Thursday, December 31, 2009

Canadian tenor David Pomeroy makes last minute MET debut as Hoffman

Former COC Ensemble Member and Newfoundlander David Pomeroy posted on Facebook that he was making his last minute MET debut last night in the role of Hoffman...not only his MET debut (he was the understudy for Calleja) but his role debut to boot!

Here is a bit of a review from a google opera discussion thread:

To get it out of the way, he is about 34 or so, and though he was the understudy and performed the last two acts at the dress, this was actually his MET debut, and his role debut (!!!), and he was given notice that he was going on at 3:30 this afternoon. In other words, he had only slightly more time to get ready that he had to be on stage once the opera started. He seemed remarkably self assured - if you didn't know the circumstances, you wouldn't have guessed - except in his duets with Antonia (Netrebko), where he lost a bit of focus and was obviously more thinking about staying on the same page with her than anything else.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to all of you out there in Canadian Opera land! I will be on vacation until January 4...I hope you will keep reading in 2010 as I plan to discuss graduate voice programs in Canada as well as a continue the Spotlight on Repertoire!

Best wishes for 2010!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Toronto Operetta Theatre - 25 years going strong

For those of you who missed this Toronto Star article...Toronto Operetta Theatre (TOT) celebrates 25 years!

Read more on Bill Silva and his history with the company.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Audition workshop in Toronto 2010

I just received this interesting workshop notice this week...have a look:

We would like to forward the below mentioned workshop taking place in Toronto on January 9, 2010. This workshop will be conducted by Opera America Member and Dramatic Soprano, Margarete von Vaight. Ms. von Vaight studied vocal performance in Toronto, Vienna and Seattle by world-renowned Dramatic Soprano, Jane Eaglen. This workshop will focus on the needs of Career Planning for the Intermediate and Advanced Singer. Specifically, audition preparation, resume preparation, and the importance of competitions and their impact on a young singer's resume. Ms. von Vaight returns with a wealth of knowledge during her cross Canada tour featuring meetings with Music Directors and Artistic Administrators of Canadian and American opera companies. Each student will be provided with an "Audition Package" which will feature Mock Audition material.
Interactive exercises, discussion and networking amongst other singers will be included. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Career Planning for Singers Workshop January 9, 2010
Toronto, Ontario

Career Planning for Singers 2010, will explore the preparation of a young singers performance career. Join us for an afternoon filled with educational information every singer should know.

Singers will be provided with Audition Materials

This workshop will cover:

Resume Writing
Head shots
Young Artist Program Discussion
After Graduation: What Next?
Managers and Agents
Training and Education that Matters
Performance Experience
Mock Audition Packages

Pre-Registration is essential. Please contact us at for more information. Or call 647-242-7342 to reserve.

Date: January 9, 2010
Time: 12:30 @ 4:30pm
Cost: $60.00 (includes all workshop materials)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Elora Festival Academy of Music - Summer 2010

This just in from the Elora Festival... exciting educational off-shoot of the Elora Festival.

We are now accepting applications for the summer of 2010. The Academy is an eight-day residential programme for senior undergrad and post-graduate music students — young advanced, pre-professional and professional, singers and collaborative pianists.

For the summer of 2010 we will be seeking applications from students of voice, and piano accompaniment. These students will be offered an intensive week of individual instruction, master classes and daily performance opportunities. They will also be given the opportunity to expand their artistic insights through interaction with Festival artists. We are also pleased to have internationally renowned artists as resident instructors.

The Programme for Singers and Collaborative Pianists is designed to offer an intensive period of collaboration in vocal literature, focusing on art song but also including repertoire from opera, oratorio and musical theatre. A regimen of daily lessons and masterclasses will culminate in shared, late afternoon public recitals and a final Elora Festival concert showcasing all participants.

...The application deadline is March 15, 2010.

This looks like a great opportunity for undergraduate
singers! Find more information at the Elora website.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


...and lost! It would see that I have forgotten how to function without a computer! I am stealing moments here and there on random computers keep myself connected but until my hard drive is back up, my blogging (and other things) will be on hold! Give me a few days to get my infamous pink laptop back and I'll be back!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vancouver Opera Guild Career Development Grant

This just in....

The Vancouver Opera Guild will disburse a $6,000 Career Development Grant in June 2010. This Grant will be available to Canadian Citizens and those with Landed Immigrant status between the ages of 20 and 33. The deadline for the receipt of completed applications is April 15, 2010. This year’s grant is available for singers only.

The purpose of the Grant is to help people involved with opera, or those preparing for a career in the operatic field, to improve their skills or to work on a personal project related to opera. The grant is not available to students for the completion of a music degree, but is designed to assist those not yet fully established in a professional career.

Grant applications will be judged by a jury of three members of the operatic/artistic community on the following points:

- potential of the
- merit of the project
- artistic/operatic background

The Grant will be made available at the start of the successful candidate’s project. The recipient must send a report on the project to the Vancouver Opera Guild not later than three months after its completion.

Further information and application forms available from:

Mrs. R. Michael LePage
9531 Neill Place
Richmond, BC
V7E 5J6 Tel: (604)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lois Marshall Memorial Vocal Competition

This just in from the London Kiwanis Music Festival:

1 st Place $2,500, 2nd Place $1,200

SUNDAY, APRIL 25, 2010
795 Dundas Street East , London, ON

For Open and/or Senior Voice Students (male or female).
Competitors to be 18 - 28 years of age.
Entries close Friday, January 15, 2010

THREE Selections from the Classical Repertoire:
ONE Own Choice Aria from an Opera or Oratorio (sung in Italian, French or German).
TWO Own Choice Songs (No Broadway or Film, or Musical Theatre).
Limit 20 minutes. Overtime singing will be stopped.

- Competition is Open to students residing or studying in Ontario.
- All entry applications will be reviewed.
- Any changes to repertoire must be submitted no later than Monday, February 15, 2010
- You will be notified if any material is unsuitable.
- Any unsuitable material will result in disqualification.
- For amateur singers only.
- Singers earning money from singing or teaching full time, not eligible.
- Singers who consider themselves professional, not eligible.
- Each competitor is responsible for providing his/her own accompanist.
- Original and complete scores must be made available for the adjudicator(s).
- Photocopied music will result in disqualification.
- At the discretion of the adjudicator(s), sing-offs may occur.
This Competition was established by Raymond Spencer Vacchino (pianist)
M.Mus., A.Mus. (honorary), L.R.S.M.
Contacts:Charlotte Cleland 519-432-5183

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where there are singers...

...there is going to be excited chatter and high notes!

Saturday of this past weekend was no exception! Ontario Chapter of NATS held their annual Student Auditions at York University and what a great event! Organized by Michelyn Wright with on-location coordination by Catherine Robbin, this was a smoothly run day that made it possible for singers of all levels perform in a positive environment and receive feedback from teachers working with singers at their level. Thanks to everyone who attended, sang, adjudicated and supported a singer on Saturday!

If you are interested in joining NATS, now is the time! NATS has streamlined their application process to be completely on-line. And right now is a great time for Canadian teachers to pay their dues - with our dollar at almost par, you will not only get 1 month free membership from NATS but a "discount" with the exchange rate! I urge you to join today...lets have a strong Canuck presence in Salt Lake City at the National Conference!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spotlight on Deh vieni, non tardar

The soprano aria "Deh vieni, non tardar" is truly one of the the most sung aria in auditions for YAPS and beyond...which makes it required learning (in my books) for young sopranos wishing to have a career in opera!

Sung by Susanna in Act IV of Mozart's opera Le Nozze di Figaro, Suzanna is disguised as her mistress the Countess in order to trick the Count (who is acting like a bad, bad man!) and get back at him for wanting to be unfaithful to his wife the Countess. While Susanna is singing this aria, Figaro is hiding because he suspects Susanna to be unfaithful to him. Susanna knows that Figaro is there because his mother, Marcellina, tipped her off that he was raging mad over her lack of fidelity. So....Susanna decides to let him suffer a bit longer by singing "this at last is the moment...I have longingly awaited...soon he will come here and embrace me..." Of course at the end of the aria Cherubino enters looking for Barbarina and mistakes the Countess for Susanna and all hell breaks loose! Read the whole synopsis to see what happens!


To pull this aria off is no small task! The recitative needs attention to phrasing and diction of course but, you also have to decide how far to take the "hoax". Is Susanna really singing sincerely to Figaro or is there more needling going on? I always like to say to my singers that regardless of how you want to play this, this is the first time Susanna has had her own moment in the whole opera and is just so darned relieved to be alone with Figaro (albeit dressed as her mistress) that she takes this opportunity to really relax and just BE.

The aria itself dips into the low register for a soprano (E3) which needs some chest voice but it also ascends to a high A5 by the last page after sitting around the passaggio so one needs flexibility and real spin to keep the sound going.

Have a listen to a few examples:

Lucia Popp from the 1980 production at the Palais Garnier with Sir George Solti conducting. Listen to how slow Solti takes the tempo (the aria is almost 6 minutes long!) and how Popp just SPINS out those lines!

Now fast forward to 1991 in Salzburg with Dawn Upshaw...a little faster, a singer with a totally different colour of voice and vibrato...and check out the Figaro - totally crushed!

And finally the 2006 Salzburg production with Anna Netrebko...obviously a "concept" production that one needs to see the whole thing to get it (not sure about the dancing angel). Whatever you think of Netrebko, she sang sing anything...and check out the change of tempos over the generations of singers and conductors!

For more information...

Aria Database for a translation

The Wiki entry on Nozze di Figaro

Opera Today articles on various Figaro topics

Download the orginal 1784 Beaumarchais work and other study topics on the opera

Monday, November 16, 2009

Summer Program: Opera on the Avalon

There is a new program on the Canadian scene! Opera on the Avalon is located at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. Started by Canadian soprano Cheryl Hickman, this year's program includes fully staged productions of Britten's Albert Herring and The Rape of Lucretia.

A stellar cast of coaches, directors and conductors are committed to this month long program dedicated to training the next generation of Canadian opera singers.

Their deadline for application is Friday, November 27 so check it out!

How Do I Make That Sound?

The University of Iowa has created a fantastic website detailing the shapes and sounds of all the different IPA symbols in the English, German and Spanish alphabet. You can access it on-line and watch and hear a human speak the sound. You can also watch an animated cross sectional head (like the one in the photo) make the sound and detail what the tongue, lips, soft pallate and vocal folds are all doing.

This is a great resource for the studio teacher to use as an aid in teaching proper vowel formation, for the student to connect the IPA symbol with the correct sound and for anyone studying linguistics and pronunciation!

Thanks to Camilla Smith of Accent Pro Academy for the link!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reading Materials by the Fire

One of my favourite activities in fall is sitting beside the woodstove with a great fire and a good book. Today I traded the book for my laptop and found some really wonderful blog articles that should be shared!

Avocational Singer is a blog written by a stay-at-home mom who has been learning to sing for years! Yesterday she wrote about getting the voice in balance and used some fantastic analogies. Many of you know how much I love a good analogy!

Once More with Feeling is written by voice teacher Susan Eichhorn-Young who is based in New York with a satellite studio in Toronto and Los Angeles. Her post on Sunday really hit home for me as she discusses the importance of allowing a student to make their own career choice and set of goals. At the same time she challenges the student to commit just as the teacher is committing to the work necessary to fulfil the goal!

And finally, one of my favourite, intelligent bloggers Jean-Ronald Lafond of Kashu-do (previously known as Toreadorssong Blog) writes a thoughtful and passionate article about the impatience of the American opera market in the development of voices.

Pull up a chair, enjoy the fire and happy reading!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spotlight on Lascia ch'io pianga

The aria Lascia ch'io pianga sung by Almirana in Act II of Handel's opera Rinaldo is one of the loveliest and most frequently sung pieces in the literature.

The translation:
A section: Let me weep my cruel fate, and let me breath freedom!
B section: Let sorrow break these chains of my sufferings, for pity's sake.

While the tune is quite simple (and why you hear so many crossover artists are doing it), the range only a 9th and a standard ABA structure, it is the rests that make it sublime. Imagine trying to sob while singing. That seems to be the point Handel was trying to make in the A section. In the B section the vocal line ascends to the 9th as if to imitate the breaking out of the octave of the A section.

If you listen to the other "crying" aria Cara sposa sung by Rinaldo you hear a different type of lament - more controlled with almost a hopefulness or wistfulness that Almirana will return in the A section then a defiance and refusal to accept that she is gone.
The plot of Rinaldo

The basics:
Libretto by Giacomo Rossi, based on the story of Rinaldo and Armida from Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata

ClassicalTV program notes detail:

Composed in just two weeks and premiered at the theatre in the Haymarket on 24thFebruary 1711, Rinaldo - Handel's first opera for London - was a triumph. The title role was penned for the great castrato Nicolini, who had recently arrived in England, and Handel aimed to test his range to the full. The piece includes some of his most perfect melodies, including the tender 'Cara sposa' and the bravura 'Venti, turbini'.

The original production was, by all accounts, spectacular in the tradition of the English masque. "Rinaldo is filled with Thunder and Lightning, Illuminations and Fireworks," wrote The Spectator of the day. David Alden's production for the Bavarian State Opera, designed by Paul Steinberg and Buki Shiff, took up the gauntlet thrown down by Handel with the razzle-dazzle of his London coup and this creative team succeeded magnificently in inventing a similarly explosive staging. There are myriad arresting images and special effects.

Because Handel falls into the category of "early music" there can be some discussion on how one sings this aria. I have linked two very different voices singing. Canadian soprano and early music singer Suzie LeBlanc and American soprano Renee Fleming. Two sopranos, two very different sounds and very different ornaments! (please note that they are both appear to be singing at A=415 in original key of F+)

Susie LeBlanc

Renee Fleming

Watch Act I of Rinaldo on ClassicalTV
Get a synopsis from the Academy of Ancient Music
Read what Wikipedia has to say
Aria Database on Lascia ch'io pianga
Buy the aria from Sheet Music Plus

Spotlight on Repertoire

Welcome to Spotlight on Repertoire!

The goal of this section is to discuss repertoire that is currently being worked on in my studio and in studios across the country. Each week I will highlight an aria or art song with links to plot synopsis and/or poet information, composer information, translations, video and audio clips and any other relevant information that a singer might find informative.

It is easy as a singer to become complacent about the amount of information s/he can access when the Internet is so handy. Unfortunately what I am noticing is that there is not more research but even less. We can get things in quick bites but don't take the time to sit and read through a collection of criticism or discussion on the oeuvre of the composer in question or really spend the time looking up the word-for-word translation! We aren't looking at political and social impacts at the time of composition or how they reflect current culture. No one is asking the questions so students don't feel the need to answer them.

Why am I doing your homework for you? I'm not...I am pointing you in the direction of information and showing how much more there is to the 2 or 3 page song you are singing then just the notes and words.

If you have repertoire suggestions or if you have sung the song/aria being discussed and have information or opinions, please leave a note. The more discussion the better informed we will all become!

Cheers to intelligent singing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A posting yesterday on the Clyde Fitch Report Blog titled Who is David McIntosh and Why is He Charging $267.67 a Ticket? made me sit up straight and take notice. Starting with a discussion of recent National Arts Endowment budget increase in the US (from $155 M to $167.5 M) in relation to the rest of the world and how they support the arts and why. Brian McIntosh of battery opera in Vancouver recently figured out what it would cost per ticket to produce his current show: $267.67. This is why:

Yet you’re still charging this enormous sum for each ticket, which makes it clear how much you’ve needed your state subsidy in order to make your work.
I’m trying to provoke a re framing of the discussion, not to ask for pity for not funding a show, as I’ll figure out how to make art, regardless of whether I’m funded or not — that’s my reality. Yes, there’s a tendency with the threat of less funding to try to get sympathy from audience, to get them to say, “Gee, this is terrible.” But I am more curious about re framing the discussion to ask: What does this funding do? I can say it helps me make my work, but I could re frame it and say that what funding does it help the public gain access to my work by making it safe for them or easy to find me
and easy to partake in for quite a reasonable price. In other words, I think subsidies are subsidizing audience access to art and artists. It’s about society. It’s not about me.

Read the whole interview here. You can also check out David's blog for more thought provoking ideas about state-funded arts.

Friday, November 6, 2009

ClassicalTV...the joys of opera from your couch

Many of you may have already discovered ClassicalTV online but today, it was a revelation to me! In my search for information on Handel's opera Rinaldo, I (virtually) stumbled across this station where I watched the opera FOR FREE! Next up was a scene from Mozart's Entfurhung with Christine Shafer singing Konstanze's aria "Martin aller Arten".

Registration is free and you get access to lots of free video clips but the real bonus for me is the inexpensive access to MET broadcasts and European broadcasts. You can always find stuff on YouTube but you only get clips. This is the full production without having to leave your house for a fraction of the cost! Additionally there are program notes, optional subtitles, cast list and links to other related videos.

For all of you students out there:
If you haven't performed the opera from which you are singing the aria in an audition, then the next best research (besides practice) is watching that opera to really see what is happening on stage (albeit through the lens of the director)!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sparks & Wiry Cries

Canadian singer Martha Guth and her collaborative partner Erika Switzer are committed to the art of the song recital...but in ways you might be surprised! While both of them perform constantly on the "normal" stage for recitals they have also launched onto the web. Their podcast, Sparks & Wiry Cries is a revalation. Part recital, part audio book and all fun, they bring their thoughts and research to various songs, song cycles and thematic programing.

Have a listen to their thoughts on Schumann's Myrthen and while you are at it, subscribe on what is more convenient than that!

Thanks Martha and Erika!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Olympic Torchbearers and Opera: Connection?

The list of Olympic Torchbearers for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics was announced yesterday on the CNW Group website. Slated to start Sunday, November 1 in Victoria, BC, the goal of the relay is to "captivate new international audiences to see a trip to Canada in their future plans" when they broadcast each leg of the trip to the native countries of the Torchbearers.

Now I am a HUGE fan of the Olympics and am thrilled that Canada is on the world's stage again so why would I want to be a dissenting voice?

Because when you look at the list of international athletes it highlights the best of the best (figure skaters Katarina Witt and Philippe Candeloro, speed skaters Chun Lee-Kyung and Yang Yang to name a few) but when they decided to pull the arts into the list, they came up with German cross over soprano Anna Maria Kaufmann.

Am I a musical snob? Maybe, but that isn't the point.

The thrill and power of the human voice and specifically for opera singers is their ability to sing UN AMPLIFIED to an audience of thousands. That is the feat to be celebrated. Instead of highlighting this along side the equally incredible ability for figure skaters to do 3 1/2 rotations in the air over ice on tiny blades, or skate faster than any human has in the history of the world, they have elected to celebrate a singer who has crossed over to music that is amplified and over-produced and thus losing the thrill of the abilities of the human voice.

Am I a lone voice in the wilderness?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canwest Cabaret Festival starts today!

Just received an email reminder from Patricia O'Callahan, Canadian singer and recording artist who I have blogged here before, reminding me that the Canwest Cabaret Festival starts today and runs until Sunday, November 1.

Featuring some of my favourite Canadian singing artists including Adi Braun, Molly Johnson, Heather Bambrick and O'Callahan singing the works of Stevi Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Rogers and Hart. Every evening hosts at least 8 concerts...what a line up!

Concerts are located at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the uber-hip Distillery district of Toronto. Its a perfect way to spend your weekend!

Monday, October 26, 2009

CD Launch - Free wine!

If you are in Toronto on Wednesday night and want to mix wine, opera and some laughs, check out the CD Launch of Fallis and Tiefenbach: More or Less Live @ the Gould

The details:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
5pm - 7pm
Lobby of Glenn Gould Studio
250 Front Street West
CBC Broadcasting Centre
First 100 people get free glass of wine!
Come and hear "bits" at 5:45pm.

I had the good fortune of not only being in the audience for the recording but also being part of the P&T Choral ...alas the song Nebraska will forever be stuck in my head.

Check out Mary Lou's new website and have a glass of wine for me!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Voice Teacher vs. Vocal Coach

For young singers and their parents, it is easy to be confused between the voice teacher and the voice coach. There has been much written and blogged about with regards to this issue but ultimately it comes down to the area of expertise.

The voice teacher (aka: singing teacher, voice pedagogue) is the person who deals with the technique of singing. A singing teacher will guide the voice through a series of exercises dealing with issues of breath, resonance, vowel placement, and tone among other things. The goal of the voice teacher is to establish a balanced, healthy sound appropriate to the age and experience of the singer.

The voice teacher will also deal with repertoire issues. They will assign songs that are appropriate for the technical level and maturity of the singer. Their overall focus is on tone production in addition to the musical, language and dramatic demands.

Finally, the voice teacher is someone who has had training as a singer, has taken vocal pedagogy courses and has had or currently is pursing a singing career.

The voice coach (aka: collaborative pianist) is the person who deals with the musical, language and dramatic demands of the vocal repertoire. They are pianists who have done training in diction, repertoire, collaborative piano and opera. The goal of the vocal coach is to serve as the other half of the music (piano part or orchestra reduction) and help the singing put everything together. They expect a singer to arrive with notes learned, language translated, and an idea about how the song should be presented. From there the coach is the musical "mirror" for the singer and reflects back what they hear and makes suggestions on how to make any necessary changes.

Check out Chris Foley's post on the Collaborative Piano Blog for his definitions as he sees it from the other side of the piano bench!

October 26 update: Chris Foley linked this post and received many great comments. Check out the posting here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deadlines: Canadian Operatic Arts Academy

Deadlines are fast approaching for the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario!

Their first year was a huge success! This year auditions will be in conjunction with the L'Atelier Lyrique training studio from the Montreal Opera.

Highlights of the Program

  • Intensive scenes program covering the breadth of operatic repertoire

  • Internationally recognized faculty from such celebrated institutions as the
    Julliard School, Teatro alla Scala and the Houston Grand

  • Masterclasses with highly acclaimed vocal coaches

  • Classes in role preparation, performance practice, drama, movement, dance,
    stage combat, career development

  • Final performance of fully staged scenes

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Making the Cut: Definitive Question and Answer Section

Below is the ultimate, uncut Q&A about everything you need to know and more about entrance auditions to a BMus program at the University level (including what NOT to wear!). Please find the question in bold with answers after the respective school that responded.

How important is the letter of recommendation?
UofT: They are read; we are looking to see if they are honest depictions of what we hear
Ottawa: We weigh them against what we hear - musicality, technical development, language skills - as this letter can cooberate what is display. Ultimately, they are not going to save a bad audition.
Western: The applied teacher that writes a letter can be biased so we look at what other people wrote letters.
Laurier: We give this the least weight in the portfolio. The Grade 12 makes and audition are the most important.

How important is the high school grade average? and what is the minimum you accept?
RCM: mid 70%'s; weighted less than the auditions
Brock: mid 70%'s
Ottawa: mid 70%'s; audition is the most important
Western: 83% was the cut-off last year
UfoT: No mark was given but it was stated that high marks receive a $5000 scholarship and a lower than "normal" average will be monitored in the first year under academic probation.
Cambrian: Grade not important, we will take anyone.

What are the RCM Grade levels for piano and theory?
RCM: Grade 3 Harmony but we will help you get there
Brock: Grade 8 voice, Grade 2 theory, Grade 6 piano (but Grade 4 accepted)
Western: Grade 8-ARCT Voice, Grade 3 theory to be comfortable, Grade 6 piano but will take courses to get you there
Ottawa: Grade 8 minimum voice, placement theory tests

What would you like sings to wear for auditions?
York: This is a job interview and somewhat formal, dress appropriately - NO jeans, flip flops, t-shirts
Ottawa: We won't mark you down if you are casual
RCM: Ladies, please wear skirts below the knees!

REMEMBER: before you are ever heard, you are seen!

How much do you weigh the interview portion?
Western: Heavily! This gives a sense of background; we see it as a two-way conversation and a way to observe communication ability
Laurier: This broadens the picture of who you are; ho you present as a person.
Ottawa: What is motivating you to study voice? Have you thought this through? Can you articulate this?
Brock: Weeds out the students who don't really want to study classical music
York: Go to concerts before you do an audition because we ask "what have you heard lately?" to check your level of interest and commitment.

Do you take the best singers or do you accept a balance of voice types and do you have a cap?
RCM: Try to balance but will take a voice we want
Ottawa: Male with pants will get in...:-)
Western: We guarantee residence space for all first years to our numbers need to be precise- this year we accepted 46 women and 8 men
Laurier: No set number; generally average around 18-21 incoming singers but this year they accepted 32 singers of which, 7 were men.

What is the Language requirement for entrance and how does the school handle it for the degree?
Laurier: 2 contrasting pieces, 1 in English; all first years take intro to International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
York: 2 contrasting pieces; first years take English and Italian diction and only have to sing in those 2 languages. In second year we add French and German diction
Western: Audition must demonstrate singing in English and 2 other languages; All first years take IPA (part of core curriculum) in Lyric Diction; first year jury must demonstrate 3 languages, second year must demonstrate 4 languages
Ottawa: sing 4 songs for the audition including baroque, German lied, french melody and own choice; We offer baroque classes, lieder, melody and 20th C with vocal skills covered in IPA for French German and English diction.; we are a bilingual university so french is very important.
Brock: 3 pieces with 1 in English
RCM: 7 pieces including French Melodie, English, Oratorio, Opera and German Lied; we offer diction in French and German each year and English and Italian in alternate years
UofT: weekly classes for Italian diction, German Lied and French Melodie in first and second year; optional 3rd and 4th levels for all languages.

How many singers auditions for your school?
Cambrian: 40 auditions, 15 accepted, 8 registered
UfoT: 200 auditions, 35-40 accepted into all programs (BMus, MM, DMA etc) for a total of 100 singers
York: 50 auditions, 18-20 accepted; 50 singers in the program
Laurier: 120-140 auditions, 18-21 accepted; 70 singers in the programs
Western: 200 auditions, 60 accepted; 200 singers in the program
Ottawa: 80-90 auditions; 20-25 accepted; 50 singers in the program
RCM: 40-50 auditions, 3-5 accepted

Are students required to take other non-music courses?
All programs require electives to complete the degree. Each program differs in what they can take.

As always, make sure you check with each school to confirm the information shared above.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Making the Cut: Cambrian College

Monica Zerbe from Cambrian College was the final presenter. She outlined the following highlights of the Cambrian program:
  1. Their niche is to prepare you to enter your "dream program" if you aren't ready just yet.
  2. They offer a three year college program that includes courses in theory, history, performance, voice lessons, business and community outreach.
  3. they are looking for passionate students for their program!
  4. Sudbury is not far from Ottawa and Toronto.
  5. Their tuition is half the price of university and their courses transfer into 2nd and 3rd year programs at the university level.

You can also check out Monica's personal web page here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Making the Cut: University of Toronto

Dr. Darryl Edwards from the University of Toronto was on hand to discuss the Uof T program. Here are the points of interest as presented:

  1. The Faculty of Music provides a diverse program second to none in this country.

  2. There are courses dedicated to Italian song (1st and 2nd year), Oratorio (3rd and 4th year), French Melodie (3rd and 4th year), Lieder (2nd, 3rd, and 4th year) and Piano Vocal collaborative issues.

  3. There are over 30 recitals open to student participation

  4. The opera school produces 4 shows per year with this year seeing Haydn's World on the the Moon in the fall and Bernstein's Candide in the spring wit small productions of Carmen and Eugene Onegin.

  5. There are 8-10 performance classes per year in addition to studio classes

  6. The Faculty has been around for a long time so they have continued to renew, inspect and upgrade the program.

  7. The Faculty if close to the Canadian Opera Company and the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

  8. UofT boasts wonderful teachers who are also great artists.

  9. The level of graduates from UofT who are performing on the world's stages speaks volumes for the program!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Young Canadians in Vermont

Check out the lovely review of MANY young Canadian singers participating at the Vermont Opera Theater's Fall Foliage Arts Song Master Classes.

(You will notice that most of them have come out of the University of Ottawa program...there must be a link there!)

Something for all young singers to check out!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making the Cut: York University

"If you are a man, I will pay you to come to York!"

So stated Canadian mezzo extraordinaire Catherine Robbin, director of classical vocal studies at York University. Here is a list of what makes York different as presented:

  1. As a musician you are part of the Faculty of Fine arts which boasts six departments (dance, design, film, theatre, visual arts and music). This is one of the largest departments in North America and the only one in Ontario!
  2. They offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or and Honours BFA and can tailor your degree to meet your interests. As part of the program, you are required to take other classes from the different departments and thus, receive a broad perspective of the role of arts and culture.
  3. There are many performance opportunities for those specializing in classical voice including recitals, studio classes and master classes with guest artists. This year the guests include Colin Ainsworth, Daniel Lichti, Suzie LeBlanc, Bruce Ubekata and Brett Polegatto.
  4. There are 6 voice teachers, brand new facilities for music with large studios, a recital hall and rehearsal space - this is all part of a warm and supportive environment.
  5. York offers a concurrent education program (BFA & BEd in music) but you apply during your first year and start in second year. Once part of this stream, your third year is strictly music and your fourth and fifth year are both music and education.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Making the Cut: Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier Faculty of Music Voice Coordinator Kimberly Barber is on sabbatical this year so we had the pleasure of hearing from Daniel Lichti, acting coordinator, offer the following highlights:
  1. Wilfrid Laurier has been experiencing modest growth in the past few years with approximately 75 singers. Of those 75 singers, most of them are in the undergraduate program.
  2. Laurier offers a BMus and a one year Opera Diploma. This opera program performs excerpts in the fall and a full production in the spring.
  3. Along with the opportunities presented with the opera program, singers are able to perform at least twice a semester in the Noon Recital series as well as in weekly master classes with Daniel Lichti and in guest master classes.
  4. Laurier is unique in that it offers professional accompanists for studio and lessons - no other university pays for this feature!
  5. The Kitchener-Waterloo community hosts a number of professional music groups including the K-W Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Series and semi-professional choirs.
  6. The ultimate showcase for the Faculty is their Laurier Day (this year it will be held on Friday November 6) where all voice studios are open, there will be open Master Classes, open regular classes, an opportunity to meet current students, hang out in the building and get a sense of the community and finally, for any potential incoming singer, a mock Master Class and trial lessons with teachers of your choice. This is a FANTASTIC opportunity to see a music program in action and Laurier was the only school present to offer this in a formal way!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Making the Cut: University of Western Ontario

The Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario was represented by Vocal Coordinator and the President of the Ontario Chapter of NATS, tenor Torin Chiles. Torin is an eloquent speaker and outlined the following features of the Western program:
  1. There are over 200 singers at Western; 40 of which are graduate students. This number will increase in 2010-11 when they roll out their new Doctorate program (DMA). This makes them the largest Faculty of Music in Ontario (and in the country I believe).

  2. The undergraduate experience aims to nurture and challenge their singers in a safe environment. Students are encouraged to discover and evolve as musicians and human beings.

  3. Their faculty features many well known Canadian performing artists including mezzo Anita Kraus (currently at the COC in Butterfly), baritone Ted Baerg, mezzo Sophie Roland (who, with her husband Todd Wieczorek bring DMA degrees from Indiana University) and recently hired soprano Laura Whalen.

  4. They provide numerous master classes with visiting artists including Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka.

  5. Last summer they launched a summer program aimed at the emerging artist called Canadian Operatic Arts Academy (COAA) (check out their brochure - auditions for 2010 are in November!)

  6. Their opera program has the benefit of a new facility with 3 productions for 2009-10. The operas are based on open auditions for undergrads and graduate students so everyone has a chance to learn a major role.

  7. Their education stream is very strong with a Faculty of Education at UWO making a convenient transition after 4th year. Part of the strength of this program are the 5 choirs that provide training in choral singing and conducting.

  8. UWO doesn't provide big scholarships as they chose to distribute their money evenly among students based on academic achievement as they feel this is a large indicator for success. You can be guaranteed $2000 if you enter with a 90% or higher and $1500 with an 85%!
In short, UWO is a big school and with that comes big opportunity, a plethora of experiences and of course, a lovely campus!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Making the Cut: University of Ottawa

It is always a party when Ingemar Korjus from the University of Ottawa is in the room! His ultra-resonant bass-baritone voice announced that UofO was a small but MIGHTY music school (while donning the Wagner helmet with horns)! Here are the highlights of the program as presented:
  1. 1. Sandra Graham (his wife) is on faculty teaching Opera Workshop. Sandra is a mezzo that sang in Germany for years and brings a wealth of knowledge to her teaching.
  2. They encourage the onus of study to be on the student asking "what do I (the student) have to offer as a musician?"
  3. Singers outnumber the rest of the musicians at UofO. With a focus on helping students feel safe, they can take the risks necessary to learn more and get to the next level.
  4. Opera Workshop is a major part of the program involving both undergrads and graduate students. In the past they have performed the Medium, Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, Carmen and this year will do Le Nozze di Figaro with orchestra.
  5. There is a wealth of musical happenings in Ottawa and when major singers come to sing with the NAC Orchestra, UofO has them present master classes. Last year they hosted Russel Braun, Dalton Baldwin (pianist) and Edith Weins. Students also receive free tickets to many concerts.
Ingemar finished with a passionate speech encouraging young singers to "follow your heart and you will not go wrong".

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Making the Cut: Brock University

Deborah Linton was on hand to outline some of the features of the 4 year BMus program at Brock University. Here are some of the highlights of the program as presented:
  1. Location, location, location! Located in the lovely Niagara Peninsula, Brock University is surrounded by verdant fields filled with grapes, peaches and apple orchards. Niagara Falls is minutes away plus wine tastings, Shaw Festival Theatre and Fort George. The added bonus is that it is also only an hour from Toronto!
  2. Brock University Department of Music is small with individualized attention. Faculty know students by name. They offer a 4 year Honours BMus, BA with Honours in Music, and BAs with music as a major or minor (see their website for details!). The translation? The program is flexible and tailor-made to your needs and interests.
  3. Brock has its own Faculty of Education which makes the transition into the BEd program seamless.
  4. The Music Department is part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts which includes drama and art which means a wide range of artist possibilities for courses.
  5. They have recently been given a large endowment which will see new facilities, 6 new concert halls including a 1000 seat theatre and tonnes of scholarship money!
  6. There are many opportunities to perform with opera excerpts, weekly master classes, and joint productions with the theatre department.
  7. Courses included 1 hour weekly lessons, Diction and Pedagogy.

Making the Cut: The Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music

Jennifer Tung and Donna Sherman represented The Glenn Gould School from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Here are some of the highlights of their program as presented:
  1. The GG offers a 4 year BMus degree and a 2 year Diploma
  2. They offer 90 minute lessons (These lessons can be split 60/30 voice and piano if needed or you can purchase extra lesson time on another instrument)
  3. Performance opportunities include Master Classes with international singers. Last season was Ruth Falcon of Mannes College in NYC and Canadian baritone John Fanning; this season includes Frederica Von Stade.
  4. They have 3 performance facilities including the brand new Koener Hall . Additionally their space has been newly renovated with new rehearsal and teaching spaces added.
  5. They will help make you the musician you need to be to have a career as a singer! They feed into the COC Ensemble and have a working relationship with Opera Atelier.
  6. This is a conservatory-style education where incoming grades are not weighed as heavily as they would be at a university.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Making the Cut: Tips on Winning the Post-Secondary Audition

For those of you who regularly follow this blog, you will have noticed a big push to attended the recent Ontario NATS event titled "Making the Cut: An informational seminar for high-school students wanting more information about universities and colleges in Ontario".

Yesterday was the big day organized by Ontario NATS VP of Special Projects, baritone Todd Wieczorek . This event was a well executed and informative afternoon that offered a great deal of advice to future voice majors, their parents and the teachers that prepare them for the auditions!

I will take this week to review the information that was presented by each of the 8 schools in attendance and post the questions and answers posed to the panel by the moderator (Todd) and the floor.

The following schools were in attendance (in order of presentation):
  1. The Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto
  2. Department of Music, Brock University, St. Catherine's
  3. School of Music, University of Ottawa, Ottawa
  4. Don Wright Faculty of Music, University of Western Ontario, London
  5. Faculty of Music, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo
  6. Department of Music, York University, Toronto
  7. Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, Toronto
  8. Department of Music, Cambrian College, Sudbury

Finally, please note that the information is based on the notes I took and should not be taken as gospel. If you have any questions, please contact the school directly for answers! I will provide contact information for each school.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Making the Cut - THIS WEEKEND!

Just a reminder to all students looking to apply to post secondary schools in Voice. Making the Cut is this Sunday! Check out my previous post here.

Hope to meet you there!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Planning for a Year of Successful Singing

Getting the Most Out of Your Lessons #4

Right now we are all in the throes of scheduling lessons, looking at academic, audition and exam requirements, selecting repertoire and of course learning and perfecting our technique. I know my overwhelm button will be pushed if I don't plan as much as possible NOW for my students!

Some suggestions for a year of successful singing:

  1. Compile a list of your exams and auditions with deadlines, audition/exam dates and repertoire requirements;

  2. Work backwards from the performance date setting goals of where you want to be with learning and memorizing and rehearsing with your accompanist;

  3. Share these dates with your teacher and accompanist and talk about how to achieve these goals;

  4. If you need to do recordings, book them early so you have time for editing and don't have to send your materials by overnight courier (WAY more expensive!);

  5. Write/enter all your goals into your day timer/outlook with reminders.

Now you can relax and just get the work done! Planning now can save time and money later and do a lot to help you be a sane and happy singer!

Good luck and keep me posted on your progress!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Right Tools for Your Successful Singing Lesson

Getting the Most Out of Your Lessons #3

In my studio policy, I talk about getting the right tools for success. Here are the highlights:
  1. Recording Equipment: From a laptop with a plugged in mic to a mini iTalk on your iPod, recording your lesson for playback later is an invaluable tool. I know you had to listen to your mistakes but get over it so you can progress faster!
  2. Prep Your Music: Do your homework before bringing a new score to a lesson. That means you have listened to a number of different singers perform it (Youtube, iTunes, etc), written out the text and translated it word for word and poetically, done your International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and then written the highlights back into your score!
  3. Prep Your Knowledge: Do a little research on your song - who was the composer? When was it written? What else was being written and by whom at that time? What was happening socially, politically, and economically in the world and in Canada? Who is the poet? This may seem obvious but I am constantly amazed that students think they just need to learn notes!
  4. Attitude: Get ready to focus and learn in your lesson. I could go on and on about the time wasted on chatter (I'm also guilty) so will just say, acknowledge how you are today and then get to the business of singing. If you have the kind of relationship with your teacher that you can talk to about your life issues, schedule separate time outside the lesson to go for coffee.
  5. Memorize you Music: Get your song memorized as soon as possible. My studio policy states that the second time you bring a song to a lesson, it must be memorized. The sooner you get a song on its feet, the sooner you can focus on everything else besides the notes!

Feel free to check out my studio policy which is linked to my website and let me know what works in your studio!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sing if you love it!

In a recent interview with Marlene Hall of SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL INTERVIEW, Canadian Mezzo-Soprano Lucia Cervoni is asked:

What advice would you give aspiring singers?

Sing! If you love it and need to do it than just do it. Find a way. It's not the easiest road, but my response to that is what is?! If one has the opportunity to live out their passion in their life, then I say they are one of the luckiest people on this earth (and of course find a great teacher).

Read the complete article.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Opera as real life...this just in from Ottawa

Opera Lyra patrons at The Magic Flute yesterday witnessed how scary opera can be to real life. The Ottawa Citizen reports:

Quick-thinking patrons at Opera Lyra Ottawa’s performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute Monday helped save a distraught woman who climbed over the railing of one of the boxes at the National Arts Centre.

It happened in a matter of seconds and the performance was not interrupted, but about 10 minutes before the end of the opera, shortly after a character in the opera is contemplating suicide, a woman left her seat in the amphitheatre, entered a box close to the stage and started climbing over the railing, about seven metres above the floor, NAC spokesman Carl Martin said. He said patrons near the woman said she seemed to be trying to call out to one of the characters on stage. A patron in the box held the woman, and patrons in the box below grabbed her and lowered her safely into the lower box.

Read the full article.

Warms ups VS. Exercises

Getting the Most out of you Lesson #2

Just like working out at the gym, the voice needs to be "warmed up" or stretched before attempting feats of high art. Many times students will come to a lesson saying "I haven't sung yet today". This is OK for a young singer but once you hit university, you need to take control of your own warming up!

Warm up exercises come in all shapes and sizes but should start out easy - 5 note scales, humming, lip trills, triad work and hissing call act to get the blood flowing to the vocal folds and remind your airflow what to do. I usually find that in 5-10 minutes you can get the voice in a good placement and you are ready to go!

After that, you are ready to do your exercises! These of course, are the bigger, longer, more varied exercises/scales that your teacher guides you through listening for vowel accuracy, timbre, pitch, resonance - basically the nitty-gritty of great sound.

Coming to a lesson without having warmed up decreases the time your teacher can spend doing exercises and repertoire.

Get ready for your lessons mentally and physically - get warmed up by yourself (even if you have to hum in the bathroom between classes!) and you will notice a difference in your progress!

If you have any favourite "warm ups", please share!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2009 Call for Compositions CFMTA Vocal Winner - Maple Dust

American-Canadian Composer Martha Hill Duncan recently won the Vocal Award at 2009 Call for Compositions by the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Association (CFMTA). This song is written for RCM Grade 4 -6 level singer and can be purchased directly from Martha at

Here is the video recording we did a few weeks ago:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Getting back into the swing of things....a new year!

Getting the Most out of your Lessons #1

I know some universities started last week but we here at Queens are just getting up and running today. I love looking around at all the excited freshmen getting ready to launch their four year music degrees!

This week I will spend some time talking about how to get the most out of your private voice lessons and your music education in general.

Lets start today with MUSIC SCORES!

Gerrit Theule of the Canadian Opera Blog (not to be confused with the COC Blog) has a great post: Scores! All the Scores You Could Want! Free!. Not every university has a killer library and not everyone can afford to buy all that scores they need so... why not make use of the electronic resources of Indiana University, the Eastman School of Music and others?

If you are looking to buy, you check out Sheet Music Plus for a great selection at even better prices (with cheap shipping to Canada).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Facebook Followers

Calling all Facebook users!

Check out my "widget" for Facebook (to the right)! You can follow me on Facebook - just click the link and VOILA!

Looking forward to seeing your lovely faces on my blog.

5 AM wake up call

This morning our phone rang at 5AM with a wake up call...and no I'm not staying at a hotel! My husband answered the call then proceeded (in a sleepy stupor) to ask the caller a million questions...of course no one could sleep after that. I felt like I had entered into the scene from Marriage of Figaro where the count "finds" Cherubino in the Countess' room but instead Susanna pops out.

Let this send you off on your weekend:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Undergraduate Programs - a Review

For all of you who have requested information on applying to voice programs, here is a quick list of programs I reviewed last year:

Mount Allison University
University of Manitoba
University of British Columbia
Wilfrid Laurier University
Queens University

By no means is this exhaustive - it is obvious I have left out some of the big guns - UofT, McGill, Western - but do not despair! Watch for posts the first week of October after the NATS "Making the Cut" weekend for more reviews!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Canadian Opera More or Less Live?

Canadian singer and comedienne extraordinaire Mary Lou Fallis and her pianist side-kick Peter Tiefenbach have recently released their newest hilarity Mary Lou Fallis & Peter Tiefenbach more of less LIFE at the GOULD.

A review of Mary Lou's past Prima Donna shows plus new works (!) I laughed until I cried - both in the audience last January when it was taped and recently while driving home from Toronto (I don't recommend driving while listening - there should be a warning with this CD!).

The successor to the late, great Anna Russell, Mary Lou and Peter are unstoppable with original tunes like "I've Got Faust Under My Skin" (a combination of Schubert's Gretchen am Spinnrade and the standard I've got you under my skin), "Why isn't Love like it is in the Opera?", "Nebraska!!" (Oklahoma?) and my personal favourite "Bingo Night in Berlin" (sung in the belt-opera style of Kurt Weill).

You can get more information about this CD or booking this show for your event at Dean Artists Management.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Be an audience...Canadian Opera this season

"You have to BE an audience to HAVE an audience".

The Canadian Opera Company
The Royal Conservatory of Music
Calgary Opera
Edmonton Opera
Manitoba Opera
Montreal Opera
Opera Lyra
Pacific Opera Victoria
...and there are so many other concerts, events, galas...let us all know about YOUR event!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Making the Cut - Ontario NATS hosts Post-Secondary Info Session

Now on the NATS Ontario Chapter website:

MAKING THE CUT: a workshop for students who plan to audition for post-secondary music programs

Every two years, NATS Ontario presents this very popular workshop for students and their parents and teachers. A panel of representatives from most of Onatrio's university, college and conservatory music programs will speak about the opportunities they offer and their expectations of preparation and talent in the singers who audition for them.

The event will take place on September 27, 2009 at 2 PM at Unioville High School (201 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham ON The street runs north from Hwy 7, just west of Warden Ave.) The session will be followed by a meet-and-greet time for students to talk to the presenters.

Don't go to your audition without this valuable preparation. You could even meet the person who will hear your audition. There will be a nominal entry fee for students, parents and teachers or coaches who are not NATS members.

Come join us at the end of the month. I hope to be there with the Queens delegates!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Teaching an old dog new tricks...

I have spent the morning on the computer doing all the computer-related things that one does to manage their lives - Blogging, emailing students, sending thank you notes for studio referrals, being in touch with colleagues, uploading a video to my YouTube channel and of course, Facebooking. Finally after looking at the clock and realizing my arms were locked into one position, I decided to head outside with my coffee to enjoy this beautiful Prince Edward County weather!

Now normally Iwould sit at the front of my house but today, I took my chair over to the deck that served as a "stage" for our annual outdoor concert this summer (Lakestock '09) and sat there instead. What a difference a new view can make! The lake out front looked different, I got new ideas for my gardens (I should really cut the grass!) and then I started to think singing.

It got me thinking that we can get stuck repeating old patterns and wondering why nothing changes. The same goes with developing and managing vocal technique and repertoire. Yesterday I had a lesson with my mentor Mary Lou Fallis in Toronto. She kept saying to me "think the pitch BEFORE you sing". "But I am" I thought...but really, I was breathing, setting a vowel then pitching it. No wonder the onsets were out of balance! Once I started to make that realization, things started to fall into place.

So back to my deck today...I decided to start singing right out there in the sunshine with the breeze blowing the flag and the fishermen going by. A new space, a new idea and voila, some new sounds. Added to that, the lack of feedback when you sing outside, made it a real kinaesthetic singing sensation and took me to a different place where I could assess things and get NEW and DIFFERENT results.

The point? Find a new space, get a new set of ears (teacher, coach, friend), try something new and you might be surprised by the results. You know what they say about old dogs....prove them wrong! And NOW is the time to do it!

NATS Partners with Classical Singer Magazine and YAP Tracker

This just in from NATS:

NATS Board of Directors has entered into new partnership agreements that provide increased benefits to EVERY ACTIVE NATS member starting this fall. With these new partnerships alone the value of NATS membership is nearly doubled. Would you like a FREE subscription to Classical Singer Magazine valued at $53 per year? How about a 15% discount on a subscription to YAP Tracker, the leading Young Artist Program and Competition service? Both of these are now important benefits of NATS membership....

As we all try to stay abreast of the latest trends in voice research, teaching methods, and the real world skills our students need to succeed, we believe NATS, Classical Singer, and YAP Tracker provide a unique set of important resources for all teachers of singing.

I agree that this is an important value-added service from NATS. Looks like they are trying to expand their membership and are open to new ideas!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Time to check deadlines...competitions, scholarships and more!

I am currently in the process of making a list of application deadlines of scholarships and competitions for my students (and some for me - like the NATS Intern Program - more on that later!). Here are a few that have come to my attention this week:

Opera Nuova

Designed for Canadian Singers, who are of advanced standing with considerable
previous training, this intensive program is a must for singers who wish to focus on development technique while simultaneously working on their performance skills.
These comprehensive programs provide instruction in creative process, acting, movement, Alexander technique, diction, language and vocal interpretation taught by distinguished faculty who are experts in their field. Our guest teachers, who are internationally recognized artists, give daily mini-master classes, public forum master classes and private voice lessons.

Opera Nuova offers both a 4-week and a 6-week program for singers and a 5-week program for collaborative pianists.
Deadline: October 25 (Received by)

Young Singers Foundation
Our Vision The Young Singers Foundation feels a well-rounded education for our young people should include music. Without the opportunity to participate in music programs, youngsters are deprived of unique opportunities to develop their creativity, to learn self-discipline and team work, to increase their sense of self-worth, and to learn to live in a global society.

Created by Sweet Adelines International in 1992, the Young Singers Foundation offers $2000 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in universities both in the US and Canada.
Deadline: February 15

Both of these opportunities came to me through YAP Tracker. If you don't already have it....GET IT! It is the most comprehensive listing of Young Artist Programs and Competitions out there. (Email me for a $5 discount too!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another First Day of School!

The yellow school bus at the end of our driveway this morning at 7:15 was a sure sign that school is back in session and we are no longer on vacation!

This is my favourite time of year because of cool weather (jeans and sweater time!), fresh starts and new students....and new blog postings!

In preparation for starting a new teaching "season", I invested in new already-sharpened pencils and....a web service to manage my studio. Music Teachers Helper is a web-based service that provides you with the tools to create invoices, send automatic email reminders, track expenses, post studio activities and much more! I am just learning how to optimize this service so check out my own site as it changes and morphs into a lean, mean studio manager machine! As I continue to work with this program, I will keep you posted on how it is working out for me.
Happy "back to school"!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On vacation

I'm sure everyone has figured out that I'm on vacation by now! Since the end of school for my kids we have hosted a huge music yard party (our annual Lakestock), spent a week in Quebec and ripped apart our kitchen. Coming up in August is a trip to Calgary to visit with family then another week in Quebec to brush up on our French.

Look for my return the end of August with more resources for Canadian singers.

Until then....enjoy the summer!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canadian, eh?

Celebrate all that is Canadian today!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CFMTA Vocal Solo Winner - Composer Martha Hill Duncan

The Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Association (CFMTA) recently announced the winners of their Call for Compositions Competition. My friend and Kingston composer Martha Hill Duncan was the winner of the vocal solo portion of the competition with her song "Maple Dust".
This song is aimed at RCM Grades 2-3 and is a lovely melody in F+ with relatively simple accompaniment.

We will be recording this song next week for the CFMTA National Convention. I will post a link once it is done!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Canadians at the Montreal International Musical Competition

Winners of the 2009 Montreal International Musical Competition were announced last week. Congratulations to our Canadians!

Second Prize and the COVC Jean A. Chalmers Award For the Best Canadian Artist Offered by the Canadian Opera Volunteer Committee: Yannick-Muriel NOAH, soprano

Joseph Rouleau Award For the Best Artist from Quebec: Charlotte CORWIN, soprano

For more details visit the MIMC website.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's happening at...Luminato!?

Check out Luminato in Toronto starting this Friday, June 5 and running until Sunday, June 14! On the music side, R. Murray Schafer is premiering his new opera The Children's Crusade featuring boy soprano Jacob Abrahamse of Peterborough, ON.

Look for other events in literature, film, visual arts and design and events for the whole family.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Canadian Publisher in town

On the weekend I attended the provinical NATS AGM in Toronto (thanks everyone for a great day!) and had the oppotunity to meet Brian McDonagh of Plangere Publishing.

What a great vision and a great guy...I bought the TORONTO SONG BOOK with works by John Greer, David Passmore, Colin Eatock felt like going home to be back at UofT and surrounded by these names! This is a nicely printed, well bound book that was $40 and gives a great bang for your buck. It also stays open on my piano which is a bonus!

Plangere [plän'jâ'rā]: to be struck, or moved, effected by.

I am definitely struck by Plangere and look for the Kingston Song Book next to include Clifford Crawley, John Burge, Martha Hill Duncan and more!

From the voice of....