Rachel Velarde

Rachel Velarde

I began my music career in Bloomington, Indiana. After receiving my B.A. in Music from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, I earned two Master of Music degrees at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. Luminaries I have worked with include Vernon Hartman, James Caraher, Lorenzo Malfatti, Shirlee Emmons, Mary Sue Hyatt, John Sikora, David Jones, David Britton, and Carol Smith. I offer private, one-on-one weekly or twice-weekly instruction to students of all ages. I am also Adjunct Voice Faculty at Grand Canyon University, and am beginning the pursuit of my DMA at Arizona State University. I accompany my students on piano as much as possible, and I encourage healthy singing, coupled with a working knowledge of the voice. My goal as a teacher is to give my students a “toolbox” for their vocal technique, so that they can work towards a healthy, free and easy production. My students should be able to sing for a lifetime of enjoyment. Singing is, above all, FUN. If you love it, you can learn it.

After reading strongly positive reviews of Windows & from techies this spring, I eagerly pre-ordered my copy of Windows 7 Professional.  Those of you who know me, know that I got a new computer in April (I refused Vista & had XP pre-installed by the computer company).  From the first, it was problematic.  I reinstalled my entire system in July, and then my computer crashed in August and I had to reinstall again.  AAACK!  There were still many problems.  That’s when it occurred to me that Windows XP is 8 years old.  In computer years, that’s amazingly ancient.  Physical computers that old barely run current programs.  So, given the good reviews & my poor experience (after 8 years of steady use) with XP on my new system, I decided, I’m gonna JUMP in!!

But, because re-installing my XP would take 3-4 days each time, I decided I needed to do my homework.    I started by going to Microsoft’s website and follow their directions on Upgrading from XP to Win7.  After consideration, I decided that, since XP doesn’t directly upgrade to Win7 (as Vista is supposed to do), I would do a complete “clean install” and wipe my hard drive, while upgrading to the 64-bit version (reasons why found here). [···]

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This week I taught my first lesson on the Ashbury Music Hall website.

Musician David Gottesman has come up with a way for private studio teachers to reach out to students who want to have lessons, but have problems with time/availability.  David and I initially connected via Twitter in the spring @ashburymusich and @dgottesman.  I have created several videos (to go with a 10-week lesson outline).  My biggest concerns was whether or not I would have direct contact with the student, and how easy it would be to tailor each lesson to students.

I have spent several hours on the phone with David (and Justin Flores, his right-hand man) working out a way for me to feel like this was something I could feel comfortable doing (and actually be able to help students!).  Emails have been flying.

My experience has been positive overall.  It’s definitely an experiment, but one, because of Dave’s willingness to work with me and help me tweak the system to fit my teaching style, that I think will be a success, as long as we can spread the word and keep working out technical difficulties. [···]

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I have had my Google Calendar display my free/busy information on my studio website for several months now.  This makes it VERY easy for me to tell students, go look at the calendar & you’ll know when I’m absolutely not available.  Then, come to me with suggested times YOU are available and we’ll have skipped a step in “negotiations.”  This makes things MUCH less frustrating to me, and my students can see how valuable my time is.

I previously just used one Google calendar for all of my times I wanted posted (for example: I have the times that my children are in school, but it’s not in my “main” calendar, it’s in my “home” calendar & thus doesn’t display on the website at all).  Now, that MTH syncs my Google Calendar with my studio website (and it seems MOST of the bugs are worked out), I ended up with double appointments showing on my Google Calendar HomePage (I had students listed and then MTH added in appointments).  This quickly got confusing, so I checked to see what I could do to merge the two calendars for display on my website (with no duplication of appointments in either place, but all my business noted – as not every time I’m busy am I teaching).

Google has an answer!  (NOTE: You will have to click on each of the following images to enlarge them & view them properly.)   [···]

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