Breakout Session

Cross-Training in the Voice Studio: A Balancing Act

Monday, June 25 • 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Presenters: Norman Spivey, Mary Saunders-Barton
Introduced by: Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk
Location: Trinidad 1-3

This presentation is for the studio teacher who needs strategies—and maybe who also needs permission—to work with students in a way that appeals to their diverse interests, their vocal well-being, and to the current market. Our presentation, meant to be a practical insight to building balanced, flexible, and resilient vocalism through concurrent work in classical and music theater styles, combines the best practices of traditional pedagogy with music theater singing pedagogy. We will outline our philosophy of cross-training—the balance of “bel canto/can belto” that embraces both classical and vernacular styles. Both opera and music theater are inherently dramatic art forms and require a high degree of vocal conditioning and athleticism to maintain career longevity. And, after all, aren’t we all looking for balanced vocalism?

About Norman Spivey

NormanSpivey-NATSweb2.jpgNorman Spivey is professor of music at Penn State, where he teaches singing and courses in voice pedagogy. He is a past-president of NATS and has also served NATS as president of the Allegheny Mountain Chapter, governor of the Pennsylvania District, and national vice president for workshops. He also served on the board of the NATS Foundation. His writings have appeared in Journal of Singing, and he has participated in the NATS Intern Program as an intern and as local coordinator, and was selected as a master teacher for the 2010 program.

Spivey received a B.M. from Southeastern Louisiana University, a M.M. from the University of North Texas, and a D.M.A. from the University of Michigan. A Fulbright grant to Paris, where he worked with renowned baritones Gabriel Bacquier and Gérard Souzay, led to concert and opera engagements throughout France, as well as a tour of France and Canada as Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute. While in France, he was also awarded the Harriet Hale Woolley Award as artist-in-residence at the Fondation des Etats-Unis. He has sung Schubert's Winterreise at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall and performed the American premiere of Poulenc's rediscovered Quatre Poèmes de Max Jacob. His most recent performance project, Écoute: pieces of Reynaldo Hahn, was an original one-man show on the life and music of the French composer that toured around the country. Spivey has received fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival and the Institute for Advanced Vocal Studies in Paris; in 2003 he received the Van L. Lawrence Fellowship awarded jointly by The Voice Foundation and NATS. In 2011, Spivey was invited to join the American Academy of Teachers of Singing.

About Mary Saunders-Barton

Mary_Saunders-Barton_cr4x5_photo.jpgMary Saunders-Barton is a Penn State Professor Emerita, and currently resides in NY where she maintains a voice studio of Broadway professionals. In recent seasons her students have been seen on Broadway in Book of Mormon, The King and I, Beautiful, Chicago, Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia, Wicked, Newsies, Sunset Boulevard, and Miss Saigon, among others. Mary has been a master teacher for the NATS Intern Program, and is frequently invited to present her workshop “Bel Canto/Can Belto” in the U.S and abroad. Her DVD tutorial, Teaching Women to Sing Musical Theatre was released in 2007. A second installment, What about the Boys? followed in 2014. Mary is a member of the American Academy of Teachers of Singing.