Takeaways From the NATS Conference – July 3, 2022

Day 3 – more takeaways! (addt’l comments in purple italics)

July 3, 2022

  • “Social Media and Building a Studio” presented by Phyllis Horridge et al
    • YouTube:
      • Reaction videos on YouTube (and TikTok) are very successful at getting you known
      • Editing is crucial
    • Instagram 
      • It’s where the kids are (and TikTok) – FB is dead [long live Facebook]
      • Carousels get much more traction than single photos; videos get the most
      • Lighting is the most important
    • TikTok
      • Controversial content is still content 
    • General
      • The longer you keep someone on your site, the more the platform sends people to see it
      • Showing up is the most important thing you can do 
      • Go live!
      • Check out Pinterest – it’s a great and underused way to get traffic to your sites
        One of these days I’ll have the guts to do TikTok – hoping for the New Year
  • “Creating Crossover Curriculum” presented by Sarah Wigley, Nathan Gunn, Yvonne Gonzales Redman

    • New program at University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana offering a BMA in Lyric Music Theater – opera and musical theater
      • NASM-accredited program focusing on 
        • Flexibility
          • Performance and creative concentrations
          • Lyric Theater Studio – student led productions; students manager
            • Costume and set design
            • Sound production
            • Direction/Stage management
          • Collaborative teaching (“it’s like a teaching hospital”) [love this idea and this line]
            • Students work with teachers in different genres
            • Influenced by Norman Spivey/Mary Saunders Barton at Penn State
        • Creativity
          • New Works
          • Collaboration with other Arts majors
        • Wellness
          • Vocal Health
            This was not something that directly pertained to me, but I had heard about this program on Nicholas Perna’s VocalFri podcast, and I was curious about it. I was looking at it for a student of mine – who is no longer a student of mine. Oh well.
  • Keynote Address – Craig Terry

    • Focus on interpretation – “help them to mean the words that they sing”
    • Use improvisation – think outside the box – accompanied a young woman on “Caro mio ben” and changed the style and harmonies of the accompaniment – and she went with it
    • “We have the authentic, honest opportunity to mean what we say”
    • Remembering why you loved this music in the first place [when you walk on the stage] is all that matters” [bolding mine]
    • “We have all the tools; we have all the possibilities”
      Craig Terry is amazing. I am so impressed by him, and have been since he presented at the 2018 NATS Conference. Check him out here with Joyce DiDonato in an NPR Tiny Desk concert – outstanding way to bring old music to live with new instruments.
  • “Navigating Standard and Contemporary Belt – A Vowel Guided Approach” presented by Lori L’italien and Kevin Wilson

    • Broke down anatomical differences between standard and mixed belt 
    • The Belting Pre-Requisite: Foundation BEFORE Aesthetics
    • Identifying the link between emotions and their effect on technical choices (where is a fearful breath versus one that comes out of contentment?)
    • “The tongue is like the Mafia – it’s connected to everything in your mouth.”
      Since a lot of my teaching involves finding where things live in your mouth and how to make that work in order to find the most efficient and stylistically correct production, this was very interesting to me. The jargon used seemed associated with Estill, and I’ve always been skeptical of Estill as being somewhat manipulative and complicated – but I’m willing to learn more about it. Also approaching things from a scale of 1-5 in terms of resonance, which I’ve done quite a bit of in my own work.

Next week I’ll cover the last three days of the conference (the final day was only the general meeting, so I’ll combine that with the day before). Stay tuned!

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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