The American Singer Seminar was first offered in 1999 in Breckenridge, Colorado. It was created to serve as a workshop to test teaching methods for performing artists. Specifically, singers of opera and musical theater. At the time, there were very few college programs dedicated to music theater. And many of the opera programs were outdated to the point of irrelevance to the job market. I was in the midst of a very busy performing career and had no time to devote to a regular teaching schedule. As I was from Breckenridge, it served a double purpose of allowing me to work at home for a few weeks in the summer and develop a model for a university program supportive of careers in opera and musical theater.
I drew upon my experience studying at The Banff Centre in the mountains of Alberta, Canada. The confluence of artistic study with the affirmation of nature was a powerful and enriching environment. I also drew upon my knowledge that I learned best while in a focused, intensive program of study. The distractions of a collegiate schedule made the process of learning too drawn-out for me. A lesson every week was not enough. And when I took part in a master class, I invariably forgot most of what I had accomplished in the class because I was so busy 'doing it', I had no time to take note of how I did it.
By creating what has become AMERICAN SINGER, I sought to provide a venue where working professional performers, who were also gifted teachers, could share their experience with younger performers who sought to pursue careers in musical theater and opera. Participants of any age are welcome. Participants have ranged in age from sixteen (with special conditions*) to their mid-forties. High school performers in search of a college program, college students preparing for graduation and recent graduates in search of needed job skills have all been served by the programs. As well, performing teachers who desire an opportunity to refresh their skills and add to their teaching tools have benefitted from their experience.
Each class is 'cast' with specific criteria: Each participant must have mastery over their craft enough to be able to participate in the exercises and performances. Each participant will also be evaluated to determine what skills, or lack thereof, may be inhibiting their performance. This will be the focus of their work at American Singer. Participants will be paired with another singer / team-mate who is also working on similar skills. This will allow for a partner to take notes during master classes while the other is performing in class.
The goal for the class is for each participant to walk away with a clear understanding of their talents, skills and abilities in comparison with the current job market and expectations. As well, I hope for each participant and faculty member to be inspired by the work we all have accomplished during the program. This is a community of which I am proud to be a part.
I welcome you to review the pages here and the Facebook group page to learn about American Singer. We are not exclusively seeking to invite the 'best' performers to join us. We are seeking to inspire those who do join us to become the best.
Thanks for visiting!
* Participants under age 18 must provide their own chaperone for the duration of the program.