Alexander Technique for Singers:
2018 TVF Summer Residential Retreat
Reclaim Your JOY
Renew Your PASSION
Rejuvenate Your SPIRIT
What: A 6-day summer residential retreat focused on Alexander Technique for Singers
When: July 9th – 14th, 2018 (Arrive late morning on July 9th; depart late morning on July 14th)
Where: The DeKoven Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin
Who: Passionate singers and lifelong learners of any age, ability or genre
Why: Reclaim, renew and rejuvenate your joy and passion for singing through a holistic, natural and embodied approach to vocal expression with the Alexander Technique.
Are you feeling burned out or disconnected from your artistic passion?
Feeling stuck in an artistic rut or at a crossroads?
Have you lost your joy in singing?
You’re invited to the first-ever TVF summer singing retreat at the beautiful DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin from July 9 – 14, 2018!
The purpose of this retreat is to spend 6 days away from your daily life habits and commitments to focus on one thing – your vocal artistry.
You will take a deep dive into the Total Vocal Freedom experience, where you will learn practical and holistic skills from the world-famous Alexander Technique and how to practically apply them to your singing practice.
You will learn from highly-trained teachers inside of a supportive learning community and a natural, peaceful setting.
You will leave the retreat inspired, rejuvenated and profoundly connected to your deeper artistic purpose.
An Artistic Renaissance
This retreat is designed to be an artistic renaissance of your entire integrated self – mind, body, spirit and voice.
This will happen through a combination of classes, activities, games, performing opportunities, connecting with others and some quiet time to reflect and slow down.
These 4 Total Vocal Freedom principles will serve as the catalyst for your transformation:
- Self-Kindness – Learn about constructive and conscious kindness to yourself
- Natural Coordination – Learn the truth of how your body is designed to move and sing naturally
- Community – Learn how a supportive group can inspire and challenge you to reach new heights
- Passion – Learn how consciously nurturing your artistic desires can awaken deep and profound joy
“The Alexander Technique is constructive conscious kindness to ourselves, cooperating with the design, supporting our dreams and desires.”
Who This Retreat Is For
This retreat is open to singers of all walks of life, including:
- Aspiring & Emerging Professionals
- Working & Retired Professionals
- Enthusiastic Amateurs
- Choral Educators
- Voice Teachers
- College Students
- High School Students (with Parental Permission)
In TVF programs, we welcome and appreciate singers wherever they are in their artistic journey.
The things we value aren’t related to the degrees you’ve earned, where you’ve sung, who you studied with or what you have or haven’t accomplished.
We value you regardless of how old you are, what kind of music you sing and what your ability level is.
You’ll fit in perfectly if you are:
- Open-Minded – you have a willingness to have experiences outside your comfort zone in order to change and grow
- Curious – you want to explore and discover new things
- Passionate – you love music and singing
- Generous – you enjoy sharing your musical gifts and being supportive of other singers
No matter where you are on your singing journey, you are welcome to join us!
The TVF Foundations Curriculum
In TVF, we teach that psycho-physical freedom is the FOUNDATION of beautiful singing and music-making.
And we are passionate about teaching singers the essential information they need to move, sing, breathe, practice and perform well.
The way we do that is through the TVF Foundations Curriculum, which is based on Alexander Technique principles.
The TVF Foundations Curriculum is typically offered during the TVF Academy academic year (9 months).
At the retreat, you will learn the entire curriculum in 6 days!
It consists of the following 4 core areas:
- Body Freedom – Explore your total body anatomy (including vocal anatomy)
- Inspired Breathing – Learn how to breathe naturally and efficiently to become more “inspired” in your music-making
- Deep Practicing – Discover new holistic ways to practice deeply and effectively
- Confident Performing – Break through performing barriers and fears to perform with confidence
All learning will be experiential.
This is not a conceptual learning experience. Every idea will be embodied – it will be like you’re “taking notes” with your body.
A key aspect of the curriculum is integration: learning how to create a singing experience where mind, body, voice and spirit are merged into one unified and integrated whole.
The TVF Foundations curriculum will give you a rock-solid foundation that will serve you for the rest of your musical life.
Classes will take place every morning and afternoon (there will be about 20 hours of total class time.)
The learning in TVF classes unfolds naturally and organically, often in surprising and unexpected ways. In TVF classes you can expect to be highly engaged, stimulated and challenged. Tears of joy and acceptance are not uncommon in TVF classes!
There are 2 kinds of TVF classes:
These classes will take place in the morning and they will consist of warm-ups, group singing, movement activities, body-mapping exercises, playful games and more. As the name implies, you will learn how to make new discoveries about yourself as opposed the teacher telling you what you should do. You will learn to be guided by your innate body wisdom when singing and performing.
In the afternoon there will be Explorations, in which an individual (or ensemble) works with a TVF teacher while the rest of the group actively observes. Explorations last about 20-25 minutes and the student’s wishes and desires guide the learning, not the teacher’s agenda. Explorations are collaborative and engaging for everyone as TVF teachers skillfully incorporate the constructive feedback and collective wisdom of the group into the learning experience.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since a core TVF principle is freedom of choice, directly participating in an Exploration is always optional. There will never be pressure of any kind to sing in front of the group! The good news is that no matter how you choose to participate, you will still get great benefit from each and every Exploration.
3 Core TVF Beliefs
1. Every human being is born to sing.
2. Singing should be a joyful and uplifting experience.
3. Everything you need to sing and perform well is already waiting inside you.
The Vocal Playground
Do you feel like you keep your creativity in a box, restricted by fear or do you allow yourself to experiment, make mistakes, and play, like a child?
Are you constantly looking for the right “answer” and trying to avoid the “wrong” one?
Consider what the Sufi mystic Rumi writes:
Out beyond the ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”
Our version of Rumi’s field is The Vocal Playground, a learning atmosphere unique to TVF that is unfailingly kind, encouraging and supportive. In this playground people are seen for their greatness and what they are capable of instead as a collection of problems or issues that need to be fixed.
On this vocal playground, you will feel free to experiment, make “mistakes,” take risks and really PLAY!
Play stimulates imagination, creativity and is a really fun way to learn!
Music is a communicative art.
Musicians communicate sounds that elicit certain emotions in the listener and in the process express something meaningful about the human experience.
To make music is to commune with another.
When musicians feel loved, respected and appreciated by a larger community they become much more effective musical communicators.
TVF is known for the quality of its learning communities. Students frequently report that the kindness and love in TVF communities is like nothing they’ve experienced before.
During this retreat, you will experience that love and support.
Along with that comes connection – you will forge meaningful new relationships with other passionate singers like you.
You will be inspired and learn from each other.
The retreat community will grow together, learn together and transform together.
The retreat will be a good balance of class time, performing opportunities and unstructured social and alone time.
You might compare it to a piece of music. Sometimes the tempo will be fast, vigorous, exciting and intense. Your head may even spin a little bit!
And other times it will be slow, quiet, sparse, even empty allowing you lots of time to reflect and assimilate what you’re learning.
If the tempo gets to be too much, you are always free to choose to opt for alone time instead of a class or activity.
This is your time and you’re always in control!
The Evening Showcases
There will be 2 evening showcases giving you an opportunity to share your musical gifts with the rest of the retreat participants. The evening showcases are optional but highly encouraged. Each evening showcase will have a theme:
- Wednesday: All-Time Greatest Hits – bring one of your all-time favorite pieces to sing for us
- Friday: Making Music Together – perform a duet, trio or ensemble piece with your colleagues
Career Success Sessions
Are you at a crossroads in your career?
Are you wanting to find more singing or teaching opportunities but not sure how?
Or perhaps you are wanting make some changes in your career but need some inspiration, support and guidance?
During the retreat, we will be offering several optional career success sessions, during which you will have the opportunity to dig into career-related issues like marketing yourself, pricing your services, getting more gigs, etc.
These sessions will facilitated by Peter Jacobson who, over the past 4 years, has built a successful career for himself by building up TVF from nothing to the where it is now with over 150 students from 25 countries and a team of 8 people. Peter has also served as a career coach with ATSuccess and continues to coach singers and voice teachers in the TVF Academy “Career Success” class.
These sessions will be very collaborative and you will get valuable input and advice from the other retreat participants.
The Extracurricular Activities
Besides regular classes, we will be offering several “outside-the-box” activities to help you clear your mind, have some fun and enrich your experience. These activities are still being finalized and will include things like Yoga with Alpacas (seriously!), Frank Lloyd Wright tour, and a Lake Michigan boat cruise.
There will also be opportunities to go for walks and bike rides (bikes available to rent with advance notice) on the shores of nearby Lake Michigan.
The Daily Schedule
Schedule subject to change.
- 7:00 – 8:00 Yoga and/or Morning Movement (Optional)
- 8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast
- 9:00 – 12:00 Morning Discovery Class
- 12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
- 1:00 – 2:30 Free Time
- 2:30 – 5:00 Afternoon Explorations Class
- 5:00 – 6:00 Group Singing or Extracurricular Activity
- 6:00 – 7:00 Dinner
- 7:00 – 9:00 Evening Showcase
- 9:00 – 11:00 Social Time
NOTE: Day 1 (Monday) & Day 6 (Saturday) will follow a different schedule.
Retreat Teaching Faculty
Peter Jacobson is the Founder and Executive Director of Total Vocal Freedom. He is an AmSAT-certified (American Society of the Alexander Technique) teacher of the Alexander Technique. He is a graduate of Alexander Technique Mid-Atlantic, where he trained with Nancy Romita and Wendy Salkind. Jacobson began his teacher training at Alexander Technique Urbana, where he studied from Rose Bronec and Rick Carbaugh. His training took place over three years (1600 hours). A singer, multi-instrumentalist, conductor and music educator, he discovered the Alexander Technique over 13 years ago after suffering from back pain and tendinitis while pursuing his music studies.
In addition to his private teaching, Jacobson has taught workshops and group classes to musicians at Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, MD), Towson University (Towson, MD), Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA) and the Orchestra Institute of Napa Valley (Yountville, CA). Concurrent with his Alexander Technique teacher training, Jacobson has earned advanced degrees in Conducting from University of Illinois and Peabody Conservatory.
Eleni Vosniadou is a percussionist and teacher of the Alexander Technique. Trained in classical percussion, she began to take an interest in body awareness in order to treat chronic tendinitis, a persistent obstacle in the way of her professional career. In 2006, she began to study the Alexander Technique Internationale in Sommerakademie Mozarteum (Salzburg, Austria), and spent the next few years deepening her knowledge in Germany, Switzerland and England. She completed a postgraduate three – year course at the London Center for Alexander Technique and Training, followed by a complementary course in Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology in London, UK. In 2012, she began teaching the Alexander Technique at the Royal College of Music and Arts Educational London Schools in London.
Currently, she lives in Brazil where she has developed the Body Consciousness For Musicians course, specific to instrumentalists and singers who face pain or who want to improve their relationship with the instrument or with their voices. In Brazil, she is frequently invited to offer a series of training courses for the faculty of EMESP – São Paulo State School, and the Guri Santa Marcelina project, a project of the state government of São Paulo. In 2014 she presented the impact of the application of the Alexander Technique in music education at the 31st World Music Education Congress of ISME (International Society of Music Education) in Porto Alegre. Body Consciousness Lectures and Workshops For Musicians in various spaces and music institutions, including FASM – Faculdade Santa Marcelina, UNESP – Paulista State University, FAMOSP – Faculdade Mozarteum de São Paulo, Baccarelli Institute, SESC Research and Training Center, among others. In 2016 Eleni was invited to join the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum faculty in Salzburg, Austria.
Michael Hanko founded his NYC-based training program, FreeBody FreeVoice, to integrate his expertise in three fields: voice training, Alexander Technique, and gentle-touch bodywork. A graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Music, he received his certification as an Alexander teacher from the American Center for the Alexander Technique. Michael studied vocal technique and vocal pedagogy for over a decade under the renowned master Cornelius Reid. He has trained in multiple bodywork modalities at the Upledger and Barral Institutes. Michael writes and performs his own musical theater works and appears as a classical baritone soloist in oratorios and concerts.M
Michael teaches classes and private lessons, both in his studio and online to students throughout the world. Along with his TVF contributions, he has taught group classes in such venues as the Juilliard School and the William Esper Studio. His classes have focused on many topics, including Overcoming Stage Fright, Vocal Technique Mastery, Alexander Technique for Performers, and The Joy of Walking.
TVF faculty are all highly-trained teachers and musicians and they are passionate about helping YOU!
The DeKoven Center
The retreat will take place at the historic DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin, located right on Lake Michigan. There is an easily accessible bike path and bikes will be available to rent with advance notice.
Racine is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from O’Hare Airport and about 40 minutes from Milwaukee Airport. Racine is easily accessible by car and there is free parking at the Dekoven Center.
Shuttle transportation to and from Chicago airports will be available at an additional charge. After you register we will be in touch with your directly about your transportation needs.
All meals are included in your retreat fees. The DeKoven Center has a wonderful kitchen staff that will be happy to work with your food allergies or needs. Please let us know in advance (after you register) if you have special dietary issues. There will be a microwave and refrigerator available for personal use.
Commuter fees include one meal per day (more meals available for an additional charge).
A double room is included as part of your registration fee.
Unless you tell us who you’d like to room with, you will be assigned a roommate.
Arrival & Departure
Arrival on Day 1: Plan to arrive at the DeKoven Center on Monday, July 9th between 10:00am and 1:00pm (or by 12:00pm if you want to have lunch). We will have an opening session at 3:00pm to kick us off.
Departure on Day 6: The retreat will end by 12:00pm on Saturday, July 14th.
NOTE: It is possible to add Sunday evening to your stay for an additional $100.
What TVF Students Say
“It is difficult to describe in words what an incredible teacher Eleni is.”
“I have had two masterclasses with her and she has provided me with such amazing tools! She is a gifted and kind teacher. Her way of speaking and working invites peace in my body. Her explorations and questions invited me to find profound new ways of becoming aware and the work she did with the class on nervousness has dramatically changed my life! In the past, I have ridden the waves of nerves like a roller coaster just hoping that they wouldn’t destroy the performance too much. With just a few ideas, I now have the tools to embrace and understand the nerves that come along with performing. She has given me a great gift!”
–Karen Archbold, Professional Singer & Voice Teacher, Chicago, USA
“Every time I had an opportunity to work with Michael Hanko, my singing immediately became easier, freer and more fun.”
“Both his deep knowledge of the functional vocal training method, and his original, unique ideas have made my perception of singing become much simpler and clearer. In addition to all his wonderful skills as a voice teacher, he is also an Alexander Technique teacher, which is why he is the perfect expert for our community, with his holistic approach where he always puts freedom first. You don’t need to be prepared before working with Michael Hanko. You will magically find yourself singing freely and having fun as soon as you follow his unique and spontaneous directions.”
–Okan Sipahi, Professional Singer, Catania, Italy
“Joining TVF was one of the very best decisions I’ve made for myself and my career!”
“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
“I’ve gained confidence in performing and in my own abilities…”
“…I’m becoming more and more motivated for work and developing my skills, I’ve learned the importance of reflecting on my work, I have clearer goals now and am more capable of finding the way to reach them.”
–Marijana Cirkveni, Professional Soprano, Zagreb, Croatia
“I have found a new level of freedom and confidence in both performances and auditions…”
“Through working with Peter, I have found a new level of freedom and confidence in both performances and auditions. Besides being a wonderful teacher, Peter is able to foster a unique atmosphere of supportive encouragement, which gave me the courage to take more risks.”
–Rachel Sitomer, Professional Soprano and Voice Teacher, Annapolis, USA
“I can’t imagine there is such a rounded and transformative experience anywhere else.”
“The content and supportive community are phenomenal! The teachings are simple yet profound, and the supportive community is tremendous. I have benefitted greatly in finding more ease in my singing, and being motivated to practice more–and more effectively. This is a valuable space to learn, explore and grow!”
–Andrea Wenger, Singer and Sound Healer, Maine, 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, Professional 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
“I have found more vocal freedom in my upper range…”
I would say first and foremost that I have found more vocal freedom in my upper range, which was something I was hoping to address in taking this course. By becoming more aware of the tension I was holding in my neck (or muscles that help support the upper spine and surrounding areas) and in my tongue, I was able to release these tensions. This allowed for a freedom in singing that I hadn’t experienced before.
Secondly, I discovered that there are some unresolved issues regarding my identity as a singer. I consider myself a failed singer because I was not able to figure out how to sing without tension in my upper range. Confronting this aspect of my singing (again), brought up uncomfortable feelings for me. This is something I can continue to explore, however, with further introspection.
–Singer and Choral Director, New Brunswick, Canada
“I feel like my own singing has improved so much…”
“…that in turn has given me more confidence in my voice and my teaching. TVF has in turn helped my classroom and my students. I am so glad I got to be apart of this class this year. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.”
–Kristin Helming, Singer and Choral Conductor, Maryland, USA
The Tuition Fees
The retreat tuition fee is $1,395.
That includes all tuition, meals and lodging (double room).
It does NOT include Lake Michigan boat cruise, Frank Lloyd Wright tour, shuttle transportation to and from the airport or bike rental.
If you would like a single room, it’s an additional $100 (choose single room option at checkout page).
The commuter fee is $995 and includes one meal per day (additional meals available for an additional $10/meal).
Three Notes (Contact us below for more information these):
- Monthly payment plans are available (5% fee applies).
- Limited need-based scholarships are available.
- If you plan to travel from outside of North American to attend this event, there is a special international discount
Join the 2018 TVF Summer Singing Retreat
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be WiFi?
Yes, free WiFi will be available. However, since the retreat is designed to take you out of your daily life habits, we recommend that your retreat be a screen-free experience. We do understand the realities of modern life and that you may need to use your phone or computer to check in with loved ones. In that case, we encourage you to limit your electronic device time and do it mindfully and consciously.
Will I get a certificate of participation?
Yes, all participants will receive a certificate of participation in the retreat.
Do you offer continuing education credit?
At this time, TVF does not offer continuing education credit. However, many employers allow you to submit your hours independently for approval. In that case, we will provide you with any official documentation you need on official TVF letterhead.
Will there be an accompanist?
Yes! TVF Pro student and professional accompanist Midge McMoyer Smith will be on staff to provide you with expert piano accompaniment.
Is it possible to attend a portion of the retreat?
Due to the fact that we will creating a short-term community built on trust and safety, it will be too disruptive to have people arrive late to the retreat. Leaving one day early is a possibility but must be approved ahead of time.