Small Art for Small Spaces

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”
Vincent Van Gogh

Each piece of my “Tiny Art” Series is a 4″ x 4″ birch ready-to-hang panel, collaged with hand-painted  papers. A protective medium is applied over top of each panel.

When I say “hand-painted,” I mean that I used acrylic paints applied to paper with random brush and brayer-strokes and marks with objects like plastic forks, metal springs and paper doilies on drawing paper.

I basically played patty-cake in a sand-box with myself….IT IS AWESOME.

Then I cut up the papers and created mini-abstracts on the panels, and watched various stories unfold:

This single panel is called “You’re So Cool, You’re Hot!”

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This next set of four is called “Immaculate Conception” and represents the new life and creativity born from such spiritual unions. Here, I’ve strung the four panels together as one long story. But they come as individual panels:

Immaculate Conception IImmaculate Conception 2Immaculate Conception 3Immaculate Conception Panel 4

Another set of 4 called “Blue Lemon Quartet.”  The color choices of blues and browns with organic shapes felt really calming to me:

Here’s a trio called “Paleolith Women’s Dance Round.” The design is based on images I found in an old book depicting various cave designs from the Stone Age. The panels are finished in 18K gold leaf:

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To view or purchase, please visit HERE. You can also contact me with a commission, to create a series of your choosing in number of panels, colors and feel.

Where could you use some tiny art?  Here’s where we enjoy one in my home, called “A Rose is a Rose.” It’s on view from the porcelain goddess….

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NOTE: I discovered and developed this series of “tiny art” during an extended illness where I was flat on the couch or seated with my head lying on a table for almost an entire 10 months. I’ve always lived by the practice of the arts as healing, but this was discovering a depth of that belief that was a personal miracle for me.

Please comment, like, subscribe or share if you liked this post! Thank you for reading!

Magic RX for Grown-Ups: “Meditations to Feed Christmas”

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This week I’m gratefully sharing news of the release of  my first book, “Meditations to Feed Christmas,” available on Amazon and Balboa Press. It is a spiritual journey that connects many global, feminist and traditional religious personal truths.   It’s definitely not your usual meditation book! The soft cover version also has journal pages for writing your own reflections and visualizations.

I’m launching it now because it is something that can be used all year long, year after year. The idea is to start now, intending to have a truly magic holiday season without getting run down, over worked and trying to fill other’s and your own expectations.

A COOL REVIEW:

“Cate Frazier-Neely has written a spiritual and feminist feast–rich with story, image, humor and personal narrative. Celebrating both the pain and joy of her fifty plus years, Cate reveals the Goddess Spirit in her would, while also appreciating the deep well of the Christian tradition and showing respect for others’ traditions. I can recommend this to many of the women (and men!) in my life as a refreshing companion for the Advent/Christmas season.”

The Rev. Dr. Susan Andrews

SO HERE’S THE SCOOP:

I’ve always wanted to write & publish creative writing and memoir, BECAUSE I LIVE FOR BOOKS. I LOVE READING. I LOVE WRITING. I LOVE THEM LOVE THEM LOVE THEM!

But it took many years of writing and learning to write from a place of honesty and vulnerability before I realize you don’t write books.

They actually write you.

And I was extremely resistant to writing a book of meditations because I thought, BOR–ING.

But eventually I started listening to a buried inner voice, and this book happened.

“By the time I had celebrated 53 Christmases, I was ready to reinvent the holiday. The engine that drove the minutia of parenting, working, caring for house, marriage and extended family, and contributing to the community had broken down and come to a steamless halt…” 

In that 53rd year I was bone tired and simply could not move through another holiday season. So I cleared my holiday to-do lists and let go of many expectations, including how I thought I needed to parent. I set out to write one personal meditation a day, based on quotes from people and traditions from around the world. I did this every day from the first Sunday of December through January 6, which is the 12th day of Christmas. The result was that real joy and magic ignited within me that season.

THE COVER ART…

…was created by my favorite contemporary Irish artist, Cathriona Cleary. I found her on the web and, er,  started stalking her, then I ordered from her and then we started emailing. She graciously gave me permission to add her digital art piece to my cover.

Enjoy!

Cate

Three Cool Resources for Singing Teachers and Creatives

1. Adam Neely is a bassist, multi-instrumentalist, educator and composer living in New York City. His music education channel has deservedly created Influencer Status for him due to his weekly video essays on music, performing, theory, philosophy, mathematics and science.  He does all the video, editing,  writing and delivery and creates his main income from Youtube, his Patreon campaign and endorsements and invitations to teach across the US, Canada and Europe. He is an Independent musician/educator teaching to the masses at a very sophisticated level–and as he says, he creates content that he, himself is interested in.

Neely’s most recent video is one of my favorite video lessons so far. As part of the lesson topic, he mentions how important it is to understand that any academic training you receive is meant to serve as a general grounding. (Even the advanced degrees.) You are to take what you learned in school and work to creatively apply it to what you experience, love to do, and can do well. The information becomes filtered through you into something truly original and useful. And that’s what genius is.

(Yes, he is my son.)

 

2. Angela Winter runs Awakened Creator.  Her work is a little like hearing from a friend that truffles are really delicious but you don’t really know just HOW delicious unless you actually experience eating some in well-made cuisine! Angela is an intuitive website designer, certified life and creativity coach, and a holistic voice worker with several degrees and certifications in vocal pedagogy,  performance and body work. Her “about” page backs up all her skills.

Winter’s multi-faceted services are designed to help you bring your own Self into sharp relief–to find and see that your spirit, body and mind can function as one and that you are truly beautiful in uniqueness. That YOU are what the world needs, not in being a copy of someone else.

(Angela studied singing with me privately for about three years after her graduate work in voice. While working technically and musically, she and I also gave each other permission to step as widely off the beaten path as our souls were calling us to do.)

YOU+CANNOT+CREATE+FROM+A+STATE+OF+DEPRIVATION,+DEPLETION,+OR+RESENTMENT.

 

3. Brian Lee’s book Sane Singing is, well, sane.  I have personally watched this fine musician, educator and singer struggle over the years, working with some well-beloved teachers but never really feeling like he could understand his voice and sing. This book is part autobiography (he has enough music and non-music degrees to cause your jaw to drop and scrape along the floor,) and part reliable guide for singers, teachers and even parents, trying to sort out the this from the that.

If you are looking for voice training options, you’ll discover that there are multitudes of people, products, and ideas out there claiming to be THE THING that can help you. How do you sort it out? How can you advocate for yourself in an increasingly crowded and confusing marketplace? How can you determine whether the training you are getting is upping your game?

Sane Singing will help you to:

    • evaluate voice training options
    • select a qualified teacher
    • build a team to support you
    • measure your own vocal progress
    • ask better questions
    • identify priorities in your vocal development
    • take care of your vocal, mental, and physical health

Most good teachers and music educators can not possibly be right for everyone. This guide can help you find who’s right for YOU.

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That’s this week’s Thursday 3!
Thank you to Dr. Shannon Coates, creator of The Vocal Instrument 101, for letting me riff off her blog series. She writes “Friday Fav Five.”
Read some of my other blog posts, such as my Vocal Master Class Series and Views from the Voice Teacher Series HERE.
If you liked this list, please comment, like, share or subscribe! 

“Higher Education” Without a Terminal Academic Degree

A former student who just finished her graduate degree in Vocal Pedagogy returned to resume our work together.

She asked me how I developed the combination of vocal pedagogy and somatic education she experiences in her lessons. Her words: “nobody teaches singing like this.” So her prompt gave me the idea for this post.

SO HERE’S A “SHORT” ANSWER

What did the founders of Alexander Technique, The Feldenkrais Method and other somatic education, as well as vocal pedagogy innovators, have in common?

They used themselves  as primary subjects.

Alexander was an actor who lost his voice. Feldenkrais was an engineer with a black belt in judo and chronic knee pain due to an injury. Ida Rolf,  founder of Rolfing Integrative Technique, was a biochemist who needed solutions to her own health problems and the health issues of her two sons.

Many of the current popular (CCM) singing pedagogies were developed by people who couldn’t get what they needed as singers from classical teachers, so they set out to build credible research and formulate methods which have ended up serving countless others.

Each of these people had the ability to draw connections among many observations and intuitions. They discoursed with open-minded colleagues and scientists and studied the human body and psyche with unusual depth.

TODAY, FUNCTIONAL VOCAL PEDAGOGY & SOMATIC EDUCATION…

… are partnering for freer and stronger performance, practice and life styles.

However, finding a voice teacher who combines them both well, and regularly, in their teaching is still rare.

MOVING IT ALL FORWARD

So this is my ‘shtick.’ I learned how to do this, not through any degreed program, not through certifications or teacher training, not through modeling other pedagogues, but, like those listed above, using myself as the primary subject.

Believe me, it was only out of sheer desperation and necessity born of 3 things: 1) my innate tenacity and refusal to have my pilot light snuffed out due to a long and quite severe health history, and 2) my ability to make useful connections among bits of experiences and information and 3) my desire to use the experiences to help others.

SO, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

When I was 24 and had just finished a 2- year grad program in vocal performance, few  practiced yoga in the United States.

Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais and other methods were not yet in the awareness of most voice teachers, international performers or performing arts’ education systems in the US.

Graduate vocal pedagogy programs were still rare.

And remember-no Internet. If you wanted information you had to dig very deep for a  long time. Using technology meant having an electric typewriter and hand-held calculator, although the first computers, which took up a small room, were being used in colleges.

In about 1979, around age 23, I began exhibiting symptoms of IBS and anxiety disorder. The American Psychiatric Society did not recognize Anxiety Disorder until 1980! -The many doctors I consulted over the next 5 years were condescending and dismissive, and gave me high doses of valium and instructions to “stop being hysterical.” My uber-sensitive system could take one-half of a dose of valium, which enabled me to sit in a corner and drool, and still have the symptoms without being able to move. I also had many invasive tests administered by sadists that did not bring up anything definitive other than health bills because I didn’t have insurance right then.

There were few alternative health care clinics, no naturopaths and information about alternative solutions was difficult to find. However, I continued to perform a great deal and made a name for myself in my 20’s and early 30’s in the niche market of contemporary classical music and chamber opera.  I also was teaching over 20 hours a week privately and as a college adjunct, as well as developing and teaching courses every semester.

But then I began missing work due to my symptoms and pain..

I asked for Divine guidance and, while I don’t remember how, was led to a beginning yoga glass taught by a young woman in my neighborhood. She was excellent, and I took her class in yoga and meditation every week for two years. It gave me practical and grounding tools to manage whatever this awful “thing” was.  I started drawing connections between yoga and singing and adapting poses to teach singing.

I read biographies of famous singers and was influenced by Robert Merrill’s struggle with allergies, diet and singing. (American operatic baritone, 1917-2004.) He ended up living on fish and vegetables in order to be able to sing. So I experimented with diet to see what seemed to trigger symptoms. I constantly drew connections between yoga, diet and the physical act of singing. Back then, no voice teacher talked about diet and life style changes. I offered suggestions to students who usually then searched for their own solutions and made rapid  improvements in their own health.

I was on “tour” in my late 20’s, off and on for two years: Out on the road for 3-5 days then back home again for a few weeks, out and back. I added light weights to my routine and bought a book by Jane Fonda to learn how to use them. She also had an exercise book that included relaxation techniques. Once again, I adapted for teaching.

At the time, nobody in vocal pedagogy and voice science organizations discussed the interconnectedness of all things and how one will affect the other.  This is still true to a large degree.

Over the years, my health took a sinister turn and chronic patterns of surgery and illness became intrenched. I tenaciously looked for and found help for physical and emotional recovery in many out-of-the-mainstream ways.

My husband and I committed financially to my working yearly with 2-4 body workers, somatic educators, chiropractors and alternative medicine practitioners.  One extraordinary medical doctor saved my life and the lives of our children. But honestly, most of the rest of my experience with western surgeons and medicine has been quite awful. Botched surgeries, even with “the best surgeons,” resulted in complications that almost killed me, both almost taking me from our children. I refused to be taken from them.

Before the Internet developed advanced search engines, I combed magazines, libraries and bookstores for resources. My favorite early resource was “Maggie’s Women’s Book,” which you can still find on Amazon. She had exercises for post C-sections and pelvic/abdomen health which were revolutionary at the time.

I worked with a yogini privately for five years, an Andover Educator (“Body Mapping”) who was a colleague, and received Therapeutic Massage, Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Rolfing. Certainly not all at once but spread out over the years. All before the year 2000.

At a party I talked with a hip surgeon and asked him if scar tissue created its own kind of problems. He did a rare thing, perhaps because we were at a  reunion and he was into cocktail hour. He admitted that scar tissue often created more problems than the reason for the surgery. BINGO! So I began researching and tried to find someone who could somehow break up the scar tissue in my abdomen. I worked with several massage therapists and an alternative osteopath who used infrared light and facial release. (I avoided bee venom injections because that sounded crazy.)

All this was necessary to allow me to function passionately and with purpose as a parent, partner, teacher, singer and instrumentalist.

With each modality I connected what I experienced to singing and vocal pedagogy. I studied detailed anatomy of the body, not just the larynx or how the vocal folds work. Over a 30 year period I kept studying singing with 3 fantastic functional voice teachers while I attended, as well as taught, master classes, workshops and events. With each thing I attended and observed, I became more convinced of the connections between truly effective vocal pedagogy and somatic education principles. I became more impatient with how I saw voice being taught by college and university teachers.

I became certified in Somatic VoiceWork tm: The Lovetri Method, because Lovetri’s manner and functional methodology closely follows the principles of somatic reeducation–the connection of the body, mind and psyche– at its best.

There was a 6 year period in my late-30’s/early 40’s where I received talk therapy and was on anti-depressent, anti-anxiety and ADD medications all at once. They enabled me to function in the day-to-day, but absolutely killed my passion and creativity. They caused massive weight gain and just masked endocrine and emotional issues caused by endocrine dysfunction that needed to be healed. The 4 endocrinologists I saw were useless.

I relearned how effective visualizing is–part of the neuroplasticity of the brain and sensory-motor processing Of course, as a singer and instrumentalist, I had been doing this unconsciously my whole life, but with Tai Chi, Tribal Belly Dance, Alexander Technique and pilates classes over a 20 year period, I became a beginner again. It was astonishing! With each surgery and surgical complication, with an immune system disorder due to the MTHFR double gene, I had to find ways to “come back.”

I worked with Suzan Postel, who is a most brilliant somatic educator. She was a dancer and singer on Broadway, playing Tuptim in “The King and I,” opposite Rudolf Nureyev as The King. She got into this type of education due to her own injuries and is a master of explaining what we do and why.

TRAUMA CAN OPEN and STRENGTHEN INTUITIVE PATHWAYS WITH PERSONAL INTENTION FOR GOOD

I have “visions.” No reasonable vocal pedagogue admits this, but hey, clearly my path has not been “reasonable.”

One day I was writing down what I had learned about pelvic stability & respiration, and suddenly I had a vision of an elephant waving its trunk at me, balancing easily on a tiny ball with all four huge feet.

I know better than to ignore these things so I sat quietly for a moment. Then I reread an article sitting on my desk on the psoas muscles being the emotional core of the body.  BAM! The “psoas” are the STABILIZERS OF THE TRUNK–hahahah! Repeated emotional and physical trauma will cause them to freeze and shorten.

And there I went, down the rabbit hole of psoas muscle research (found Liz Koch’s work) and finding body workers who could work on this with me and explain what they were doing and why. One tell-tale sign that the psoas is dysfunctional is walking with the feet splayed outward, which, at the time, I did. And the relationship to the function of the diaphragm is amazing.

I also honed those intuitive skills by working with disciplined spiritual practices to make sure I was truly reading a student’s energy clearly. I have three posts on “Clairsentience as a Teaching Tool” on this blog.

MOST RECENTLY...

Over the past 5 years I’ve delved into neurological health after being diagnosed with bi-lateral vocal fold paralysis from “unknown neurological dysfunction.” (the vocal folds are pristine.)

And, oh goodie, started up with a different set of debilitating symptoms.

So I spent a year seeing every kind of “-ologist” there is. They found nothing wrong, although it was reported that the symptoms I was suffering from were not uncommon in women of all ages.

There I went again, searching for my own solutions out of desperation. This time I added salt baths and cranial sacral techniques, herbs, veganism, created a reduced work load at a higher pay rate, committed to psycho-spiritual counseling, and read up on vagus nerve stimulation. I realized I was tolerating abusive situations and relationships, including the relationship I had with myself, and worked to get out from these habits. I worked one-on-one with Lovetri in her role as singing voice rehab specialist, all of which made me functional again over a 5 year period.

I never gave up. Sometimes your weakness becomes your greatest strength.

I’m done living like this though. I am going to learn through wellness now. Enough is enough is enough.

None of this learning resulted in an extra couple of academic degrees because you can’t earn degrees in this kind of stuff.

Sometimes the Highest Education comes out of how you’ve lived your life.

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Check out my case studies on Functional Training, Somatic Education and Singing Voice Rehab HERE.

Performing Bio

Teaching Bio

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A Singer Diagnosed With Benign Essential Tremor, One Case

 

Teresa is a vital voice teacher and singer with a full private voice studio in Pennsylvania. At age 60, she restarted her own voice lessons after not studying singing since college, although she had coached and worked with many  musicians during that time.

Throughout menopause, creativity can bloom and demands new energy outlets. Teresa wanted to earn recognition as a performer of classical and musical theater music in her community and felt she had not been able to do that because of her vocal condition.

Her speaking was absolutely fine, even with teaching for hours. But her singing was characterized by a wobble/shaking of pitch throughout a limited range,  breaks throughout the lower passaggio and great pitch instability. Her body was affected by a hip issue and she walked with a minor limp. She and I talked about healing, spirituality and singing as a foundational attitude for the journey we were about to take together.

We began working with a combination of exercises and approaches informed by voice therapy for Parkinson’s patients and advanced use of Somatic VoiceWork tm: The Lovetri Method as a rehabilitation method.  I also used many Somatic Reeducation* exercises over time to stimulate her respiratory system and core, which had weak function because the muscles of the throat were not functioning well–not the other way around as many teachers and therapists believe. 

It is also effective work to take advantage of the neuroplasticity of the brain. Essential tremor is a central nervous system dysfunction that starts with brain impulses, so slowly groving new patterns in the brain itself is a large key to healing the dysfunction.

I chose not to start with standard SLP rehabilitation tools other than identification of some life style habits to change. She started practicing yoga and renewed her commitment to physical therapy and massage for her hip.

Our hips are the ‘seat’ for the pelvic diaphragm and a source for grounded energy to come through our bodies.

The only SOVT exercises that were helpful were variations on “ung,” closing to the “ng” and sliding 1-3-1 or 1-5-1. She could not slide 1-2-1 without actually staying on the same pitch, so the larger intervals were necessary at first. I did not say “you are flat, sing that second pitch higher,” because she literally could not. It was a functional problem, not a problem with her ear.

Within 6 months she could sing a slurred 5-tone scale without wobble and on pitch, on certain vowels. She began to establish some vocal flexibility. She developed some integrated head voice function that she could use to illustrate while teaching, and students and her conductor encouraged her improvements.  Her soft palate had begun to activate, although it could not stay activated and her body response would shut down. And this is why…

…she received a diagnosis of benign essential tremor after Lovetri noted that she might have an essential tremor. And the interesting thing is, the diagnosis did not change the type of work we were doing, not because I am pig-headed but because it was the most effective work in the first place. However, it did give her enormous peace of mind that she wasn’t doing something “wrong” or was a bad singer.  It was something she could share with students and directors, and let them know that she was aware of and working to improve.

She is contemplating recommended Botox injections. This can be very effective, but the injections wear off and need to be repeated. My belief is that there are deeper levels of healing to be found, which can be supplemented with effective medical therapies. It is her belief, too.

After one year of work based on the Parkinson’s voice therapy and Lovetri’s research, I added some of the exercises for essential tremor found in Leda Scearce’s fantastic  book Manual of Singing Voice Rehabilitation.  It just goes to show how important working with the person in front of you is, and that a set of specific exercises rolled out by rote can not possibly serve each pathology patient who is a singer.

Teresa’s is also an interesting case illustrating that time is needed to allow inner psychological changes of Self when we are older. Teresa thought she was a soprano based on her college self of 40 years ago, and was singing alto in her small church choir due to her limited range. All this time, in spite of not studying, she has been evolving into a possibly true contralto of a substantial size. I would say that from the time I first mentioned this possibility, to fully embracing what her voice is becoming, was almost two and a half years! She has been excited and full of wonder, processing this change in self-identification.

This year, Teresa successfully performed the role of Jack’s Mother in Into the Woods, acted in a  production of Steel Magnolias, has stabilized her alto choral singing and has started to prepare for a community concert, singing Brahms’ Two Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano!

Life isn’t about inventing yourself. It is about releasing yourself. And menopause is the time to do this with courage, humor and tenacious grit. And with a voice teacher/SVRS who takes you seriously and helps you accomplish small goals, one step at a time.

If you found this post helpful, please like, share or comment. Each post takes hours to write, I want to know that others found it valuable! Thank you.

*Two books to help introduce you to somatic reeducation concepts are

Body and Voice by Gilman

Singing With Your Whole Self: The Feldenkreis Method by Nelson and Blades-Zeller

 

 

 

Broadway Christmas Songs

This year I have an unusual number of wonderful dancer/singers in my private studio who’ve graduated from college and are making their way in the world.  They’ve asked for help finding repertoire from musicals for the holidays for Christmas gigs.

My first inclination is to say “do your research.” But then I thought that I’d like to know for myself what’s out there, other than the handful of songs I recalled off the top of my head. I tried to include easy tunes that singers can learn quickly but also threw in some things that need more time to put together. Some items have karaoke accompaniments available and some would do better with a live accompanist playing an original arrangement.

Plus, I just found a used CD for 50 cents at a recent joy ride through a Used Book Store and used it as the basis for this list. The producer was Bruce Kimmel and it came out in the 1990’s.

New Deal for Christmas from Annie (Strouse, Charnin) Music starts about :45

Be a Santa from Subways Are for Sleeping  (Styne, Comden, Green)

Christmas Eve from She Loves Me (Bock, Harnick)

Pine Cones and Holly Berries from Here’s Love (Wilson) Paired with It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Also from this musical, That Man Over There

Turkey Lurkey Time from Promises, Promises (Bacharach, David)

Christmas Gifts from A Wonderful Life (Raposo, Harnick)

Hard Candy Christmas from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Hall)

I Don’t Remember Christmas from Starting Here, Starting Now (Shire, Maltby, Jr.)

We Need a Little Christmas from Mame (Herman) –

Lovers on Christmas Eve from I Love My Wife (Coleman, Stewart)

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas from Meet Me in St. Louis (Martin, Blane)

At Christmas Time and Toys Medley from Song of Norway (Wright, Forrest) This one will need some arranging, but keep it in mind, especially if you are looking for an early legit musical with hymn-like part writing.

Surabaya Santa and Christmas Lullaby from Songs for a New World (Brown)

Please add your suggestions in the comments list.

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Vocal Pedagogy and Creativity, Part II

Part I in this series was well-received and lays out the groundwork for Part II–

Introduction

In this post, I’ve gone academic on you–just to have a framework to discuss broad topics.  I’ve highlighted three elements that are part of a larger concept that psychologist Benjamin Bloom identified for his learning model widely known as Bloom’s Taxology.

Anyone who wants to teach or to transform information into a useful body of personal wisdom would find his work very interesting. However, you certainly don’t need to consciously know this stuff to have the same outcome. I have operated in the following “mode” most of my life and didn’t know any of this.

Our culture does not allow for the following kinds of developmental learning, starting as early as age 5. Yet, we are all capable of it!

Bloom identified three “areas” of Learning as:

I.   Cognitive Learning (Mental skills and Knowledge)

II.  Affective (Growth in Feelings and Emotional Areas)

III. Psychomotor (Manual or Physical Skills)

According to Bloom, collecting information and remembering data are considered the beginning, or bottom rung, of Cognitive Learning.

And Creating is the top rung.

And here’s what the Cognitive Domain looks like in Bloom’s pyramid:

bloom-taxonomy

Some teachers teach from the place of collecting and remembering information, and then maybe have stepped up onto the level of Understanding what it means to them. This is a good start.

But as an exceptional teacher, you need to  eventually get to the top 1-3 parts of the pyramid.

There is obviously some overlap of all three domains because we each are unique individuals who find our own ways.

For the purposes of this article, I would like to highlight THREE aspects of learning, one from each domain, for you to consider.

Cognitive Domain

1. “Divergent Thinking” means generating multiple ways of taking information and finding new ways to address a topic or find solutions to a problem. This kind of thinking has become a hot topic for the study of brain function in creativity.

Divergent thinking occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, ‘non-linear’ manner. It does not move from ‘a’ to ‘b’ to ‘c.’

It prefers to zig when everyone else is zagging. It thrives in solitude, uncertainty and the imagination. It makes useful connections among unrelated pieces of information. The manner in which divergent thinking takes place is unique to everyone and everyone has to discover their own ways to develop and allow it.

“Convergent thinking”, on the other hand, is the ability to apply rules to arrive at a single ‘correct’ solution to a problem, such as an answer to an IQ test question. This process is systematic and linear.  Both styles of thinking are important and are meant to work together.

Psychomotor Domain

1. Somatic Re-Education of the Body and establishing the realization that your body carries its own wisdom!

This connection has been severed in our culture, but has revived among singers, dancers, actors, athletes, healers and physical therapists because our art is the stuff of which this connection is made.  The reason I place such fundamental importance on learning through somatic re-education is that western culture is still imbued with the notion that all worthy learning takes place in the brain and “higher realms.”

Oh my goodness, no. no no no! The physical body learns and holds information too, and is an equal with the brain and heart center. Sometimes the heart needs to heal before the body can heal. Sometimes the body needs to heal before the brain can work well. Somatic Education helps us reestablish how our bodies and minds are meant to function together, and is especially important as we age.

Alexander Technique, Feldenkreis, Yoga, Rolfing, Nutrition etc., and other modalities are all methods of somatic re-education.  But the effect it has on you is directly related to the kind of teaching you receive.

Affective Learning

1. Development of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence can be a natural gift which seems to be more hard-wired in women that in men.  But it can be developed in anyone. It is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. E.I. is now being taught in business schools like Wharton and Case Western Reserve as a necessary tool in what is called “Resonant Leadership.”

Other ways of developing this part of Affective Learning are through counseling and modeling behavior of other emotionally intelligent people.  Time Magazine published a recent article which, at the end of an article on drugs and depression, lists drug-free ways that have all been scientifically proven to have transformative effects on emotions and in handling interpersonal relationships well: Exercise, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral-Activation Therapy, Mindfulness Training and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

(I totally understand the need for the right drugs in the right doses, monitored by a health care professional.)

Conclusion to a long blog post…

These aspects  of turning information into something useful are true for anyone in any field.  Many life-long learners and some of your favorite teachers are using these steps to teach, even though they may not be consciously aware that Learning Theory has names for the processes.

Are there any Vocal Pedagogy graduate programs out there including Bloom’s theories in the coursework? The steps can be cultivated and are incredibly rewarding. Those EUREKA moments and connections are the stuff of ecstasy!

Life is about experiencing ALL the aspects of learning, not just running around devouring and acquiring new information and others’ ideas. And don’t panic. You have Time to realize learning is life long and no one is ever finished.  I started teaching music when I was 13 years old, had my first paid singing gig at 18, and am now 61. It sure did not happen all at once and is on-going.

Please like, comment or share this post if you found it useful. Thank you for being here!

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Also check out this video by Sir Ken Robinson