Accepting students

 

I am a very non-traditional teacher, and consider myself to be more of a creative coach than a vocal teacher. I attract to my studio experienced instrumentalists, singers, and performers who want to  prepare for an audition or sing at a wedding or just sing with more confidence and ease.

Adults who believe that they can’t sing a lick and want to disprove that theory seem to show up at my doorstep, as well as experienced performers, singers/instrumentalists who need help overcoming creative hurdles.  I have also had the honor of helping public speakers express themselves with ease and authenticity.

I work with each student on vocal technique and develop understanding their individual instrument and learning/performing process. We also explore the voices of the inner world that help or hinder musical and performance goals.

Here is some feedback from students:

I had the opportunity to work with LaVon Hardison on a series of sessions dealing with my experience of a weakened voice (both literally and metaphorically).  LaVon helped me learn how to change the location of the source of my voice in my body and psyche.  The sessions were each pretty different and included some conversation, singing work, physicalization, concretization, posture and dramatic enactment.  The work felt spiritually informed, warm, non-threatening, fun and very impactful.  I learned that my difficulty had less to do with my vocal cords and more with my present stance in my personal and professional life.  The gift was the surprising ease with which the ‘problem’ (as I had identified it) dissolved as I got closer to more truth about what I was holding in my body, mind and heart regarding what I need to say.  I would (and have) absolutely recommend LaVon’s deep approach to personal coaching.

LN

Olympia

 

 I had the pleasure of working with LaVon Hardison in the spring of 2012. She helped me prepare for a role in musical theater. I met with her once a week for 6 weeks. We kept self care as the foundation of our work while building structured exercises focused on vocal technique, stage presence, and character development. LaVon began each meeting with a series of probing questions that challenged me to think in a different way about performance and gain a more visceral understanding of my character. I learned to see the difference between explaining my character to someone, or speaking as that character. She encouraged me to think about the qualities I wanted to bring to the collaboration, both on and off stage. She helped me to see that the pre-performance practice begins now, with self care. LaVon also tailored weekly assignments to my specific needs as an artist. I felt seen, challenged and cared for. I am so grateful to have had access to LaVon’s wealth of experience, intuition, generosity and incredible talent. I would recommend her to anyone who is ready, willing, and able to work creatively.
GP
Olympia
If you are looking to expand your understanding of voice, and how you can discover and expand your  singing, public speaking or instrumental work, please feel free to contact me. Individual sessions as well as long-term lessons available.

May upon us!

Happy May All!

May is a month that wears sequins. It is comfortable in itself, knows it’s worth and pushes the most doughy couch potato out into the world  to grow and blossom like the rest of Nature. May 1st is a  date that can dress up as a holiday focused on the coming summer and fertility of spring or cause one to chant, “The people united will neverrhino01 be defeated”. It invites perfectly sensible people  to randomly give flowers in baskets of reed or wrapped in paper to perfect strangers. A few of the kids in the neighborhood rang the doorbell and left flowers on the porch. They, the kids, not the flowers, were in “sneak” mode and clomped down the stairs giggling.  As I went to the door I thought, this is why children are not spies, they are too delighted by life to actually  know that  part of their standard features includes a “silent mode”. I was tickled by the kids, the clomp and flowers and  I could hear May chuckling to itself. May demands dancing around a May pole and singing songs of gratitude (or attitude). The first of the May causes one to dredge the memory to the words of the “Lusty Month of May” from the musical Camelot and sing with great feeling or at least try to mimic Julie Andrew’s bright clip. My husband just pointed out that not every body’s memory includes references from Broadway musicals, so  if yours doesn’t I’m sure there is an app for that.  If romantic frolicking or flowers are not your thing, May 1st’s versatility also gives all the opportunity to  stand up for the rights of workers worldwide and do the appropriate chanting.  Did I mention that May 1st is also Save the Rhino Day?  All I’m saying is May skips the introductions and starts a relationship with everybody!

I had lovely time with Vince Brown at Swing last week.There was much heckling, and much “off the cuff” songifying mixed in with some jazz. I particularly enjoyed the Metallica song request from one of our fans. I like the challenge. I’ll see what I can come up with…We had so much fun, we are doing it again tomorrow night 5/3 at The Spar 8pm-11.  Vince and I will also be Olympia Senior Center Friday (5/3) for the Happy Hour 5:30-6:30. Fergit your troubles come on get happy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise and artistic power!

My husband shared this wonderful poem with me, and I thought that I would share it with you. It is by Taylor Mali, a slam poet and educator.  If you are a creative type, musician, poet, visual artist, cook, give a little gratitude for those teachers who put you on your road…

You  can lean more about Taylor Mali at http://taylormali.com/

Raising Test Scores

Praise be to the music teachers!
And the teachers of art and dance
though chances are there is only one
poor fool in the entire school,
one brave and tired soul, splattered
paint on her smock and hands,
one scarfed sylph waltzing the halls,
one sunglass-wearing cool cat
spending every lunch at his piano
because the kid with the gin mother
has discovered he loves the upright bass,
that he can somehow face the world—
be more upright and with a stronger bass—
if he can play for an hour or two every day.

Praise be the to canvas and the palette
that transforms the black mascara back
into a girl, or the sheer grace that clings
to the boy like tears. Praise be to every art
that jolts the soul’s skeleton and makes
the bones rattle. If you cut the funding
for the arts, you’ve already lost the battle.

Sigh. Good stuff. I will be at Swing this Saturday 8-10 with Mr. Vince Brown on guitar. Reservations are recommended. Come on out, don’t stay home and watch reruns of South Park. Hope to see you there!

 

March? It’s Pi time, of course!

My O My, March is upon us. What a minute?!!!  March!?

Hey, I ‘m  going to be making music with Joe Baque on piano, Steve Luceno on bass and Micheal Olsen, conga at Water Street Cafe Saturday March 23. Reservations are suggested. It will be fun night!

May I  be so bold as to remind you that  Pi Day is fast approaching.  March 14th (3/14)  is the day when you can celebrate with your loved ones the fact that  3.14159265358…(you get the idea) exists and is there for the mathematical loving.

If  pi contemplation is  too heady a proposition then  celebrate genius!  Start with Einstein, cause it’s his birthday.  Take a minute to understand what the heck E=mc2 actually means. (And when you do, please explain it to me!)  Enjoy the fact that one of the great patriarchs of science  was not all  “pi” in the sky but was able to explain  relativity  to the common folk.

 

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a sec on seems like an hour. That’s relativity. A. Einstein

 

He makes it pretty simple to understand, no?  And don’t forget to take note of your own genius or the genius of those around you.

And when all else fails, do what comes naturally. Make a pie and eat in one sitting with a spoon with a friend in lieu of dinner. MMMMM.

 

 

 

Miss Kelly, perhaps you’d like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole.


 

It started in December. Every year, I try to watch It’s a Wonderful Life around Christmas time, it makes me smile and I have a little crush on Jimmy Stewart.  I do have my husband’s blessings and like a good friend that I really want to visit, December rolls around and I want to spend some of it with Jimmy Stewart.  So I had It’s a Wonderful Life all cued up  and  decided to break tradition and watch  Mr Smith goes to Washington instead.

This was just before the Presidential elections and Democrats and Republicans  were both snarling uncivilized beasts trying to establish Alpha dog status and I was in desperate need of a higher view (although fictional) of public servants. So I chose the quintessential whistle-blower movie over seeing a wet angel in a night dress and singing along when the leads sing Buffalo Girls Wont You Come Out Tonight.

It was one of the many filibuster speeches, but that was when the crush began and I wanted to court Mr. Stewart.

[His voice very hoarse, from his filibuster] Just get up off the ground, that’s all I ask. Get up there with that lady that’s up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won’t just see scenery; you’ll see the whole parade of what Man’s carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so’s he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That’s what you’d see. There’s no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, uh, if that’s what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we’d better get those boys’ camps started fast and see what the kids can do. And it’s not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light. They’re right here; you just have to see them again!

Sigh. Idealistic? Corny? Naive? Yep, it sure is, but sometimes you need a little corn to gain some mental altitude. By the way, the screen play was written by Sydney Buchman who had his share of tussles with the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1930′s. I like to think that he was speaking through Stewart’s character.

So yesterday was a day of rest for me, after a rather high energy evening sharing the stage with Stacie Caulkins, Laurie Clothier, David Duvall and an incredibly talented bunch of musicians (who are too many to list here, but they know who they are!) performing  Believe in Yourself: The Lena Horne Songbook at Centerstage on Saturday night. Thanks to the folks that came out and made it a sold out show.

Lena. Wow. Now she is a post for another time, so I won’t digress. It was fun learning more about her and her songbook which is quite eclectic. So after sleeping in, I felt like a visit with Jimmy was in order, so I watched Harvey. What is there not to love about a man who has a 6 foot three and a half inch tall rabbit that no one else can see? This is a definitive screwball comedy. Some lovely, silly lines that just stay with you. Let’s just say that Mr. Stewart and I had a nice visit.

Until next time, be kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen: Lena Horne!

What a week. Inauguration began this third week of January with our first lady sporting bangs, loosing her arm bloomers and exploring the world of clothing without  (gasp) sleeves.  Americans, we are not a shallow people, just a little A.D.D.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Lena Horne lately, courtesy of Youtube . I have been impressed with her ability to make a song her own as well as the longevity of her career. She started when she was 16 at the Cotton Club as a dancer and performed successfully well into her 80′s.  I had the opportunity to meet her! I think that she may have been in her late 60′s. Some friends and I went to her dressing room and she opened the door and she was all glitter, fur and graciousness.

I recently saw the movie the Hobbit and the elves are portrayed as other worldy and effulgent with light. I must say that is my memory of Ms Horne. Ebuliance and brilliance. So I am just a little tickled to be part of an upcoming show called: Believe in Yourself: Lena Horne Songbook, Saturday Febuary 16, 8pm at Centerstage Theater in South Tacoma.
One night only, so get your tickets ASAP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookin up some music and I need you to stir!

Zowie! January has wasted no time in its appearance, as it is already January 4th already, so much for the lamb and lion metaphor. 2013 and still no jet packs or hover crafts but, hey the world is still here, so I happily take the latter.  Whatdya doin tomorrow? Why not join myself and guitarist Vince Brown for an evening of musical running with scissors. We will doing music from a variety of styles and we need you there to make the mix just right. Where? Traditions Cafe and World Folk Art located at 5th and Water Street (300 5th Avenue SW) in downtown Olympia. Tickets are going fast so call to make a reservation 360-705-2819. Cookin’ starts at 8pm. Looking forward to seeing you!

As I was saying….

It has been a while since I have written, there has not been a lot of  performing. My mom in law passed on suddenly and it knocked the  wind out of our family for a bit. I have heard mother in law horror stories and thankfully, I cannot add to the lore. I had a terrific mother in law who happened to be a supportive patron as well as friend. She financed all of my CD’s and was one of my biggest fans.  Thank you Wendy Lou,  you are missed.

Lots of other happenings in recent months as well:

•    The 2012 Olympics  were held in London, which were a celebration of the finest of the gene pool.
•    A land rover (not the car) has landed on Mars-no green men have been spotted yet.
•    630 million people in India were without power for two days — a customer service challenge that I want turned into a reality show.
•    Canada — our usually patient neighbor  to the North — no longer wants to have play dates with Iran and is officially cutting diplomatic ties.
•    A man jumped out of a balloon (jumped; wasn’t pushed) and became the first person to break the sound barrier without, you know, a vehicle. I love this story because his safe and very James Bond landing was unhappier ending than the Coyote’s encounters with gravity. I wonder…going down did he shout: “AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaa” or some elongation of deities name? or just “crap. crap. crap. crap”?
•    And today, we sit on the cusp of December 21, which according to pre-Columbian Mayan prophecy foretold the demise of the Twinkie. The official story is that Hostess went bankrupt; the truth is that Hostess was a front for a longstanding archeological dig from which perfectly preserved pastries from the Mayan civilization were excavated, repackaged, and resold. Ah, the power of preservatives!
•    Speculations abound over what December 21 really signifies, and whether there will be a December 22. You still have time to cast your vote.

So what are you doing on December 21? Don’t speculate, Celebrate!
I will be singing with my friend “Dapper” Vince Brown at Swing, Friday from 8-10.
We will be weaving our silliness, sound, and sass into a show of apocalyptic proportions! We will be throwing in a few end of the world tunes…Make your reservation now, for 12/21 at Swing 8pm-10pm. If the world ends, there will be no refunds!

Also, mark your calendar for January 5, 8pm at Traditions — prophecies willing, I will be singing with Vince Brown and special guests at Traditions….hope to see you there!