Welcome to the new edition of Open Intervals!

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Welcome back to Open Intervals! It's been a long time since I've blogged regularly and that is simply a reflection of being...stuck.

Long story short:  I used to purchase software on a yearly subscription basis to make my blog look totally awesome. And it did! It posted automatically to Twitter and sent emails whenever I posted a blog post.

Except I don't use Twitter any more. And the price went...up. And I got new email software that could send emails whenever I posted something new on Open Intervals. And I definitely didn't want to keep throwing good money at a blogging software every year when, thanks to continued development by the Joomla team, I could do the same thing in my site...for FREE!

So I hired someone to extract the articles and create the new blog you see here today. It took me a long time to find the right person to do it and he did a spectacular job.

On the right you'll see quite a few differences.


Give it a rest.

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It's time...to take a break.quarter-rest-black-no-stroke-hi

2014 has been quite a journey.

This year I've:

  • finished and announced this new website
  • traveled to Patagonia (Chile), Oregon, Milwaukee, and Virginia, MN (yeah, you know it's awesome up there)
  • started my own voice studio
  • started teaching in the after-school programs at one high school and soon will teach in another
  • sang my first World Premiere
  • sang "Les Nuits d'été" for the first time
  • rehearsed "Jesu, meine Freude" with my friends' infant cooing on my lap (that's a career highlight, by the way)
  • sang the German National Anthem for the first time

Not to mention blogging for the entire month of August, sending Nicole's Notes monthly, adjudicating Solo & Ensemble a few times, a few big changes in my own life, and keeping up with it all.

So I'm calling it a year for Open Intervals; I'm done blogging here for 2014. I have pictures to post, pages to update, I'd like to practice what I preach and actually make a smashbook of musical inspiration, not to mention having some freetime and getting together with some great friends.

Without rest, we are all work and no fun. So it's time to give it a rest.

So have a very happy holiday season--Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! See you on the flip side!



This is how I #SeeDV. How do you #SeeDV?

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Last week I wrote about upcoming concerts I have with VocalPoint Chorus out of St. Paul, Minnesota. I'll be singing two pieces, however I'll also be there as an advocate for domestic violence awareness.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I'm proud and grateful to share with you that I've written a blog post for the National Domestic Violence Hotline about how I #SeeDV (how I see domestic violence).

Click here to read the blog post at The Hotline.

Most days, but specifically in October, I am reminded that my life could look drastically different. My life and my awareness changed when I left a violent relationship--one in which there was not much fun at all, daily tasks were tainted with misgiving, mistrust, and insults.

I would wake up to criticism and crazy-making behavior that left me feeling worthless, terrified, and helpless.

Then I had one chance to leave, and I left because I knew I couldn't stay. It was in my weakest moment, the most terrifying time of my life that I had to make the strongest, most courageous decision I will ever make. And given the very unique opportunity I had to leave, I've chosen to speak out on behalf of other victims and survivors who cannot or choose not to speak out.

I can no longer count the emails, messages, and phone calls I've gotten from friends asking...

  • My friend's husband beat her up...what do I do?
  • I can't stay here any more, I'm terrified all the time. Where do I go?
  • Can you help me?

Or simply saying...

Because as horrifying as it is to hear the stories that are coming out in the news right now, it is even more horrifying and terrifying to live in that situation.

If you or someone you know needs help, find a safe place and call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You can speak with an advocate and get help.

And yes, it does get better. Much, much better.

#WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft

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I'm only partially departing from the September theme of Intuition today because the two hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft have gone viral. In the wake of the NFL player who punched his wife unconscious in an elevator, abused women and men have come out full-force to help others understand why it is so hard for us to leave, what keeps us there, and how public perception needs to change.

I've added a new section to my Personal page, explaining #WhyIStayed and also #WhyILeft. Click here to go there and read it.

What kept me safe for such a long time in an abusive relationship was my intuition. I knew how to deal with him, how to survive each fight, I knew exactly what kind of evening it was going to be when he walked in the door from work. Any survivor of an abusive relationship will tell you what a certain lift of an eyebrow can mean, what's about to arrive just by listening to the rhythm of steps in the hall, and how we just know.

When I left, I just knew it wasn't going to get any better. Ever.

I knew I was stuck between a rock (staying) and a hard place (leaving) and I was only leaving because I knew I couldn't stay. The dangers of leaving had been made clear to me--leaving an abusive relationship is and remains the most dangerous time. So I knew I had to do everything in my power to get out and to keep myself safe, no matter what.

It was in my weakest moment, the most terrifying time of my life that I had to make the strongest, most courageous decision I will ever make.

In the week I was packing up, I had many thoughts about the people I was leaving behind--people I'd known for up to 7 years. I thought of how he had grown into a younger version of his dad--down to the exact age he was when he decided he wanted a Porsche. (?!?!?!) I took a hard look at his mom, whom I loved dearly. She was nice. So nice. But that was all she could be--given the relationship she was in, she couldn't be anything more than that--not the intelligent, interesting & interested person she truly is. She could only be what her husband allowed her to be. And there was no way in hell I was going to let that be my life.

I looked at his friends and I remembered what my advocate had said--his friends were his friends, not mine, and their loyalties lie with him. Over the next weeks I saw them for who they truly are:  two-faced, back-stabbing opportunists. Petty and jealous of one another, always engaged in some kind of drama. As their behaviors became clear to me, the little, confusing moments of the past years became understandable.

To be very clear:  it took weeks just to get out, 2 1/2 years to get divorced, 3 1/2 before it was all over, 6 years to feel some kind of peace begin to take residence in my life. When I left I had no idea what was going to happen to me, nor did I have any clue what kind of fresh hell he would heap onto my life for years to come.

I was powerless in the relationship, powerless to leave until I told my parents and they helped me, and I was powerless after I left because I had no money to make things happen.

Going from powerless and knowing where he is to powerless and not knowing where he was didn't seem like a good deal--but it was the only decision I could make to even try to keep myself safe.

No one asked, "Why did he do that to you?" They asked how I had stuck it out for so long. As if I had had so many other, awesome choices.

We must place blame where blame is due--on the abuser. And nowhere else.

September Theme: Intuition in Music

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Open Intervals is now returning to its usual schedule of Thursday postings (with an extra post occasionally). We're also gong with a special theme this month, so in September you'll find new insights into intuition in musicmystery-box-hi. Musicians are frequently very sensitive people--how else can we possibly create such beautiful, human, emotional performances?! And how is it that musicians understand body language so much more than others? That's all part of our intuition--our sensitivity as musicians.

Every person, musician or not, has special qualities no one else has--and these are frequently expressed through our gut feelings, our unique creative voices.

Gut instinct = intuition.

A gut feeling is a gift meant to be unpacked.

To help you unpack that gift, you'll learn about using your intuition, your gut instinct, your unique sensitivity, to your benefit. You'll also learn about:

*  2 not-so-esoteric actions:  grounding and shielding

*  a famous pianist who has a special, sensitive connection

*  and how you can allow your intuition to fuel your art.

We live in a very logical world which frequently calculates out to a zero-sum game. Music is, however, neither completely logical, nor is it ever a zero-sum game. Sometimes we have to allow our own perceptions to change to beat this one-plus-one-equals-two mentality.

By the end of September, you'll add a few more intuitive tools to your toolbox and hopefully be a happier, more content artist as a result.

Each article in this series will have "Intuition" in the title. To find any of these articles, you can search for "Intuition" in the search bar waaaay up at the top of the page or you can click on the tag "Intuition" in the tag cloud on the right.

See you tomorrow (Thursday!) for the first installment!

SCAM WARNING: Voice Teachers Beware of "Mrs Anna Bells"

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exclamation-mark-red-mdYesterday I received this email from "Mrs Anna Bells," claiming that she's searching for a voice teacher for her son. It also came through in a Facebook group for private voice instructors, AND I received another, almost identical, in response to an ad I ran for German lessons, so apparently they are targeting teachers.

Remember to exercise caution on the internet.

Here's the text of the scam email:



       I'm Mrs anna Bells from Paris,France.during my search for a   voice   lesson teacher that would always take my son ( Chris is very good speak English ) and I found you..Your advert looks great and it is very okay to me since you specialize in the area i am seeking for him... My Son would be coming to US (your city) by next week for a period of time and with his friend for 2 Months.he is just a beginner and he is 16 years old, i want you to help me teach lesson during his stay. So, kindly let me know your charges cost per week's ,in order for me to arrange for his payment before he travels down to your side. I have also made preparation for his personal equipment he will be using privately at home after the lesson during his stay.

Please Advise back on;

(1). your charges per 1 hour twice a week for 2 Months?

(2).The Day and time you will be available to teach him During the week?

(3).Tuition address?

I will be looking forward to read from you soonest.

Best Regards,

Mrs Anna Bells"


UPDATE:  I just checked my website stats and this came from Nigeria. Can't even feign surprise.