Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Thank you Teachers of 2020 "Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 5 of 5

 As a quick wrap up to this series on "Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever", I just want to say thank you to all of the teachers of 2020 who are out there doing their best to teach our youth today!  And thank you students and families for joining us on the journey and embracing the new ways of learning of this challenging time.

Teachers: No matter your subject area or age that you teach,we need to continue to support one another in our challenges and successes.  Reach out to each other today to make sure your fellow educators are okay.  Share a good story or something you found successful in your teaching in our modified models of 2020.  Offer to be an ear or a help to someone who has hit a roadblock in how to do something.  

What are you finding is rewarding in teaching in these challenging times?  What are the benefits you see?  I know I find my students are more prepared for their lessons and we are having fun exploring different opportunities to create music!

Students: Stop and think about what you are learning about your OWN learning style.  What works well for you?  What is challenging?  What do you enjoy about learning in these different ways?

Focus on the POSITIVE and YOU will make your world a Masterpiece!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Voice Lessons and Chorus or Band: Tribute to "Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 4 of 5

Study of music  in the form of Voice lessons, Saxophone lessons, Chorus, Band, or participation in Drama and Musical Theater Productions have such a large impact on students.  It is here that many students truly witness the concept that "Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever".  


Many Years of Study--Part of this phenomenon is that it is and opportunity to have MANY years of study with the same teacher so there is continual development of the skills of and whole of a person.  

Individual Voice Lessons or Instrumental Study is a one on one opportunity to help develop musical skills and impact students over the course of many years.  As the students ability levels change, so does the teaching.  As their musical tastes develop, so does their repertoire and exposure to repertoire they didn't even know existed.

Although choir, band, and drama directors deal with many students at a time (often in much larger groups than the average classroom), they often also have the pleasure of teaching the same students over many years.  As students grow and change, teachers affect them in different ways.  It is an ongoing continuum of learning where students grow from year to year thus creating a large impact on students. 

Music and Drama as a Subject Touch the Heart and Soul

Music and drama study really touch the heart and soul of a human being.  Whether it be interacting with the other musicians and thespians in the room and creating a unique bond through those interactions OR an individuals response to the music they are making that lifts their spirits and makes them feel good to create, the impact of these subjects on a person can be so profound.

Music and Drama Study Develop Many Aspects of a Person as a Whole:

Study of music and drama instill discipline, ability to accept and work with constructive criticism to make something the best it can be, encourage creativity and so many more things!

Stop and think as an adult:  What are some of your fondest memories of your education in your youth?  Many reply taking lessons, singing in choir, being in the musical, marching band.  If not musically inclined it may be a particular group project or research which YOU did.  Something that mattered or interested you at the time are what stick with us.  Someone stirred that interest in you and the TOPIC fueled your interest. 

Stop and think as a student:  What are some of the things you remember the most fondly of your education so far?  Is it taking voice lessons?  Participating in band?  Missing being on stage in a Musical Theater Production?  Something stirred that interest in you (was it your teacher, your parents) and that TOPIC or how making the music, singing, acting, made you feel keeps you there.

ENJOY your moments in music and drama!  Seek out opportunities available to you.  Let music and drama teachers help you to explore all that is out there!  In 2020 many opportunities are available in different formats due to social distancing. Some may be more likely on a 1 on 1 basis such as Voice Lessons- sign up to enjoy today!  Others may be outdoor opportunities in small groups- let yourself enjoy all that you can and be impacted by Arts Teachers over many years!  Trust me, you will never forget it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Individual Music Lessons: Clear Example of "Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 3 of 5

Now almost a month into school, have any new teachers started to have that profound impact on you?  Are they a teacher you had before?  Or is it a new teacher and a new way of learning that make you appreciate them more? 

Last week I shared 2 teachers who made a large impression on me and there are more.  My 5th grade teacher had one year to make an impression on me and did so in a big way.  He was there when I needed someone.  My voice teacher had many years to make that impression because learning singing is a lifelong skill in which I have invested much time in lessons.  My band teacher, choral teacher, drama instructor and future voice teachers also had a large impact on me.  In study of these areas, I had many of the teachers for multiple years AND ongoing guidance in areas that interest me.  The same is true of a coach in a sport which students get to learn across many years.  They can shape our path for years to come. 

This week I want to address Individual Instruction in music and the impact it has on a student (and next week group instruction).  Individual instruction in music (voice lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons) has a very powerful connection between student and teacher.  The teacher is sharing their knowledge with the student but moving at the students pace and addressing their individuality along the way.  Taking time to talk about individual posture for singing, where THAT student feels resonance, learning about reading music, discussing music preferences and what style or music suits THAT students voice.  

As Independent Voice or Instrument Teachers, we work on building the individual through years of study in many areas.  Here are some of the benefits of individual voice lessons (or music study in general)

* Teach Individual skills including fine tuning the instrument and musicality

* Develop a person and character through one on one interaction and teaching responsibility 

* Build Confidence 

*Teach discipline to craft their art 

* Explore the INDIVIDUAL voice and the changes it may be enduring as a student has vocal demands of both choir and the musical, going through puberty, how the voice responds to singing different styles of music or languages.

* Through many years of study, continually develop musicianship skills and the person.  We get to interact over a longer span of time and do have an impact on the student as they develop as a human and musician!

* Specific to singing and chorus:  There is a human heartbeat to singing.  A sense of belonging, of making music with YOUR voice, the person playing the piano, or the human singing with you (choir)

Many of these characteristics are present in the teaching of the arts in a larger group as well, which we we explore next week, but in the day and age we are living in with so many restrictions to publicly making music together, I wanted to address the many benefits to taking SINGING LESSONS (even if online for a while).  

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

"Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 2 of 5


It is beyond imagination the impact that a teacher can have on a child.  Last week I challenged you to thank a teacher and also to think about a teacher who impacted you and why.  Teachers are working even harder in this year of 2020 to do what they love, TEACH, and shape lives.  They are met with added challenges and still persevere.  Yes, I am a teacher too and realize why.  It is partly because of the teachers who taught me.

There are many teachers who have greatly impacted a life that stick out to me from an article I recently read:

A high school English teacher impacted the life of one of her students and encouraged her writing.  She is  now famous author.  The author has thanked the teacher in many of her prologues.  Without the teachers words and encouragement, she would not of set the goal to be an author.

The caring nature of a 10th grade teacher towards a child who lost their parents gave the student the courage and drive to attend school and be one of the first in their family to go to college.  The teacher became a reason for the student to show up to class and do well when the child thought there was no longer a reason to do so.  He gave him a purpose and to know someone was counting on him.

These examples may seem severe or out of the ordinary, but they happen everyday.  Who were the teachers that impacted you?  Did you thank them yet?

As I reflect on my teachers who had the biggest impact on me, I am reminded of the life lessons they taught me and want to share a few who stand out to me:

Thank you, Mr. Bob Wilkey, my 5th grade teacher.  He helped me through some struggles during that year.  He believed in me and gave me courage to believe in myself and my strengths.  He and I have kept in touch over the years.  I know he has done the same for countless students.  

Thank you to my first voice teacher, Pat Conrad, who also believed in me and fostered my talents.  She showed me the joy of singing and love of helping others to learn to sing at their best.  It was so valuable to me I decided I wanted to do the same.  I continued to return to her for years to come and sang with her for many more.  I think of her often as I teach and all she taught me.

YOU as a teacher make a difference.  YOU as a student are impacted and YOU as a student also give teachers the motivation to do what they do.  We all give energy to one another.  Keep it positive and share your positive influencers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

"Good Educators Share Knowledge. Great Educators Make an Impression That Stays in Their Students Hearts Forever." Part 1 of 5

 "Good educators share knowledge.  

Great educators make an impression that stays in their students' hearts forever."  

ESPECIALLY IN 2020! (Part 1)

I read these words a few days ago and it really rang true to me as something to remember right now!  Educators are working harder than ever in this wild and crazy year of 2020!  Not only are they doing what they love, TEACHING, but they are becoming proficient on technology, planning more than ever to hold seamless virtual classes or simultaneous virtual and in person classes, and trying to reach their students in all the different ways that they need through the computer and/or with COVID safety measures in person. So many challenges and so many added responsibilities.  From the math teacher, to the 5th grade teacher, to the Chorus Teacher, to the college professor, to the Voice Teacher, I have no doubt some of the teachers our kids really remember in their lifetime will be from this time.  

Teachers, take a moment and breathe and know you've got this.  It will take extra time and patience, but your work is important and we will all get through this together.  (Yes this is a pep talk for me too!)

Parents and students, take a moment to breathe and remember 'patience is a virtue'.  You've got this too, you can adapt to learning in new ways.  What teachers are sharing is still important.  Not only the CONTENT of what they are teaching but HOW they teach with compassion and WHAT you learn about humanity.  What sticks with you?

EVERYONE, take time to do something that lifts your spirits!  Listen to music, sing, play the guitar, go for a run, dance.  

Once you have done that, think about what TEACHER really touched your life and why?  Was it in a particular subject or just who they are?  Tune in next week for more.  In the meantime, take an extra moment to thank a teacher you appreciate in your life right now.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

What? School is Online? I need a creative outlet and 1 on 1 interaction-Try Singing Lessons!

 Ah 2020, what is going to be next?  School (and work) is online for many of us and so many students need a creative outlet with one on one interactions.  Singing Lessons may be the answer!

Think about it:  Music has been the one thing that everyone went to when we first went into quarantine in March.  How many videos did you see of people singing and making music together through the computer?  How did it make you feel?  It made me feel good and think about how much music soothes the soul or as a recent colleague said, "Music fixes everything."  

Music and singing specifically gives you an outlet for your emotions.  A chance to explore what lies within you.  Interacting with a voice teacher is a human connection that helps you improve those skills. 

 The one on one attention makes you feel like you are important and what you do really matters.  It does. Sing from the heart and work on improving something within yourself.  Try singing a new style of music, learn to sing in a different language.  One on one singing lessons have so much to offer!

Making music gives you a creative outlet, something we may be missing with online school.  Singing releases feel good endorphins.  Go out and sing your heart out to lift your spirits.

Do you love choir but not feel like you are getting the same satisfaction when singing in an online choir?  Maybe you need more individual human interaction and guidance from a singing teacher.  Not only can you hone your skills, but feel better in the process.  

Sing a bit to yourself.  Go on, Give it a try!  How do you feel after a bit?  Would you like to make it sound even better?  Reach out to a voice teacher like me today and get started!   Voice Lessons Inquiry

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Reduce Your Anxiety and Improve Your Overall Well Being with Yoga, Pilates and Singing Part 6

I hope you joined me in the fun of planks and the experiment to see how it affects your singing.  After a few weeks of adding 2 planks to your daily practice, what happened?

I noticed I started supporting my singing from my abdominal muscles immediately upon doing my warm-ups.  A plank activates the abdominal muscles to do exactly what we want them to do when singing:  contract lightly but firmly.  It also activates the quadriceps or front muscles of the legs. Engaging these muscles when standing helps us activate the internal abdominal muscles and provide adequate breath support to our sound.

My breath support was balanced from the start and I avoided the potential to oversing even in emotional passages.

My brain also was truly focused on singing from the start.  The extra couple of minutes to get myself set to sing made an impact. 1 or 2 minutes of concentration on a muscular task also calms the brain.  Instead of trying to calm it down to focus all on your own, physical motion helps you.

It also calms and slows down your breath from our quick paced and uncertain world.

Comments from my studio:

"The planks help me develop a stronger core which I can feel."

"A tighter belly creates more breath support which is therefore easier on my throat when singing.  I always want to start my sound in the throat without using my breath first.  This is helping me to break this habit."

"My core is getting stronger to use it and guide my air better."

"I am connecting with my breath more now when I sing."

Thank you to all of you who commented on my blog The 2 Plank Challenge-What-does-doing-2 planks before singing do for you?  Most singing teachers agree that adding planks and other physical activities help singers be more in tune with their bodies, minds and improve singing.

"I've been advising my clients for years to do the Plank Challenge in order to build up their core strength - very effective :-) http://30dayfitnesschallenges.com/30-day-plank-challenge/" Kim Chandler

"I have been having my students planking for a year, I have been doing it for a long time. The results are immediate: even on days when they are a bit under the weather, after planking for 30-40 seconds, the breath connects with the body and the vocal results never cease to amaze! HIGHLY recommended..."  Angela Ahiskal 

Each individual is unique so various approaches work for different people.  Singers who are also athletes may need less direction on support and dancers often already have tight core muscles which may need to be relaxed when singing.  Those who are not as physically active outside of singing may need to take more time to get in tune with their bodies.  Physical fitness is an important part of being a singer today.  It is also a way to be a more well-balanced individual in these trying and uncertain times.  Find the activities that work for you to keep improving your singing and truly get your voice and body coordinated to make YOUR best sound.  Keep up the plank challenge and let me know other things which help you!