rowman & Littlefield. Dr. Hoch is a Somatic Voicework™ graduate. The book presents a compendium of approaches to CCM with an emphasis on vocal technique and function. Somatic Voicework™ is presented within.
Brenda is beyond excited to announce her new online course “Piano Skills for Singers” is now live!
This course is the culmination of years of teaching piano to singers, and I tried to put it together in the most concise and clear way possible. This is the perfect course for anyone who has limited piano skills and wants to get moving on the piano and to develop the skill of accompanying yourself/your students using triads.
The course is available for 6 months of viewing for only $99. You can watch the material as many times as you want within this 6 month period, plus there is a 40 page pdf that you can download which contains all of the exercises and a bunch of bonus material.
If you enter the coupon code “SVW” then you get the entire course for only $79! This discount is available for anyone in our SVW community, plus any friends, students and colleagues that you think might benefit. Please share around and make sure you let them know about the coupon code! Please click this link to register!
A huge congratulations to Peter Thomsen, his student Brynn Cartelli won NBC’s The Voice.
BroadwayWorld.com recently wrote a feature about Peter Thomsen’s work! We are so proud of his continued success!
You are currently in The 5thAvenue Theatre’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This production has been very acclaimed and received lots of international attention, what can you tell us about the process? Can you shed light on the importance of diversity in the current musical theatre landscape?
This Show has been a truly amazing experience. ASL (American Sign Language) is an integral part of the show and it brings the story telling to new heights.
Our Quasimodo is a brilliant actor and hearing impaired. Where others might limit him, he exceeds beyond to new levels of communication. I feel truly blessed to be a part of this process not only for the storytelling but for the opportunity to learn more about ASL and the deaf community. This kind of inclusive incorporation of diversity in musical theatre is absolutely what we need to tell stories of all kinds to all people.
You are a Broadway veteran, you continue to perform regularly, and you teach at the Cornish College of the Arts (and privately); you walk the walk as a world-class vocalist and a teacher. Can you talk about the importance of voice teachers continuing to perform? And how does your constant immersion in the profession inform your teaching?
As I continue to perform and teach I cannot begin to express how important I feel it is to pursue both endeavors. I like to think of it as continuing to walk the walk. Relating experiences of current failure and success to my students is essential for trust and growth. I believe in being part of the fabric of art beyond the bubble I create.
I want to encourage my students to take risks but also have the compassion that comes from living through those same risks. Auditioning is the great equalizer. As an educator, I should be willing to take the same risks as my students.
[Read more…] about Spotlight on Candice Donehoo-Pullom
Dr. Claudio Milstein will be offering a two day course on vocal health at this summer’s LoVetri Institute for Somatic Voicework™. This course is for graduates of Level III of Somatic Voicework™ in any year prior to 2018 and is an intensive in vocal health.
It will cover a review of basic vocal anatomy and physiology, refreshing the definitions of terms used in clinical and medical discussion of vocal problems. It will present typical problems, through audio and visual examples, of various types of vocal pathology and vocal illness or injury and help singing teachers recognize the auditory cues that would help identify suspicious vocal qualities and behaviors. The course size is limited, so those who are interested should register as soon as possible.
To register for Dr. Milstein’s intensive course, click here.
Last year we had the pleasure of doing a full interview with Dr. Milstein, please check out that interview here.
Highlights of May included a great trip to Boston to work with the Somatic Voicework™ teachers in New England. We had a great opening night at New England Conservatory courtesy of Dominique Eade, a Teacher Training Day on Saturday at the home of Celia Slattery and a Teacher Support Group at Wheaton College courtesy of Joanne Mouradjian. As always, there was a great exchange of information between the teachers and on Sunday with the students. Jeanie does these twice a year in New England, in Washington/DC/Baltimore and, new this year, in Michigan. If you would like a weekend in your area, you need at least 10 people who have done Somatic Voicework™ training (level one). If you’re thinking about hosting Jeanie for a Teacher Training & Support Weekend, please click here.
At the end of May Jeanie was off to The Voice Foundation Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice in Philadelphia to enjoy her 40th year of consecutive attendance. She is now on the Advisory Board, an adjudicator of the Best Student Award, a Presentation Coach, and this year was also a section chair of the Pedagogy papers. Additionally, she sang at the Gala in front of opera bass-baritone Simon Estes and tenor George Shirley and many of the doctors and scientists who have been her colleagues, mentors and friends for decades. Several Somatic Voicework™ teachers there in attendance included Benjamin Czarnota, Amanda Chmela, Ric Ryder and faculty of the upcoming training at Baldwin Wallace, Speech Pathologist, Jan Potter Reed. She was able to visit with friends from Europe and South America and all parts of the USA and Canada. If you have never been, Jeanie encourages you to attend next year.
We are now preparing for our LoVetri Institute for Somatic Voicework™ at Baldwin Wallace University in July. Our many expert guests will be presenting their incredible wealth of knowledge, experience and training for participants, delivering information custom tailored just for them. We will be offering credits for Speech Language Pathologists as well.
If you haven’t registered yet, please do so right away, as the courses are filling quickly and there is a cap on the number who can attend. We also have a special course for graduates of Level III in any past year with Dr. Claudio Milstein, from the Cleveland Clinic, who will be presenting an Intensive Course in vocal health.
Don’t miss this very special opportunity and, past grads, remember — you get a huge 50% discount for reviewing any level you’ve already completed. Fifty percent off!!!!!! To register, please click here.
This coming weekend we launch our first ever online Somatic Voicework™ course. We are so pleased with the excitement about the online courses and cannot wait to start! In September we will be offering an array of online courses, to be put on the mailing list for early registration please click here.
Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method is an organized method of vocal training for Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) styles, (those styles that used to be called “non-classical) based upon somatic (physical) awareness and aural discernment. The training is presented in three Levels that must be done in sequence.
Level I is called “Basic Application” and includes the following: Introduction to functional principles of voice science and medicine. There will be a vocal health lecture Jan Potter Reed, Speech Language Pathologist, specializing in care of the professional voice. Its main objective is to instruct teachers how to keep the voice healthy for speech and singing. Level I addresses terminology, and its appropriate use, and the attitude, intention and appropriateness of the interaction tween student and teacher. Level I states that the teacher must have a clear intention for the vocal exercise when it is given. The teacher must know (a) either what is missing and needs to be added or (b) what is wrong and needs to be corrected, such that the student’s singing will somehow improve. It rests on vocal function, vocal health and on traditional pedagogy, but it is also meant to help singers be marketable. This level gives parameters for age-related groups of singers, and addresses lesson protocol and progress. There will be a presentation by Suzan Postel, dancer, singer, and Pilates Instructor, on body awareness, presenting exercises for greater connection to the physical aspects of singing. [Read more…] about What is Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method?
By Jennifer Spencer
I have many students from many different backgrounds that enter my classroom, studio, and rehearsal hall on a daily basis, and every time they do, I am reminded of what an incredible gift I have been given, and how I must be vigilant not to abuse this gift or diminish what they bring in each and every day. Each and every voice I come into contact with needs to be valued for the person that inhabits it, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, race, marital or family status, gender identity or expression, sex characteristics, creed, age, colour, disability, political or religious belief. (The italicized text, which I freely admit to plagiarizing, comes from the welcome that is outside Canada House at the Olympics.)
My job is to make sure that each and every student leaves with a flexible instrument, body, and voice, able to make responsive vocal/physical choices that will allow them to operate in the world in a healthful way for the duration of their lives, after all, they are going to be persons operating in the world for a lot longer than they are being artists on the stage, in movies, or on TV. Their voices and bodies need to work well and freely, not just on the stage, but also in their lives.
I want the students I work with to stand tall, balanced, and easy when they leave my classes and go into their lives. I want them to be able to use their voices in a healthy way from a physiologically truthful place, that allows them to go easily from speaking to singing with all other stops in between, and have voices/bodies that respond freely to a variety of life and artistic situations.
I want to provide them with experiences where they realize that they do not have to clench every muscle in their bodies to produce a spoken or sung sound or simply to inhale and exhale. I want to provide them with experiences where they realize their tongues do not have to be balls of cement sucked up to the roofs of their mouths, rendering them incapable of articulating their wants, wishes, and desires. I want to give them the experience of not having to clench their jaws as they move through their lives, and squeeze their voices and thoughts out as if those thoughts and ideas were the last scraps of dried toothpaste in a tube that one must use or else. [Read more…] about A Vocal Wish List
Leischen will be performing the role of Eliza Doolittle in Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s “My Fair Lady” from May 18th to June 10th. For tickets and more information, click here.
Leischen will also be Associate Faculty at this summer’s LoVetri Institute for Somatic Voicework™.
(photographed left: Leischen Moore in rehearsals for “My Fair Lady)
Dr. Melissa Forbes‘ article, “A Tale of Two Pedagogues: A Cross Continental Conversation on CCM” from The Journal of Voice May/June 2018 pages 579-584 featuring Jeanie LoVetri.
These luxury long weekend retreats are providing a creative space for adult vocalists and singer songwriters both professional and semi-professional; to inspire/be inspired and lean into creativity, gain vocal health knowledge and performance experience and most excitingly, build community through mutual love of singing and performance. Though I am starting locally at a beautiful rural retreat center, my intention is to offer these retreats in destination locations around the world! (I mean, who doesn’t want to sing in The Caribbean??!!)
Maite Solana has just released her second single and music video from her album Vuelvo a Casa.
Please check out the music video by clicking here.
Heather Keens’ The ‘Oyster Singers’ is a new community Choir based in Brooklyn, New South Wales, Australia. We are a small community of 750 people, the original industry here was oyster fishing. In the photograph you will see our original nine members from February 2018. We now have twenty members and counting. Most of our warm-up activities are based on Somatic Voicework. They are a delightful group of people who make a good sound. Heather Keens conducts and leads the choir and her husband, Frank, accompanies on the piano and makes arrangements of the songs.
Last term we found repertoire around the topics of fish and water, including Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Some Days there just ain’t no Fish’. Brooklyn, NSW and our nearest island ‘Long Island’ was named in 1886, when a New York, USA steel company came out to build the railway bridges here. Many of the workers were Americans, who lived in the area until the bridges were finished.
Betsy’s Upcoming Performances:
GWO Don Giovanni June 9, 16, 22, 24
For details, go to http://www.greaterworcesteropera.org/events.html
Italian Night – Spaghetti Supper and Italian Music with members of Greater Gardner Community Choir
Saturday June 23, 2018 at Bethany Baptist Church Gardner, MA
Greater Worcester Opera Concert Series: Contemporary Broadway July 18, 2018 at Briarwood in Worcester MA.
Senior Faculty for The LoVetri Institute for Somatic VoiceworkTM in Residence
at Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio July 21-29, 2018
You’ve had a very successful career as a voice teacher. Can you give us an overview of your work?
Over the 38 years since graduate school, I’ve maintained a large private studio alongside other teaching, such as adjunct college faculty positions and as a member of the senior voice/choral faculty at a large community music school.
I founded three arts education organizations, 1) The Washington Vocal Consortium, the United States’ first collegial voice teaching and mentoring team, 2) a 501-C-3 singing school for girls ages 11-18 called Singer’s Centre for Girls, and 3) a large women’s chorus which combined a voice class for elder singers with choral singing. I sustained two out of three of those organizations for almost 25 years.
Later on I began working as a singing voice specialist (and somehow understood a great deal about vocology before vocology was a common word,) for venues hosting professional musical theater touring companies, including the Broadway tour of The Color Purpleas it came through the Baltimore Hippodrome, and with the Arena Stage, Signature Theater, and Ford Theater. I began working as a voice teacher with recording artists from NYC, DC and Nashville in about 1997, which has been a whole education in itself! Sometimes teachers ask me how I got this work. Honestly, it came about by building relationships with people and groups in my community, and then showing up, doing good work and not being an egotistical or defensive thorn.
While working with me I’ve had students cast in Broadway roles, sign contracts with Cirque du Soleil, Disney Tokyo and The Washington Opera Chorus, and have worked with children touring with Bella Thorne and Disney in feature films. I’ve also worked with those who cannot match pitch and with elder singers who felt their singing days were finished.
In addition to my private studio, I develop and teach online webinars, such as the recent “Reframing Menopause for Singers,” sponsored by Total Vocal Freedom. I am writing a book with Nancy Bos, a current VP of NATS, on the same topic. If you’d like to be on my mailing list for news about the book, blog posts, etc. sign up for my Museletter at CateFNStudios.com
You’ve had a successful career. What advice do you have for aspiring performers?
Each individual must decide what being successful means, otherwise they are going to constantly be feeling empty and attemptingto fill up with others’ definitions of success.
- You must believe that you deserve to be heard and have something to communicate or share.
- Develop a work ethic and mental focus that adjusts along the way to allow for life balance and your own changing needs and values.
- Develop the capacity to break goals down into small steps and accomplish those small steps steadily.
- Sir Lawrence Olivier said, “talent turned into craft is only 25% of what is needed to be successful.” The other components he listed were personal will, stamina/health and luck. For me, luck was being prepared when the opportunities came. It was learning to let go of things I had planned in order to allow unexpected outcomes that ended up being in perfect alignment with what I really wanted and needed.
- Develop a great sense of humor, love and willingness to be vulnerable in your art because that is where the magic happens.
- When people complimented me on having a world-class voice, I ignored them. When they criticized me and told me I was “sincere” but I would not win the Met competition, I ignored them. Who cares? I have a fulltime job just being me and that’sthe same for any artist/educator. Actually, it’s two fulltime jobs. Add in children and relationships and you really don’t have time to use your energy dwelling on either criticism or praise.
You have a keen interest and wealth of knowledge in bodywork. Where did this interest come from?
This is a perfect example of how your weakness can become your greatest strength. An unusually severe health history forced me into seeking healing options outside the western medical community and the way medicine is practiced in the US. That included investigating a whole slew of alternative health care and somatic re-education practices, sometimes including them alongside western medicine when appropriate. “The Inner Game of Music,” was required reading in grad school and helped further my journey on how to focus mentally and cultivate kinaesthetic awareness. I started practicing yoga in 1985 and immediately felt its connections to physical health, spirituality and singing. Then I spent two years on tour performing in contemporary music and opera (lots of weird music with extended vocal techniques) and I adopted a routine using exercise bands for upper body strength. That, plus the yoga, walking and dancing for fun kept things running smoothly for a time.
After the first of the 8 abdominal surgeries, I “accidently” discovered “Maggie’s Woman’s Book” by Margaret Lettvin which I used for many years. It was a life-saving resource for abdominal recovery. I was one of the first NATS chapter presidents to bring in an Alexander Technique® teacher and Jeanie LoVetri to teach for our chapter back in 1993. Few were teaching anything about somatic awareness in singing, sports or physical therapy at that time. The “web” was also not a resource time since it didn’t yet exist.
So because of personal experience over the years, I developed, studied, assimilated and went on to use all sorts of tools for somatic re-education. Although I am not certified in any of them, I’ve studied Alexander Technique®, Andover Education, Liz Koch’s Psoas Work, Feldenkrais Method and a whole host of other mind-body techniques. I experimented with them on my own body first, and then adapted them to meet the needs of each individual or group I worked with. About 10 years ago I began working with the concept that one’s unconscious beliefs and attitudes are energy that manifest in the body as emotional, mental or physical illness. For me, there’s been lot to uncover and heal in this lifetime!
When did you first meet Jeanie LoVetri and what has her work done for you?
I first met Jeanie at her Voice Foundation workshop in 1989. I resonated very deeply with her work and thought, ‘”thank god. She is somehow working like I work, only differently. I need to know more.”
I had a few telephone conversations with her but was busy with parenting, teaching, performing and continuing my own health research. Almost 25 years after I started teaching, I completed my Somatic Voicework™ teacher training. Somatic Voicework™ organized many things I had been trying to synthesize on my own for a long time, and her manner of working mirrored back to me the best of myself. But I also learned to hear differently, which was huge.
I’ve been pretty transparent about my situation with bi-lateral vocal fold paresis but have not been able to present the full story yet because I still find it overwhelming. Jeanie has been my chosen singing voice specialist since 2013 when I began working privately with her. The medical options presented to me at the time were unacceptable and the doctors and SLPs could not answer my questions which were very reasonable.
When you have lost your voice due to a mysterious neurological illness that medicine and endless testing cannot identify, and the vocal folds are pristine—no bowing, no atrophy, no cysts, no nodules or burst blood vessels, etc.–when you have lost your power source from the pelvic bowl, and rebuilt it over and over, you learn what rehabilitation really is at all levels –what it entails, and the pacing of how things need to unfold. There is no degree or certification or clinical working experience that can teach this. I consider it foundational to any effectiveness I have had as a teacher and healer. I am currently gingerly stepping out to discover what singing is now, even after a lifetime as a singer.
Please check out more from Cate Frazier-Neely:
Book: “Meditations to Feed Christmas”
Journal of Singing Article: “Live vs. Recorded: Comparing Apples Oranges to Get Fruit Salad”
Other Social Media: Etsy, Instagram
Please also check out Adam Neely’s YouTube channel about various music related topics.