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Browse our extensive, high-quality sessions and plan your schedule on the Guidebook app.


 Saturday, June 29, 2024 posted on 4:24 PM, December 1, 2023
 Sunday, June 30, 2024 posted on 9:18 AM, November 12, 2023
 Monday, July 1, 2024 posted on 4:22 PM, November 10, 2023

Full Descriptions

**Program schedule subject to change as needed.**

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Saturday (7:45-8:45 a.m.)

NATS New Children & Youth NSA Categories
Presenters: Karen Brunssen, Dana Lentini, Dan Johnson Wilmot, and Alisa Belflower 

In fall 2023 NATS National Student Auditions added Musical Theatre, Classical, and Commercial
categories for Children ages 11 and younger/below 6 th grade, and for Youth ages 11 to 14/in 6 th through 8 th grades. In this presentation the NATS Children & Youth NSA Advisory Panel will discuss the journey toward inclusion of younger voices and how this new opportunity supports and honors teaching and mentoring for our youngest singers. The presenters will share resources available for NATS members, their students, and parents about repertoire, children’s pedagogy, adjudication of children and youth, and teaching and adjudication of these students within a nurturing, wholesome and safe environment. We welcome Children & Youth voices to NATS Student Auditions at the chapter, region, and national levels!

The Practical Application of the Science-Informed Voice Pedagogy Institute on Applied Voice Teaching
Presenters: Amy Jarman, Jennifer Erickson, Drake Dantzler, and Carissa Scroggins 

An Open Forum with voice teachers who attended the inaugural Science-Informed Voice Pedagogy Institute in June 2023 to learn about this approach to singing and its benefits in the voice studio. The information disseminated at this Institute pertaining to music and cognition, resonance, and acoustics, promotes its application in the classical voice studio as well as in training MT and CCM singers, and is designed to create a balanced approach to voice pedagogy. The presenters at the Institute, Lynn Helding, John Nix, and Amelia Rollings Bigler, have learned in their research that far fewer of us have had solid or even reliable pedagogy training than is optimal considering the vast influence that each of us has on our students. This is not a method, but the information we received as students at this professional development intensive encourages exploration about how we move forward individually and as a profession towards a stronger sense of self-knowledge in our teaching, and a more structured approach in our studios.

Teaching Lucas: The Rest of the Story – Ten Years After Testosterone.
Presenters: Lorraine Sims and Lucas Avery Jameson

This presentation will serve as an update to the March/April 2017 NATS Journal article “Teaching Lucas: A Transgender Student’s Vocal Journey from Soprano to Tenor” written about the testosterone therapy voice transition of Lucas Avery, an AFAB singer, in 2014. It will be a shared presentation with Lucas Avery, who is now a NATS member and voice teacher with a private studio of their own. The presentation will include brief historical recordings of the initial transition as well as live performances of vocalises and songs to demonstrate Lucas Avery’s voice as it is today. Discussion will include the importance of inclusive pedagogy for voices that are not gender typical as well as pedagogical strategies that have been used to cultivate different vocal timbres in this voice. There will be Q & A time with both teacher and student.

Saturday (9-10 a.m.)

Pedagogue and Pianist, a Perfect Partnership
Presenters: Susan Ashbaker & Kathy Kessler Price

A perfect partnership between Pedagogue and Pianist will demonstrate how to facilitate the learning experience of a singer.  In this session we will hear several singers and approach a section of their selection from the two different perspectives, clarifying and enlightening how this tandem approach, focusing on the same end result, but through different means is a valuable resource for singers.

Songs of East Asia: art songs from Japan, China, and Korea
Presenters: Mutsumi Moteki and JungWoo Kim

Ever since Western music was introduced near the end of the 19th century, composers in East Asian countries, particularly in Japan, China, and Korea, have been creating art songs by combining poems from their own cultures with Western music-composition techniques. In the past, many Western musicians and music scholars have dismissed these songs merely as second-class imitations of Western art songs. Thanks to the recent publications of many of these songs in the U.S., American singers can now explore songs from these East Asian countries much more easily. This lecture-recital will introduce you to some examples of these songs with brief historical backgrounds. Resources for these songs will also be provided. Songs have a special power to touch human souls directly. By singing, listening to, and learning about these songs, one can gain intimate cultural insights into these East Asian countries as well as fresh perspectives of Western music.

Accessing early 20th-century art songs from Japan: Introducing seldom-performed works by Japanese composers into voice studios
Presenters: Sahoko Sato Timpone, Natalie Sherer, Mutsumi Moteki, and Marc Callahan 

This mini-recital consists of performances of early 20th-century Western-style art songs by Japanese composers for voice and piano, with distinctive Japanese elements written in English, French, German, and Japanese. This presentation aims to introduce 1. rare yet accessible works by Japanese composers to voice studios outside Japan and 2. neglected Japanese composers into our repertoire. Handouts will be provided on the historical context, translations, brief musical and poetic analysis, and performance suggestions. Our performers/presenters are native Japanese speakers and non-natives to demonstrate the accessibility of this repertoire. Furthermore, the works in the Japanese language are settings of tanka, with just 31 syllables as the text, in a language that uses only five vowels. Therefore, they are an ideal gateway for introducing Japanese songs to non-Japanese-speaking vocalists. Lastly, we hope these songs will serve as welcome additions to the collective efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the voice studios.

Meaningful Mentoring in the Voice Professions
Presenters: Belinda Andrews-Smith, Carole Choate Blankenship, and Stephen Ng 

Professional development and the exchange of ideas through mentoring strengthens the practices of all voice professionals through open communication and perpetual learning. Whether you are looking for career, or tenure mentorship, this panel discussions will offer practical application and advice on the development of mentor/mentee relationships between academic and professional organization colleagues, as well as resources, and suggestions of how and where to find potential mentors. The panel will provide guidance and necessary tools that can help artists/scholars to flourish.

Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT): Finding Artistic Flow While Experiencing Performance Anxiety
Presenters: Dana Zenobi, David Juncos, and Laura Storm 

This interactive workshop will give presenters hands-on experience with Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT), a mindfulness-based approach to managing music performance anxiety.  ACT can help singers find greater flexibility, feel a sense of flow, and cultivate artistic presence.  Presenters will guide participants through activities structured by the six-fold ACT method, which includes cultivating mindfulness, increasing willingness to perform with anxiety present, de-fusing from our anxious thoughts, rethinking our self-stories, clarifying our values as performers, and committing ourselves to measurable goals.  Those attending will leave with initial experiences with the ACT method, knowledge of the research on its effectiveness when administered by voice teachers, and tools to measure Music Performance Anxiety.  Information on how to pursue further training in ACT will also be provided.

Every Body Belongs Here: Size Inclusion in the Singing Voice Studio
Presenters: Elizabeth Benson and Kate Rosen

Fatness is a social justice issue and in the 1:1 training setting of the singing voice studio, teachers can either affirm or further marginalize fat students. The term “fat” is used as a neutral and objective descriptor. After collecting qualitative data from over 50 fat singers, the presenters will share the experiences of these singers in training and professional settings. We will uphold a fat liberationist framework, or the idea that people living in fat bodies are entitled to respect, dignity, and equitable treatment. Pulling from contextual data in sociology, medicine, and psychology, in combination with data from the study on singers, pedagogical and industry recommendations will be offered. Attendees will examine implicit bias, exercise empathy, affirm lived experiences, and hear recommendations from fat singers on how to make a more inclusive voice studio. Together, we will celebrate the power of community and positivity to foster a sense of belonging for all.

Multi-Disciplinary Management of Complex Vocal Fold Lesions and Resonance Disorders — Vocal Zebras
Presenters: Deanna McBroom, Lucinda Halstead, and Jill Terhaar Lewis

This presentation will focus on the roles of the voice team — physician, singing voice specialist, and voice teacher — in the diagnosis, medical, and surgical treatment, and vocal rehabilitation of complex voice disorders (VOCAL ZEBRAS). The differential diagnosis and multi-disciplinary management of pain with singing, vocal fold scarring, vocal fold paresis, vocal tremor, and singer’s dystonia will be detailed with emphasis on vocal maneuvers that can assist the singing teacher in identifying the possibility of these disorders, as well as their medical, surgical, and singing rehabilitation. Challenging resonance disorders due to reflux and weight loss (medical and surgical) will also be discussed. Participants will learn practical diagnostic and treatment strategies, empowering them to advocate for and participate in a wide range of medical and targeted rehabilitative treatments, including vocal exercises to elucidate vocal pathology, alternative non-surgical treatments for reflux beyond antacids, and rehabilitative exercises used to treat vocal disorders.

Saturday (4-5 p.m.)

The Composer and Singer Relationship: A Town Hall to Demystify Creating New Art Song
Presenters: Andre Chiang, Lori Laitman, and Laura Schwendinger

The NATS Art Song Coalition wants the future to be full of new art songs being sung by NATS members and their students. We understand that the commissioning process is unfamiliar for many stakeholders, so this session is meant to demystify the process by having two of the preeminent composers in our field share their wisdom in a Town hall setting. Bring your questions and prepare to hear about what Lori Laitman, Laura Schwendinger, and others have to say about creating and collaborating on new art song!

Singing our story
Presenters: Daniel Fung and Albert Lee

Sharing our respective African American and AAPI journeys as artists, educators, and now administrators working in the IDEA space through song. IDEA goes beyond policy and we will explore how it can pervade every aspect of recital planning from inception to performance.

Empowering Young Singers: Strategies for Teaching Musical Theatre Foundations (Ages 12-18)
Presenters: Natalee Louise McReynolds and Wesley Diener 

Musical theatre song repertoire is the gateway to a lifetime of singing for an ever-increasing number of young singers in middle and high school. Well-equipped voice teachers can prepare their students for excellent and sustainable singing in multiple styles of musical theatre, such as new and old Golden Age, Pop/Rock, and Disney. In this workshop, we will guide our own young students through demonstrations and vocal exercises that facilitate age-appropriate belt, efficient mix, and legit vocal production. Equally important, we will outline stylistic considerations and applications across musical theatre genres and present strategies for resolving common vocal misdirections.

This workshop draws from our combined experience working with young singers as professional performers, directors, music directors, and voice instructors. Our middle and high school students have been accepted to top collegiate musical theatre programs, and they have performed in Broadway national tours, regional theater productions, films, and television series.

NATS Books: A New Copublishing Agreement between NATS and Rowman & Littlefield
Presenters: Allen Henderson, Matthew Hoch, and Michael Tan 

In 2022, NATS embarked on a new partnership with Rowman & Littlefield to release a series of books for singers, students of singing, and singing teachers. This copublishing program combines the leading expertise and authority of NATS in the professional field with a commercial publisher already established in singing voice studies and with a global marketing and distribution network mission of the program is to provide high-quality resources for singers, teachers, and other voice professionals. In this session, Matthew Hoch, Allen Henderson, and Michael Tan will each describe their role in bringing the copublishing agreement into existence. Panelists will then have the opportunity to share their personal story and journey through the book-writing process. The session will conclude with an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and engage in discussion with the presenters, who can also answer questions about the proposal development and submission process.

Un-Dramatic Aria: Music School Admissions, Auditions, and Finding Your Best Next Chapter as a Singer
Presenters: Lynn Eustis, Zach Schwartz, and Daniel Parsley 

The niche world of music school admissions sits at the cross section of higher education and the arts: two industries steeped in tradition, superstition, long-term personal goals, and significant financial considerations. Although as performing artists we specialize in conveying the full spectrum of intense human emotion, finding a voice program need not be fraught with the same level of drama.

This one-hour workshop will serve as a first step to demystify the realms of music school admissions, applications, auditions, financial aid, and how to find a voice program that suits your long-term best interests as a singer, well-rounded musician, and artistic citizen.

Playing Childlessness; Motherhood in Performing Arts Academia
Presenters: Grace Edgar and Molly Claassen 

Based on our lived experiences, talking with other female academics, and researching previously published literature, Dr. Grace Edgar and Professor Claassen hypothesize that women teaching in academia, especially in the performing arts, are discouraged from becoming mothers. We are interviewing female academics in the performing arts who have chosen to become mothers and those who have chosen not to become mothers regarding their experiences. Additionally, we have created a survey to provide statistical information on motherhood in academia in various disciplines. We believe that women are marginalized in academia, even more so when they become mothers, and to an even greater extent in the field of performing arts. We want to bring awareness to the issues of discrimination against mothers in performing arts academia to create more diverse and inclusive educational institutions. As mothers ourselves working in performing arts academia including theatre, music, and dance, we want to dispel the myth that academics cannot be mothers and provide encouragement to women who feel pressured to choose between their career or their children.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Sunday (7:45-8:45 a.m.)

Assessment as a Teaching Tool
Presenters: Ho Eui Bewlay

The importance of the individualized instructions for all types of learners will be addressed using inclusive pedagogy.  If used effectively, assessment rubrics can be used as instructional and reflection tools. The rubric gives clear guidance to lead the students to understand what is expected of them. According to Selfert, “Teachers need to communicate to students the objectives of the lesson—what it is the students should learn. Doing so may enhance the students’ self-efficacy for the task at hand by helping students feel confident in their work.” This pedagogy can result, may promote self-efficacy, and increased self-confidence.  Improved self-efficacy and increased self-confidence can be evidences for changes in student motivation. One of the results of this kind of increased motivation may be improved student performance. Once students gain self-efficacy, the students may grow as independent artists who create and produce music according to their own authentic voices.

What is Voice Science, and Why We Should Care
Presenters: David Meyer and John Nix 

Many have the view that voice science and the art of singing are incompatible. Or that singing teachers need PhDs in physics to understand even the basics. This is not the case! In this presentation, Journal of Singing associate editors John Nix and David Meyer make the case that voice science is FOR ALL OF US, not just for an educated few. Science-informed tools and techniques will be discussed that are directly applicable to the studio voice teachers, and their new Journal of Singing column will be introduced.

Teaching Toward Artistry: A Learner-Centered Approach
Presenter: Jeanne Goffi-Fynn

Studio lessons is a unique learning experience between music teacher and student and is, in many ways, a personal journey toward artistry. Most studio instructors agree upon the goals and expectations of a musical course of study; namely  the development of appropriate technical skills, musical accuracy, and becoming a musically effective performer (Wexler, 2009). In this presentation, however, my goal is to share an expanded perspective of the pedagogy of this practice.  Rather than asking how teachers are teaching, I will focus on how students are learning, and more specifically, how teachers are affecting positive change. Teachers might do this by encouraging inquiry (motivation), providing the guidance appropriate to facilitate learning, and sensitively mediating teacher-student interaction (rapport). After reviewing the theoretical underpinnings of a learner-centered approach, we’ll continue with practical applications via case studies in small break out groups, returning to collaborate on final thoughts from our discussions.

The Kindest "Judge of All" - Exploring the Intent vs. Impact in the Adjudication Experience
Presenters: Rebecca Pieper, Megan Durham 

Kind, constructive feedback is an essential skill-building tool for developing singers. However, it is not uncommon to encounter audition or jury comments that go beyond critical toward unproductive and perhaps hurtful. This workshop will unpack how our adjudication language choices, including the difference between intention and impact, can affect students’ abilities to receive and process feedback. Can we lead with humility, rather than assumption, to create a process of collaborative adjudication? How can we educate ourselves to understand not just what we are evaluating, but WHO we are evaluating with regards to demographic, opportunity, age and genre.  Through existing research, group polling, dialog, and a live demonstration, we will generate practical ideas for reframing potentially “charged” language into meaningful prompts that lead with curiosity, experimentation, and play. We can foster a singing community that values both the teachers’ knowledge and the students’ experience, and invite student-centered pedagogy into the audition room.

Singing on the Spectrum: Understanding Neurodiversity in the Collegiate Music Setting
Presenter: Rebecca Renfro

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a unique aspect of neurodiversity, and currently has a diagnosis rate of 1 in 36 for children in the United States, according to the CDC. With the recent advent of dynamic research, education and societal support systems, students who present with ASD are able to successfully enroll and complete college degrees, and more specifically, music programs. By presenting up-to-date research along with behavioral analysis techniques and philosophies, this session will discuss the symptoms and challenges of ASD and provide classroom management and teaching tools to help support those students in a collegiate music setting. Additionally, aspects of American disability law and university policies and expectations will be explained, to help educators better understand and support those music students who present on the Autism Spectrum. 

Celebrating IDEAS: Uniting a Voice Area around Diverse Repertoire
Presenters: Norman Spivey and Jennifer Trost

We are fortunate to have an IDEA committee in our School of Music and a strong commitment to advancing inclusion, equity, and diversity in our strategic plans. Nonetheless, taking active steps to put actions into practice is critical. Initiatives we wish to highlight include our IDEA-Fest, opera programming, repertoire statements and actions involving auditions and recruitment, and the African American Music Festival (AAMF). We would also like to share elements of how we collaborate, repertoire specifics from programs, and student testimonials.

Sunday (9-10 a.m.)

Story-driven Singing: Training expressive voices in CCM styles
Presenters: Matt Edwards and Jacqlyn Edwards

Cultures worldwide sing to communicate the human experience in all of its highs, lows, and in-betweens. Yet oftentimes, when discussing voice pedagogy, we get so excited by the science that we focus on sound production alone. But what if our attempt to categorize technical adjustments takes away artists’ ability to authenticate their experiences? What if the real secret to success is not a vocal quality that we can quantify with a spectrogram but rather a vocal quality that matches our expectations for certain emotional states of being? In this workshop, participants will learn how to teach singers to let their spatial awareness, circles of energy, and intent lead the way in making vocal and musical choices. By training singers to let the voice follow the actor/storyteller, teachers will be able to help singers from all cultural backgrounds bring their stories to life like never before.

Illuminating IDEA in Afrikaans Art Song Literature
Presenters: Bronwen Forbay, Christian Bester, and Vivian Hamilton 

While Afrikaans has a complex and contentious history due to the legacy of apartheid, it continues to be recognized as one of South Africa’s eleven official languages in the twenty-first century where it often serves as a bridge for collaboration among diverse communities. This Afrikaans Art Song Literature lecture recital serves to illuminate IDEA perspectives present in the genre by highlighting the lived experiences of various marginalized, stigmatized, and diverse communities. Songs addressing topics about the struggle for liberation by protest composers living in exile, the LGBTQ+ experience, awareness for sexual abuse victims, the legacy of colonial slavery, as well as myths of the indigenous Khoikhoin, will be performed. Repertoire is scored for intermediate to advanced soprano and baritone voices and includes compositions by S. le Roux Marais (1896-1979), Arnold van Wyk (1916-1983), Hubert du Plessis (1922-2011), Stefans Grové (1922-2014), Hendrik Hofmeyr (1957-), and Niel van der Watt (1962-).

The Preservation of Cajun and Creole French Through Musical Settings of Recently Discovered Poetry and Songs
Presenters: James Eakin III, Ida Nicolosi, and Jeremy Mims 

As with many obscure cultures and their languages, the Cajun and Creole language is beginning to die out and within a generation or two could be lost completely. Dr. James Eakin III, Louisiana native and Composer-In-Residence at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana has composed a collection of songs in collaboration with soprano and NATS member, Ida Nicolosi, Professor of Voice at Pepperdine University accompanied by Dr. Jeremy Mims from Winthrop University. These songs are set to the Cajun and Creole poetry from Centenary College’s internationally acclaimed French-Language university press "Les Éditions Tintamarre," whose mission is to preserve the Cajun and Creole language. Most of the poetry and songs that Centenary College has preserved have been through field-recordings of Cajuns in Southwestern Louisiana, which Dr. Eakin so beautifully weaves together for voice and piano. This session will include an examination of the historical background of the fais do-do musical style, a poetic interpretation, and an introduction to the Cajun dialect using the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Doubles and Stacks, Reverbs and Effects: Teaching Vocal Production Skills
Presenter: Kelly Hoppenjans 

From Billie Eilish’s breathy close-miked harmony stacks to T-Pain’s autotuned melismas to Phoebe Bridgers’s folksy vocal doubles, commercial singers create their signature sounds using vocal production techniques. With current recording technology, any singer can learn to produce their vocals using only their laptop or the phone in their pocket. Vocal production is the craft of arranging vocals in recording, including stacks of vocal doubles, harmonies, pads, and echoes; space-creating mixing techniques like panning, balance, and reverb; and effects like compression, pitch correction, vocoder, distortion, and many others that blend together to craft a singer’s unique style. In this session, you will learn which programs students can use to produce their own vocals, and how to use these programs to teach skills in recording, arranging, mixing, and transforming students’ voices. Through vocal production, students can gain self-awareness, critical listening and arranging skills, and the ability to craft their own signature style.

Grasping at Straws: A Systematic Approach for Choosing the Winning SOVTE
Presenters: Kari Ragan and Lynn Maxfield 

There is a natural segue to selecting a particular Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercise (SOVTE) through an organizational template of the five voice systems: respiration, phonation, registration, articulation, and resonance. Various diameter straws, tubes immersed in water, Acapella PEP Therapy Device, lip trills, puffy cheeks, pigeon, tongue trills, raspberries, anesthesia mask, fricatives (e.g. /v/, /z/), and nasal continuants (/ŋ/, /n/, /m/) are all examples of SOVTEs. The principal focus of this interactive workshop will be to demonstrate the diagnosis of a vocal inefficiency based on what a teacher sees and hears and connect that assessment with the choosing the appropriate SOVT. Some SOVTEs, such as voice fricatives /v/ and /z/ could be more effective to help with respiration challenges while nasal continuants /m/, /n/, or /ŋ/ may bring focus to resonance. Understanding when and how to use a particular SOVTE is imperative to a successful outcome. They are not one size fits all.

Better Together: Exploring Group-Voice for All Ages and Stages
Presenters: Cynthia Vaughn, Amelia Rollings Bigler, Dana Lentini, Ayumi Nakamae and Craig Price 

Cynthia Vaughn hosts a group panel discussion on the social and educational benefits of group-voice classes in a variety of settings.

  • Group-voice for university voice majors (Amelia Rollings Bigler) 
  • Group-voice for community adults (Cynthia Vaughn) 
  • Group-voice for college non-voice majors (Ayumi Nakamae)
  • Group-voice for children (Dana Lentini) 
  • Group-voice for senior adults  (Craig Price)

Each panelist will have 8-10 minutes to present an overview of their area of group-teaching, followed by a moderated Q&A session and recognition of group-voice pioneers Clifton Ware and Clayne Robison. Total presentation time: 60 minutes

Sunday (5-6 p.m.)

Getting the Swing of It: A Jazz Primer
Presenter: Wendy Jones 

A jazz voice lesson doesn’t look like the “Euro-centric” lesson format that so many of us experienced in college. Getting the Swing Of It is a session designed for voice teachers who want to incorporate jazz in the voice studio and feel confident they are leading their students down a path that will honor the culture and tradition of this important American music genre while teaching their students to sing with authenticity. Attendees of this session will come away with ideas on how to structure a jazz voice lesson, how to choose tunes and keys, and resources to help them continue to develop as teachers and singers of jazz.

Spanish-Language Pop Songs for MT Auditions
Presenters: Lily Guerrero and Georgeanne Yehling

Tired of assigning songs from Encanto? We don't talk about Bruno... or where to find Spanish-language pop songs that are suitable for musical theatre auditions! In this session, we'll provide attendees with resources for Spanish-language pop songs that would be suitable for children, teens, and college-aged singers who primarily sing musical theatre. Song suggestions will include the pedagogical benefits of the piece, discussion of character typing, basic pronunciation guides, and DEI considerations for non-Latinx/e singers.

What's My Line? Empowering teachers to honor student experiences through language, choice, and agency.
Presenters: Sarah DeYong, Megan Durham, and Carol Krusemark 

Trauma-informed care (TIC) principles offer a framework that can be used in the voice studio to uphold a supportive teacher/student relationship. These guiding principles are critical for students who have a history of emotional trauma, TIC principles provide strategies and concepts that can benefit all students and serve as aspects of universal design. This workshop will utilize TIC principles can be considered an aspect of universal design, the backbone of ethical practice, a hallmark of the concept of “doing no harm." This workshop will introduce and encompass five concepts (the Five As): Awareness, Attunement, Access, Availability, and Acceptance.

Black Intersectional Identity and Vocal Expectations: Closing the Gap Between Musical Theatre Voice Training and Industry Standards for Black Singers
Presenters: Melissa Foster and Rose Van Dyne 

Musical theatre voice educators with Black students must be cognizant of the many stereotypes and racialized vocal expectations that are placed on them from the pre-existing musical theatre canon. Genres such as R&B, Motown, and Disco are often considered presumed knowledge for Black singers, even with no previous formalized training. As was explored through a qualitative interview study, five Black musical theatre performer participants indicated that they experienced genre-specific racialized vocal expectations on both academic and professional levels, and were dissatisfied with their representation within the canon. This workshop will explore the findings of this study, as well as offer concrete tools for direct application in teaching some of these genre-specific vocal stylings. This workshop is for voice teachers and musical theatre educators alike who are interested in taking an active role in choosing to not perpetuate racialized stereotypes for Black performers. Join us!

Women’s Voices: Songs for Mezzos and Contraltos by Living Female Composers
Presenters: Eileen Downey and Renee Tatum 

The purpose of this presentation is to bring greater exposure to living female composers; specifically, those who have written exceptionally well for the mezzo and contralto voice. This presentation will include a piano/vocal recital as well as a discussion of tessitura, vocal range, and text setting as they relate to singing technique for low female voices.

Heart Inventions: A Lecture-Recital Exploring Musical and Textual Meaning in Lena McLin’s Art Songs on Love
Presenters: Khyle Wooten and Sakinah Davis

Lena McLin (b. 1928) has achieved success as a composer in the mid-to-late twentieth century, boasting a legacy of solo vocal literature and scholarship. The purpose of this lecture-recital is to provide musical and textual analyses of a specific set of repertoire by McLin. The selected vocal literature share two common traits: (1) they are all scored for voice and piano and (2) they are all textually connected to the theme of love. This lecture-recital will explore McLin’s Songs of Love (1990-2002) and My Love (1993), complete with musical analysis and essential connections from the poems and poets of the examined repertoire. Additional considerations will include compositional inspirations and historical briefings on each work’s performance and reception history. The content of this presentation is curated in the hope of providing new repertoire resources for singers, collaborators, and scholars while working to increase awareness of the vocal music of Lena McLin.

Monday, July 1, 2024

Monday (7:45-8:45 a.m.)

The Zebra in the Room: What We Need to Know About Teaching Singers with HSD, hEDS, and POTS
Presenters: Joanne Bozeman and Marita Stryker 

In recent years, there has been increased awareness in the singing voice community about invisible conditions such as Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD), Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). These chronic diagnoses present with a number of symptoms that can affect vocal health and singing ability, as well as challenges in voice study, rehearsal and performance. Teachers may encounter students diagnosed with one or more of these oftentimes overlapping syndromes, and will need to use supportive and appropriate measures in their teaching. This session includes a basic overview of hEDS, HSD and POTS, discusses related research, and shares the results of two surveys of affected singers. Strategies will be presented that can help students to sing healthily and request appropriate accommodations, and encourage teachers to understand the special challenges of living and singing with these conditions.

Sympathetic/Parasympathetic Balance: Increase Mindfulness, Enhance Readiness
Presenter: Carol Krusemark 

Those seeking voice care sometimes come into the voice studio with anxiety, depression, even underlying trauma. We can struggle to know how to best help them in "messy" moments. Sometimes we struggle to maintain our own equilibrium when a student is experiencing heightened emotion. This interactive workshop will introduce concepts of co-regulation, autonomic nervous system activation, and strategies to impact sympathetic activation, in order to enhance student (and teacher) readiness for voice work. Small and large group participation in co-regulation, grounding, breathwork, and movement strategies will take place, with suggestions for how to enfold strategies into voice work in the studio. Seventy-five percent of this workshop will be interactive/participatory.

A Balance in the Force: Perceiving and Assessing Vibrato
Presenters: John Paul nix, Joshua Glasner, Theodora Nestorova, and Yvonne Gonzales Redman 

This session will engage attendees in understanding, perceiving, and assessing vocal vibrato. Through the use of carefully structured activities, the presentation team will introduce concepts that enhance attendees’ ability to discern and differentiate key aspects of vibrato in the students they teach.  The session will be focused on topics that have relevance and practical application for solo and group voice teaching across multiple genres.  The presenters, all active as singers, teachers, and researchers, bring a number of years of experience in exploring vibrato to this discussion.

Working Within the Window of Tolerance
Presenters: David Sisco and Marcia Lesser 

Voice teachers are regularly challenged with quickly discovering the root of a singer’s technical issues. The question becomes: what is the fastest route to expressive freedom? Voice teacher David Sisco collaborates with Marcia Lesser, who is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, movement therapist, and somatic psychotherapist to explore how the autonomic nervous system directly impacts movement and singing. Using Dan Siegal’s theory of the window of tolerance, Sisco and Lesser explain the signs of hyper- and hypo-arousal, how they impact the body and voice, and ways to bring the student back to a place of optimal effort, with video examples. This relatively new physiological and psychological framework gives teachers a powerful way to read somatic cues and offers students agency to express their own embodied experience.

Women Leaders Cultivating Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Belonging through Singing and Artistry
Presenters: Ivy Walz, Deborah Popham, Alexis Davis-Hazell, and Amy Canchola 

This will be a facilitated, interactive discussion with four different women leaders serving in a variety of roles; performers, independent teachers of singing, faculty, academic and non-profit leadership. Each of us experiences the call for change to open spaces and opportunities towards equity and inclusivity for our students, colleagues, and the communities we serve. We will explore questions and strategies such as; 1) How do each of us approach leadership with sensitivity and courage, informed by our perspective identities (professional and personal)? 2) How do we meet challenges women leaders face towards enacting change? 3) How can we lend our voices and artistry as tools of leadership? 4) How do we practice making impactful artistic decisions? 5) How can we collaborate to make the most of our innovative pursuits? The panelists will discuss what experiences have led them to commit and recommit to transformational change, with the goal to inspire continued dialogue. 

Monday (9-10 a.m.)

Singing in Co-Harmony: Toward a Trauma-Informed Voice Pedagogy
Presenters: Megan Durham and William Sauerland

Incorporating somatic practices, guided prompts, and digital feedback, we will generate dialog and strategies for cultivating agency, boundaries, and “safe enough” spaces. More specifically, we will offer the question: how does voice pedagogy shift when we consider that responses often labeled “vocal faults” (gasping for air, difficulty exhaling, articulation difficulty, mental and emotional fatigue, anxiety, lethargy, etc.) may be survival strategies? Trauma-informed vocal pedagogy aims to provide a collaborative, emergent scaffolding that prioritizes singers’ lived experience and cultivates greater compassion and connectivity within the voice studio, while maintaining high integrity and standards in vocal artistry.

Broadway Country Cornucopia: Tools and Tips for Country Singing in Musical Theatre
Presenter: Edrie Means Weekly 

Broadway musicals encompass a plethora of styles including Country and Bluegrass as seen in Broadway productions like Shucked, Girl from the North, Bright Star, Big River and Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.  Country styles of singing cannot be left out of vocal training of musical theatre singers.  Because of these demands, singers need flexibility to switch between vocal registers making different interior shapes to allow changes in the resonance to serve the song style
This session uses a hands-on and skill-building delivery style presented by the biological daughter of the King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin.  As a group, participants will experiment with exercises for laryngeal flexibility, country “vocal stylisms/effects”, such as cry, yodel, scoops, etc., for singing in the country style. This workshop is designed to enhance skills of singers.  Participants will leave with tools to use in the classroom, studio setting, auditions and the professional stage to help bring a song to life vocally in the country style.

Force of Nature: a story of community
Presenters: Kathleen Kelly, Emily Albrink, Rene Orth, and Edith David Tidwell 

The 2024 conference features a performance of Rene Orth’s work “Weave Me a Name,” which won first prize in the 2023 NATS Art Song Composition Award. In our session, you’ll learn about this cycle and the others, by Nailah Nombeko and Jake Heggie, which soprano Emily Albrink Katz commissioned in honor of her mother, pianist Nancy Albrink. From the artistic process, to fundraising, to community support, to recording stress, to pandemic navigation: we have an epic story to share!

Coach Them Young: An evidence-based approach to encourage Flow and Peak Performance while addressing adolescent MPA in the teaching studio
Presenter: Anupa Paul 

A performer’s ability to handle symptoms of anxiety and fear seems necessary to enjoy future performances and to also continue pursuing singing as a career. This presents teachers, who are the main source of expectation and first point of contact, with the necessity to be aware of the latest research and evidence-based strategies which can be used in the teaching studio in tandem with singing lessons. As MPA usually has its origins in childhood and adolescence, this age bracket appears to be an opportune time to instill healthy behaviors in singing students as they are more likely to remember these coping strategies owing to their rapid brain development and the release of dopamine.

Revolutionizing Music Education through AI Integrations
Presenters: Karen Michaels and Eden Casteel

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a transformative tool in music education, particularly for independent voice teachers. This proposal seeks to integrate AI-powered applications into music studios to enhance the teachers' work and students' practices and performance. These applications provide real-time vocal feedback, generate accompaniments, and offer innovative music education apps for a more immersive learning experience.  The AI-driven tools will also revolutionize music theory teaching methods, with capabilities such as composing music, predicting harmony, and generating creative accompaniments. The ethical implications of AI use, such as potential over reliance on technology, impacts on working conditions, and copyright issues, will all be carefully considered. The ultimate goal is to empower vocal education, enhance performance, revitalize the vocal industry, and promote efficient learning while ensuring responsible application of AI. This proposal presents a forward-thinking approach to harnessing the power of AI in music education.

Pedagogy-Informed Voice Science: An Open Forum Dialogue with The American Academy of Teachers of Singing (AATS)
Presenters: Presenters Kenneth Bozeman, Lynn Helding, Trineice Robinson-Martin, John Nix and Donald Simonson

The American Academy of Teachers of Singing (AATS) is “a select group of internationally recognized voice teachers and singing voice experts founded in 1922 with the express purpose of contributing to the singing profession in an advisory capacity”; (from “Who Are We?”). AATS members will lead an open forum dialogue with conference attendees on the topic of an upcoming position paper entitled “Pedagogy-Informed Voice Science.” Defined as “a type of voice science which recognizes the value of the experience-gleaned perspective of voice practitioners in its study design and operates within a spirit of true interdisciplinarity,” Pedagogy-Informed Voice Science is centered around a mutual professional acknowledgement of different ways of knowing. The rationale for this paper is located within the context of unwavering support for science-informed pedagogy, and offered in the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration and respect. This term is not meant to restrict or reject the rigorous protocols necessary for careful scientific experimentation. Rather, it is meant to encourage voice practitioners (both habilitative and rehabilitative) from the voice teaching and speech clinical settings to offer their own educational- and experience-gleaned perspectives to the research design process of voice studies, and to inspire investigators to welcome these perspectives as potentially valid and helpful. We anticipate these attributes of respect and collaboration to animate and shape our discussion, and look forward to hearing session attendees’ opinions of and experiences with science-informed pedagogy. This discussion will inform AATS’ position paper on this important topic within contemporary voice pedagogy.

Monday (4-5 p.m.)

Mexicana Hermosa
Presenters: Amy Canchola and Noe Garcia 

Traditionally, when a Spanish art song is performed, it represents European composers. However, Mexican and Latin-American composers have a wealth of repertoire that should be studied and performed. Even more specific, is the under-represented body of music by Mexican and Latin-American female composers. "Mexicana Hermosa" is a presentation of music by Mexican and Latina composers arranged for voice and guitar.  This performance celebrates the life, music, and contributions of these dynamic women. To add to the unique qualities of this repertoire is the pairing for voice and guitar. This offers an array of transportable programming possibilities.

Complete Canciones by Manuel M. Ponce Vol.1. A publication by Ponce Project Foundation.
Presenters: Jessica Posada, Charbel Yubaile, Omar Herrera, and Eric Posada 

Manuel Maria Ponce (1882-1948) is considered one of the most influential composers in the history of Mexican classical music. He composed over 150 songs for voice and piano. His compositional style synthesizes a myriad of influences including Mexican vernacular music and European art song. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Ponce’s vocal music was previously unavailable and thus remained unknown to the singing community. Recently, Ponce Project Foundation commenced upon the long journey of publishing Ponce’s unexplored works. This session will premiere Ponce Project Foundation’s first anthology of published Mexican Art Songs composed by Manuel Ponce and previously undiscovered by the public. The presenters will offer historical information on Ponce and his compositional style, as well as an overview of the publication: program notes, poetic and word-for-word translations, and IPA. Information on accessing the repertoire will also be provided along with a live performance of the pieces included in the publication.

Staging a Coup: History meets science for the coup de la glotte
Presenters: Kourtney Strade-Austin, Stephen Austin, and Stephen Morscheck 

Historical vocal pedagogy, voice science, voice health, and performance practice come together in this presentation which addresses the historical context for teaching the onset as a fundamental skill, along with a review of a recent study examining the acoustic effects of different types of onset, and practical studio implementation of onset training. The aforementioned study is the first known research to objectively measure the acoustic implications of the coup de la glotte, and delineate it from the hard glottal attack.  Rather than using general terms often found in onset research such as “normal onset” (what is normal???), this study approaches the onset using familiar pedagogical terminology with experienced bel canto singers as subjects.  Learn how training a specific type of onset effects the overall vocal timbre and can influence voice health.  This session combines objective voice science research data with practical vocal pedagogy and healthy singing technique, including teaching demonstrations.

Welsh Art Song: Your Next Artistic and Linguistic Obsession
Presenters: Jeffrey Williams, Rachel Schutz, and Jennifer McGuire

For over a century, Wales has held the nickname, “The Land of Song”, and not without reason.  Singing is an undeniable part of Welsh culture and their art song deserves a respected place in the echelons of European art music.  Unfortunately, due in part to Wales’s historical and political position in Europe, this country’s music has been underexplored and underperformed -- until now.  The presenters, both with forthcoming publications and collections on Welsh Diction and Repertoire, will introduce attendees to the rich tapestry of Welsh art song through lecture and performance.  During the session, the barrier to the Welsh language will be broken and many composers (several female) and their music will be highlighted.  In giving this music a proper hearing and deserved exposure, we know you will fall in love with the passion, pride, and pleasure engrained in each note.

Practical Approaches to Coordinating Registration for the Cis-Gender Female Musical Theatre Singer
Presenters: Kevin Wilson and Sarah DeYong

This workshop will discuss the cultivation and coordination of registration for beginner cis-gender music theater singers. Kevin Wilson and Sarah DeYong will demonstrate and discuss the use of three voice models, The Neutral Voice, The Broken Voice, and The Flexible Voice, that provide a practical and methodical approach for registration cultivation and a balance in the voice studio for classical and contemporary voices. The workshop will include a brief discussion on registration language, developmental repertoire, and how to effectively navigate cross-training for the five musical theater sub-genres: Standard Legit, Contemporary Legit, Standard Belt, Contemporary Belt, and Pop/Rock. Attendees will receive handouts of vocal exercises and repertoire suggestions.

26 Commercial Music Songs & (Un)Arias
Presenters: Gretchen Windt and Jessie Oliver

Whether you love them, or love to hate them, the "26 Italian Songs & Arias" have endured as standard repertoire to build technique for classical Western singing. This relatively comprehensive collection of songs encourages legato, breath coordination, resonance strategies, agility, registration, expression, and more. Meanwhile, the required skills and interests of singers have expanded to include musical theatre, jazz, CCM, commercial music, pop, rock, and more; while teachers of singing are redefining sustainable, functional singing and embracing vocal cross-training. This movement requires a new collection of songs, "26 Commercial Songs and (Un)Arias," to establish fundamental technique for beginning singers. Inspired by the pedagogical functions of the original 26 Italian songs, we have compiled a collection of gender-neutral and transposable songs ranging from musical theatre to folk music to pop ballads and anthems to encourage legato, breath coordination, resonance strategy, agility, registration, expression, and more for beginning singers.