Master Your Mind

When you master your mind, you become the strongest person in the room. Hoping to become your favorite yogi conductor, Jaclyn Normandie’s shining personality and love of music has produced a fabulous guide for any musician to find comfort. A career in music can be incredibly stressful. 

To obtain longevity, it is imperative for musicians to have a healthy mind and body. The days of martyrdom to our craft are fading and there is no benefit in killing the immune system for the sake of a good show. Mindful practices for mental and physical health will always result in a better performance. She cites the science behind traditional yoga and meditation philosophies and this book will help you unlock untapped potential.

“Jaclyn shares her views and experiences with such honesty and vulnerability that I find myself relaxing and breathing deeper, just by reading it. Delving into mindfulness is something that I know benefits all performers, and this little book is an excellent guide.”    

-Robert Swedberg

Expressive Conducting

Elements of Expressive Conducting begins with a synthesis of various movement theories which allow beginning conducting students to understand how best to use their body as an expressive instrument.   Strategies for developing musical expression beyond pedagogical execution are discussed in each chapter. The text further explores merging musical preparation with a healthy, tension-free approach to an individual’s movement.  Readers will also find strategies for developing the coordination between the ear and body; ways to transfer “every day” movements to the art of conducting; and suggestions for building to a professional level of success.

Engaging Rehearsals

This remarkable two-hour DVD explores how an experienced conductor thinks during a rehearsal and puts strategies and techniques into practice with three choirs: a high school choir, a college choir, and a symphony/community chorus.

With Did You Hear That?, award-winning University of Michigan conductor Jerry Blackstone examines the multifaceted aspects of the rehearsal, including energy and pacing, the role of high expectations, the role of demonstration, the role of humor, and techniques for addressing musical issues.

When is the best time to stop? What are the most effective techniques to “fix things”? How can a conductor best address intonation, articulation, tempo, tone color, and many other common issues that arise during rehearsal? 

Did You Hear That? is a practical and worthwhile resource for established conductors, those just starting out, or anyone interested in increasing efficiency and focus in the rehearsal room. With almost two hours of material, this DVD showcases how rehearsal can create real learning for singers and also be engaging and fun.

Three demonstration choirs:

Symphony/Community chorus: University Musical Society Choral Union (Ann Arbor, MI)

High School choir: Pioneer High School A Cappella Choir (Ann Arbor, MI)

University/College choir: University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Chamber Choir (Ann Arbor, MI)

GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor Jerry Blackstone is Director of Choirs and Chair of the Conducting Department at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance where he conducts the Chamber Choir, teaches conducting at the graduate level, and administers a choral program of eleven choirs. Professor Blackstone is considered one of the country’s leading conducting teachers.

Beyond the Baton

This is not a text concerned with stick technique or nuances of interpretation. Rather, it is a no-nonsense explanation of the conducting profession, expressing a distinctive philosophy of leadership. Drawing on her experience as an orchestra conductor, the author offers helpful advice on preparing for a conducting career. The second chapter features interviews with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, and JoAnn Falletta. Following chapters cover: Your First Job; Artistic Leadership; Artistic Programming; The People Factor; Implementing the Artistic Plan and Funding the Artistic Vision. 

The hefty "Resources" section (more than 100 of a total 336 pages) offers selected listings of networking organizations; directories, magazines and journals; internet resources and forums; news services; artist managers; publishers; library special collections; summer festivals and workshops; conducting competitions; artist residencies; compositions according to thematic program; encores; orchestra audition repertoire by instrument; sample contracts and resume format; recommended reading. This portion of the book alone is worth the price!

Copyright: Oxford, England: Oxford University Press ©2006

Working With Male Voices

With Dr. Jerry Blackstone 

The topics covered include:

Music-based choral tone: repertoire and the musical challenges inherent therein determine the vocal precedures needed to communicate the composer's intent. Tone and the singing male: beautiful/appropriate choral tone; warm-ups; rehearsals of works which utilize different timbres and which present particular challenges for the singing male, such as tessitura, register changes, and vowel color. Voice classification: what does one look for and hear when deciding in which sections singers should be placed?

Tonal consistency throughout the range-a particular problem in men's voices: warm-ups with the group which deal with the problem; demonstration using pieces in which consistency is problematic, particularly as it affects intonation. Intonation issues (probably the biggest issue for untrained singers): discussion followed by a demonstration of warmups and rehearsal techniques which help. Rehearsal procedures: using head voice, or falsetto, is highly effective in dealing with intonation issues and in introducing foreign languages. Communicative choral singing: what makes a particular performance "moving" or "exciting"?

Live performances: starting with warmups, then progressing through an initial rehearsal, a rehearsal later in the process, and then a live performance to demonstrate what has been discussed; examples for playback in classroom situations.