I want to sleep under the summer sky.
I want to slumber in the journey of my Sister Moon.
I want twinkle burn from Cousin Stars.
I need to remember my brother Wind stirring my hair and sip in deep sleep from the Big Dipper; dipping my soul in the twilight of the morning, so that when winter comes, and we know it will, I will not thirst for summer nights.
I need dew drops on my eyelashes, mist on my skin,
And most of all, I want to sing with my Mother, the ocean.
Aria after aria after hour after hour after sacred summer hour.
Noc/July 15, 2014
I want to sleep under the summer sky.
How about a little spring?
I was so ready for it. Were you?
I have enjoyed the simple and rewarding messy chore of getting some planting done in my garden.
David Marshall has been over here rehabilitating my deck.
There are wonderful colorful flowers peeking out all over.
It feels good.
How about a little spring in your sing? I know it is silly, but let’s get our congratulations hat on and enjoy the progress you are making in your fertile lives. Our website will soon have a Congratulations Page so that we can enjoy NOC Studio Singers’ wonderful accomplishments. So much beautiful singing is happening. Let’s take a look at specific bench marks and goals that keep you feet moving forward row by row. Along with that, how can you be always in the moment and still set those goals and enjoy the progress in that very instant.
This NOC Studio set up for spring and summer and some of the fall is taking shape. Executive Assistant Excellante, Liz Bacon, is weeding out dates and getting all the emails set up. If you haven’t updated her with you vitals, please, do. Plant your PR photo, too and your updated resume on her email, so we can broadcast your wonders on this web site. We have several Master Classes scheduled, a Wednesday noon concert at the Old Church, and Schubert evening, a house concert,
and a Fall Retreat at Skamania Lodge among other wonderful projects.
Renee Favand-See is finishing up her commissioned composition for Resonance Ensemble. It will be premiered on March 18th and 19th with that wonderful group and the sensitive conducting of Kathy FitzGibbon. I am holding a reception in my home to congratulate Renee after the concert on the 18th. Plan to come for that harvest.
Blessings to each and every one of you: each of you, living, growing, sneezing, greening and adding on one leaf at a time to your beautiful and challenging lives. Oh, and forgive all my gardening humor, but I can’t help it! It is, after all,
spring and you are fertile soil!
Nancy Olson Chatalas
When I choose to work with a singer, I have chosen. I choose in a contemporary fashion, and because of the dynamics of growth and change, choices may change. When a singer works in my studio, it is, also, their choice. Making sure it remains a contemporary choice is vital. That you are willing to involve yourself in that choice, as I will, is completely important.
Then, in my teaching I will have made a choice, as each singer has. I believe the choice is ongoing and timely. I believe the choice is about trust, time, money, fearless growth, openness, effectiveness, authenticity. All of these choices are to allow art to be created. All of these choices need to live in a safe learning environment, not only for the singer, the pianist/ co-creators, but also for the teacher.
What do these choices offer in quality learning in the Nancy Olson Chatalas Studio?
1. A choice is an invitation: For me this choice includes inviting each singer to be the brilliant artist that you are. You can shine in my studio.
2. As part of the safe learning environment I understand that each singer comes into the learning spiral at many different levels, and with very individual needs.
3. Each singer has physiology and the science of vocal function in common, but again, at many levels of awareness and intellectual understanding in the learning spiral.
4. I am a willing advocate for each singer. This may not always involve feedback that a singer wants to hear, but it will always be from my heart, from knowledge and my years of experience and discipline.
5. Each singer brings their own special and unique genius into their lesson and when I greet that singer at each lesson, this is what I choose to believe.
How are choices made manifest in learning objectives?
1. Each singer has multiple intelligences and has many manifold abilities to take in information and make it meaningful and habitual. I choose to teach through holistic methods and my belief in multiple intelligences, including movement, rhythm, touch, visual, aural, mathematical, humor, story-telling, role-playing, verbal, logistical, special, emotional, intra-personal and interpersonal to name a few.
2. Physicality: Through guiding the singer to experience the physicality necessary in singing, I chose to encourage each singer to extend, deepen, trust and connect to the work. I invite each singer to develop an ongoing awareness of learning to trust the feeling and sensing of musculature and movement in their own body in singing. KURT ALEXANDER ZELLER
3. Science and pedagogy: I support the scientific understanding of how posture is involved in singing and I teach this through touching, listening, moving and gesturing and through means of immediate verbal feedback. I encourage the singer also to learn through movement, touching, listening and speaking with immediate verbal feedback their own understanding at that moment.
Alexander Teaching Theory
4. I choose to encourage the singer to explore through questions and immediate feedback how a certain sensation feels from the inside? I promote questions such as: How does that sound I have heard on the inside differ what I am hearing on tape? How does what I am feeling on the inside sound on the outside?
5. I consider it my role as a teacher to support change in the singer’s understanding in the various skills of singing and to provide factual and scientific information, including visual information about the science of the vocal tract, breath, and resonance, diction, and posture. These also include empirical approaches to history and background of a work of art or composer, the promotion of effective practice techniques, and the preparation of performances and auditions.
Singing and Teaching Singing: Second Edition 2011 by Janice L. Chapman
6. I am prepared to spend valued time with each singer talking in their lessons about auditions, roles, goals, calendar, strategies and consider this a part of your lesson whether there is singing involved or not. As part of the mentoring needed, I am further available to discuss issues that are impeding progress. This is all a part of the lesson and what you have chosen in a teacher.
7. Imagination and singing: I will imagine with the singer and encourage role-play of various applications in the ongoing expectations of the singer at different stages in singing. For example in practice: how to practice, what to do to support the individuals responsibilities in learning. Or how to approach auditions, or what to expect when fulfilling a new role, health and well-ness issues, meditation and breathing techniques, etc.
8. Intervening on one’s own behalf: Old ‘habituals’ become new habitual and directing the singer toward the understanding and ultimate implementation of new behaviors is one of the most dramatic and effective methods in my studio. These may include, among many things, postural issues, body tension, gestures, facial expressions, habits of old thinking, ways of preparing for a lesson, practice techniques, movement and concept of sound. Many ways to implement this learning goal would be through recordings and feedback and is clearly one of my goals in teaching. This is part of learning requires developing awareness in trust the kinesthetic aspects of singing. To training the singers imagination to remember how they want to change, even when not singing. To remember the feeling of the sounds they want to produce and to meditate and remember these new feelings. I teach this through immediate feedback, through questions that I expect the singer to explore.
9. I fully expect the singer to pay attention to how they are feeling about the changing of old habits and to find ways in their practice to change those incrementally. Although, I must admit that I have seen certain amazing changes happen almost overnight. However change and the implementation of change happens the singer must be willing to accept and implement this. Changes and growth are difficult. Sometimes change begins in a singer before I recognize it, and it is my duty to stay out of the way of that singer and encourage the growth.
10. The same ol’ same ol’: A singer who comes back week after week with the same issues, clearly does not understand the instruction, the feedback given may be resistant to the change. It takes courage from each singer to be willing to change. Along those same lines, the singer who comes back with the same musical mistakes or diction errors is not practicing with focus. It may be clear that this singer is choosing not to be available for lessons. This issue is difficult in our relationship and changes my level of interest in the singer. It does not call upon my best abilities as a teacher/mentor, so I really feel you don’t get your investment’s best use. You must choose to practice and focus. You must create time and energy for these tools to develop. When it becomes clear to me that the repetition of these resistant behaviors is a problem, I will clearly release that student.
11. I want to imagine and support with the singer the dreams of the future and to be wise counsel in the development in step by step benchmarks.
12. I am willing to be courageous in accepting within clearly designed boundaries the support of the whole singer including the soul/identity of the singer and to choose every lesson to believe in the creative artist who stands before me.
13. I am interested in supporting in each singer the continued mastering and harmonizing of the energies of the mind, emotions and body with focus toward always creating art.
14. I am wholehearted willing to grow in my understanding as a technician and holistic teacher so that I may continue to develop as a guide in the support of the living interplay between the physical body, the inner singer and the creative artist. In this goal to be able to change my understanding of my own teaching through education, and, if it becomes arcane to change it. Therefore, I am opening a means to continue to employ up to-date scientific expertise. The results will continue to be to tune the vocal instrument, extend expression and support the real and true nature and potential of the each singer through intuition about the body/mind—instinct, movement, sensation and feeling. This does not, however, preclude my intense academic preparations for each lesson.
15. In developing my scientific knowledge I am able to better work through the employment of my own considerable intuition based on fact and experience to monitor stress on the instrument with the goal in mind for a strong, flexible and healthy voice.
16. In my teaching, I make the choice to be brave in the journey. To support my strength as a teacher, a singer must be willing to meet me there. It may involve making sure you tape recorded is working, your pencil is sharpening, you are not late for lessons, you have practiced during the off time between lessons.
a. This requires practice, research, music learning, coaching and preparation, not to mention timely and respectful attendance of lessons. This also includes timely attention to payment of tuition and the rules established around those issues in my particular studio. Examples: I require each student to take the responsibility pay ahead at least one lesson, schedule ahead and be aware of any conflicts that may arise in the schedule.
b. The singer must be willing to record lessons and listen back. The singer must be willing write down in the music the corrections and feedback. The singing must be willing to journal about current learning. The singer must have the courage and must speak out when there are questions or issues, as this relationship is always growing and changing in subtle ways.
c. The singer must keep up with auditions and performances and set realistic timelines to prepare. This requires that the singer set goals and meet them with a strong and developing work ethic.
17. From my point of view it requires not only, my encouragement, discipline and musicianship, but also, allowing flexibility in my teaching. I must have courage to remaining determined in the goals, working to understand when to back away and when to move in or on. In this way the singer has the opportunity to develop resilience, strength in psychological and emotional growth, and care and compassion for oneself.
18. This also enables me to celebrate milestones with the students, to get rid of unwanted things, and encourage the independence of the singer. There is no better teacher than you-yourself. Ultimately, you will learn to be your best teacher, but in the process you must check in on a regular basis to support your independence. This is a kind of dichotomy.
19. I choose to be a wise counsel, trustworthy in offering feedback with skill from a grid of different perspectives and to keep alert in advocacy for the singer.
20. I choose to protect the privacy and interests of each singer. This involves strategic planning with the student, not for the student in managing a range of personal and professional issues and supporting a strong sense of a healthy and well-balanced ego in the process.
21. I choose to do all of this with compassion at the heart of the motivation and clear safe boundaries in place for each singer and for myself.
22. I seek to be learning and growing everyday as a teacher and to be open to change and growth.
23. I want to listen with wise ears and a full heart.
And now, I leave you all with today’s example of proper technique:
Singer, lie down and dream me. Dream the singing.
Dream the singing dream the singing easy generous. Remember the dream: vibrating my stories raucous vibrant juicy luscious greedy wise newborn.
Singer, sit and dream me. Dream my singing.
Dream perfection of human voice housed in human body. Dream varied dreamy foggy dream colored crying longing guttural literal water fire wind rocks mountains anguish astonishment baby human fragile cries greed intrigue rhymes cedar incense footsteps wide-eyes connected to all things
Singer, stand up. Root in me.
Dream ancient singing rooted from the roots of the roots of the center of the earth. Singing dreams me generous easy. Singing dreams me luscious remembers vibrates me and intones stories sounds juicy lip licking colors bloody agony old man’s guts cries waves churning light on water dreaming wonder.
Singer, stand up. Dance my graciousness.
The singing is dreaming me. Perfection here now what comes perfect changes always changes. Perfection is dreaming only in the moment with memories in the past. Memorizing the moment breath whisper lips raucous call throaty belly fire dreaming ringing the sigh of the moment. Perfection is mourning the passing of the seconds. Mourning what it cannot hold. Giving up. Weeping. Smiling. Sacrificing the holding. Remembering the moment to the moment in the moment in the moment.
Perfection sings. Sighs the moment. Screams the minutes. Seduces the seconds.
Dances the rhythms. Laughs the irony. Embraces the word.
Now and now and now and now changes the moment connects all things.
Singer to singer to singer to singer to singer to singer to singer to singer to singer
Singer, wake up. Live the moment in the moment.
Take root in me.
Take root my fire your breath my lips your teeth your tongue my belly your aching and arching.
You are rooted in me.
Singer, live here live now remember.
Dream my beauty.
I love words and I love typing them out as a meditation. Here is a great one for a summer day.
Ode to the Artichoke by Pablo Neruda
got dressed as a warrior,
a little cupola,
the crazy vegetables
in the subsoil
slept the carrot
with its red whiskers,
dried the runners
through which it carries the wine,
to trying on skirts,
to perfuming the world,
and the gentle
stood there in the garden,
dressed as a warrior,
like a pomegranate,
and one day
along with the others
in large willow
baskets, it traveled
to the market
to realize its dream:
Amid the rows
never was it so military
as at the fair,
among the vegetables
with their white shirts
of the artichokes,
the tight ranks,
the voices of command,
and the detonation
of a falling crate,
with her basket,
isn’t afraid of it,
examines it, holds it
to the light as if it were an egg.
mixes it up
in her bag
with a pair of shoes,
with a head of cabbage and a
entering the kitchen
she submerges it in a pot.
of the armored vegetable
which is called artichoke,
then scale by scale
and we eat
the peaceful flesh
of its green heart.
On Singing: Isn’t everything about singing?
Sing the story.
Arch the phrase.
Tone the moment.
Taste the words.
Encourage the breath.
Seek don’t force.
Wonder don’t worry.
Movement don’t hold.
Risk the questions. Question the risk.
On Food: Isn’t everything about food?
Feel texture not food.
Taste don’t cook.
Nourish not feed.
Stir up and simmer.
As much as possible, eat a ripe plum standing over the sink.
Believe the entire universe in each bite.
On Dancing: Isn’t everything about dancing?
Arch don’t break.
Bend and bend again. Then, bend again.
Avoid the box step.
Making Love: Isn’t everything about making love?
Actually, don’t make anything.
Press not lean.
Risk the tremble.
Be blinded not sighted.
Inhale then breathe.
Allow seconds to become hours.
On living: Isn’t everything about living?
Wake up and then sleep.
Believe in the questions.
Simple is better.
Have faith in the rainbows.
Honor death in every breath.
I have been here in Orlando since Monday, July 23rd. Tuesday, June 24th at 7:30AM (no less) I presented an idea for publication. That led to another presentation on Wednesday. I met with them again today, and there is a possibility they may do this. We’ll see.
Yes, there was a hurricane. The flight from Atlanta was so bumpy they couldn’t serve any drinks on the flight! Now that was not good! Yes, there was torrential rain, yes, there was great wind, but here at the huge Renaissance at Sea World Hotel, we are in a world unto itself. You don’t even need to walk the 1/2 mile to Sea World. You are surrounded in the hotel by cascading waterfalls and by huge wall-sized videos of peaceful underwater scenes and corral with flickering shadows on the sandy bottom of the deep blue sea.
The Artist Awards: Semi-Finals Competition was held on Thursday, June 2. There were 15 contestants from all over America. Cascade Chapter NATS Member Linda Brice sponsored Nathan Kondrat, Baritone, who represented the Northwest Region in the Artist Award competition. Nathan and his wonderful pianist Rebecca Stager performed beautifully. Although, they would not be put in the Finals, Nathan has received much support and encouragement. Thank goodness Linda Brice, Voice faculty at OSU, at the time, recognized Nathan’s talent while he was a student there and encouraged him to enter the ‘priestly world of singing’. We are all grateful to her for her wisdom and guidance. The winner chosen is Andrew Garland, Vocal Faculty from Brown University. He is 35 years old and already in a professional career, but now he has won a Carnegie Hall debut, and that doesn’t hurt! He and Nathan became fast friends. As I read the program of past Artist Award winners, I felt very nostalgic as I read Debra Wilke’s name as the winner in Toronto in 1998 with our own talented Signe Lusk at the piano. Has it been that long ago? What a journey that was!
Workshops and Classes: It has been a whirlwind of workshops, recitals, exhibitions and the best part: making new friends. I always learn so much from my colleagues. I have a couple of young singers/teachers who want to come out to Portland and do some coaching or vocal study. One of the best seminars I have attended: Mindful Voice: the Singing Teacher in the Age of the Cognitive Revolution led by Lynn Helding. Brilliant. There is a tremendous buzz here concerning the Carnegie Hall Royal Achievement Academy Program and I got a free syllabus!
Another inspiring event was the Hal Leonard Publishing Company’s demonstration of new editions and we heard great new repertoire. I am bringing back DVD’s and CD’s and lots of music at a discount, but the discount is minimal if I have to pay for extra baggage! So, I decided to have everything shipped. I just won’t have the jewels of wisdom from the convention in my possession for about 3 weeks.
So, in a way, it has been a hurricane all week here at NATS. I can’t wait to get home and drive my new car, and digest all this amazing whirl of information and share it with NATS Members and my singers. Nathan Gunn is holding a Master Class tomorrow and Nathan Kondrat has been chosen to sing in it. I am glad I am not flying out before I get to attend that class.
I will be 65 years old on July 5th, and I really can’t believe it. So, I will see you when I am 65!
“To Do No Harm” is the motto of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. I ask myself every time I teach,“ How I can honor this?” So, here is what I do.
I guide the singer to understand how the voice works from a scientific basis. I encourage each singer to understand their own voice. I find repertoire that brings out the best in the singer at the stage they are in, and gives them a vision of what can be with their potential. I encourage independence in each singer and give them means to ‘intervene’ on their own behalf through skill building tools, goal oriented and effective practice techniques, networking skills, and healthy singing.
“None of your students sound the same…” someone said to me. It is true that if you encourage a singer to understand how the voice works, and to pay attention to their own bodies as they sing, a uniqueness and individuality does come forth. Learning to release and enjoy the sounds with the poetry and music is vital. To discover step by step that no phrase, no one note is static. Singing involves movement, imagination and flow. So does growth.
…hear a little voice inside that wants to be expressed
…believe you are a work in progress
…love to tell stories through singing
…have always thought you wanted to sing
…have a curiosity about singing
…think it’s fun to practice a discipline like a trained athlete
…want to get your voice back in shape for an audition or a performance
…believe that your life is a journey and a process— that you are always growing
Then you should email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call me at 971-235-3394 and we’ll set up an appointment to talk about your goals.