The Total Vocal Freedom (TVF) Academy for Singers
An online monthly membership program & community focused on helping singers discover total vocal freedom using the Alexander Technique
“Learn essential tools & skills on how to get rid of body tension, improve your breathing, sing with more confidence, accelerate progress and express yourself with total vocal freedom"
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What Is The TVF Academy?
My name is Peter Jacobson.
I’m the Founder and Executive Director of Total Vocal Freedom.
Thanks for stopping by to learn more about the TVF Academy for Singers.
I started this online program 6 years ago to make the Alexander Technique readily accessible to singers and teachers everywhere.
Since then, well over one hundred singers from around the world have participated in this program (you can see some of their stories below).
So, what is this program all about?
In one sentence:
The TVF Academy for Singers is an online monthly membership program and community designed to give you the knowledge and training to consistently sing with freedom, ease and efficiency.
This program centers not on vocal technique but on the Alexander Technique, a world-famous method used by performing artists for well over a century.
Personally, I came to the Alexander Technique about 20 years ago when tension and pain were interfering with my music-making in a major way. This was wreaking havoc on my confidence and I sank into hopelessness and depression. Learning the Alexander Technique had a profound impact on all aspects of my life – personal, musical, psychological and even spiritual.
The TVF approach is unique in that it adapts Alexander Technique principles (and other relevant fields of study) specifically for singers.
The program is delivered through regular weekly classes and events that will help you make meaningful progress towards your singing goals and dreams.
When I created this program it was the world’s very first online school specializing in Alexander Technique for singers.
But here’s a little secret… I was skeptical if it would actually work.
I asked myself:
"Can the Alexander Technique, which is typically taught in-person using touch, be effectively taught and learned online?"
Within the first few months, I had my answer – a resounding “Yes!”
TVF Academy students were changing, learning, healing, growing.
I began hearing things from students like:
“After only three or four weeks in this program, I feel my voice freeing up.”
“My singing is much more connected with my body.”
“This program is not only a high-quality learning space for singers, but it’s also a life school.”
In addition, a unique community started to form that was the opposite of the “dog-eat-dog” music world we’re all so familiar with.
Beautiful friendships started to form that crossed cultures, borders, ages, and abilities.
One professional singer in New York City said to me:
“You have somehow managed to put together a community of the most supportive group of people that I have ever encountered – connecting with them has brought me so much joy.”
Another one in Austria wrote and said:
“It has been really beautiful to feel so encouraged, safe and empowered by the community. The TVF Academy attracts very open- and like-minded, conscious and nice people!”
It was clear our students were hungry not just for a great curriculum but also for a great community.
And they were using these “twin engines” – our curriculum and community – to solve big singing problems like:
- Unreliable breathing support and control
- Poor body use and alignment
- Excess tension in jaw, tongue, neck, shoulders, etc.
- Register issues in the passagio and high/low ranges
- Nerves, performing fear and self-doubt
- Playing the comparison game
If you ever struggled with any of these problems (especially chronically) you know what kind of corrosive effect they can have on your singing experience and how they can lead to frustration, hopelessness, despair, and stagnation.
After offering the TVF Academy for six years and seeing how our students have transformed their singing (and often their life), I can say with the utmost confidence that participating in the TVF Academy can help any singer solve any singing problem and support them to make progress towards their artistic objectives.
Here at TVF, we believe every musician deserves free access to:
- Quality and accurate information about how their body is designed
- A reliable method to free the body of unwanted tension, stress and interference
- A safe space to explore, take risks and grow
We want to help singers like you cut through so much of the nonsense that is still taught in the singing world – myths and misconceptions that have been spread over decades, even centuries.
Our primary goal in the TVF Academy is to help YOU thrive in their WHOLE being so you can get the most out of your singing and your life.
If that sounds appealing to you, I encourage you to keep reading. On this page, you’ll find more information to help you decide if the TVF Academy is right for you, including several success stories like this one…
Who It's For
As a TVF Academy student, you will learn universal principles about how you, as a human being, are made and how you work best.
Therefore, any singer will benefit greatly from participating in this program.*
We welcome singers of any musical style (from age 18 - 100+) including:
- Amateur Singers – who are committed to ongoing growth and improvement
- Semi-Professional Singers – who want to expand and refine their skill set
- Professional Singers – who want to gain important tools to help sustain their physical and vocal health
- Instrumentalists – who have a desire to express themselves with their singing voice
- Voice Teachers & Choral Directors – who may be neglecting their own singing and/or want to learn new teaching tools
The TVF Academy isn’t right for everyone.
If you’re looking for a set of quick-fix tips, a how-to course on singing your favorite pop songs, or want the “right” answer handed to you by an “expert,” then I can confidently say this program is NOT for you.
However, if you are:
- Eager – to learn exciting new things about your body, mind and voice (and how they connect)
- Curious – and open-minded to new ways of using your voice
- Seeking – a deep, thoughtful and holistic learning experience that will impact your entire life
- Interested – in developing meaningful relationships with other like-minded singers
…then you will be a GREAT fit for this program!
*We generally do not recommend this program for people with zero previous singing or music-making experience. Instead, we suggest a series of private lessons with a voice teacher to build a foundation in basic vocal technique and musicianship.If you need a recommendation, please send us a message. We have many excellent voice teachers in our learning community.
Here are some of the most common benefits and results students report from participating in the TVF Academy.
Sing with Freedom
1. Feel free and comfortable in your body so you can make your clearest and healthiest sounds.
2. Fire yourself from your position as “Micromanager of My Body” and it’s various parts (tongue, jaw, diaphragm, etc.)
3. Learn how to stop wasting precious energy on excess muscle tension and instead focus on the good stuff: color, sound, phrasing, musicality and expression.
Sing with Confidence
1. Learn to be confident in and what you can so you are able to express yourself freely in front of an audience.
2. Stop doubting the sounds you make and feel true joy in your singing.
3. Learn to create a deep and precious bond with your listeners.
4. Make the stress of making it to the ends of long phrases disappear.
Sing with Acceptance
1. Gain the ability to sing from a place of love and acceptance (instead of fear and judgment) so you can enjoy the delicious feeling of being yourself.
2. Use your personal story as a superpower for you instead of as a weapon against you.
3. Stop striving to win the approval some external authority (teacher, parent, colleague, etc.) and sing for yourself.
Curriculum: The Core TVF Concepts
The TVF Academy curriculum consists of several simple yet profound core concepts, divided into 3 areas:
Part 1: The 4 TVF S.E.L.T. Practices
- S – The Practice of Slowing Down
- E – The Practice of Experimenting
- L – The Practice of Listening
- T – The Practice of Trusting
Part 2: The Alexander Technique for Singers – 7 Core Principles
- Wholeness: Sing with Your Whole Self Instrument
- Body Awareness: The Power of Kinesthetic Listening
- The Head-Spine Relationship: Alexander’s Key Discovery
- Inhibition: Forging New Pathways Through Interruption
- Non-Doing: Trusting Your Natural Intelligence
- The Alexander Process: Constructive Thinking in Action
- Use & Functioning: Maximizing Artistic Potential
Part 3: Embodied Anatomy for Singers
- The axial structures including the head, tongue, neck, throat, larynx, spine and ribs
- The appendicular structures including the pelvis, legs, feet, shoulders, arms, hands and jaw
The Classes & Events
In TVF Academy, you will have the opportunity to attend the following kinds of classes and events:
1. Weekly Lab Classes
- These 1-hour live weekly lab classes form the heart of the TVF Academy experience.
- As the name implies, these are "laboratories" where you will learn and experiment with the core concepts of TVF approach and the Alexander Technique in the activity of singing.
- Instead of their being a pre-determined agenda, the teacher will typically respond to the needs and desires of the students. That means every class is relevant, fresh and different!
- These lab classes will include things like: guided singing activities, breakout groups, individual lessons (in front of the groups) and more.
- As a member, you have the option of attending 5 different weekly. You can attend multiple classes if you'e like and attend different days/times depending on your schedule.See below for the exact days and times.
- All weekly lab classes will be recorded and available on replay.
2. Monthly Special Topic Classes
- 90-minute monthly classes that will allow for a deeper dive into one special topic related to singing and the Alexander Technique.
- Special topic classes will be taught by the TVF faculty and select special guest teachers.
- All special topic classes will be recorded and available on replay.
3. Regular Community Events
As part of your membership you will get access to regular community events like:
- Open Mics
- Peer-to-Peer Exchanges
- Guided Practice Sessions
- Book Discussion Groups
Calendar & Class Schedule
The 2022-2023 academic year has 3 x 5-week terms remaining:
- Winter Term: January 9th – February 10th, 2023
- Early Spring Term: February 27th – March 31st, 2023
- Late Spring Term: April 17th – May 19th, 2023
Weekly Lab Classes
Choose one or more of the following weekly classes:
- Tuesdays @ 10:00am - 11:00am US Central Time (convert to your local time zone)
- Thursdays @ 3:00pm - 4:00pm US Central Time (convert to your local time zone)
- Saturdays @ 1:00pm - 2:00pm US Central Time (convert to your local time zone)
Monthly Special Topic Classes
- January Class: The Zen Way of the Voice with Molly Kittle on Monday, January 16th @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm US Central Time
- February Class: Exploring The Teachings of Cornelius Reid with Donna Reid on Monday, February 5th @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm US Central Time
- March, April & May classes will be announced soon, likely on the first or second Monday of the month at 12:00pm - 1:30pm US Central Time.
- Academy community events (open mics and practice sessions) will be scheduled at various times throughout the week.
The TVF Community
The TVF community enjoys learning, playing and singing together. Our community is based on these core values:
- Kindness – we treat each other with kindness and respect. And we learn from each other, recognizing that the next big insight could come from anybody in the community.
- Affirmation – we affirm and celebrate the uniqueness of each singer. We celebrate and honor the diversity of voices in our community.
- Non–Competitiveness – we avoid singer “food-chaining,” in which you compare yourselves to another singer and come up short. Instead, we recognize that everybody is in a different place in their singing journey and the only person we should compare ourselves to is the previous version of ourselves.
As part of your membership, you get access to our online forum, a private and dedicated place to exchange ideas, receive support and celebrate each other. The platform we use for this is called Circle, which is like a Facebook group but without all the ads and distractions.
Our faculty (pictured L to R: Peter Jacobson, Eleni Vosniadou, Darci Balkcom, Michael Hanko, Molly Kittle) consists of 5 fun-loving, truth-seeking, singer-empowering teachers. We are all certified Alexander Technique teachers who have earned college degrees in various fields of music. You can read more about each individual faculty member here.
“…I was ready to retire from my professional career of 40 years. The TVF Academy turned everything around for me.”
“After working with a laryngologist and a speech therapist for vocal cord paresis I was ready to retire from my professional career of 40 years. The TVF Academy turned everything around for me. I found freedom and ease where I used to find stress both in my voice and my daily life. It has transformed my teaching as well!”
–Lisa Rogers Lee, Singer & Voice Teacher in Chicago, USA
“TVF Academy is not only a high-quality learning space for singers, but it’s also a life school.”
“One year in TVF Academy has been my healing process as an opera singer in crisis. It is the perfect place to find ease, freedom, inspiration, motivation, energy, power, passion and love! TVF Academy is not only a high-quality learning space for singers, but it’s also a life school.”
–Okan Sipahi, Singer in Catania, Italy
“My singing is much more connected with my body.”
“I am communicating with the audience more, and even if when I cannot achieve that I am aware of the importance of it. But what the TVF Academy program made a change in my life is that I begin to be more proactive in communicating my desires or feedback with the other people. Previously I was generally the one who was waiting for the other person to interact with me. But now I feel more open to others. I am hoping that this new part of me will grow more.”
–Elif Yavuzturk, Singer, Ankara, Turkey
“After only three or four weeks in the TVF Academy I felt my voice freeing up.”
“After a 25 year professional career in singing classical music, I had come to a place where my singing felt stuck. Singing was no longer the joy it used to be. I enrolled in the TVF Academy because I needed a boost and a change, but I didn’t know where to find it. I didn’t have the opportunity to start taking weekly lessons with any of my teachers, due to time, travel, as well as money. After only three or four weeks in the TVF Academy I felt my voice freeing up. A short time after that I began to feel like I had all the flexibility, colors, and coordination of my voice back again! I never lost my passion, but now singing is again my joy.”
–Tracy Van Fleet, Singer & Voice Teacher in Los Angeles, USA
“I have greatly corrected my posture…”
“This past year in TVF has changed me in so many ways, it’s made me a better voice teacher and singer but the truly amazing thing is how I feel physically. With learning about and using the Alexander Technique, I have greatly corrected my posture, learned how to stand on stage with little or no pain, and just feel better overall, even my Dr has said I need to keep up what I’m doing!”
–Lois Richardson Shive, Singer & Voice Teacher, Chicago, USA
“TVF is my lantern that gives me warmth and courage to keep moving forward.”
“I’m now a clear and precise teacher, a true supportive friend, a patient loving husband, a better version of myself. And a much expressive singer! I think I’m naturally a leader, but taking the time every week, every day to work on myself and improve my craft. I’ve now have a much longer reach to help so much more people. I’m scared of stepping into the fog’s future but deep inside I’m finding myself wanting to apply TVF principles to my whole island, to everybody I come across. It’s not even about making a living, it’s about making a living so I can keep on making people happy with their music. TVF is my lantern that gives me warmth and courage to keep moving forward.”
–Kevin Kelly Kahelain, Singer and Teacher, Moorea
“TVF has completely transformed my singing and my teaching in the most unexpected, delightful, and profound ways.”
When I first started my TVF Academy journey in 2016, I wasn’t sure exactly what I would learn. I was hoping for some tips and tricks for myself and my students, and possibly connections with other vocal teachers. Boy was I blown away! The TVF Academy not only offered a science-based approach to free vocal production, but also an incredible community that has become family, and more support and assistance than I could ever have imagined. I have already learned so much about myself and experienced massive improvements in my own singing, and I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of possibilities! I can honestly say that TVF has completely transformed my singing and my teaching in the most unexpected, delightful, and profound ways. For once, the ”hype” doesn’t even begin to describe the actual experience. Joining TVF was one of the very best decisions I’ve made for myself and my career!
–Midge McMoyer Smith, Singer and Accompanist, Houston, USA
“There are avenues now for me to make a living with my singing.”
“Peter, I love the way you teach – the positive words you use, the gentle way you correct and the order of your presentations – the way you allow all of us to ‘be’ in a safe, supportive place – priceless! You really named the program right: Total Vocal Freedom (it’s more than just the voice!) There are avenues now for me to make a living with my singing. It will be most interesting to see where my journey takes me next! Woo-hoo!”
–Donna Marie Castaner, Singer, New York, USA
“… a safe and supportive place for all of us to feel free and ease.”
“Peter, I love the way you teach….You are so kind and gentle. You use positive words to correct the members of the Academy. You create a safe and supportive place for all of us to feel free and ease. You approach to problems is very helpful….Thanks a lot for everything.”
–Angeliki Krissila, Choral Conductor, Thessaloniki, Greece
“I joined the Academy in 2016, and it was easily one of the best investments I have made in my career.”
“I have struggled for years with technical issues – in particular tension, which none of the many teachers I have studied with have really been able to address. In the past year, through the different modules in the Academy, I have found several tools that have helped me address these issues. The best part of these discoveries has been that I have really understood how they came about – which means I’m able to re-create them whenever needed (versus my experiences in the past making progress only to find it fall away in a few weeks and not knowing how to get back there). The different modules all fit together into this brilliant approach to finding more freedom vocally, mentally and emotionally. Peter has somehow managed to put together a community are the most supportive group of people that I have ever encountered – connecting with them has brought me so much joy.”
–Nitya Thomas, Singer and Voice Teacher, New York City, USA
“TVF Academy is an honest, supportive community…”
“When I first started in the Academy, I really thought I was alone in my frustrations about how things had gone in my singing career. I thought I was the only singer insecure in my vocal abilities. I thought that other singers didn’t struggle to find the time to practice or know how they fit into a professional vocal world. I was wrong! TVF Academy is an honest, supportive community and I know now that there are a lot of other singers who struggle with these same issues.”
–Karen Archbold, Singer and Voice Teacher, Chicago, USA
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I have time to do the TVF Academy?
Many of our members have full-time jobs and families and are able to participate in the TVF Academy. The flexibility and convenience of online classes (and the 24/7 access to replays) makes the material accessible even for busy people.
Will I benefit from watching class recordings if I can’t attend every class live?
Yes, you will get benefit from watching the recordings. Because classes will address common singer issues and problems there will always be something for you to learn and discover no matter if you attend live or watch the recording. Of course, it’s ideal to attend class live as much as much as possible but we realize people have busy lives and it’s not always possible.
I have a voice teacher already. Will this conflict with what I learn from them?
Provided you are receiving quality and anatomically-accurate vocal instruction, this program will enhance the work you are doing with your voice teacher. TVF Academy students have reported getting more out of their voice lessons with TVF tools available to them.
Does this program included vocal technique instruction?
What you learn in the TVF Academy is not meant to be a substitute for a solid and functional vocal technique. Though we do have a vocal technique expert on faculty (Michael Hanko), it’s not the primary focus of this program. Often times, singers have good technique but aren’t able to use that technique fully because of body tension issues. In TVF Academy classes, you’ll learn how to release unnecessary body tension to take full advantage of your technique.
Will I need to change my technique?
No, not unless you want to! The program is designed to improve upon what’s working and help you change what’s not.
How many people will be in each class?
Our class sizes average between 8-10 students.
Will I get certified?
We only offer certification through the TVF Foundations Teacher Certification Training Program.
How much time will it take every week?
The minimum time commitment will be to attend (or watch on replay) the weekly classes. This course is designed to fit into any practice regimen. The explorations and learning materials are practical, adaptable and can be practiced anywhere. Additionally, since this approach is holistic, you will be making new connections between the activities of your daily life and your singing and how they influence one another.
How long will I have access to course materials for?
As long as your tuition fees are paid you will have continued access to course materials.
Do you offer scholarships?
What if I have more questions?
What Your Membership Includes
Weekly Singing Lab Classes
Weekly 60-minute classes where you will be actively engaged in singing and movement explorations, activities and group discussions.
Monthly Special Topic Classes
90-minute monthly classes that will allow you to take a deep dive into one special topic related to singing and the Alexander Technique.
Enjoy regular open mics, peer-to-peer exchanges, guided practice sessions, book discussion groups and listening parties.
The TVF Circle Community
Enjoy our dedicated space to exchange ideas, receive support and celebrate each other. Our virtual home also hosts our user-friendly master calendar and all class replays.
Your Invitation to Join
Thank you for taking the time to read more about the TVF Academy!
If you feel, based on what you’ve read, that the TVF Academy would help bring you closer to your singing goals then I invite you to register now.
It would be our honor to have the opportunity to work with you.
To Your Singing Success!
Founder & Director
Total Vocal Freedom