What type of clinician would you like SNATS to provide in Spring 2018?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Upcoming juries

It's easy to forget that juries are also an opportunity to perform. Of course, we don't bow or expect applause in juries, but other than those little details, they are performances. Just like this week's last Performance Class, there are things to consider beyond the piece you are singing. Here is a great article about it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Required concert during class Friday

Hi folks,

Here is the Google map of the Advent, located at 2016 6th Avenue N. Here is the web site for the church itself, if you'd like to know more. It's about 10 minutes door to door, including parking time. There are meters on the street, and a parking deck accessible via 5th Avenue N if there is nothing available on the street. I'd advise carpooling: it's just easier that way.

The space is gorgeous. Relax and enjoy the concert, the music, and the delightful way we use music to inaugurate the holiday season.

After the concert, I hope you all have a restful and joyous break. Enjoy time with family and friends, and know that in this season of thanksgiving, I am thankful to be able to teach each and every one of you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quote of the week

Ellen Rissinger said this in her master class:


Think about that for a while, folks.

Monday, November 16, 2015

End-of-semester reminders

Yes, it's that time. The second to last week of class. Thanksgiving week separates this week and next, so it's easy to forget how little class time remains.

This week is your last opportunity to brush up on repertoire! The last lesson of the semester is a memorized run-through of all rep for your jury. Plan accordingly.

Four hours total of listening (YouTube, CDs, DVDs, etc.), along with brief observations, needs to be posted on your Google doc before juries begin on December 9. If you've told me what you've listened to or watched but have not posted this on your document, you have not fulfilled the assignment.

Last but not least, take care of yourselves. Eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest. We're in the final stretch, so your health is of utmost importance!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Do you really want it?

Dear students,

Recently, I had the great joy of reconnecting with a former student whom I taught when she was in high school. Even then, she was auditioning for everything and anything, and was an accomplished dancer as well as singer and actor. She finished her BFA in Musical Theatre at Penn State a few years ago, then immediately moved to New York. She began performing on cruise ships, in regional theatre, summer stock, and even had a spot on Law & Order: SVU. At the ripe old age of 25, she is now on the national tour of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder. Here she is:

You might ask: why is Dr. Kris telling me about someone I never met? Well, I'll tell you.

Sarah's work ethic has made her life possible. She is from a tiny town (and I mean tiny: 10,000 people, 6,000 of which are university students). This did not limit her. She began voice lessons in high school, she took instrumental and dance lessons beginning in elementary school, and she performed in summer productions as a kid. True, some of you did not have these opportunities growing up. Sarah came from a loving family, and both of her fabulous parents are musicians who supported her dreams from the day she began dreaming them.

These advantages gave her a head start, to be sure. But my point is, even with all of the opportunities her parents had given her, she  confessed to me that she felt behind when she got to Penn State.

That's right. She felt like she had to catch up. She was up against people who had been immersed in her field of choice since forever. So what did she do?

She loaded 20 CDs of musical theatre shows onto her iPod each week, and listened to them every day while she was on the treadmill at the gym. She got the sound of as many professionals as possible into her ear, so she knew what people working in the business were doing. She created a sound model in her ears, which she could then draw from when she was preparing her own audition rep. [Just as a reality check, that's significantly more listening than I'm requiring you to do all semester, and she did it of her own free will.] She wanted this career, and was passionate about learning all she could.

She also did this while putting in gym time. She knew that her body was her instrument, and if she was going to get hired, she'd better look the part and have the physical stamina to carry it. She knew that if she only sounded great, there were people out there who not only sounded great but looked better...or who wouldn't get winded during dance rehearsal.

When she got to New York, she took every gig she could. She showed up prepared, went the extra mile when she was asked to choreograph this or that, and was nice to everyone. People remember when you are good colleague. They remember when you not only do everything you're asked to do, but also when you go above and beyond and are easy to work with on top of it.

This is all by way of saying, we all come to our work with deficits that need to be remediated. Our job is to work on them without dismissing them as unfixable. If you say you want something, prove it by your actions. Passion for what you want in your future can be the fuel to get the work done.

And last but not least, Sarah had a team of people cheering for her, encouraging her, and challenging her. These people were her teachers, her mentors, her friends, her family. Find that team in your own life, and lean on them. Ask for their help. Request that they ask more of you than you think you can give. Be hungry to learn more than you think you need to know. That's how you grow.

Sarah can be a role model for each and every one of you in some way. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

clarification re: Chuck Hudson

There is NO class this afternoon: it's all happening on Friday, as outlined below. This is different than appears on your syllabus. See you all there!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Extra credit attendance

Folks, for those of you who have missed going to some of the required events, you are welcome to use Thursday's concert at the AEIVA as a makeup concert. Free food at 5pm: concert is from 5:30-6:30. NOT required attendance, but if you go and would like credit, be sure I see you afterward.

Chuck Hudson classes Friday: reminders


Remember that on Friday, we begin class 5 minutes early (12:15) in the dance studio. There will be two short breaks, so feel free to bring a sandwich or something to nibble on so you don't get fatigued (no smelly food, please: it is a relatively small space for that many people). Everyone is required to stay until 2:30 unless they have a class. Music majors, there is no choir that day. I need to hear from you if you have a class or a tour: do not assume I am psychic or have everyone's schedule memorized. If I do not hear from you ahead of time and you do not come or leave early, it will be an unexcused absence. Some of you have not been to any of the events beyond the Friday performance class time. Check your syllabus, lest you be surprised by your final semester grade. 

Here are a few notes from Chuck:

This is an extremely active and movement oriented series of master classes. Participants are directed to dress as they would for a movement class: i.e. t-shirts and sweats (gym clothes) with a sweatshirt or some other layer for warmth or to take off as well. Please wear SNEAKERS (no hard soled shoes, no high heels, no boots, no open toed shoes or sandals) and please no dress pants, jeans, skirts, etc. Please also have your hair attached back away from your face.

We'll move to the choir room at 2:30 for the master class portion. I have emailed each of you, but here are the directions from Chuck, just in case:

o   Dress comfortably-rehearsal clothes or casual wear is fine; you do not need to be in "Audition Attire" and you do not need to be in the movement clothing from the group master class.
o   You must be memorized "off book" for this work.
o   Please bring 2 clean copies of the music: one for the accompanist and one for me—please do not bring a bound score or a copy with lots of your notes already on it.

o   If your piece is not in French or English, I will need a word-for-word translation written legibly on the line of music: not a translation on another page, and not the existing English translation of the piece which is not word specific.

It bears reminding that you should everything there is to know about your character that is given in the libretto. This includes your name and age, the plot of the opera from which it is taken, and what has happened immediately before your aria. Why are you singing it? To whom? What is your relationship to that person? You should also be able to translate your piece without looking at the score: know the text cold, as if it is your own language. This is how the work begins.

This class promises to be fantastic: Chuck is a wonderful clinician. Enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Study Away in Vienna

Dear UAB Students (or any student anywhere who wishes to transfer three credits for a Music Appreciation course): 

Please see this link for my Study Away trip this coming May in Austria. Most of our time will be spent in Vienna, with an optional side trip to Salzburg. You can get three credits (core area) for Music Appreciation, or just sign up for Study Away an go without taking the course. Either way, there will be many concerts, art museums, and lots of cake and coffee. Spread the word, as a larger group means a lower cost for everyone. Feel free to contact me with any questions. Hope to see you in Vienna!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Overrides for spring 2016

Hi folks,

I have entered all of the overrides for spring 2016, so you are now able to register. Let me know if you have any problems! (Madison, you are the one exception: I'll enter yours after your jury, since you're planning to jury up).


Final performance class

We will all meet together in HRH today. If Mr. Byrd or Dr. Mosteller is playing for you in lieu of Dr. Steele, be sure they have your music!...