Why the Blog...
For Entertainment: I wanted to share a bit more about what is going on every day at the studio. I have the chance to have wonderful students and share special moments with all of them, be it in the form of voice discoveries or simply good laughts. While we do some serious, sometimes, well, things happen, we make up words, we share stories, we make funny mistakes and I thought it would be funny to share those stories.
For VoiceWork Discussions: I wanted a place where I could share my thoughts about voice, our daily discoveries in the studio, what works and what doesn't, in order to share that information with other students and my voice colleagues.
For Social Networking: I wanted to "open the doors" of my studio, let people know about what's going on around here! Thought this blog might be a great way for students to keep in touch with each other, for parents to have a glimpse of what's going on during the lessons and let everybody be part of the process in a fun and light way.
For Community Building: I want to create more events where we can exchange ideas, share our passion for the Arts and more, in more ways than formal events or concerts. In times of restraint and economic challenges, let's not retreat and "cocoon", but let's keep sharing what we have. "There is always enough to go around..."
For Gratitude: I have the best students ever and wanted to share those little miracles that happen everyday in my studio, be it about the voice, about growing up, about singing or simply making it through difficult times. I am grateful to have the chance to do what I love and do it with wonderful people!
For my need to Talk: Of course, because I always have something to say... now I have a place to do it!
|Posted on August 27, 2012 at 2:40 AM||comments (0)|
Ahhhhh summer. And what a beautiful summer we've had... and still having!
Yes, it will be a bit difficult to get back to full swing of things next week, but I have to say, it is time. I do enjoy my time off, but at the same time, I get antsy and definitely need to get back to do some singing!
I get easily bored! haha! I am so busy during the year, that after 2 months of holiday (even though I have been teaching throughout the summer) it is time to get back to it.
I miss seeing the smiley faces coming in and out of my studio. I miss chatting with people and hear what they are up to. I just need the movement and things have to keep moving and moving forward.
Staying in the same place is not good. For me, I need the everyday challenge of my work, I need to have something to work towards to. As I am getting ready for another year, I am looking for new challenges and projects; having a few ideas and we'll see what happens. I think it is easy to be satisfied with what we have, but we should always strive for more. At least, I find that it is what keeps me alive and well, and interested, and passionate about what I do.
And I hope to keep communicating that through my teaching. It is not only about music and that's what I love about my work, there is so much more involved. And I think that's what I miss as well... the need to feel useful and hoping that I can make a difference... a little one... not a big one, but a simple one in someone's life, be it through music, or impromptu conversations, or laughters.
So, I'll keep saying funny things, and we'll keep making poopy notes and we'll bring the singing and the laughter back.
Looking forward to that!
|Posted on May 28, 2012 at 4:30 AM||comments (0)|
"It used to be about to do something, now it is about to be someone"
That quote from Margaret Thatcher, like her or not, resonates with me. Specially after this weekend where the city of Victoria has been posted with David Foster's name just about everywhere!
It has been an interesting weekend... A friend of mine wanted me to go with her to be part of the David Foster show, but I had to take Friday and Saturday off work to do so and so, I decided against it. Missing 2 days worth of work for a 2 minute moment of fame on stage? Yes, it would have been cool to hang out around these big names, but I would have been behind on a mortgage payment... Tis reality for the little people like me. Would have been cool to be able to say I was there, but in the end, these people are just like you and me: they eat, they sleep, they poop. They just happen to have fame and more money to make a big impression. So in the end, would I participate because it is an important thing to do in my career, a fulfilling moment for myself or would I do it cause it would be "cool" to show off and saying to everybody I was on stage with Groban and Foster? Dum dum dum.... (by the way, I have done that show before, so I figured I didn't need to be there again! haha!)
So I worked it with my fantastic students once again and we did some great work for the show coming up in 2 weeks! In the end, that was time well spent to teach my students, rather than having my sellfish moment of glory, but that's just how I see it...
Today, I was supposed to have a day off... supposed.... So, ran downtown to enjoy a bit of the hustle and bustle before heading back to my rehearsal at 4pm wayyyy out of town. At first I didn't want to, silly me for booking so much work, but then as usual, I got caught in the work... They were learning, we were making music, we were laughing, I was enjoying myself as I always do. The creative juices were flowing and something in that very moment was being created. Something that didn't exist before, because never before we had the same music being played, sung by the same people. Thinking about it this way, it suddenly becomes important, doesn't it? And it all happened with the regular folks, in the middle of nowhere, with only us to witness this happening. No camera, no big shebang, no paprazzi and yet, something small but wonderful was happening. And that is important too.
I watched the documentary "Life in a day" tonight and maybe that is why I am feeling the way I feel. It is easy to feel like a failure comparing ourselves to what others have accomplished or to feel down when we feel we are not at the right place or doing what we think we should be doing.
Bottomline is, I think that for most of it, we are where we are meant to be, doing what we are meant to be doing at any given moment of our lives, without us knowing it...
|Posted on March 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Why do we love the artists we love?
Is it for their music? the voice? the look? the costumes? the personality? the glamour they bring to our lives? No matter what it is, an artist has to strike the right chord with us in order for us to love them (and for some, idolize them!).
Unfortunately these days, the scandals and looks seem to be selling more than vocal skills. Who needs vocal skills when you can fix it all in the studio? Ok, I am pushing it a bit and being sarcastic, but unfortunately, that is what is happening too often in the music business. Let's just take a look at what is "hot" these days: Lady Gaga and her meat dresses, Rihanna and her violence stories with her boy, Niki Minaj and her costumes, Adam Lambert kissing boys and flaunting wayyy too much make-up rather than building a career on his phenomenal voice! These are all facts about this business where everybody wants a piece of the cake. Let's not generalize, we do have some fantastic singers, but unfortunately, the media are tempting a lot of them to head in the wrong directions to sell their music and grab the attention.
One artist who claimed to be different was Adele. She has built her career around her songs and not her glamourous life, a raw and honest voice, pooring her heart and soul in her lyrics and interpretation of her great stories. She has built her career on being different, looking different. She has always been proud to be who she is, not shy about being a "bigger" girl and never built her success about her look or creating scandals.
Well, I have to be honest, it was a disappointment for me to see her flipping the bird when she got cut off during her acceptance speech at the Brit Awards.
I admit that cutting her so short was a bit rude and not very respectful, but at the same time, giving the finger to the audience for such thing was not the right answer and for me, left a bad taste in my mouth.This looked just like another sellfish spoiled brat move with no class! She of course did apologize after, she had to, but still... That move was very unnecessary and uncalled for.
Then this month, it was a surprise to see her on the front page of the Vogue Magazine in a majorly photoshopped picture, showing... well... a different shape and more than she usually does!
Sigh... major sigh and questioning came through my mind at the sight of that picture. That picture is simply not the Adele we know! How can an artist who's been so proud of her "non commercial" shape could agree to a front page picture where her face and waist have obviously been retouched (she is definitely not that thin!), in a pose that is definitely NOT what Adele is known for. Maybe it is the magazine that pushed for it, but Adele had to agree to it at some point. I am not a prude, I could care less for the cleavage (heck, I am french!), it just doesn't fit the image she has been sending all along and fighting for. That's all.
What is this all about? Why the spoiled brat move at the Brit Awards? Why giving a thumbs up to something that portrays her in a totally different way, something she has said she is not, nor apparently wants to be? Is this the "new" post-surgery Adele?
Well, I have to say, I definitely preferred the old Adele with her honesty and differences.
|Posted on February 21, 2012 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on January 30, 2012 at 4:30 AM||comments (0)|
Being an artist means a constant search within ourselves or at least a constant re-evaluation of who we are and what we do and this is where Julia comes to the rescue!
Julia Cameron is the author's name and I just love her! A few years ago, I discovered her master-piece "The Artist's Way", a 12-week very intense program into renewing your creativity and finding inspirations in all aspects of your life through a specific program of readings, writings and tasks to complete every week. The book was recommend by a teacher in College and I have actually completed this very powerful and life changing 12-week program a few times over the past 12 years. I have also gotten many of her books which are all very inspiring.
But it had been a while and I guess synchronicty played its game once again! I was at Chapters tonight, when I decided to take a look at the self-help section and came across Cameron's new book: "The Prosperous Heart-Creating a life of "enough"" While her first book "The Artist's Way" dealt with finding a path to higher creativity, "The Prosperous Heart" deals with something many of us may have problems with...money! I glanced over a few pages and the book spoke to me right away. Once again Julia, you did it!
So, I got all excited, bought the book and of course, equipped myself with a brand new thick journal ready for my "Morning Pages" starting tomorrow morning... Not only does every week have a set of readings around a specific theme or issue to think about, the process involves heavy writing every morning. Three pages to write first thing in the morning, no exception! It allows you to put all your thoughts on paper, good or bad, and start the day fresh. Inspired or not, the writing must go, no matter what comes out... eventually something worth it will appear on the page! Then my week will also be filled with the recommended "Artist's Dates" and other task at hands.
While this process is challenging, it is most rewarding. Some weeks are good, some not so good; her writing has this magic touch where she can push our buttons, send us to visit places we sometimes don't wanna go to, or to think about things we sometimes prefer not to think about. But for having done "The Artist's Way" a few times now, I strongly recommend the book to anybody wanting to take some time for themselves and re-evaluating what is this all about! Artist or not, anybody deserves that time. There are a lot of mumbo-jumbo self-help books out there, but this one is THE one that should be considered for anybody wanting to explore their creativity and to explore their relationship with money as I am just about to do.
So... I better go to bed, because I now have to wake up 30-minutes early... for the next 12 weeks! yikes...
|Posted on January 27, 2012 at 4:50 AM||comments (0)|
Have I ever mentioned how much I love my job? Yes I have, many time and I'll keep repeating it in the name of gratitude.
I used to dream of that career on Broadway and jumping on the best stages of this world, but it is now the little miracles that happen every day in my studio that keep me alive and happy; they are the most rewarding.
I had a student today coming in with a "surprise" for me; she simply had worked hard on her piano pieces and was all excited to show me. To think of it, what's one simple piano piece in the grand scheme of things? Seems like nothing significant, but in that moment, for that student, it meant everything and it is my job to share that excitment. How could I not feel excited as well? Of course I was, because in that moment, that piano piece well played represented a small victory after many hours or practising that I was just happy to celebrate. Something that seemed impossible the week before was now easy and joyful. One little miracle...
Then a student who is figuring out the break between the chest voice and the head voice. Another little miracle... Something new and not totally understood yet, but we're getting there. New sounds, new discoveries, that is all part of my job. To give them the confidence to push and make those discoveries is part of my work, more than just teaching notes and songs.
Sometimes the privacy of the studio offers the perfect environment for more serious discussions with the students and I am grateful that they feel confident to open up to me about their issues or challenges that singing can represent to them. I had the most eye opening and rewarding experience today. Understanding the human being behind the voice is such an important part of the work, or at least it is for me. Singing can become a therapeutic process where both body and soul are involved. Anything happening in the body, any imbalance will affect the sound and it is my work to observe and put my finger on those imbalances and address them. I am happy to have and offer a comfortable space to do so; that is why I want my studio to be warm and welcoming, to give us the environment appropriate for that sharing of voice and stories.
I see myself as an Educator and more than a simple music teacher; it is my job to not only teach them about music & art, but also to help them the best I can by giving them tools and help them build a skill set for life. I obviously can't replace their parents and shouldn't, but I like to consider myself as part of their supporting entourage. And I also like to think that I can make a difference. With all my family far away back east, I like to think of my students as my West Coast family!
There is more to the voice than the simple noise it makes when we open our mouth. The sound carries so much emotional baggage, personal information and history, anxiety, frustrations, but also joy and happiness. You can hear it if you know how to listen and this is what I strive to do everyday with each and everyone of my students.
And if you know how to listen, not only you can hear the real voice, but you start seeing the little miracles it brings along at the same time...
|Posted on January 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM||comments (0)|
Ahhhh Mother Nature has been playing tricks on us again!
Everytime that happens, of course being from back east, part of me giggles a little. Of course, I don't care much for the snow either, after all, I thought I left that all behind, but I can't help and roll my eyes a little at the chaos that happens in Good Ole' Victoria when the snow comes.
Now, now, and before you say anything or get mad at me... I know and understand...The problem is we don't have the equipment to remove that snow. The prolem is our cars don't have the right tires. The problem is we don't have boots, tuques or gloves. The problem is we don't have shovels. The problem is people don't know how to drive in these conditions. The problem is... Now are these things Problems or Inconveniences?
A few years back, I had the chance to be music director for a show called "All I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten". This was a great show and there was a scene where a grandpa explains to his granddaughter the difference between problems and inconveniences.
A problem is when you are stuck, there is no easy solution, or maybe no solution at all in sight. An inconvenience is when life throws you a curved ball and ya gotta take the detour to make something happen. A problem comes when you can't make do without. An inconvenience is when you could make do without. Take the simple example of eggs: not having eggs to make an omelette is a problem; not having eggs for breakfast is an inconvenience. Sometimes it is your own decision to make something a problem or an inconvenience, depends how you see it.
So, this morning, I decided that this snow was inconvenient, but wouldn't stop me for getting to work or to the dentis to take a look at that tooth I broke the other day; another inconvience as I can get treatment for it, but the bill at the end may become a problem! haha!
Happy Singin' in the Snow!
|Posted on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Today was our Winter Market day at Sacred Centre.
With the beginning of another year comes this urge to get rid of your old stuff and make place for the new; a great way to start a new year fresh. And so I did. I ended up with a lot of "stuff" I didn't want anymore. Some good, some older, but we thought it might be a good thing to do a market where we could give away, exchange or sell some of that stuff. It always feels good to me to clean the drawers and closets, I feel like I am getting space to think all at the same time. Decluttering my environment seems to declutter my brain as well somehow, must be a fengshui thing...
The act of cleaning up my home and office felt good. There is something magic about taking out a pile or two of "stuff" you have accumulated over some time and moving it out and giving it a new life. My piles were ready to go to the Thrift Store, to strangers who might or may not need it and so, to have the chance to give my stuff out to friends and people I know felt even better! I guess there is always a certain sentimental value to some extent to just everything we own or have owned in the past.
In the end, I only made $24.00 today after some trading, haha!, but for me this day was not about making money, but about sharing what I have and letting it go to other people who may enjoy it. I believe in recycling and if someone can make good use of if for a few bucks and save money, that's awsome! We can all afford to save a few pennies these days... But I also wanted that day to be a chance to meet new people, and I did. The feeling of "community" is one becoming more important for me these days for some reason... I had some great conversations with people I would have never met or have a chance to chat with if it was not for this event. In the Arts, we are so focused on meeting the right people, marketing our businesses, selling what we do, and to have a chance to meet people in a different way was awsome! Well, it was my day off after all, and I wanted to keep it that way and I did! I even ended up with a private show from the girls at Sacred Centre rehearsing for their upcoming performance, awsome!
I wish we had had more people coming to say hello, but we are all very busy of course, coughcough... Ok, I am guilty of that as well, but I am working on it
|Posted on January 6, 2012 at 3:55 AM||comments (0)|
Yay! I am so happy to be back at work!
I have to admit, without family around, the Holidays can be a bit of a drag. And specially in Victoria where we had such a wet Christmas! The weather was so beautiful for the whole month of December and then on Christmas Day... bam! Rain! So after a week inside, cleaning up, I was so happy to get back to work yesterday!
I love teaching. I really do. My students are my family and it is such a pleasure to see them all every week. Yes, yes, I have to do a bit of "bum kicking" sometimes, but that is my job and how I love it! It's always interesting going back to work after a break, be it short or longer. While the voice can be a bit rusty, I can also hear some improvement. Sometimes the body needs time to digest all that information I throw at my students and the element of time is an important one and needed one in voice training. No matter how hard you work, it just needs time sometimes.
No matter what, it's the little miracles that happen everyday in the studio that makes it worth it: a student hitting higher notes, or remembering all the words to a song, or having a new piano piece under control, or discovering a new artist or show and loving it. These are all baby steps and part of the training... and part of the growing through music lessons. Because what happens in the studio is more than teaching music. It is teaching a discipline to work hard, to push ourselves to learn new things, to gain confidence, to open up to someone else with something very personal, our voice.
And it is for all those reasons, all those little miracles that I always look forward to going back to the studio. I guess in the same way that a yogi always goes back to the mat!
|Posted on January 2, 2012 at 10:50 PM||comments (0)|
A new year... time for resolutions or not?
Well, I am not sure I believe in resolutions, but I certainly always take some time around the new year's day to reflect on the last 365 days and look ahead to the next 365 days.
I have to admit, 2011 has been quite something. The first 5 months were great and life went on without a hitch, but came summer and the fall, things started going in all sorts of directions and not just for me, but for many people around me as well. The world seems to have entered a period of changes (not so say chaos!) where I have heard about war, diseases, cancer, bad lucks and challenges more than I had in a long time. I believe in a common energy that we all share, and could we all be collectively affected by this change? (where ever it is coming from: Mother Earth, galactic flares or our own heart and soul!).
I am a pretty organized and neat individual, but more than ever, I felt the need to get rid of the extra stuff and clear my mind (and environment!) from the extra stuff I don't need anymore. While I may not need that extra stuff anymore, could maybe someone want it, or need it?...
Well, that is why we are having our "Sacred Centre Winter Market" on January 15th. All the information is posted on our Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/214353775314855/
Lots of stuff to give away, to trade, or sell for a few dollars where we both benefit from a good deal
Hope to see you there!
Sacred Centre Winter Market
Sunday January 15th from 12pm to 4pm
Sacred Centre Dance, 103-1011 Fort St (entrance off Meares St)