Expression in Violin and Singing - Part 3: Making Your Violin Sing

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Expression Violin Singing Part 3Nicole Notes: Several years ago I paired up with violinist and orchestra teacher Katie Gustafson to write several articles for String Notes, published by the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association (MNSOTA), which is the local chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). We had a great time exploring the commonalities between playing the violin and singing. Please enjoy this three-part series.

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by Katie Gustafson and Nicole Warner

In the first two installments of our series on connections between singing and violin playing, vocalist Nicole Warner and I delved into the subjects of body awareness and breathing. Both of these areas have proved highly useful to me when working with young string players, and have informed my understanding of the foundations of musical playing. In this final issue, I would like to explore how good singing can help develop an instrumentalist’s musicality.

Expression in Violin and Singing - Part 2: Breathe Your Way Out of Your Lizard Brain

on . Posted in Teaching

Expression Violin Singing Part 2Nicole Notes: Several years ago I paired up with violinist and orchestra teacher Katie Gustafson to write several articles for String Notes, published by the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association (MNSOTA), which is the local chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). We had a great time exploring the commonalities between playing the violin and singing. Please enjoy this three-part series.

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by Katie Gustafson and Nicole Warner

Urbandictionary.com defines ‘lizard brain’ as “that part of the brain that senses danger; where instincts and gut feelings originate; subconscious or involuntary processes.” The lizard brain is our tendency to react rather than to make thoughtful, calculated actions, and it can affect our music-making more than we might care to admit. We can attribute stage fright and its corresponding adrenaline symptoms to lizard brain, as well as careless physical habits. I would even argue that sloppy execution and lack of ‘mindfulness’ could be attributed to the automatic, reactive habits of lizard brain. The solution to these problems is not simple, but I discovered a good strategy in my voice lessons with Nicole Warner.

Expression in Violin and Singing - Part 1: Body Awareness

on . Posted in Teaching

Expression Violin Singing Part 1Nicole Notes: Several years ago I paired up with violinist and orchestra teacher Katie Gustafson to write several articles for String Notes, published by the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association (MNSOTA), which is the local chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). We had a great time exploring the commonalities between playing the violin and singing. Please enjoy this three-part series.

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by Katie Gustafson and Nicole Warner

A few years ago I was singing with a women’s choir at church, and stumbled onto a wonderful new colleague. A vocal specialist named Nicole Warner had been hired to coach the ensemble, helping us with vocal technique and German diction. After getting to know her, I discovered that she also played violin, and I told her I would help her with violin if she would help me with my singing.


We had regular lessons together and enjoyed this partnership for about two years. During our time together we made some great discoveries about how complimentary vocal technique can be to violin technique. Some of these areas include body awareness, breathing, ear training, musical phrasing, and others. I have since applied many of those discoveries to both my studio and orchestra teaching and found them very helpful to my students. I have invited Nicole to help me share some of these ideas with you, in hopes that you will find them as useful as I did.

Check Out my 2019-2020 Singing Season

on . Posted in Singing

2019 2020 season Nicole WarnerHello, dear readers!

This coming musical season I'll be back at two of my favorite singing destinations, the Elm Ensemble in Dexter, Michigan and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.

I have three gigs planned and you can read about them here according to date.

 

October 2019:

In October I'll be joining the Elm Ensemble for another Evensong, which is always such a lovely experience. We'll be singing a bit of German as well as other English-language pieces.

The Elm Ensemble is comprised of singers from the Dexter/Ann Arbor, MI area as well as singing friends from more distant locations like Milwaukee (me) and Minneapolis, MN. Some of us have sung together before and some of us are new, however it's one of the best groups of people I've sung with. Every weekend singing with Elm is like a weekend spent with good friends.

Elm Ensemble - Evensong April 2019

on . Posted in Singing

I love singing with the Elm Ensemble.

One of the best parts of singing with the Elm Ensemble is raising money for good causes, which is a part of the Evensongs I've participated in. As part of the April 2019 Evensong a freewill collection was taken for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) chapter in Washtenaw County, where the Elm Ensemble is based.

The collection was quite awesome that day.

Evensong: Sacred Harp 2018

on . Posted in Singing

Last Fall I joined up with the Elm Ensemble in Dexter, Michigan for a fantastic weekend of music-making. (There may have been excellent food & drink involved, but that's just between you and me. Bacon-fried Brussels sprouts, that's all I'm saying.)

The Elm Ensemble has published the recordings we made as a playlist on YouTube, which is fabulous and fantastic!

I'd like to draw your attention to this recording of Mary to Her Savior's Tomb, Sacred Harp 451, which was at the time the first recording appeared on YouTube, from what the co-director Josh Messner could see. Sally was really sick during this Evensong, and she sang like a real trooper in this duet! It is actually a duet for the entire piece, however I sang it alone to save her voice.

There's more to come re: Elm Ensemble 2019 and the 2019-2020 season as well. (Hint, hint.)