The depth and diversity of my training has an important impact upon my teaching, on a daily basis. Singing training, certainly. But also acting, dance, movement, clown, and performance psychology. All have shaped my work and the way I communicate.
After working with multiple singing teachers (of very different schools of thought) over a couple of decades, “Functional Voice Training” has become my vocal home.
- I graduated from University of Toronto with a double degree in performance voice, and history and literature of music.
- I continued my studies as an acting major at Ryerson University.
- While at the Banff Centre for the Arts, I took part in:
- Academy of Singing – 2 seasons
- Drama training program
- 4 seasons of Operatic training and productions
- completed the 2-year MUTSE program:
- The Music Theatre Studio Ensemble was a post-graduate training process addressing music, acting and movement/dance.
- The program included new works exploration and a production touring company, so I was blessed to have the experience of sharing three different works in small and large communities in northern Alberta, B.C. and the Yukon (in the dead of winter).
Voice and singing teachers I trained with over these years include: Ernesto Vinci, Bernard Diamant, Louis Quilico, Richard Armstrong, David Smukler, Patsy Rodenberg and others.
My singing training changed forever during a 1979 production of Merry Wives of Windsor, in Banff. After sharing the stage with an artist who sang with such ease and simplicity, I was compelled to find out who her teacher was and follow my own path to this ease. Thus began decades of commuting to New York to study with the voice teaching master, Cornelius Reid. This included a year’s concentrated work in residence in NYC (focused voice work with Mr. Reid and kinetics training with Elaine Summers, while I was on a Chalmers Fellowship). Vocal study included solo lessons and the privilege of observing Mr. Reid in his studio, five days a week for the year, teaching great singers like Ellen Shade, Ariel Bybee, Clamma Dale, Wendy White, and others – enormous talents who have had major, international operatic careers, also students who went on to be great pedagogues, teaching at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy New York and universities across North America and Europe.
When commuting became challenging, with my young family, I continued studies with Mr. Reid when he came to Canada for master classes and I worked with colleagues and teaching artists, David Dunbar and Carol Forte. I continue to hone my craft with Carol to this day.
Kinetics, Feldenkrais, Mitzvah and Alexander Techniques: I have done extensive work in these approaches over my years, as both performer and teacher.
Clown training with Richard Pochinko (the original) was a transformative experience for me, both as artist and teacher. Further work with John Turner addressed approaches to using process as a teacher of clown, and led to work as a singing consultant within the clowning community for Karen Hines’ Pochsy Productions, and for Mump and Smoot.
Performance psychology training with Madeleine Hallé, performance psychologist for Cirque de Soleil, has changed my concepts of “performance technique,” anxiety, repeatability, and the language of learning.