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Program Sessions

Featured Program Sessions & Highlights

We hope that you will be as excited as we are about the program sessions that you will experience at the NATS 52nd National Conference.

Featured Opening Session Master Class with Jane Eaglen

Jane Eaglen has one of the most formidable reputations in the opera world today. She is Professor of Voice at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio and the McGlasham International Chair in Voice at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She will present the Featured Opening Session Master Class on the opening day of the 52nd National Conference.

Getting and Surviving Your Theme Park Gig

Oceans Ballroom 5-8
An Orlando conference would not be complete without a session on theme park careers. These veteran theme park casting directors and performers, who represent over sixty years of experience, will share:

  • the inside story on how to get the job and how to keep the job.
  • how to maneuver through the complex maze of advancement in large organizations such as Walt Disney World and other theme parks.

The panel includes Jeffrey Lindberg, Mark Catlett, Jacob Haines, Sheila SmithWard, and Katy Vaughn.

Moderated by Mary Saunders-Barton
Introduced by Allen Henderson, Executive Director

Stepping on Stage: Your Oratorio Audition

Oratorio?  “I only studied one oratorio aria in my whole undergraduate career.”  “I just approach oratorio arias in the same way as opera arias.”  “How can I strengthen my resume by performing oratorio?” A panel of prominent professionals will share their insights from the world of oratorio casting and performance. Aspiring professional artists will have the chance to sing for the critique of the presenters. The panel includes Robert Mirshak, Therese Renick, Jonathan Griffith and Karen Brunsen.

Mindful Voice: The Singing Teacher in the Age of the Cognitive Revolution

Effective teaching is contingent on how students’ brains receive teachers’ wisdom. This simple yet profound truth has compelled Lynn Helding to call for a paradigm shift in emphasis from how well teachers teach, to how well students learn in light of the “Cognitive Revolution.” Advances in neuroscience prove that the dichotomy of voice science versus vocal art, an unfortunate division that has plagued voice pedagogy since its inception, is as false as “left” and “right brain thinking.” While it is true that the brain’s left hemisphere handles sequential thought and analytical reasoning and is thus associated with science, and the right hemisphere processes are nonlinear and intuitive and therefore associated with artistic creativity, in fact, both hemispheres work in concert to form an integrated whole. Using this hemispheric collaboration as a metaphor can advance voice pedagogy in the twenty-first century, and move it beyond the simple accumulation of scientific knowledge to considering the delivery system of that knowledge: teaching.

Stepping On Stage: Preparation for Your Music Theater Audition

Duncan Stewart, Joe Church, Nikole Vallins, Mary Saunders-Barton
Introduced by Cindy Dewey, Conference Program Chair

A favorite of the past two national conferences! A panel of prominent professionals from the world of music theater will share their insights into the world of music theater casting. Aspiring professional artists will have the chance to sing for the critique of the panel of presenters.

Creative Musical Expression: From the Genome to the Globe

Thanks to the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute, we are able to bring to our attendees two groundbreaking plenary sessions sure to be of interest to all as we explore the future of the treatment of singers.

Session I

Join us for a fascinating exploration of music and medicine that extends from the realm of the human stress response at the genomic level to innovative remote consultative strategies developed to improve quality of life and performance for vocalists throughout the world.  This highly engaging program begins with a scientific overview by Barry Bittman, MD, neurologist and CEO of the Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute.  Bittman focuses on his original scientific research that explores the human stress response in the context genomic changes that occur in association with stress induction followed by a creative musical expression protocol for non-musicians. Neil Cherian, MD, otoneurologist and Director of Performance Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, follows with an overview of comprehensive integrative strategies for musicians and vocalists within the Clinic’s world-wide performance network.  Cherian presents a unique interdisciplinary strategy that extends from prevention and wellness to assessment and treatment of musicians and vocalists throughout the world.

Session II

This second session builds upon the first and sets the stage for a comprehensive vocalist assessment including a live interactive laryngoscopy procedure performed remotely by otolaryngologist and voice expert, Paul C. Bryson, MD of the Department of Otolaryngology at the Cleveland Clinic. Bryson extends the discussion to a practical overview of the performer’s voice and the need for a comprehensive patient-centric prevention and treatment approach.  The session ends with a panel discussion focusing on a multi-perspective discussion of caring for the vocalist.

European and US Agency Systems: Finding Your Agent

The agency systems in both the United States and Europe have undergone significant change in recent years. The closing and consolidation of agencies, changing landscape of casting, influence of digital media and distribution, and many other factors make the challenge of connecting with the agent that will not only work for you, but also work WITH you, to build your career. Robert Mirshak and Therese Renickprovide a clear picture of both agency systems in this informative session.

Other Session Highlights

  • Yoga for Performers 1 (Robert Swedberg)
  • Publisher Showcase: Presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York
  • Shining Jewels: Exploring the Songs of Lee Hoiby (Colleen Gray and Nanette Solomon)
  • Vocology/Speech Pathology and the Singing Voice Studio (Jerome Elsbernd and Robert Grider)
  • Singing Seniors: Maintenance and Music-Making (Karen Brunssen and Sangeetha Rayapati)
  • Microphone Techniques (Lori McCann and David Smith)
  • Publisher Showcase: Presented by The Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program
  • Publisher Showcase: A HAL LEONARD POTPOURRI – Presented by Richard Walters
  • 2012 Art Song Composition Award Announcement and Recital – Performance of Winning Composition
  • Shaken, Not Stirred: An In-Depth Look at Vibrato and Non-Vibrato Singing  (John Nix)
  • Careers in the Professional Opera Chorus  (Ken Donovan, Frankie Hatcher Hickman, and Jeff Mosher)
  • Starting the Conversation: Implications and Pedagogy Considerations for Music Theater Singing and the Choral Setting (Corinne Ness and Peter Dennee)
  • Using The  Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program in Your Studio (Jennifer Snow and Panel)
  • Pilates2Voice®:  A New Mind-Body Technique for Singers (Veera Asher)
  • Publisher Showcase: Music Together – Presented by Lisa Griffith (8 – 9 a.m.)
  • The Importance of the First Formant in Male Passaggio Pedagogy (Kenneth Bozeman)
  • Talented Kids (Leslie Curda)
  • The European and US Agency Systems: Finding Your Agent  (Robert Mirshak and Therese Renick)
  • Survive and Thrive Performing in the Cruise Industry (Tracy Kamps, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines)
  • Publisher Showcase: Presented by Graphite Publishing
  • Publisher Showcase: Presented by Hal Leonard – BENJAMIN BRITTEN CENTENARY CELEBRATION
  • Stepping on Stage 1: Your Oratorio Audition (T. Renick, R. Mirshak, J. Griffith, and K. Brunssen)
  • Do You See What I Hear? (Daniel Ihasz and Donald Miller)
  • Copyright, Fair Use, and the Public Domain in the Digital Age: What Teachers of Singing Need to Know (Emily Toronto and Stephen Wood)
  • Cross Training in the Private Studio: Developing Successful Vocal Strategies for Adolescent Singers (Novie Greene)
  • Keeping Music in the Schools: Advocating for the Arts as Core Curriculum – American Academy of Teachers of Singing Panel (Martha Randall, chair; Jan Douglas, Vice Chair; Marvin Keenze, Mary Saunders-Barton, Norman Spivey, Scott McCoy, Richard Sjoerdsma, Robert Edwin and George Shirley)
  • Projecting Organic Energy to Train the Singing Actor (Robert Swedberg)
  • Pilates2Voice®: A New Mind-Body Technique for Singers (Veera Asher)
  • Publisher Showcase: ARTSAPP – Online Audition Software – Presented by Dejen Tesfagiorgis
  • Celebrating Canadian Song (Nancy Maria Balach and Amanda Johnston)
  • Training the Terrible Tongue!  (Loraine Sims)
  • Ultra-High-Speed Laryngeal Endoscopy: How New Technologies Are Changing How We Care for the Performer’s Voice (Brian Petty)
  • Insurance: Protecting Yourself and Your Students  (Emily Gray)
  • Publisher Showcase: Presented by Estill Voice Training – Translating the Language of Voice