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.

I have a voice student who only communicates effectively through her MySpace account. Emails and phone calls don’t work when trying to reach her.

One student communicates solely through text messages. Her mother I can ONLY contact through land-line (no email, text, cell phone messages – although she has that capability).

When I was in college (early 1990’s!), I would try to call home and the line would be busy – my mother was on the internet! So, I’d send her an email and 5 minutes later, I’d get a phone call. When I graduated for college, one of the running jokes was that we were going to grad school so that we could continue to have an email account (hotmail was JUST in its infancy, Windows 3.0 had just come out and Gmail wasn’t even a thought in Google’s nonexistent eye).

via www.telephoneart.com

Nowadays we have SO many options to reach one another that frequently we are communicating TO other people rather than WITH others. Blogs (like this one, for instance) often tend to talk a lot without having conversations. I am trying to raise my “presence” as a blogger so as to increase my conversations, but don’t want to monetize the blog. I just want to communicate with more people! So, it’s a slow process.

Communication, though, is KEY! Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Google, Delicious) allows you to share and network information throughout your “friend network.”

I use Twitter (via Seesmic Desktop – which integrates my Facebook updates) to find cool information. I’ve found some really amazing people out there who have worthwhile information. I started by following a few really interesting people I’d run across while doing web searches (it started with Chris Foley at The Collaborative Piano Blog). Then, I went through who THEY were following and followed them too. Chris Brogan is the social media guru I ran across through Chris Foley (I’ve subscribed to both of their email RSS feeds for almost 2 years now). Between the two of them, I’m covering a large portion of musicians and social media information. Through this method, I now have over 1000 followers on Twitter (which I’ve only seriously been using since March 2009) and am “following” over 1000. It’s not easy keeping up, so I don’t try to follow everyone.

With Seesmic Desktop, I can do a search for my favorite “tweeple.” I then keep those searches at the side and can pull them out at any time to view what they’ve been saying recently. I also go through my stream at least once daily. I then use an application called TweetLater to send out interesting links that I’ve found at spaced out intervals (I’ll sit down at Twitter for about 20 minutes, but send out links that post on my schedule – I choose about 1 per hr throughout the day). Seesmic then lets me know if/when someone responds to my tweet. [···]

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Trying something new…

I’ve been working on promoting and building my studio for the past month.  I got MANY great ideas at the Classical Singer Convention in Chicago at the end of May, thanks to Cynthia Vaughn at Magnolia Music Studio in Fort Collins, CO.  Cynthia has SO many amazing ideas and she worked with several other voice teachers to try to get as many as possible so that we could benefit from all this experience.

Several points were made:

  • Attract & Retain students
  • Show progress with
  • quantifiable advances
  • awards/competitions
  • roles/solos – community based
  • technical goals achieved
  • Have a Student Achievement Page on the studio website
  • Relevance – non-quantifiable advances in:
  • enjoyment
  • validation
  • feedback/applause – studio class BEFORE a recital!
  • Added Value:
  • Options in scheduling and payment (check/credit card)
  • bonuses – register early, get 10% off, register for summer & get free lesson
  • performance opportunities – find out who has space you can use!
  • Gain New Students
    • Word of mouth through different circles
    • teach styles OTHER than Classical/Musical Theater
  • Marketing:
    • Bold, creative, SELECTIVE (no mass emails!)
    • Distinctive logo (see my new logo here!) & business cards
  • Online Business Links
  • Facebook, LinkedIn
  • GOOGLE yourself & find out where you are listed – you might be surprised at what’s there AND what’s not! (I have an OLD listing that I’m trying to modify – the web address leads nowhere) [···]
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Originally posted on my solo performance website blog, I ran across more information on this today (see UPDATE at the bottom of the page) & thought I’d pass my posting on to my MTH colleagues.  What do YOU think about applause at concerts?

Over the past several weeks I have asked my colleagues in person and via Facebook and Twitter: “During the Symphony for the Schools concert this morning at the beginning the kids applauded at 4-5 places during “Ride of the Valkyries” (1st piece). They were naturally applauding high points in the music. It made me start wondering. But, by the end, they weren’t applauding but were sitting restlessly. SHOULD we be so sure of ourselves & the importance of our presentation that we don’t allow the audience to participate in one of the only acceptable ways they have – applause? I’d LOVE to continue this conversation. I know I hate not being able to hear all the nuances of the music, but are we helping put the elitist label on classical music by proscribing when audiences can submit their input on the performance?”

Here is my Facebook Summary of responses:

“It’s always been weird but like with a cycle or set applause between each song would be tedious and also be distracting to the performer. So we hold off.”

“What if they want to applaud while you’re singing, like on American Idol or Sabado Gigante?”

“Yeah that’s annoying. I hate when you can’t hear them singing.”

“Amen!”

My Twitter responses: [···]

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