Takeaways from the NATS Conference – July 5-6, 2022

Here’s an overview of the final full day of the conference and the general meeting the day after.

July 5, 2022

  • “Laban for Singers: Laban Movement Analysis for Body Release and Character Development” presented by Kyle Sackett
    • Created by a Hungarian dancer/father of modern dance
    • “Laban Movement Analysis” – language to describe, visual, interpret and document all varieties of human movement based on the concepts of
      • Weight (Pressure/Resistance): Strong – Light
      • Space (Focus/Attention): Direct – Indirect
      • Time: Non-legato -Legato
      • Energy/Flow (Movement dynamic): Bound – Free
    • Different movements have different components and can be applied to spoken and sung words when determining interpretation

    • This can function as a diagnostic tool as well – if the movement is stopping, what’s happening with the voice
      EXCELLENT presentation – I wish it were longer. I strongly considered taking an intensive scheduled for the end of August in Brooklyn, but circumstances prevented that. It’s something I’d really like to explore further – this is the method that Matt Bender covered in his World Voice Weekend presentation in April 2021.
  • “Where do we go from here?” presented by Albert R. Lee and Alejandra Valarino Boyer
    • For adjudication: Take out personal technical terms in favor of consistency and compliance with the national standards
    • The term “master class” is a term rooted in slavery – eliminate it! [This is something I never considered – I know that “master suite” is no longer used in real estate, but I thought “master class” came from the master/student model of vocal pedagogy – which is also something that is under scrutiny]
    • The chapters need to step up to raise money for the underserved (often minority) competitors so that they can participate in all levels of the audition process [We’re working on this in MDDC NATS – stay tuned for more info]
    • The voice is part of our identity and teachers should approach this with the warmest amount of trust
    • Your primary question should be “What is this singer’s identity?” 
  • “Formant Vision: Strategies for the Learning and Teaching of Voice Acoustics” presented by Nicholas Perna and Sarah Pigott
    Takeaways: While I love Nick Perna as my own teacher and I love his podcast, VocalFri, with Sarah, I have to admit that this session was a bit out of my comfort zone (it hurt my brain). I try really hard to “get acoustics,” but the graphs and jargon always makes me feel …. stupid. I’ll keep working at it. It was still an entertaining presentation!

July 6, 2022

  • General Meeting
    • Many reports given – overall impression:
      • The board is strong and very idea-driven
      • Social unrest and Covid has resulted in a more aware and involved organization
      • The 2020 virtual conference was an exceptional success and established a great deal of connectivity


It was a terrific conference – I’m looking forward to watching the videos of the sessions I didn’t attend, which (I believe) are available to me for the remainder of the calendar year and possibly a little beyond. Some of the ones that I want to see are:

  • What do you really know about the American Negro spiritual? [not as much as I’d like]
  • Flipping the voice pedagogy frame [even though I’m not currently teaching pedagogy, that’d be interesting]
  • Mini-recital: Music by and about women
  • Singing in the Key of T [this would help me prepare for teaching transmen]
  • Nothing But Practical: Pre-Performance and In-Performance Strategies to Minimize Anxiety [I haven’t dealt with this since my mother died, but I know it’s a major factor for many people]
  • Artistic Performance: Songs About Ageing [because, well, I am]

And then there was that other takeaway, which impacted everything I did for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

COVID-19 - WOAH - World Organisation for Animal Health
Such a pretty picture for such an ugly thing

I’d like to thank MDDC NATS for covering my registration fee (I’m on the executive board, and the president couldn’t go). It was a wonderful event, and I’m looking forward to Knoxville 2024!

I anticipate being able to take on a few more students
beginning in January. If you’re interested, please check out the work with me page and set up an Ask Me Anything session.

Takeaways from the NATS Conference – July 4, 2022

🎵 On the fourth day of July, NATS gave to me…. 🎵

July 4, 2022

  • “The Non-Binary Songbook” presented by Liz Jackson Hearns and Alexandra Plattos Sulack
    Rather than providing an actual songbook (which is kind of what I wanted),this was based on exploring gender expansion via classical repertoire for the AFAB/non-binary singer from the perspective of:

    • Story
    • Person
    • Industry/Perception
      It’s okay to change pronouns and keys, even in classical repertoire
      I admit that I really want a repertoire list from this presentation, but there was some interesting work done here.
  • “A Systematic Approach to Voice Studio Application” presented by Kari Ragan

    • Evidence-based teaching involves:
      • What I hear
      • What I know
      • Anecdotal
      • Kinesthetic tools
    • Worked with three different students and focused on different aspects of technique with each
      • Articulation – used tongue root massage for laryngeal flexibility
      • Respiration – MOVT
      • Breathwork – flow ball
        I first became familiar with the flow ball at Kari Ragan’s 2018 presentation in Las Vegas, and bought one at that time. However, I’ve lost a crucial piece to it. I did purchase some cheap knockoffs on Amazon this year for the studio, and they are not NEARLY as effective. 
  • “Singing and Speaking Salvation” presented by Dr. H. Steven Sims
    Focus on gospel singers/preachers and factors in voice care for these underserved populations
      • Stay focused on worship (or the story, if you’re not involved in church)
      • Don’t overcomplicate things – “We don’t always have to choose the hardest way”
      • “Showing up for rehearsals is a reasonable expectation”
      • “There is a time to rest”
      • “Check your attitude”
      • Gospel singing is a gift” [Isn’t all singing a gift?]
      • “Any inhaled chemical [cannabis, tobacco, even medication] has the possibility to inflame your VFs”
        Even though I don’t do gospel singing or currently have any gospel singers in the studio right now, the things I gained from this session are applicable throughout various genres.
  • “John Holiday Master Class
    • “You have to know the bones first, then you can add all the other stuff” (ornaments)
    • “Everything, even the songs you don’t like, has to mean something to you before it can mean anything to anyone else.” [Sometimes you’re assigned things that you don’t want to sing – make it work!]
      Not that familiar with John Holiday (I haven’t watched The Voice), but this masterclass, to which I came late, and his concert the following evening were both absolutely wonderful.

  • “The Effects of Virtual Reality Training in Reducing Performance Anxiety” presented by Bobbie Ticknor and Mark McQuade

    • Interesting overviews of the causes of and treatments for Music Performance Anxiety (MPA)
    • Students with high levels of anxiety in life and in performance benefit from using virtual reality (VR) equipment and scenarios (studio class, juries) to prepare for the real thing
    • Students with only mild or moderate anxiety had less after using the VR but still found it beneficial
      I have no idea why I went to this session – but it was interesting. I don’t think I can apply any of it to my studio, but it was still interesting.

On Thursday, I’ll post about the last full day of the conference – there was one particular topic that I really want to delve into further going forward. Stay tuned!

NATS logo with Chicago skyline graphic, fourth of July rocket and red white and blue heart. Mezzoid logo and curiously strong logo. Text: Takeaways NATS Conference 2022 July 4 2022

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!

Takeaways from the NATS Conference – July 2, 2022

Here is the second day of takeaways from the NATS Conference in Chicago – July 2, 2022 (additional comments below each session in italics)

July 2, 2022

  • “Pricing for Generosity” presented by Michelle Markwart Deveaux


  • “My worth as a human being is not manifested in how much I earn”
  • Pricing should have impact and bring peace
  • Love + Data = Pricing
    • Give/Save/Spend
    • Brand alignment
    • Ideal Client
    • Self-loyalty and -love
    • Unique Value Proposition
    • Service/business model
      MMD has been a tremendous influence on my teaching these last few years that I’ve been a member of the Speakeasy Cooperative. It’s not just about making money!
  • “I Could Never Do That: The Musical” presented by Eden Casteel

    • Recitals aren’t necessary and that you should ask your students what they need in terms of performance opportunities – beginning of the school year survey (Google Forms)
    • Cabaret
    • Field trips to 
      • Karaoke/monthly open mics
      • Piano bars
      • Happy Hour/Sing For Your Supper formats
    • Each others’ shows
      There’s a lot about this that I would like to do – specifically, I’d like to see if Gourmet at Kenilworth would be open to doing a piano bar. Unfortunately, we lost Germano’s in Little Italy to the pandemic, because I was going to hold a studio cabaret show on 3/29/2020, but you know what happened there…. I completely agree that formal recitals aren’t necessary, but I think my studio showcases are unique in and of themselves.
  • Opening Ceremony 
      • Welcome followed by the National Anthems (SSB, O Canada, Schubert)
      • Introductions
      • Speech by Allen Henderson
      • Welcome/Conference Orientation by Rebecca Schorsch, Conference Program Chair
      • NATS COMMUNITY SING featuring Clarice V. Assad
      • Improvisation and group reading of her piece, “Amazonia”
        This was very different! Lots of creativity here – I would love to incorporate more improvisation in my teaching. And maybe I need to do a “National Anthem” group class. 😀
  • “The Unknown Arranged Negro Spirituals of Roland Carter” presented by Marquita Lister and Roland Carter (mini-recital)
    Takeaways: This was a wonderful, expressively performed and well-sung recital with some fantastic repertoire that I’m looking forward to seeing published!
    Marquita is a colleague in MDDC NATS and it was an honor to see her in performance.

Stay tuned for the July 3 takeaways in Thursday’s blogpost.

Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin’ town

Takeaways from NATS Conference – July 1, 2022

I promised I’d share my takeaways from the NATS Conference this summer, and here’s the first one!!

(These are from the report I submitted to the MDDC NATS chapter on October 23.)

July 1: 

  • “That was Intense! Cool-downs for Vocal Athletes” presented by Gwendolyn Walker and Edrie Means Weekly (off-site at Roosevelt University)
    TakeawaysAlexander Technique based tools to create vocalises (for cool-downs and warm-ups), which also can be used to diagnose and address individual issues in student singers. Vocalises included gentle SOVTEs and oohs, self-massage, and “whispered ah”/body mapping work. The self-massage exercises were of particular interest, especially those pertaining to masseter and trap release.
  • “Rock the Musical Stage: Auditioning for Musical Theater with Pop/Rock Songs” presented by Valerie Maze and Brian Kemer (also held at RU)
    TakeawaysSingers need to be aware of the subsets of rock and know which styles to audition with based on the show (e.g., don’t audition with folk rock for a punk rock show). Copying is not a bad thing, at least initially, to find your own style. Unlike musical theater (or opera), where context is set, you set your own context with a pop rock song. Don’t sing songs from jukebox musicals in the context of the jukebox musical – sing it in the context you create (i.e., not in character)

    • Know the historical/societal significance of the style – it varies greatly!
    • Gender bending is fine!
    • Don’t bring in tracks or sing a cappella
    • Step by step prepIdentify overarching musical style of a showWhat is the worldview/cultural relevance of the style?Create a story for yourself
      • What is your created character’s POV?
      • How do all these influence your vocal choices?
      • What is your why?
  • “Repertoire for Trans/Non-Binary Students: A Panel Discussion” presented by Deonté Warren, Juanita Marchand Knight, Liz Jackson Hearns, and Brian Kremer
    Takeaways:Elements of genderIdentity: Who I know myself to beExpression: How do I show it?

    • Perception: How does everyone react/relate to me based on their own identityFind the authentic use of your voiceYou have a voiceYou have autonomy
      • You are an artist
      • Goals for assigning repertoire
      • Flesh out your bookSkill development
      • The fach system should serve the singer rather than the other way around
      • The Great American Songbook can be a great source for finding non-binary repertoire (David Sabella)
  • “Disobedient Singing: Break All the Rules – A Personalized Approach to Singing for YOUR Body from a Physical Therapist and Voice Teacher Team” presented by Liz Fraser and Abby Halpin
    Takeaways:If you stretch your neck up and then open your mouth, the stretch releases!Abby: “Muscles work best in their middle range.”Liz: “Unstable is okay; uncomfortable is not.”

    • Ask your students if they have had injuries/surgeries
    • Find a PT who is understanding of the athleticism involved in singing

That was a lot for the first day! Stay tuned for the subsequent days!

My kinda town, Chicago is!

Happy 99th Birthday, Ned Rorem!

Happy 99th Birthday, Ned Rorem!

(And doing a bit of catching up)

b 10/23/1923

I am a couple of days late with this birthday wish – but I was having a problem with WordPress yesterday.

When I was in undergrad, I had to write a paper for theory that linked a composer with an artist in a different field. I chose Ned Rorem for the composer, and playwright Tennessee Williams. i was working on a piece of Rorem’s for my junior recital, and Williams is my favorite playwright.

It made it easier because Rorem is also a writer, and I was able to draw upon his own words from his New York Diary and his Paris Diary, both of which I found in the library (the Milwaukee Public Library or the Alverno Library? I don’t recall). I remember finding the diaries fascinating, and rather scandalous, because he was very open about his sexuality – as was Tennessee Williams. Did I compare them only because they were gay (and that was exotic to me at the time because no one was out) or because there were some artistic similarities? I don’t recall. I do remember my teacher, Jim Pease, asking me that and my saying, “Of course not!”

If I had waited another 15 years for his Nantucket Diary, I could’ve justified my choice by this quote alone:

“I have been in bed with four Time covers: Lenny Bernstein, Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, and John Cheever.”

I wish I still had the paper – I have some of my college papers and am pleasantly surprised at how well written they were, but not this one. And now I want to delve more deeply into both of their works and write a more thorough analysis. Perhaps another day. Maybe in time for his 100th birthday, next year.

Rorem wrote over 500 songs – Susan Graham recorded 32 of them. Here’s a playlist of all of them – which do you like? I love Lordly Hudson (which received an award for the Best Published Song of 1948 – when he was not even 25), Early in the Morning, and I love singing his Psalm 140 (not on this recording) for church gigs/auditions. But there are so many.

I meant to write about World Opera Day yesterday as well (BTW, Rorem wrote only two full-length operas, Miss Julie in 1965 and Our Town in 2006), but, again, WordPress issues. Plus Canva seemed to have had a hiccup and lost all my graphics (temporarily). So I wrote about that on instagram and my studio FB page, along with a list of the 92 productions I’ve been in (sorted by companies, not chronologically) and 20 pictures. There are more. Maybe next year.

I am doing an opera with WNO that opens this week – Elektra. Backstage chorus, one word, repeated 13x. I call that kind of gig “burps.” It’s actually harder than you think – yes, I “burp” 13 times, but each one is different. Some are short, some are long. And even though we’re backstage, we’re still off book.

cartoon of a woman in green top with red hair burping

We had a chapter meeting for MDDC NATS this past Sunday, and I wrote a report for it on the NATS Conference in Chicago this past July. I had intended to post takeaways from that experience here, but since the biggest takeaway I had to deal with when I got home was COVID, I didn’t quite get to it. But the report has given me some structure from which to expand, so hopefully I will get back on my blogging schedule. I’m particularly excited to share my takeaways from the Laban session.

My biggest priority right now is…. I’m writing a book!

turquoise book
(Probably not this thick)

The topic is one that’s dear to my heart, and something I’ve talked about doing for awhile.  Right now I’m compiling the info, creating an outline, and jotting down notes. I’m trying to decide if it should be an e-book or a physical book (or both), and if I should self-publish or find a publisher. More information when I feel ready to share it. My hope is to have it finished before my April/May vacation (which we’re also still planning).

With this in in mind, I probably am going to wait till the new year to decide on where the studio is going in terms of recruitment. My hand is better, although I still can’t fully bend my thumb, and my vocal stamina is coming back. (Very glad for the light load in Elektra!) I anticipate another 6-8 weeks of physical therapy, and I’m swearing by my VocalMist™ nebulizer that I purchased a few weeks ago. Perhaps I need this time to regroup and change direction. Plus I’m very involved with programming for MDDC NATS, and I have a few exciting announcements about that as well.

I’m also considering a name change to this blog, which I will debut in December.

Till… hopefully … next Tuesday.


The Summer of Suck

It was the best of times – it was the worst of times –

NAH, it was the Summer of SUCK.

cityscape with the words SUMMER OF SUCK! across it

(TLDR: Lots of health issues, a couple of studio issues, but Emma Langford and other folx made it all better)

I thought I had coined this term myself, but then discovered that it was used by other people during the summer of 2020 (height of the pandemic), and I thought – fair. And then when I tried to create a graphic, I found this video by gamer Johnny Chase, so I screenshot and am using it because:

  • These are my branding colors
  • It was easier than creating it myself

I mentioned in my blogpost of 6/22/2022 that I only intended to write this summer when I had something to say because I was exhausted. I only wound up writing a promo about the Emma Langford House Concert – which I’ll talk a little bit more about later in this post.

I haven’t written about the takeaways from the NATS Conference in Chicago because I returned home from Chicago on 7/6 with COVID. After successfully avoiding it since March 2020 (fully vaxxed, fully boosted), I came home sick. I took Paxlovid and got better, which allowed me to take care of all the house concert details I needed to handle. I tested negative on 7/14 and again on 7/15.  A miracle drug! Right?

And then, on 7/16, I got a rebound case. It was so bad. People have said to me,  “Oh, I had COVID. It’s just like a bad cold.” Maybe for them it was.

But for me, it was like bronchitis and strep had a baby, and that baby punched me in the throat.

Cute evil baby. - 9GAG
The Covid Baby

Once I tested negative for COVID (on 7/25 – nearly 3 weeks after my initial test), I was still sick. Then it felt like strep and an ear infection. I went on a Z-pack and then on prednisolone because I had coughed so hard that my vocal folds were totally inflamed and I had a three week case of laryngitis.

Ironic, because on 6/20, I had my VFs scoped and the doctor told me that they were the healthiest ones he would be seeing all day. Here’s what they looked like then:

I don’t want to know what they looked like in mid-August, after three weeks of coughing (three weeks? I’m still coughing!). But my voice has come back. Mostly.

(I also received unexpected news about a student who wasn’t returning in the fall, which was emotionally devastating to me. I try not to take those things personally, but I feel very invested in my students and it was out of the blue, and came right in the middle of the rebound case, so it was especially hard on me.)

But enough emotional drama – back to my health.

Just as I started feeling better and had head voice and chest voice (but no mix), I had an accident and split open my right hand in 3 places and had to have stitches. This was the week of the house concert. Fortunately, I had done the bulk of my house prep, and had help for the other things.

The day of the house concert, I reached for something and my thumb hyperextended and it popped out of place (it had dislocated a couple of days earlier also). The pain was excruciating; but I had a lot to do, so I outsourced a couple of things that I couldn’t do (chopping shallots, moving chairs), and everything was fine.

A few days later I realized I still couldn’t bend my thumb. We were in the car on the way to Milwaukee for Irish Fest, and my MD husband said, “I’ll bet you weakened your hand in the fall and the dislocation tore your flexor tendon.” So I called Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore to make an appointment. Which had to be after the cataract surgery I was having on my return.

So this is what happened since I returned home and will be happening over the next few days:

  • 8/24: Cataract Surgery #1 (pretty straightforward)
  • 8/25: Went back to eye doctor because I started freaking out over something that’s normal
  • 8/30: Met with hand surgeon – he confirmed my husband’s diagnosis, scheduled surgery for me and sent me off to get an pre-op physical; post-op with eye doctor
  • 9/1: Flexor Tendon repair scheduled at Lutherville SurgiCenter
  • 9/2: Cataract Surgery #2
  • 9/6: 2022-2023 schedule begins


The high points of this summer were:

  1. The NATS Conference (until I got sick)
  2. The Emma Langford house concert, which I will write about separately
  3. Milwaukee Irish Fest
  4. My best friends have returned from England to the DC area!
  5. Friends like Lisa Dickinson, who made me hot chicken soup and left it on my porch when I was sick, who picked me up from Cataract Surgery #1 because my husband was working, who made delicious food for the house concert, and who came to Irish Fest with us (along with her husband Mike, who was also very helpful at the house concert)
  6. The devotion of students like Kay-Megan Washington, Andi Rudai, Sam Rudai, Vivie Labellarte, Dissonance McManus, and Sela McMullen, who helped out with the house concert prep, both inside and outside the house. Sela also helped the day before, after her final lesson, and drove me to my surgery post-op on 8/24.

Kay-Megan, Vivie, Dissonance, Sela (plus some rando with a tambourine) also reprised their showcase performance of Birdsong at the house concert, only this time the solos were sung by the songwriter herself. Thank you to Emma Langford for agreeing to include my students on this song. At the end of this exhausting diatribe, enjoy Birdsong featuring Emma Langford, cellist Alec Brown, and students from Mezzoid Voice Studio:

While this was, truly, the Summer of Suck, and there were loads of disappointments, moments like this make it (almost) all worthwhile.

I promise my posts going forward will be positive.

Unless, of course, something unexpected happens. Which would


House Concert!

I am very excited to announce that I am hosting Emma Langford in a house concert on August 12, 2022.

I have talked about Emma in these blogs several times, both in the context of World Voice Weekend and, the first time, about how inspired I was her (“Her voice was broken,  so I sing aloud“).

Tickets are now available for her concert at my house, now available by either going to the webpage I created the other day: Emma Langford House Concert, on which I have embedded ticket links, or just going directly to the Eventbrite page itself: Eventbrite.

I have room for 50 people and not only will they be enjoying this great artist (and Alec Brown), we will be providing food. The $30 admission includes everything. We aren’t charging for the food or drink – we just want to have a party to celebrate bringing this great artist to Baltimore.

Pictures of Emma Langford and Alec Brown, Irish musicians with text of Mezzoid Voice Studio presenting the Birdsong Tour: A House Concert

Also, check out this new collaboration that Emma did with the RTE orchestra (the RTE is the Irish TV and radio broadcaster). This is her song, “The winding way down to Kells Bay,” which she dedicated to her grandfather. This just dropped this morning.

If you’re interested in studying with me in 2022-2023,  I will be opening registration for new students very soon. Stay tuned, and check out to work with me!



Taking a break

As I indicated previously, this was a long year, and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.  So I’ve decided that I’m taking a break.

Not from teaching, although I have condensed my schedule significantly, and not from singing, although there won’t be that much of it during the summer.

I’ve decided that this summer is going to be spent getting some things together. I want to tweak my website, I want to organize my life a bit better, I’m planning some remodeling, and I’m having (joy of joys) eye surgeries in July.

I’m going to take a break from writing every Tuesday and Thursday, and just writing when I have something to say.

(Of course, I always seem to have something to say, but I don’t want to have to feel obligated to do it on particular days. I don’t want to think about SEO, or keywords, or anything besides what’s in front of me.)

I know that I will be writing about:

  • the upcoming house concert that I’m hosting for Emma Langford on August 12
  • the NATS 2022 Conference in Chicago, for which I am departing next Thursday
  • how excited I am about some new opportunities I am considering

And I’m sure that other things will come up. And maybe I’ll write more often than 2x/week if something tickles my fancy, or maybe I’ll skip a week here and there until the fall.

If you are interested in finding out how you can work with me this summer (and beyond), please contact me!

It’s been a long YEAR

The end of my 2021-2022 studio year ends in about 2 hours, and I have to say that it’s been a long year.

(I was just listening to the song “It’s been a long day” from the studio showcase this past weekend, and I grimly thought, “day? It’s been a long year!” and so here we are.)

It was a rough year, and I’m not sure why. I maintained my health (still COVID-free, after 2+ years of being in a pandemic – knock on wood). I wasn’t nearly as busy as I was pre-pandemic, but I felt overwhelmed, even with a two week vacation at the end of April/beginning of May.

My students did well in musicals and in their college auditions, but somehow I still feel completely drained.

Next week I’m taking off (it’s birthday week!), and I’m not sure if I’m going to write anything or schedule anything to be re-published from past years. I’m having some remodeling done, and I’m preparing for a couple of things.

My summer schedule will be condensed into three days per week, and I’m taking off some time in July for the NATS conference in Chicago, and also to have cataract surgeries (one for each eye). I’ve been advised that the surgeries will be much easier, in terms of process and recovery time, than when I had PRK back in 2009. One of the eye doctors said, “You’ve had PRK? If you could handle that, this will be nothing.”

But I have a real phobia about eye doctors. It’s a miracle I did the PRK in the first place – and no surprise that I only did one follow-up afterwards. I think it goes back to reading Light a Single Candle when I was in junior high – about a girl my age who had very poor vision (hey, that sounds like ME) and suddenly went blind. Freaked me out (and I think I read it three times). Also the characters of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. 

Blindness has always terrified me.

So I need a bit of a break. At this point, I’m planning to teach 6/21-29 and 7/12-8/16, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I”m also hosting Emma Langford in a house concert on 8/12, and I am doing some remodeling before that, plus I want to tweak my website a bit. If I need to take more time off, I will – but I’d rather not.

The 2022-23 studio year will begin, as usual, on the Tuesday after Labor Day, and more info about that will be forthcoming.

In the meantime….

See you on the 21st.

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