The TVF Foundations
Teacher Certification Program
For Music & Voice Teaching Professionals
A 3-level online professional training program focused on the practical application of the Alexander Technique to teaching, speaking, singing & performing
The next Level I certification training will take place January 26th – March 25th, 2021.Join Level I of the TVF Foundations Teacher Certification Program
“TVF has totally transformed my teaching in so many ways.”
“I have gone from a very vague teacher to a very specific and informed teacher. I am learning a new more patient and kind way to teach. I am being given the tools to teach in a student-motivated way; encouraging them to ask questions and explore so that they are better equipped to learn on their own. I am learning how to teach my students to be more kind to themselves and grow in confidence in their singing.
There is not an area of my teaching that hasn’t been made better because of my work in TVF.”
Karen Archbold, Program Graduate
Professional Singer & Voice Teacher in Chicago, IL
What is the TVF Foundations Teacher Certification Program?
Dear Fellow Music & Voice Teaching Professional,
TVF Founder Peter Jacobson here.
Thanks for stopping by to learn more about the TVF Foundations Teacher Certification Program.
Over the past 7 years, TVF has become a world leader in offering educational programs that integrate the fields of music education, the human voice and the Alexander Technique.
If you also have a passion for these three things and love learning then you've come to the right place!
The TVF Foundations Teacher Certification Program is designed for music & voice teaching professionals who want to learn how to use the Alexander Technique to improve their professional work and personal lives.
Previous experience with the Alexander Technique is not required.
Since launching this program, it’s been so exciting to watch participants of this program (and their students!) make surprising and unexpected discoveries about what’s possible with their teaching and singing.
The 126-hour program consists of three levels of certification:
- Level I – The Integrated Teacher: Learning The Core TVF Alexander Principles (28 hours)
- Level II – Teaching Outside the Box: Creative Applications of TVF Alexander Work in Your Studio & Classroom (28 hours)
- Level III – Grace in Motion: Deepening Fluency in the Language of Coordination, Movement & Sound (70 hours)
As you advance through each level of training, you will become increasingly skilled at using the Alexander Technique to improve the quality of your professional and artistic work. You'll also find useful applications for the Alexander Technique in the various activities of your daily life.
By the end of the complete program, you will possess a powerful set of practical tools that will allow you and your students to experience greater freedom, ease and confidence in any teaching, singing or life situation.
On this page you will find information about the curriculum, what the program entails and how certification works.
If you are excited by what you read here and feel that it would be a good fit for you, I invite you to join us for our next Level I training starting January 25th, 2021!Join Level I of the TVF Foundations Teacher Certification Program
Before I tell you more about the program, I want to introduce you to one of our current students, Cara Gilbertson-Boese (M.Mus, B.Mus). Like a lot of teachers, she wears many hats, including:
Founder & Director, The Bytown School of Singing
Artist in Residence, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church
Performance Specialist, Ottawa Regional Youth Choir
President, NATS (National Capital Region Chapter)
Founding Co-Director, Opera Inside Out
Specializing in Vocal Performance, Education, & Adjudication
I want to share Cara's story, in her own words, so you could get a sense of the kinds of results people get by studying this work (emphasis added for dramatic effect! 😉):
"Over the past two decades I have spent a good deal of time singing professionally as a soloist and chorister, and teaching voice both in my own private school and at post-secondary institutions. During this time I have always felt that my teaching informs my singing and vice versa...my singing informs my teaching. Community building has also always been very important to me and I am an active member of my local NATS Chapter, where I currently serve as President.
I have always noticed that my physical health is often compromised or challenged due to my busy schedule, but over the past couple of years it has also become glaringly clear that my mental health is also suffering. I continuously feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the responsibility of overseeing all of my student's studies/progress. I love teaching, but I often finish my days completely inspired and yet completely depleted of reserve energy. My pattern has become to give 150% all the time until I get sick, then hibernate until I am well again...then repeat!
I was not looking for TVF. Instead, my good friend and colleague Margot wanted to attend the Summer Retreat and suggested I go with her. My first thought was..."I cannot handle another activity being added to my plate!" After chatting with my husband, I decided to sign up…not because I knew what TVF was, but because it was a chance to get away and spend some quality time with my dear friend.
During the weeks leading up to the TVF Summer Retreat, I began having panic attacks and had to take a complete break from teaching and many of my other obligations. My mom passed away in the summer of 2018 and the grief and extra responsibilities of taking on her estate management were just too much for me. Although, my mom's death intensified my anxiety and feeling of overwhelming responsibility, I very much believe I was on the trajectory to have a complete breakdown at some point. I thought I had been handling everything, and that so long as I "willed" it, I could make anything happen. But really, I was continuously compromising myself and my own physical and mental health.
TVF came as a huge wake up call to me and it was both scary and exhilarating. To be surrounded by accomplished singers, singing teachers, and choral directors from all over the world was humbling. I was immediately surprised that nobody was there to compete with one another...we were all there to explore our singing and our own physical being...and especially to learn from one another...amazing! Throughout the week I came to understand that it was not my job to manage my students' experiences or to manage my audience. My only job was to look after myself, to honour myself and to be at "play."
Of course, TVF challenges me to understand the human body and the voice on a deeply scientific level, which helps me to body map and isolate areas of exploration for each student, including myself. More importantly, TVF helped me realize that most of the things and people I feel responsible for are of my own construct. That by letting go of that responsibility, I actually empower them to take ownership over their own journeys. This has been extremely exciting and groundbreaking in my teaching. My students now understand that they are in charge of their own learning. I am there as a guide, but we are exploring together the skills we need to be aware and to teach ourselves. The greatest gift TVF has given me thus far is to understand the simplicity that in honouring ourselves, we open up a world of possibility. Thank you to the entire faculty at TVF for being incredible mentors and challenging me to be a better teacher, singer, and person."
How The Program Will Benefit You
The TVF Foundations Teacher Certification Program will benefit many areas of your life:
- Help your students solve body and voice tension problems more effectively
- Experience more ease and spaciousness in your teaching
Your Health & Well-Being
- Enjoy greater vitality and energy
- Learn how to find peace of mind and calm in your teaching and life
- Experience natural relief from tension, pain and stress
- Learn how your body is designed to move most efficiently and naturally
- Increased freedom, resonance, and agility throughout your entire vocal range
- Learn tools to reliably sing and speak with your best voice
Your Practicing & Performing
- Learn how to increase your focus, concentration and self-awareness
- Learn lasting and effective solutions to deal with performing-related fear and anxiety
The program includes:
- A warm, nurturing and supportive learning environment
- A supportive and non-competitive community
- High standards of excellence
- Engaging and meaningful discussions
- A flexible pedagogy that you can apply to in-person and online teaching
- Experiential learning activities and movement explorations
- A respect for each person’s unique individual journey
- A strong emphasis on effective communication and personal growth
- Support and accountability from colleagues
“Through this training program, I really started to have a physical and practical understanding of how Alexander Technique can be helpful to me both in singing and in life.”
Rachel Sitomer, Program Graduate
Professional Singer & Voice Teacher in Annapolis, Maryland
Topics of Study
The Alexander Technique
Gain a theoretical and practical understanding
of the core Alexander principles.
Posture & Alignment – Learn the posture & alignment ideas that help and the ones that hurt.
Body Balance – Learn about optimal body balance and its implication in voice use.
Constructive Thinking – What you think is what you get.
Freedom of Choice – Freedom of choice is the key to freedom and ease.
Quality of Movement – The quality of our movement determines the quality of our sound.
Essential body knowledge for you and your students.
The Whole 3-D Self – Returning to wholeness, again and again.
The Head-Spine Relationship – Alexander's great discovery.
Ribs & Respiration – Is it simpler than we think?
The Pelvis – Demystifying a complex area.
Lower Limbs – Finding total body support through our lower half.
Arms & Hands – Singing with wings.
TVF Pedagogical Principles
Holistic teaching strategies that work.
Quality of Being – Deepen your teaching impact by being yourself.
Desire Drives Learning – The teacher uses the student's desires to propel the learning process.
Slowing Down – Use spaciousness and pausing to allow fresh new ideas to arise.
Wholeness – Working the whole person.
Experimentation – Use questions, curiosity, wonder, play as part of the experimental learning process.
“I have gone from being unaware of what is really causing my tension and fatigue to now seeing it all the time."
"I have become aware of movements I have made my entire life and how wonderful and amazing our bodies are. I have found as I delve into this new way of thinking, or relearning my body map, that there so many more parts to it than I was aware. The body is truly an amazing design and I am excited to keep exploring!”
Jamey Ruiz McClellan, Program Graduate
Professional Singer & Voice Teacher in Vancouver, Washington
Level I Certification Classes
(January 26th – March 25th, 2021)
*There will be a mid-term break (no classes) during the week of February 15th.
Average Weekly Class Time Commitment: 3.25 Hours
The TVF Practice Course (8 Weekly Classes)
Choose one weekly class time (starting January 26th, 2021): Tuesdays @ 10-11am or Wednesdays @ 1-2pm or Thursdays @ 4-5pm US Central Time
In these classes, which are part of the 2021 TVF Winter Online Learning Festival, you will learn the fundamentals of TVF Alexander work and their direct application to singing and practicing. Because you will learn by doing, you will have an embodied understanding of the concepts, which will offer you greater fluency in teaching them to your students. A typical class will include a warm-up, a group activity and individual guided practice time to deepen your learning.
8 Weekly TVF
Pedagogy & Anatomy
8 Wednesdays @ 9:30am – 10:45am US Central Time starting on January 27th, 2021
The weekly Pedagogy & Anatomy classes will focus on: 1. How to apply TVF Alexander concepts in your teaching and 2. Essential anatomy and body-mapping concepts. These classes will also take the material from the weekly TVF Practice classes into deeper layers of learning and discovery.
As a result of these classes, you will have a constant stream of fresh, new ideas to use in your teaching!
4 Teaching Workshops
January 28th; February 11th; March 4th & March 18th @ 11am – 1pm US Central Time
Starting in 2021, we are adding a special new component to the TVF Foundations training – teaching workshops. The first hour of these 2-hour workshops will be a live teaching demonstration by TVF faculty members, who will work with various singers. During the second hour, we will discuss the teaching that you observed in the first hour. The faculty will break down what concepts and pedagogical approaches they used and answer any questions you may have about their teaching.
All class times are listed in US Central Time (Chicago). You can convert to your local time zone with this handy tool.
Level I Certification Requirements
1. Attend All Level I Classes & Workshops
- Level I certification requires the completion of 26 hours of classwork:
- The TVF Practice Course – 8 classes x 1 hour = 8 hours
- Pedagogy & Anatomy Classes – 8 classes x 1.25 hours = 10 hours
- Teaching Workshops – 4 workshops x 2 hours = 8 hours
- NOTE: If you are not able to attend a class or workshop live, you will be able to watch it on replay.
2. Read the 2 Required Level I Books
3. Take 1 Private Lesson with TVF Faculty
- During your Level I training you will have the opportunity to work with a TVF faculty member in an individual 30-minute private lesson (online). This lesson (valued at $75) is included in your Level I fees.
4. Write a Final Reflection Paper
- Write a short reflection paper (2-4 pages) about your level I classes, books and lesson.
An Important Note
Earning a Level I certification will mean that you have a basic yet solid intellectual and practical understanding of F.M. Alexander’s discoveries and their application to teaching, speaking, singing and performing. It will entitle you to use any and all TVF techniques, methods, and exercises in your teaching.
This program does not qualify you as a teacher of the Alexander Technique.
However, the TVF Pro Teacher Training Program (by application only) does provide more advanced levels of training beyond this program that can lead to becoming a fully-certified TVF Pro Alexander teacher. In order to be eligible for TVF Pro, you must have completed Level I of the TVF Foundations Teacher Certification Program.
What Program Participants Say
“I love to sing. TVF has brought that back to me and I am immensely grateful. In fact I am singing better than I have in years.”
“My student sends me messages 'Thank you for the amazing lesson!' and that warms my heart. I don’t know what the future will bring but I know that I will stay part of this wonderful group because I love everything I have learned and all the beautiful people I have met.”
Joan Barber, Program Graduate
Professional Singer & Voice Teacher in Lewes, DE
“The most surprising and profound thing that I learned during this first level was recognizing that my primary job as a teacher is to first take care of myself.”
“To create the environment and do the things that support me and my own well being and coordination. That it is only when we are grounded in this as the central focus that we will be able to make space for and be present with our students, to really listen to them and respond to what they desire to learn. And in modeling our own well being and coordination we are providing them with a lasting gift...that they, too, can be with themselves and “come home to themselves” and that this is always available to them, to all of us. I’m okay, you’re okay. I’m excited to continue to learn and grow. Let’s play!”
Natalie Ford Sajdak, Program Graduate
Professional Singer & Voice Teacher in Milwaukee, WI
“TVF has helped me to gain confidence in my inner intelligence, my innate ability to make music, and my desire to help other singers of all ages and levels attain a more joyful, playful way to approach vocalizing.”
“It has been my greatest joy to be gifted this holistic way of singing through TVF and to now have the opportunity to offer that gift to my students. I have been amazed at the discoveries and growth I see in them. Studying more about the complexity of our anatomical structures has helped me to understand how our design affects my ability to vocalize. Being introduced to the Alexander Technique has helped me to realize how habits of interference inhibit my ability to sing with ease. I have found a way to return to the joyful ease of singing. My hope is to help light the way for other singers who long to follow a similar path.”
Tiffany Cadenhead, Program Graduate
Professional Singer & Voice Teacher in Austin, TX
“I am so glad that I decided to sign up for this course."
“I have learned much more that benefits my everyday life beyond music. I am super excited to continue to work with the techniques shared by the Total Vocal Freedom faculty in Level I. It excites me to already see a difference in my lifestyle and singing style. I can only imagine what more exploration would do and what future courses would offer. All in all, it comes down to my choice to make the change for the better. Thank you, Peter and TVF faculty for your choice to share this information with others."
Rose Sanders, Program Graduate
Professional Singer & Voice Teacher in Winnipeg, ON
“When I signed up for TVF, I thought I might learn something useful to maybe improve my singing. I have gained so much more!"
“The things I have learned have affected me in amazing ways. Not only can I sing better than every before, but I have less physical pain; I have clearer direction in where I want my life to go; I have found new connection between my spirit and the Creator of the universe. I am excited to explore further, to learn more, and to discover where my journey will lead.”
Suzanne Lutz, Program Graduate
Singer & Teacher in Albuquerque, NM
“What I truly have appreciated about this class is that nobody is trying to restructure the way you teach.”
“Nobody is trying to say you have bad habits, or that you are doing it wrong. Nobody is chiding you or trying to rework your teaching. What is happening here is self-discovery of how we can find what is going to improve our relationships with our students, and building on that, how they and we can improve what we need to improve. It’s an extraordinary thing, this discovery of self. Especially for the old me, who thought “Well, 40 years of teaching means that I was successful at doing this” when what I really needed to think was “Wow, something new that works for me as a singer might be great for my students, too!” Everyone is different. Everyone learns differently—educators all know those theories. And we, on the learning end of things, are so grateful for the opportunity to tune in to ourselves and find that there is gentleness of delivery that can work. There is suggestion of a new concept that can work. There is smiling. There is joy!”
Martha Springstead, Program Graduate
Professional Accompanist & Voice Teacher in Virginia Beach, VA
"This program has given me tools, knowledge, confidence, and the desire to explore all that my voice can be."
"In just one level, my voice has been transformed from what it was. I relish the fact that this is only the beginning of those transformations. Now I have so much joy in creating music with my voice and I look forward to what the next level of change will be!”
Midge McMoyer Smith, Program Graduate
Professional Accompanist, Singer & Teacher in Houston, Texas
The TVF Foundations Faculty
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.
- The total tuition for Level I certification is $900, which is paid in 3 monthly installments of $300.
- This fee includes everything required for certification:
- The TVF Practice Course
- Pedagogy & Anatomy Classes
- Teaching Workshops
- 1 x 30-minute private lesson with a TVF faculty member.
- Access to the TVF Academy and Foundations private Facebook group.
- Prices are listed in US dollars.
Special Limited-Time Offer:
Join Level I for 3 monthly payments of $250 (Save $150)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to complete all three levels of training?
No, you may decide to only complete one or two levels training. You can also complete subsequent levels of training at a later date.
What happens after Level I?
We will be offering Level II training immediately following Level I training in April, May and June 2021.
What are the tuition fees for Level II & III?
Level II tuition fees are roughly the same as Level I ($885). Level III is over 2 times as many hours as the previous two levels so the tuition is higher (roughly $2,000).
Will I benefit from watching class recordings if I can’t attend live?
Yes, you will get benefit from watching the recordings.
Because classes will address common teaching 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.
Do you offer any scholarships?
For those in financial hardship due to COVID-19 we are offering a limited number of scholarships. Send us a message to learn more.
How long will I have access to course materials for?
You will have access to class and workshop recordings for 6 months.
What if I have more questions?
If you have other questions, please write us via Facebook Messenger and a member of the TVF team will respond to you within 24 hours.
The Greatest of the Arts
American writer John Steinbeck said:
"I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”
Except for one thing – Steinbeck didn’t mention two essential aspects of a human being – the body and the voice.
TVF Alexander work includes the interaction of the WHOLE person – mind, body, spirit, voice – which makes this way of teaching even more rich and rewarding.
If you are excited by what you have just read about this program, I invite you to join our upcoming Level I training, beginning January 19th.
It would be an honor to work with you.
With Music & Love,
Founder & Executive Director
Total Vocal Freedom
PS – If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message.