The Neighbor and the Techno

on . Posted in Singing

The Neighbor and the Techno

Now that I've moved to Milwaukee it's safe to tell this story.

My former neighbor, whom I'll simply call "Neighbor," was not what you might call the "communicative" type. If I said "hello," he would do a double-take and then say, surprised, "Hello." If I didn't say hello, he would just walk awkwardly past me. And the woman that he lived with, she was even worse. I once saw her outside, turned to her to say hello, and she literally turned and ran in the other direction. (Needless to say I didn't miss her when she moved out. It took me months to notice.)

Neighbor had an affection for techno. Really bad techno. And of all the music types in the world, you'd think that there would be enough of it that he would find some good techno when he'd start playing it at, oh, 7:10 in the morning. But he didn't. And I don't know that he played anything new. He certainly didn't play any GOOD techno, and I wished to all that is good that I could have knocked on his door and made some recommendations...

I also don't know if he perhaps composed it himself. (No comment.)

It was really annoying, but not that bad, if I played my own music at a regular volume I couldn't hear it anymore. No problem! Sometimes you just gotta deal with the neighbors, especially if you're staying for a while.

 

Except when this happens:

It was a Monday and I was practicing for the Les Nuits d'été concert with the Mesabi Symphony. It was lunchtime and I had exactly one hour to practice before I had to get on the road to drive to Northern Minnesota to rehearse and then turn around and drive back.

I warmed up and starting running through the songs, concentrating on the texts which I found hard. I sang through the first song, the second...and then it started.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM

No...he didn't...

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM

Oh, yes he did...

How Shallow is Your Breath? 2 Ways to Breathe More Deeply

on . Posted in News

We live in this time, in these bodies, in this world. And right now it's really hard.2 ways to breathe more deeply

Because we live in a culture of fear and in a culture of violence and sometimes it's really hard to hear your own voice inside your head.

Breathing deeply works against stress, against fear, and helps you connect with your inner voice, your inner wisdom.

If you, like so many of us, feel at a loss right now, start with this, it will clear your mind and give you your starting place.

Here are two ways to breathe more deeply:

 

1. Breathe over time.

Using a slow count, breathe in 1...2...3...and out 1...2...3... Now increase it to 4 by breathing in 1...2...3...4...out 1...2...3...4... Increase the count to 5 and breath 1...2...3...4...5...out 1...2...3...4...5...

Repeat this exercise beginning with a count of 4, then of 5 and finally of 6. How do you feel now?

9 Goofy Things Voice Students Say

on . Posted in Teaching

9 Goofy Things Voice Students SayVoice students say the darndest things! And my students are no exception. Over the past couple of years I've collected their antics and funny comments. Here, without further ado, are 9 goofy things my voice students have said:

You know you're old when...

A: *takes out smart phone and hits the button* Siri, who is “Milli Vanilli”?

Do I have a wobble?!

T: *looks at me wide-eyed.* Nicole, your vibrato…it scares me.

Confessions of a high schooler:

D: (whispered) I like orchestra better than band!

 

Kids say the darndest things:

G: (singing from “The Cherry Tree” original lyrics "They sing of the frozen rivers...") They sing of the frozen livers…

 

Me: (reading from sheet music) Steht der Strauch…

E: What’s that word?

Me: Strauch.

E: *shakes head slowly* No…

LISTEN: Nicole's Bach Cantata 170 with the SD Symphony

on . Posted in News

In January of this year I sang with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra for the first time. The solo piece I performed was Bach's Cantata 170 Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, which translates roughly to "Pleasurable rest, beloved delight of the soul." The idea of the cantata is welcoming virtue into your heart while recognizing that most people choose to walk all over their neighbor, and ultimately finding a way to live in harmony with these virtues despite what other people are doing.

That is no small task. And neither is this cantata!

 

A New Recording For You!

The SDSO was very generous and provided a recording of this Cantata, which is now available on the Media page of this site. Click here to listen! They are a wonderful organization and the musicians are fantastic! We were able to make beautiful music together and to bring the meaning across to the audience.

 

And One More Recording on its Way!

Ah yes, and the delightful, talented Hannah Lu and I joined forces on the second half of the program for Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, of which I also have a recording. Stay tuned for that one! This picture is of (L to R) soprano Hannah Lu, conductor Delta David Gier, and me. We had a blast!

Highlights of this Year's Concert

One of the fun parts of traveling for work is getting to know a new place. Sioux Falls, South Dakota was a new location and the people there are as friendly as you would imagine. And as snowy as can be in January! This was the view from my hotel room the day after I arrived. Brrr!

Dear Senior Voice Students...7 Words of Wisdom

on . Posted in Teaching

Dear Senior Voice Students,7WordsofWisdom

It's hard every year when you depart. The last concert is so emotional, your last lessons are poignant. I often imagine what you'll think 20 years from now when you think about your voice lessons. Did you learn what you wanted to learn? Did all the music theory sink in deep enough? Do you remember to breathe with your belly?

Here are 7 pieces of what my students would probably call unsolicited advice I give to seniors and any voice student who's going off on a new adventure. I like to call them Words of Wisdom.

1. When you take lessons, you are paying money in exchange for a service, which means that you are the consumer. You are paying the bill, which means your teacher works for you. You might be in a teacher's voice studio, however you are the client, the customer. So if you're happy, keep it up. If you're not happy, start shopping around.

This applies to all areas of life, whether it be lessons, relationships, doctors, etc. Don't ever think you have to keep at something to meet someone else's expectations.

2. Your list of (over-)achievements is long. Life is short. Choose your activities wisely. You will be happy to have time in your calendar when your friend calls, someone in your family falls ill, or for simply having quiet time at home to follow your fancy. You are so worth it.

3. Remember that at the end of the day, there are no schools--they are just buildings; there are no businesses, it's just paper. At the end of the day, all you have are people. So be kind. And spread it far & wide. The world needs more kindness.

Welcome to the new edition of Open Intervals!

on . Posted in News

WelcomeBackMay2016

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.