Today was another great World Voice Day event in Raleigh!

April 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Posted in Chorus, Duke Voice Care Center, FUN, Grant Llewellyn, Kindermusik, Music, Ramblings, Singing, Voice Students, World Voice Day | 1 Comment

This was my second year to attend the World Voice Day Celebration put on by the Duke Voice Care Center staff.  It was held at the Renaissance Raleigh Hotel and was very well put together this year.

As a Kindermusik Educator, Voice Teacher, Choral Director and Performer myself, I find this type of event, invaluable as a form of continuing education. I know alot of what they talk about already, but the affirmation, and the opportunity to glean some golden nugget of information that will help a student or myself is always welcome. I was not disappointed during yesterday’s event either.

Dr. Witsell, and his staff are very knowledgeable in the workings of the voice, both medically, physically and professionally. Their topics were relevant and interesting in the panel of experts presentation “How to Make Your Voice Last a Lifetime”. The vocal health fair gave an individual the opportunity to speak to a Duke Voice Care Center expert about their own voice health, observe a laryngeal imaging demonstration, or even have an acoustical voice analysis of their own voice made. There were a variety of vendor booths from the Master Chorale, Concert Singers of Cary, and the North Carolina Symphony to Pharmaceutical Reps from NeilMed Pharmeceuticals giving away Saline Mist and Gel samples and Sinus Rinse kits.

A short performance by Lois Deloatch, Jazz vocalist and Scott Sawyer, guitarist was well received by the crowd and a testament to proper care and nurture of Vocal Health.

The panel of experts included Ms. Deloatch as well as David Hartman, John Dancy, Dick Gordon, Florence Peacock and William Stone. Grant Llewelyn was the moderator of the panel. Many questions were answered and lots of encouragement and good information was discussed.

I “high note” of the event was Grant Llewelyn’s involvement of all who attended in a singing exploration of George Frederick Handel method. The “tritone” chord of G, F and H(the german B). Using the familiar tune of “Frere Jacque” the room was divided up into three groups. Without going into a lot of detail, we explored the round in the familiar fashion, then sang it inverted and finally retrograde, all in round. The panel provided a constant chord pattern using G, G, G; F, E, F; and B, C, B in a repeated fashion. It was quite challenging and a lot of fun to discover a piece of music this way. Maestro Llewelyn, confided, he wasn’t sure how it related to the day’s topic. Suffice it to say, I was completely convinced of it’s relativity in that the whole room was in fact singing! FUN!

The Renaissance Raleigh Hotel in the North Hills complex was a wonderful host with a delicious buffet of fruit, grilled vegetables, and gourmet lunchmeats and cheeses with crackers. The chocolate strawberries were in abundance and beverages rounded the refreshments out.

Oh, and my nugget this year related to the topic of relaxation when you sing. I use a form of ‘vocal yoga’ to teach this important aspect in my studio. The need to use relaxation is a basic part of teaching voice. What came to light was the fact that “Yoga” breathing, the kind taught by yoga gurus, and masters is detrimental to good vocal health. The harsh voiced exhale is not a good way to experience healthy breathing and should be avoided.

Thank you Duke Voice Care Center for an excellent program!

Celebrate World Voice Day! April 16th, 2008

April 7, 2008 at 7:14 am | Posted in Duke Voice Care Center, Grant Llewellyn, Kindermusik, Meymandi Hall, Music, Rozlyn Sorrell, Singing, Voice Students, World Voice Day | 3 Comments

“For anyone,” says Duke Voice Care Center Clinical Coordinator/Speech Pathologist and Professional/Singing Voice Specialist Leda Scearce, “the voice is a central part of self-identity and self-esteem. All of us rely on our voices for our daily communication at work and for interaction with our friends and family. Many others, such as singers, actors, teachers, attorneys, clergy, and athletic coaches need healthy voices to do their jobs. This annual celebration of the voice is part of our mission to provide access to vocal health information to everyone.”

Duke Voice Care Center Director Dr. Dave Witsell adds, “Our collaboration with the North Carolina Symphony is a natural one since the voice is an instrument that we all play each and every day. Just like an accomplished musician, knowing how your instrument works helps you to take care of it, play it better, make your voice last a lifetime!”

Maestro Grant Llewellyn

Today I attended a very affirming Vocal Health Fair in celebration of the upcoming World Voice Day, April 16th. World Voice Day Celebration 2008 at Meymandi Concert Hall at downtown Raleigh’s Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, featured vocalist Rozlyn Sorrell, the world-class specialists of the Duke Voice Care Center and Host Grant Llewellyn, North Carolina Symphony Music Director. It was interesting to see the variety of folks who attended the free event. In the lobby area they had demonstrations of video recordings of the vocal cords in action as well as computerized acoustic voice analysis, and professionals available to discuss how the voice works, how to care for the voice and keep it healthy, what kinds of voice problems people can have and best treatment practices. The line was very long for the acoustic voice analysis. That was very intriguing to listen as individuals spoke into a microphone and watched their voices displayed on the computer screen. There was a variety of information available specific to teachers, singers, actors, and other kinds of performers and individuals who use their voices exclusively in their professions in addition to the information regarding voice health. Refreshments of fruit, cheese and crackers were available to participants.

Rozlyn Sorrell

Following the Vocal Health Fair they welcomed everyone into Meymandi Hall where Ms. Sorrell sang wonderfully, Maestro Llewellyn lead the audience in a singing activity and a round table question and answer discussion took place with the specialists from The Duke Voice Care Center, Ms Sorrell and Maestro Llewellyn taking questions from the floor. This discussion was interesting and again affirming as I was able to say the information relayed follows the same philosophies I teach. One thing of note that I had not heard in such a specific way was that the body produces one liter of snot a day. This is the mucus our body uses to protect the tender tissues in the body. It is so important to keep this snot/mucus liquid. Drink water! Like I say, 1/2 your body weight in ounces a day!

Three and a half years ago I conducted a Vocal Health break-out session for the Nashville, Kindermusik Educators Association Convention (before the Partnership of Kindermusik Educators took over in 2006). Much of this same information is available on the Duke Voice Center website. I encourage you to take care of your voice, it is the only instrument you have!

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