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Category Archives: Arts Education

ENT Visit

Good morning,

I had an ENT visit yesterday that I can share with you.

The ENT (ears, nose, and throat) is also called an Otorhinolaryngologist.

I wanted to check my vocal folds (term also used is vocal cords) to see if there was anything that I should be concerned about. I had overused my voice on a particular day and since I’m in a choral group, teach choir to young singers, speak as a voice-over talent, act, and sing at times, it was time for a check-up.

The specialist was great. I highly recommend Buckhead ENT in Atlanta, GA.

If you’ve never been to an ENT, I procedure is not painful. However, it is uncomfortable.

Spray goes into your nostril on both sides. A tube with a light at the end is inserted into one nostril down to your vocal folds.

I was asked to hum, sing a high sound, ascend and descend vocally so that full coverage could be viewed.

I had gone to the PCP earlier due to my throat issue and discovered that I had acid reflux. The ENT did see redness due to the acid reflux. However, my vocal folds were fine, yay!

There are many issues that can occur as a vocalist, speaker, and teacher. I encourage people to take care of your voice with simple things.

  1. Drink plenty of water, lukewarm is best. I urge people to drink water when they first wake up in the morning.
  2. Space your speech and rest your voice throughout certain times of the day. Sometimes, it’s best to remain quiet. A person doesn’t have to comment all the time. Silent times should be necessary for teachers, singers, choir directors, voice-over talents, professors (whoever uses their voice consistently for communication).
  3. Get plenty of rest, six to eight hours per day.
  4. Get your exercise.
  5. Eat healthy foods and cook more at home.

These are very simple ideas; however, they work.

For the website of Buckhead ENT; see below:

http://buckheadent.com/

 

 

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Reflections on Bullying Short Film

In the Fall 2013, I directed a student film with middle school students. We finally finished post production of it and I wanted to share it. Since it’s middle school students, the names have been abbreviated. We may send it to student festivals to check out the responses. Thanks for the support for my drama students.

Reflections on Bullying

 

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Working Three Careers Simultaneously

Howdy! It’s been a minute; I should say.

I wanted to explain myself in some way for my ADHD way of doing business: Choral Music Director, VO Actor, and Theatre Educator.

Well you see…Ummm…It’s like this…Oh cut the crap: I enjoy what I do; I live in a right-to-work state; It just happened (similar to a pregnancy); I’m paying the bills; and I have to count my blessings (or curses when I wake up at 4 a.m.).

Yes, I’m awake a 4 a.m.

No, I don’t have ADHD but I have to use time management. When I’m on vacation, I completely shut down. That’s the truth. When I’m working, I don’t stop working. It’s a tough marathon at times but I find ways to refresh my soul for the long haul.

Watching performances in choral music and rehearsals, plays, films, and listening to VO artists help tremendously. The VO business was my way of performing (from home) so that I could contribute my talents when I taught so much during the week (6 days/week). However, time management aside, it’s tough but I can’t complain. Let me explain:

1. I remember graduating from college with a bachelors and could not find a part-time job, even in a bookstore (remember Oxford books in the ATL?). I was turned down. Nowadays, the economy is tough, so that would seem normal. I had to reconsider things.

2. There are very specialized jobs in the arts. It’s not a job that a person can normally apply without experience. That’s with any job. When I was working as a temporary worker, I remember that I was asked about a music question that an office worker thought that I couldn’t answer. The question was fuzzy but the answer was Dvorak. He couldn’t believe it. I knew then and there that I was not meant to work in an office outside of my field. I just didn’t belong there.

3. I was evolving. I had some tough music and drama teachers in my past but I couldn’t quit. I had to keep doing this work. Finally, I decided to take a plunge and go into business myself. It was the hardest thing to do, including switching music jobs at the same time and teaching a new drama class. I don’t recommend all of this at the same time but that’s what I did (or had to do – when it rains – it pours). I had to have some faith (a mustard seed kind of faith) and jump right into the pool, fully clothed (so to speak) or off a cliff (figuratively). It was refreshing but scary AND tough. As they say, the tough keep going.

4. Lastly, people don’t explain these things but here are thoughts to ponder and chew on: Money management, Time management, Work and Personal management have had a triad of imbalances a few times within my day. At one point, I had scheduled on a Saturday, an Honor Chorus with a ATL 365 showcase and a Drama Class (that I had found a substitute for) all on the same day. I needed a little help from my music educator peers with that one. Another Saturday, I had a commercial shoot with my agent with a Theatre Unified Audition in Atlanta, GA. My agent was able to get me to film first, then I could audition for the Unified Auditions later in the day. Scheduling weekday auditions during the school year is non-existent. I work all film auditions during the summer. VO auditions are after work and weekends if needed.

There you have it. I tend to have a personal life. Believe it or not, I’ve always had one too, although it’s normally with people in my field of work. It’s nice to meet other folks in different fields though. I’m able to attend luncheons with small business owners which is nice during the summers or during breaks.

It’s an interesting and fulfilling life but it’s not for everyone. Yes, I have to take care of myself as well. So, this kind of rapid on-the-go schedule will have to slow down eventually. All good things come to an end. When? I’m unsure but I’m starting to see and whisper the word over the horizon: Retirement.

I’m thankful for safety, health, my loved ones, and work that I enjoy. A passionate person is a person who enjoys their work so much that it doesn’t seem like work at all. They give their money and time freely. Although, I have to be careful with people regarding my time management, I enjoy limited scheduled time helping others as well. I normally refer private consulting jobs or private teaching gigs to my peers. You can’t run after money; there is enough good work in the arts for everyone. Trust me, if not, trust God. There is. God will take care of you.

Protecting my voice is what I care about the most, including my health. So I use a Fender Passport Wireless microphone with a speaker. I’ve had it for years. Recently, the microphone broke so it needs replacing. This microphone has protected my voice. I will ALWAYS HAVE to use a microphone in the public education system. It’s vocal insurance.

So there you have it: a workaholic or maybe a person who enjoys their work. When things start to change and it’s time to let go, it’s time. I have no regrets and I enjoy what I do. Hopefully (and prayerfully), people are pleased with my work. Be well.

Kim

 

 
 

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Reflection Day

I’ve said this to a fellow actor: It’s tough to do three performance jobs simultaneously. I’ve asked Jesus for forgiveness in this. The amount of work is extraordinary. However, I’m thankful for these jobs and have to practice daily to stay sharp on the battlefield. I also appreciate knowing that I have limits so that I can have a life. Much love to people who I learn from constantly to help keep my skill sets sharpened. #SAGAFTRA #VO/SINGING COACHES/VO2013ATL #ACDA-NAfME #LittleKidsRock

Thankful that God allows me to do this work and it constantly gives me energy and excites me. Hope others feel the same. The bottom line is that I just had to learn this stuff. Nothing would stop me from learning this information. Really don’t need anymore skill sets except living with a mate. lol Have a blessed day.

Kim

 

 

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Retirement

Well…

I’ve taught K-12 for 18 years. I’m looking ahead to the future. I’m not sure what the future brings though.

Would I retire from teaching? Yes. It could be at year 20, 25, or by a miracle, 30.

Why do I talk about retirement now? Well…a person realizes that to concentrate on an area, you have to give it your best. It’s total focus. Although, I’m unsure if I’m able to do that in this economy. Flexibility is a huge issue. I’ve never had true flexibility in any job. Maybe, it’s time to review my goals for the present and future. I’m thankful for my past up to the present. I love what I do: teaching chorus and drama to kids. I also love working in entertainment: VOs, music, and film/television.

However, students pay attention to what they see and hear. That means television, films, and radio. If you’re not on their entertainment radar, you’re not important to listen to. This doesn’t mean that every student thinks in this way. However, I get the student’s attention outside of the classroom. That means when I show them my professional credentials, they pay attention. They recognize BET (Black Entertainment Television); radio spots for products that they own in their homes, or professional singers/bands that they listen to and if I know them.

However, I’m thrilled when I see my current and former students do well as singers as soloists and in choral and/or performing magnet programs and actors on film and television. They do get recognized and parents will send me letters or I’ll see their names on Facebook from agents that they booked television shows, and I’m grateful that I was a small part of their success.

Currently, a former music student, Brandon H., works with Usher in the New Look Foundation, and Storm R. is a child actress in recurring roles for BET television.

I’m a strong believer in working in education and the community. I’ve done this for my entire career. However, parents, students, and school systems seem to lack the respect that teachers should receive. I’ve always placed education first and entertainment second. Now, the switch may come sooner than later.

If you’re tired, it’s time to leave. I believe in this, although, I’m careful with this word. I’m not burned out. Just tired of gun violence and gun security; lack of respect in education; lack of respect for teachers; working 7 days / week because education doesn’t pay all the bills, etc.

I love it all: education and entertainment. Change comes at a price. However, change is constant and never ends.

So, I take one moment, day, and year at a time. Everyone’s path is different. As long as people like your work (very important), I hope to continue working for life in education and entertainment OR entertainment and education, but making sure that I enjoy what I’m doing too.

Life is too short.

Kim

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Arts Education, Uncategorized

 

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A Bad Day vs. A Good Day

Today was a good day!

I’m working with 4 drama students for their performance next week! They are doing extremely well and I’m glad to work with them. The scenes are coming together nicely. They are a mixture of poems and a published scene from a play. This makes my Saturday!

Friday was a different day, a tough day for me. My chorus class has a mixture of students who joined and didn’t join chorus. I have my thoughts on this. However, I believe that they are truthful on this subject.

I’ll mix my lessons for chorus and general music within one class so that everyone can participate. Also, my chorus students who joined from last year will have practices in the mornings on scheduled days for small ensemble work.

Building a choral culture in a school that didn’t have chorus for 7 years was disturbing, stressful, but hopeful. I’m glad to teach chorus to my students and want success for the program, my students, and myself (last). My students come first, so I want them to enjoy the chorus and general music programs.

A bad day and a good day. I learn from both. Experience has certainly helped me in choosing materials and my approaches. That’s a blessing that I can build on.

Kim

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Arts Education

 

Education: An Introspection

My singing voice teacher died on July 24, 2012. Her name was Florence Kopleff 1924-2012. Considered by Time magazine once as “the greatest living alto.” Florence was a contralto and proud of it.

Miss Kopleff said, “Music is my religion,” she said with characteristic directness. “I don’t have a family or a business to leave to the world, so my music, which is my life’s work, will be my testament.”

It was. She was one of the best oratorio singers in her time. Miss Kopleff’s work speaks for itself. Below is an excerpt from the Georgia State University School of Music newsletter:

Florence Kopleff, whom Time magazine once called the “greatest living alto,” died July 24, 2012 at Hospice Atlanta. Her voice was one that defined for many music lovers the ideal sound for a contralto: deep and rich in tone, rock-solid in technique and intonation, understated but eloquent in nuance. A splendid presence on the oratorio stage, she was in demand for masterworks from Bach and Handel through Hindemith and Britten, as well as concert performances with the American Opera Society. A mainstay of the Robert Shaw Chorale, she sang on every recording the group made – even, as a tenor, on the male-chorus recordings. In later life she shared her experience and insight with future vocal artists as a professor at Georgia State University’s School of Music.

She forever changed my life.

However, the student-teacher relationship was not a good one. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t her best student. We never had a good student-teacher relationship. Other students may have had similar experiences with her. After graduation, I found another voice studio that I could work in that was less tense and more supportive. It is a wonder that my love for music didn’t crush permanently under her leadership.

As an educator now, I can reflect back as a student on my mistakes as well. I was a young student, undisciplined and naïve. It’s not always the grown-ups fault for a student’s mistakes. However, I reflect on those years to the present: Miss Kopleff’s was an outstanding artist. Her legacy remains intact.

Me?

The memories of our work relationship will remain private. I grew under another voice teacher’s studio, and remain thankful that I was able to grow in my vocal music studies. My studies into drama was a result of my positive dramatic experiences discovered in my music college classes. I later went on to NYU in Educational Theatre and studied privately in voice acting. I wisely took my time to learn the craft. I also continue to constantly study and practice in all three artistic areas: music, drama, and voice-overs. It’s important to me that I grow, while I continue to improve the growth of my own students.

As an educator, every student may not be the best one for your studio: whether it’s personality, style, or period stage of growth. If they are the best, they may not be the best for you. Study from the person that you can learn from and review the results of growth from that studio. Educators and students should review constant evaluation of growth. If the benchmarks don’t show improvement, change should occur.

The educational time period of a student remains the most important growth period for that student. I dare say that educators and students MUST take their work very seriously. If you can’t or don’t want to teach: DON’T. If a student doesn’t take their education seriously: REPORT the results and CHANGE direction.

During my field studies in music education, I studied under Miss Elizabeth Sullivan who taught at Terry Mill ES for 30 years which was permanently closed soon afterwards. As a student, Miss Sullivan attended the school herself as a child. Miss Sullivan retired after 32 years of teaching music education. Recommended by another outstanding educator, Dr. Sally Monsour (retired) from GSU, my studies under Miss Sullivan were exemplary. Under her direction, my growth as a music educator was extraordinary and enjoyable. I was thankful to have a master teacher and study under her tutelage.

Reflection with a critical eye throughout the years causes me to analyse my past and present. Other coaches that trained me including Stuart Culpepper, actor and VO actor (retired); Paul Armbruster, VO actor; Deborah Richards, VO coach and demo producer; Sharon Blackwood, classical singer, educator, and actor; and Pat Hurley, actor were excellent choices for me to study and learn from in Atlanta, GA. At the time of this writing, they continue to educate and perform unless otherwise noted. There are several teachers and/or artists that may be right for you. Take your time, do your best work, and choose wisely.

For educators, our job remains to teach. Money and location, although important, doesn’t teach students. We do. Likewise, educational reform should not punish teachers but improve the quality of education with adequate resources. Support (large or small) in every classroom proves more helpful than flippant reform year after year without understanding the local differentiation of our American communities in every county.

BTW, students and parents are individually and collectively responsible for their education as well. If a child doesn’t show respect to authority at home, they will not show respect to authority in the classroom. Likewise, a teacher cannot force a student to learn, the inner desire should be present before entering the door.

Before finding fault in perceived failure, point a finger at yourself first. There lies the answer.

Education deserves the highest respect. Its product continues on affecting future generations.

Kim

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Arts Education