Practice 2020

Instructor: Dr. Julia Nielsen

Format: Seminar (in person) or webinar (online). Webinar participants can watch synchronously or watch later. Or mix and match…attend some meetings in person and/or in real time, and watch the video of other meetings at your convenience.

When: Tuesdays, Jan. 21 & 28, Feb. 4 & 11, 2020 7:00pm-8:15pm

Where: Dr. Nielsen’s Studio, San Francisco, CA, or online

Fee: $180 for studio members

Description: Whether your practice routine needs kick starting, fine tuning, or turbo charging, Practice 2020 will guide you through the process of closely examining current practice habits, and planning for future success. Each meeting will include lecture/presentation on the key topics below, as well as problem solving, goal setting, and reporting progress. Participants can also request to be paired with a practice partner, and will be guided in how to touch base with this person several times a week to share successes and challenges.

Meeting 1, January 21:

  • Practice time and place
  • Attitude toward practice
  • Practice challenges

Meeting 2, January 28:

  • Vocal exercises in practice
  • Body posture and awareness
  • Monitoring tools

Meeting 3, February 4:

  • Learning new repertoire
  • Practicing learned repertoire
  • Interpretation

Meeting 4, February 18:

  • Goal setting
  • Self assessment
  • Planning practice for 2020 and beyond

Through both lecture and discussion, we will address questions such as:

  • What are the key elements of (and differences between) warming upvocalizingscore study, and practicing repertoire?
  • How can a singer determine his or her ideal practice routine, balancing the four elements above?
  • What types of exercises should be included in a daily vocal exercise routine?
  • How do you apply technical work to repertoire practice?
  • What is the best way to learn a new piece of music (or an entire score) that saves the voice and trains in good technical habits?
  • What are common barriers to regular practice, and how can they be overcome?
  • How can singers set meaningful goals for their practice time?
  • How can we find more joy in our private practice time? What will make us want to practice? Love to practice?

Registration: Please contact Dr. Julia Nielsen to reserve a spot.

What have participants said about prior How to Practice seminars?

The How to Practice seminar immediately transformed my attitude towards practicing and gave me concrete suggestions on how to structure my practice time. I liked the format: it was a nice balance of personal reflection and group discussion. And the detailed questionnaire about our own practice habits was illuminating. I also appreciated your sharing your own struggles with practicing and how you have overcome them. You have such a welcoming, nurturing presence that made people from a variety of musical backgrounds feel safe sharing their own experiences. Finally, I have begun to see practice time as a privilege to do what gives me such joy and as an opportunity to preserve my vocal health so that I can sing for the rest of my life. Not bad for a two-hour workshop!! I think that singers of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from this workshop, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  

Sarita Cannon, soprano, participant, SF Symphony Chorus

I really got a lot from the assessment questions–thinking about them, answering them for myself, hearing you talk so candidly about your own responses, and the open discussion with the other attendees. The questions themselves gave me permission to think in different ways about my practice habits and barriers as well as the various approaches people shared, and this was freeing and motivating. The additional reference materials in the workbook were also specific and helpful. I look forward to trying out a lot of this material, especially the variations on the vocal exercises!  

Mayo Tsuzuki, participant, SF Symphony Chorus

The seminar this weekend was so constructive! I really liked having the opportunity to think about my practice habits. It was great hearing about different ways to monitor myself, how to modify exercises I know, and spend less time singing and more time studying at the piano! I need to incorporate more agility, dynamics, different vowels, and consonants into my exercises … It was great hearing other people’s perspectives, too. It’s good to hear that other people have some of the same questions and obstacles as me because practicing is so solitary. 

Vero Kherian, mezzo-soprano, The Lamplighters