Saturday, August 22, 2009

Glory St. Germain: Ultimate Music Theory & Nikki Loney: The Full Voice!

We love guests at Long & McQuade Brampton. And I'd like to introduce you to two lovely ladies who blessed us with their presence and an informative and informational workshop to our local music teachers on Thursday, August 20th: Nikki Loney, co-author of the Full Voice Vocal Method, (left) and Glory St. Germain, author of the Ultimate Music Theory Method!

Glory St. Germain will be the first to admit that maybe some of her first students in her teaching career should get a refund, because she wasn't entirely sure what she was doing at the time. Eighteen years of "trial-and-error" can smooth some bumps over, as well as gaining some insight to how students, especially young students, retain and process information. Let's think back to our piano lessons as a child. Teacher announces a theory lesson, and we are filled with dread. "Do we have to do theory today?" Teacher knows it's not your favourite, but insists that it's important because it helps us "understand" the music we are playing. I've always considered music to be a language, and theory its grammar. Theory helps us read music with clarity, so that we can play more fluidly, with confidence and with appreciation in its 'choice of vocabulary'.

I hadn't really understood music theory as much as I admit to, but I can work it out in my head through deductions i.e. musical 'common sense'. I've left my knowledge really to that, because theory kinda scares me off. This workshop has left me with a sense of ease, because Glory has reformatted the presentation of theory into something that's easy to understand, process and apply during lessons. Her Ultimate Music Theory workbooks will help teachers make theory fun and easy for their students. I'm sure the teachers in attendance and their students will benefit from Glory's insight! Take a look at the Ultimate Music Theory website for more information on your new favourite method!

Nikki Loney is a firecracker! She's a vocal teacher out of the Long & McQuade Burlington location with a wide range of students, all with their own unique voices, styles and tastes. How to accomodate to them all? Being a vocalist myself, I appreciated this workshop in a more personal way. Nikki understands that the voice is a musical instrument that does require specific needs that don't necessarily 'mesh' with the studies of other instruments. She had asked the question to the teachers in attendance if they had ever passed off a vocal student to a piano teacher for theory lessons, which didn't make sense to me. I personally never learned how to play piano, so I didn't understand the logic of learning the 'vocabulary' of music in another 'dialect'. I wanted to understand music theory that would benefit my voice exclusively. Speaking this aloud at the workshop, other teachers in attendance echoed my concern, to which Nikki had agreed, as well. I was eager to learn more about a method that would benefit vocal students exclusively, especially after listening to a person who had done so much research and had so much experience about its trade.

She, like Glory, would admit to their first few students deserving a refund. Nikki, however, did not like teaching at all in the beginning because of the lack of resources available for vocal students and teachers. So, armed with her fantastic people skills, she made cold calls to every local music teacher she could find to ask questions about their lesson planning, approach on styles, teaching techniques, and any other obscure question I'm sure we couldn't think of to bring us what she has co-authored with Mim Adams called The Full Voice, a workbook series exclusively for vocal students! All the unique challenges that comes from preparing the physical body to become your own personal musical instrument has finally been put together for vocal teachers to train their students. Nikki has had over twenty years of experience in the field that has helped her apply some of these results with fantastic success! Check out the Full Voice website to find out more about Nikki, Mim and what they've contributed!

A big thank you to Nikki and Glory for the incredibly in-depth workshops that we will certainly benefit from! You are always welcome back!

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