Teachers and Students United in Learning The Art of Singing

The Cause

Opera NUOVA is an Edmonton-based arts organization that bridges the gap between university arts education and the professional arena of opera and music theatre. It is dedicated to training emerging classical and music theatre vocalists, and every May/June brings artists from across Canada to work with master teachers who are all professional artists in the classical and music theatre fields. Our idea is to bridge yet another gap -- bring vocal talent development opportunities to young singers in Alberta's smaller communities while also fostering young local talent.

As a senior level teacher in Edmonton, I have the pleasure of adjudicating voice competitions and festivals in many cities and remote centers throughout Alberta. Every year, I meet young students with outstanding talent that warrants development, but who live in remote areas where there is a scarcity of teachers who specialize in voice training. The teachers who I meet in these centres are always keen to learn more but there are no pedagogy programs/workshops available to develop their acumen for teaching voice. NUOVA can fill this gap and allow our master teachers and our alumni mentors a novel opportunity to pay it forward. A 6-day training program will allow teachers to develop their skills as pedagogues to enrich their communities and students. Teachers from remote centers will understand how to communicate with young artists as our master teachers and alumni mentors facilitate each lesson, offering insight and tools the teachers need to build their confidence as vocal mentors.

Additionally, NUOVA will create an opportunity in Edmonton for young singers without means to afford private vocal instruction to take lessons and develop their natural talent, which creates confidence and builds self esteem. Many children in our inner city schools exhibit talent that is noticed in school music classes, but opportunities to develop this talent are often limited by access and financial restrictions. Singing is often considered a God given talent and the opportunity to develop this talent should not be exclusive to those with privilege.

NUOVA believes that the study of voice empowers young artists to realize the importance of developing and sharing their unique "voice stamp" in the world.

Who Will it Benefit?

The first level of beneficiaries will be music teachers who are from remote centers without access to training with master voice teachers. These music teachers will learn new methods of vocal technique training that is specifically geared to young voices. The workshop can accommodate 10-15 teachers.

NUOVA will invite 20-30 young students (ages 10-16 years of age) to be participants within the workshop. Students will receive private, small group classes (3-4 students), and large group classes (8-10 students). Classes will focus on breath development, diction training, expressive interpretation and development of a healthy, resonant tone. Our first priority will be to invite students from high needs schools, who have limited means to pursue vocal study.

Over the past four years, NUOVA established the Kipnes Alumni Mentorship Program. The program aims to offer NUOVA alumni who have created significant opera or music theatre careers to return to our intensive program platform and study the craft of teaching voice with the master teachers who mentor throughout the NUOVA intensive program. These alumni mentors have the opportunity to develop their pedagogy skills with the emerging artists, but they will be further served by working with younger singers who have a natural ability but little to no training. There will be 4-6 alumni mentors who will take part in the workshop.