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My Green Heart Strings: The Music of Ireland

creativity enjoyment Mar 18, 2022

by Darci Balkcom

Ireland is famous for its mythical backdrop of endless green, misty rain, dramatic coastlines, and ancient ruins. But it is the music that keeps pulling me back…

During our first trip to Ireland, my mom and I were drawn into John Benny’s Pub.

As we stepped inside, our eyes took a moment to adjust to the dark-wooded, dimly lit interior. The musicians were setting up for the evening. The guitarist fiddled along his strings. The box (accordion)...

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The Pause: Connecting with Physical Awareness

alexander technique Aug 24, 2019

“Where there is a depth of awareness, there is reverence for presence. Where consciousness is dulled, distant, or blind the presence grows faint.” 

– John O’Donohue

“Awareness” is a word that often used to puzzle me.

It was an idea I looked for in the ether, that I equated with enlightenment. Once...

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What is the Alexander Technique? A TVF Faculty Roundtable Discussion

NOTE: This is a conversation featuring the five members of the TVF faculty (pictured above, L to R: Michael Hanko, Molly Kittle, Peter Jacobson, Darci Balkcom, and Eleni Vosniadou). This is a transcription of a recent conversation they had about the Alexander Technique. Enjoy!

Peter: Hello everybody, welcome. I am here with Michael, Eleni, Darci, and Molly. Our topic for today is: What is the Alexander Technique? I’m going to start with a personal story on this topic. This...

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Discovering Vocal Improv: A Conversation with Dr. Frances Farrell

creativity interviews Oct 07, 2018

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,...

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The Singer's Food Chain

fun mindset Sep 10, 2018

By Karen Archbold

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?

Just imagine, you show up at a singing masterclass….you sit down and the person next to you...

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The #1 Breathing Habit That Limits Vocal Freedom

breathing Jun 05, 2015

By Peter Jacobson

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • The #1 most common breathing habit among singers
  • A radically simple solution
  • The key to coordinated breathing
  • My top breathing tool, the one I use in almost every practice session


Audibly gasping and sniffing are nearly universal habits among professional voice users, including singers.

Just turn on the radio or TV and start to take notice.

Once you become aware of it, you’ll hear it everywhere.

Audibly gasping...

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A Conversation with Michael Hanko, Voice & Alexander Technique Teacher

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9 Things Singers Need to Know About Their Bodies (Revised & Updated)

anatomy breathing May 04, 2015

By Peter Jacobson

Author's Note: This article was first published in 2015 and has proven to be our most popular blog post ever. Since I have learned much in the past 7 years, I decided to revise and update the original post to more accurately reflect my current approach.

1. Your whole body is your instrument, not just your vocal mechanism.

Your voice is part of a total system which also includes your mind and your entire body. Any method or technique of singing that...
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The Top 5 Breathing Myths for Singers…Debunked!

anatomy breathing May 04, 2015

By Peter Jacobson

MYTH #1: Belly breathing is the most effective way to breath for singing

Reality: It is anatomically impossible to breathe into your belly! While many teachers offer this instruction as a metaphor to avoid shallow breathing or shoulder raising, students often take it literally which creates a downward pull in the torso and puts unnecessary pressure on the spine and entire vocal mechanism.

Solution: Learn an anatomically accurate body map based on your natural design. ...

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