Archives for 2012

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This month, I thought I’d share with you some of the fantastic books that have informed and inspired my teaching and my creative expression.

First things first. A few books on how to overcome the obstacles in our way.

 Getting Things Done by David Allen (Piatkus 2002)

One of the aspects of life that most challenges my clients and students is staying organized, and it often impedes their progress towards making the changes they really want in their lives. This book has sold millions of copies in thirty languages and it’s easy to see why.

With superb clarity, Allen outlines his system that allows you to ‘park’ all your to dos in a maximally efficient way so that you can knock them out easily whenever you have the opportunity, and get on with focusing on what really matters to you. [···]

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Where’s a lead sheet when you need one? More often than not, I need to comb through binders of miscellaneous charts (which I attempt to keep alphabetized) or google a tune and hopefully find the one I’m looking for.

The Paperplane Co, makers of a brand new app called Treble have stepped in to provide a place to find, read and store lead sheets on your iPad. They  invited me to check out their Limited Christmas Preview Version 1.0.

Here’s what I found:

Tune Directory: A lovely, I might even say “decked out” opening page featuring an alphabetized directory of 25 holiday tunes. For a complete list, check out their facebook page.

Notation of Tune: Once a tune is selected, the tune’s melody appears on the treble staff with lyrics below and the composer and transcriber is included if available. As I prefer to read the tune off the treble staff, I adore this feature.

Chord Symbols: Chord symbols are provided above the staff in typical lead-sheet fashion.

Time signature: Always good to note.

Key Signature Buffet: THE most attractive feature of this app: the key signature can be determined by YOU! At the top of the screen, there is a slide ruler. Slide the pointer to your desired key and the tune and chord symbols are immediately transposed. Talk about convenient!

As I continue to engage students in reading from lead sheets, this will be an invaluable tool to encourage “faking” LH chords but also changing keys with confidence. For those singers who request a key to fit their range, this app is a true gift for accompanist and bands…

Here’s some things on my wish list for Treble:


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In my last blog, I talked about returning to studying opera.

In this post, I will recount to you the tale of my last coaching session, which I will endearingly refer to as, “Hot Mess.”

A sampling of some of the suggestions coming from my brain during the session include, “This is too hard for you,” “You will never make it through this aria,” “You should just give up and stay in musical theatre where you actually know what you are doing.”

A sampling of some of the things coming out of my coach’s mouth during the session, all in the spirit of tough love of course: “Legato!” “Did you practice? What exactly DID you practice?” “You’re not breathing!” and “Exactly which end of the elephant did that sound come out of?” Yep…hot mess.

The experience was less than fun.

And I learned more from it than I have learned from a lot of more successful experiences lately. Why is that always the way?


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