Frances Farrell recently graduated with her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Toronto. Her interest in vocal improvisation turned into a full-blown doctoral dissertation, Improvisation in the Choral Setting. Currently, Fran conducts two senior high choirs as part of the Halifax Regional Arts Program and an adult community choir called the Dartmouth Choral Society. Fran has also worked as a choral clinician in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta. Recently published works include In Search of a New Tradition-Improvisation in Choral Settings. Fran is also a member of the TVF Pro Certification Program.
This summer, at the TVF Retreat, we had daily vocal improvisation sessions with Fran. As a singer not used to vocal improv, I was unsure what to expect. I was completely blown away. Fran brought such incredible energy and excitement about improvisation. I found myself delighted to try anything she suggested. Her ability to create a safe space with real curiosity and enthusiasm for making music was so inspiring. I was so excited to sit down with her and ask some of my questions.
Karen: How did music begin in your life? Did you grow up in a musical family? [Read more…]
Have you had the experience of walking into a rehearsal with a new group of people and immediately listening closely to determine who is the best singer?
Do you find yourself classifying other singers in your head, so you know where you fit in?
Does your opinion of someone change after you hear them sing the solo/aria/whatever? Do they go up or down in your estimation?
I have been playing around in my head with how helpful a singer food chain would be. It would be great to classify singers and then I wouldn’t have to think so hard.
Superheroes are magical.
They do things that the ordinary human can only dream of doing. They have powers and abilities that are perfectly suited to their mission and once they figure all that out and start believing it (or however their story goes), they do tremendous things.
We love these superheroes and the stories about them.
Frequently in the TVF Academy, we play games. As a part of a recent game, participants were challenged to create a Superhero based on our singing selves.
I have always loved to sing.
I think I came out of the womb expressing joy through song! My happiest moments, even when I was very young, were singing show tunes at the top of my lungs in the kitchen while I cooked. My dad called it the Donna Factor. His mother’s name was Donna and she would also sing while she cooked. I can remember her singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and “Goodnight Ladies.” She didn’t have an amazing voice but she sang with such joy and abandon! She loved music!