Chicago 2022



Start your morning off right with a good chat! Conference attendees are invited to bring their favorite coffee (or beverage of choice) and sit down to discuss one of our featured topics of the day.

Time: All Morning Coffee and Conversation sessions are included with registration. They will occur 7:45-8:45 a.m. CT on the days listed.

Explore conversations

 Saturday, July 2 posted on 12:06 PM, October 28, 2021
 Sunday, July 3 posted on 12:04 PM, October 28, 2021
 Monday, July 4 posted on 12:03 PM, October 28, 2021
 Tuesday, July 5 posted on 12:02 PM, October 28, 2021

Even more conversation opportunities can be found in our daily Breakout Sessions.

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Morning Coffee + Conversation

Full descriptions

Saturday, July 2

Queering Vocal Pedagogy
Presenter: William Sauerland

In recent years, discussions regarding transgender singers have become more robust. The discourse on this population has highlighted changes in the vocal apparatus of trans masculine voices (Constansis, 2008; Sims, 2018). This research session is rooted in the experiences of six transgender and genderqueer singers, including teenage and adult singers. Profiles of their singing teachers, which include transgender and cisgender voice pedagogues, enable a more complex understanding of teaching and learning in the applied voice studio. Using Gould’s “companion-able species” as a framework (Gould, 2013), where student and teacher co-create as “mess-mates” of learning, this session aims to query voice pedagogy using queer theory. Where previous scholarship has leaned into the notion of inclusive practices, which may continue to reify a cis-normative schema, queer theory enables a re-imagining of voice pedagogy, not merely to include a marginalized population, but rather to rebuild the discipline with gender expansiveness at its core.

How Hormonal IUDs Can Alter the Female Singing Voice
Presenter: Vindhya Khare

Scientific research has shown how oral contraception pills can alter the female singing voice, yet studies on the impact of hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) on the female singer are lacking. However, the potential for voice alteration by IUDs is significant. According to The American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists IUD use is rising in popularity in America, especially among women ages 25-34 with teens being counseled to consider IUD use as a preferred method of contraception. As such, it is important for all female singers in their reproductive years along with their voice teachers to understand the implications of IUD use on the voice, as it will likely not be discussed in consultation with the singer’s physician. This presentation provides case studies of three professional female singers who suffered adverse vocal effects due to the use of hormonal IUDs and examines the actions they took to regain vocal health.

Disobedient Singing. Break All the Rules: A Personalized Approach to Singing for YOUR Body from a Physical Therapist and Voice Teacher Team
Presenters: Liz Frazer, Abby Halpin

Many of the “one-size-fits-all” breathing and alignment rules that singers internalize hinder access to their full voices in whichever genre they sing. Our team — a physical therapist with musical training and a voice teacher with experience in bodywork modalities — helps clients identify the breathing/alignment rules holding them back, demystifies these physiological systems, and helps them to integrate personalized postural and breathing skills into their singing. By including movement and voice practice in the same session, clients are able to make changes quickly and understand how movements affect their voice. Clients have reported: increased stability on sustained pitches, ability to sing longer phrases, improved legato lines, larger dynamic range, greater emotional subtlety, and improved comfort while singing. You’ll leave with an understanding of how these internalized rules can hinder the voice; an appreciation for teamwork between body workers and voice teachers; and some exercises to try out with your singers!

The Brain, Music, and Optimal Performance
Presenter: Karen Leigh-Post

This clear yet delightfully quick-paced introduction to cognitive neuroscience for the voice studio nimbly weaves together discoveries in neuroscience with the experience of vocal artistry to show how singing can be viewed as a perception-action cycle. From the outset, practical-application exercises demystify how the conscious mind integrates with unconscious sensory and motor processes to unleash our body’s intelligence to produce optimal and even peak performance in the expressive and artistic endeavor we know as singing. Through this further expansion of voice science and pedagogy into the field of cognitive neuroscience, singers learn to take charge, to mindfully integrate their audio-motor intentions with expert motor response. The teacher becomes equipped to better understand optimal flow of information, where disruption may occur, and how to guide the student in setting the right goal for the task of the moment — to get the thinking right.

Sunday, July 3

Composers Coffee and Conversation
Presenters: Lori Laitman, Tom Cipullo and company

A conversation with 2021 NATS Art Song Composition Award winner Jeffrey Ryan and 2022 winner Ericsson Hatfield to discuss their works and careers as well as other topics of interest.

Remembering Meribeth Dayme (1938–2019): A Roundtable Discussion of Her Life, Legacy, and Contributions to Voice Pedagogy
Presenters: Matthew Hoch, Cynthia Vaughn, Rachel Velarde, Elizabeth Blades

The 2022 NATS Conference in Chicago will be the first in-person gathering of NATS members since the passing of Meribeth Dayme on October 28, 2019. Dayme was one of the most important singing voice pedagogues of her generation, and her legacy in the field of voice pedagogy cannot be overstated. Dayme spent the last two decades of her life developing CoreSinging®, a unique and innovative approach to singing and voice pedagogy. Focusing on five key areas — energy, awareness, imagination, practice, and performance — CoreSinging delves into essential aspects of singing and teaching that are often overlooked in standard voice pedagogy texts. This roundtable discussion, led by Cynthia Vaughn, Matthew Hoch, Rachel Velarde and Elizabeth Blades celebrates Dayme’s legacy and contributions to voice pedagogy. The Essentials of CoreSinging: A Joyful Approach to Singing and Voice Pedagogy by Meribeth Dayme, edited by Vaughn and Hoch, Rowman & Littlefield, was released in April, 2022.

The Power of Social Media Marketing for your Independent Voice Studio
Presenters: Phyllis Horridge, Kayla Capone Kasper, Malia Morris, Nikki Maas, Sam Johnson

Social media provides your independent voice studio with a unique opportunity to identify, pursue, and leverage the growth of your small business. The reality is there are social media influencers in every industry, and this type of FREE marketing can help you build a larger brand following, increase your credibility, and bring in more sales, new leads, and conversions to your studio. This presentation will explore the steps it takes to build your social media presence as an independent voice teacher on the platforms TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Fast as You Can: Low Latency Music Online During and After the Pandemic
Presenters: Ian Howell, Kayla Gautereaux

The North American Sars-CoV-2 Pandemic of 2020-2021 decimated the music performance and education industries in terms of lives lost, lives altered, and the cultural atrophy that accompanies a massive and prolonged interruption to daily musical collaboration. In reaction to this crisis, the NEC Voice and Sound Analysis Lab undertook a multi-level research and publication agenda to investigate high quality, low latency audio and video platforms (and the required associated technology) appropriate for music education and collaboration. During the 2020-2021 academic year, this allowed NEC to move the majority of its voice department activities online while preserving both audio quality and the ability to collaborate in real time. This presentation will: offer a context to understand the historical narrative at the intersection of music and transmission technology; describe what was possible during the pandemic within and beyond the NEC voice area; and describe the ways in which low latency technology continued to develop and advance during the 2021-22 academic year.

Cultural Appropriation, Appreciation, and Adaptation: A framework for understanding the continuum, identifying markers of operation, and considerations for growth.

As vocalists, we are the voice of culture. As voice educators, we have the responsibility to honor those cultures responsibly and respectably. With increased cultural sensitivity and reckoning comes a search for understanding and guidelines for operation. Through the combined research on Culturally Responsive Teaching, Ethnomusicology, and Applied pedagogy and performance, this session will introduce a framework to help performers and educators identify the different levels of cultural understanding in the context of performance. We will explore the areas of Cultural Appropriation (i.e., Cultural Approximation), Cultural Appreciation (i.e., Cultural Empathy and Understanding), and Cultural Adaptation (i.e., Cultural Embodiment). These areas will be defined from both a historical perspective and modern application, in addition to a proposed guideline or identifying markers of operation and understanding will be presented.

Monday, July 4

Sometimes Words Speak Louder than Actions: A Look Back and Forward at Adjudication
Presenters: Allen Henderson, Dan Johnson-Wilmot

Words are important when adjudicating NATS Student Auditions. Just as we update our teaching skills, we need to constantly work to upgrade our writing about the performances we hear using appropriate terminology, constructive and affirming language, and words that inspire singers on a path for continuous improvement. Join Dan and Allen as they explore the expanding resources available to all and our quest to ensure consistency in the adjudication process.

Journal of Singing Editorial Board
Presenters: Richard Sjoerdsma and others

Join members of the NATS Editorial Board for Journal of Singing to chat about recent digital upgrades to the publication and the modern article submission process. Attendees also will receive a preview of upcoming topics in future issues.

The Non-Binary Songbook (Classical)
Presenters: Liz Jackson Hearns, Alexandra Plattos Sulack 

As more of our gender diverse students are feeling safe to come out and to pursue gender-affirming voice care, their questions become our guides: Where do I start? What songs do I sing? What roles can I play? We have an opportunity and responsibility to bring new perspectives to the classical repertory and its purpose and place within gender-affirming voice care for singers. This songbook is a developing resource for trans and non-binary singers and their teachers to discover what is possible within the art song and aria repertory. A mini lecture recital of works from both historical and contemporary classical composers explores the pedagogy and artistry of gender-expansive singing.

The Entrepreneurial Life; Building a Sustainable Music Business
Presenters: Greta Pope, Edward W. Wimp

Whether you’re seeking a professional career as a singer, or you’re working to build your music studio (or both), there are some basic, foundational things that you should know. So many fantastically talented singers never get anywhere with their careers because they don’t know how to brand and market their services. Many studio owners struggle because they don’t know how to brand and market their services. Have you taken lessons, studied hard, and practiced tirelessly to be the best singer or the best voice teacher possible? Did you think that once you reached a certain level of musicianship you’d be able to earn a good living doing what you love? Have you been tempted to take another job to make ends meet? Have you thought about giving up on your dream? Being an expert voice professional is just the first step in building a successful career in music. Join Dr. Greta Pope and attorney Edward Wimp as they take a deep-dive into the rudiments of music business. Learn how to build the business that you have always wanted. Among the topics included are branding, marketing, social media and so much more. Get your music business on track!

Tuesday, July 5

Collab Corner with Valerie Trujillo
Presenter: Valerie Trujillo

As NATS continues to expand services to the collaborative pianist community, join Valerie to lend your voice in shaping the future of NATS and the ways we can amplify the voices of the collaborative community.

Coffee with NATS Executive Committee
Presenters: Carole Blankenship, Diana Allan, Karen Brunssen, Allen Henderson and others

Join members of the NATS Board of Directors Executive Committee who will be available for conversation. The agenda is open for topics of interest of those in attendance and will include updates on current NATS initiatives.

Creating a Vocal Health Care Community
Presenters: Katherine Calcamuggio Donner, Swapna Chandran, Lisanne Craven, Karen Crow

It is imperative that as educators, we afford opportunities to our students to understand the physiology and anatomy of their own voices. By offering our students occasions to experience and learn about their own apparatus in times of health, by educating our students on how to maintain healthy habits, and by helping our students to establish a vocal care team for periods of crisis, we are nurturing, informing and empowering a vocalist about their instrument. In this session, we will explore how to create a vocal health care community for your university, professional, and/or independent studio.

Countertenor Conclave: Generational Perspectives on Voice Teaching in a New Century
Presenters: Jay White, Ian Howell, Mark Crayton, Patrick Dailey, Jaron LeGrair, Drew Minter, Steven Rickards, Darryl Taylor

Countertenors within the ranks of NATS have talked about finding a way to gather at a national conference. Thus began the process of organizing a panel of artist-educators who, coincidently, identify, or have identified, as countertenors. Each panelist will present unique perspectives on discrete topics related to their experience in vocal arts and teaching such as professional choral performance, voice science and studio technology, training musical theatre styles in young voices, opera direction, establishing legacies and celebrating voices in diverse American musical heritages, CCM, and the evolution of performance practice in the voice studio. Scheduled to present on the panel are Ian Howell (NEC), Mark Crayton (Roosevelt University), Patrick Dailey (Tennessee State University), Jaron LeGrair (Jaron M. LeGrair Studio), Drew Minter (Vassar College), Steven Rickards (Independent Voice Studio), Darryl Taylor (UC, Irvine), and Jay White (Kent State University). Through the ongoing support of NATS in our careers, this session will give but a glimpse into the important work this small, but ever-growing, population of artist-educators contributes to the continuously changing world of voice.

The Joy of Fundraising: Creating partnerships to promote equity in vocal arts education
Presenter: Bob Bryan, NATS Development Director

Fundraising is love. (Yep, I said it.) Fundraising is caring, connecting, inspiring, engaging. With fundraising we can make vocal arts education available to low income and underserved singers. Come discuss the simple methodology for extending the joy of singing into the local communities we serve.