It was a coincidence I hadn’t foreseen, travelling to Berlin for a meeting of American, German and European Singing Teachers just a day after the moving D-Day commemorations. But there we were, NATS, BDG and EVTA singing teachers, American, German, Dutch, French and British, sharing our expertise, listening to each other, talking about our wonderful world of singing and teaching voice in the heart of Berlin which 75 years previously was a scene of so much devastation. And I know my Father was part of that devastation, he was a navigator in Bomber Command and it weighed heavily on him for the rest of his life but where would we be without the sacrifices all those veterans endured for freedom and democracy?
But to return to what was an amazingly full day of speakers from all parts of the globe, we covered Voice Science, Qi-gong, practical approaches for diction, ‘hands-on’ teaching suggestions, discussion groups, information on Black American Sacred Music, advice for Worship leaders, Estill Vocal exercises, Evolving voice, Increasing professionalism in our Teaching associations all under the umbrella of the Kaleidoscope of Voice Pedagogy and the thorough examination of how we approach singing teaching and the different styles and routes teachers take. It felt like we had squeezed a 4 day conference into 1 it was such a rich experience.
Perhaps it was no coincidence that the American Teachers of Singing (NATS) were celebrating their 75th Anniversary by visiting Germany! It brought home to me why I am still passionate about my role in the European Voice Teachers Association to help arrange spaces/meetings/conferences where singing teachers can meet each other and share ideas. I know I learn so much from these encounters and last Saturday I believe everyone felt the same.