journey of sacred voice expression

The discovery and cultivation of my Sacred Voice has been an exquisite and beautiful journey I could ever hope to take. It has morphed into an integral aspect of my vocation. As a coach, it is my privilege to lead others on their own, unique telling of this voice journey.

Recently I experienced what some would call a “download” (although I am not fond of this particular expression). I had and felt and knew, in a clear moment, an understanding of the continuum of our experience with our voice. It is called the Journey of Sacred Voice Expression, and it is the experience we have with our Sacred Voice throughout our lifetime.

For me, the Sacred Voice is that personal expression of the divine within: the actual source of your voice. It is the vehicle through which the metaphysical becomes physical, as we emit vibrations sourced from our intentions.

I have written a lot about the joys and potential of the Sacred Voice, as well as the limitations that hinder us from expressing it.

I believe that this paradigm of understanding our voice journey is so helpful, in that we can  know where we fall upon the continuum. By doing so, we have an understanding of where we are, we are heading, and where we are held back.

Indeed, there are hindrances that we encounter along the journey. (Otherwise, what kind of journey would it be?)

Indeed, discovering and healing these tender places within us are integral to help us to discover the value and beauty of our voice. I believe every one of us has a voice that is deep and powerful, strong with purpose and potential, ready to be claimed.

I see and experience the joys struggles firsthand, walking the stepping stones of my own voice journey, as well as seeing them in the experiences of my students.

Signposts Along the Journey

Why do we desire to move forward on our journey? What do we seek? And why do we deny ourselves the very same?

It is partly unconscious. I believe that our vocal limitations are so normalized, and speaking about them feels taboo. It is not common practice to address the deeply-rooted fears we have in using our voice. 

But I believe it is utterly necessary to allow ourselves the release and freedom that comes from healing and letting go of our deepest fears and shame around our voice. Our fears are self-limitations. They are embedded in various ways throughout our lifetime and beyond. 

If we desire to move further along the journey to greater expression of our voice, to discover and manifest its deeper purpose, then we must heal and release our self-limitations.

Here are the signposts along the Journey of Sacred Voice Expression. Each step along the journey is the fulfillment of several key elements. When we accept and allow these aspects, we live into a deeper experience. We move forward along the journey.

1) Heed your Impulse

Our voice is a natural and authentic expression of our Self. You likely have felt that inner drive to sing and make sound. But we can only express ourselves when we feel safe to sing. When we do, we are primed to deepen our relationship with our voice. And further, when we accept and allow that our voice is:

  • Unique
  • Personal
  • Heartcentered

we are able to move into the next phase.

2) Embody your Instrument

Here we learn about the nature of our voice. Not just its physical properties, but its connection and integration with all parts of our self. When we accept and allow that our voice has:

  • Power
  • Vulnerability
  • Radiance

we move into the next phase.

3) Honor Your Sacredness

Your voice is sacred in nature. It is sourced from the divine, and is so much more than your human body and its physical parts. When we accept and allow:

  • Surrender
  • Freedom
  • Peace

we move into the next phase.

4) Express Your Purpose

What happens when we follow the initial impulse to use our voice, allow its authentic expression, marry it to spirit, and surrender our will to that sacredness within us? When we accept and allow our soul-led expression, we discover:

  • Transcendence
  • Union
  • Potential

Next Steps

The Journey is not fixed. Indeed, it is fluid. Our way is informed by our state of being, state of consciousness, mood, personality swings, and our emotional weather. We may be scared to death one day, and the next discover some ecstatic union with our highest self.

The purpose and goal of laying out this pathway is to better understand where we are on our own path. The journey of discovering our voice can sometimes feel confusing, overwhelming, and rudder-less. I hope that this outlay may help us to define our goals with greater clarity, as well as understand where we may be entangled, and how we can move forward.

If we seek to move forward, to taste and experience the sacredness of our voice, we can. This is one kind of roadmap. May it serve you, Dear One, on your journey of discovery.

Hugs,

allison

Allison Mondel is a reformed self-critic turned Transformational Voice Coach. She is the founder of The Sacred Voice Studio, a holistic voice coaching practice. She helps singers transform their relationship with their voice and dramatically improve their singing through a radically simple, heart-centered framework. Allison has taught and performed widely across the United States and Europe, and believes in every person’s innate potential to discover, unlock, and use their brilliant, divine voice.

you might also like…

journey of sacred voice expression

The discovery and cultivation of my Sacred Voice has been an exquisite and beautiful journey I could ever hope to take. It has morphed into an integral aspect of my vocation. As a coach, it is my privilege to lead others on their own, unique telling of this voice...

read more
“with heart and mouth”
“with heart and mouth”

For the past twenty years, I have been studying and singing the music of medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). Her music and spiritual legacy have been woven into the fabric of my professional life since it began. One of my mountaintop professional...

read more
trust is a four-letter word
trust is a four-letter word

If I had a nickel for every time I hesitated before I sang, I would be a gajillionaire. And sheesh, I even know why I do this, and I STILL do this! I am, truly, working on it. And I trust that I am meant to harvest the lessons from this innate hesitation. A balk, a...

read more

“with heart and mouth”

“with heart and mouth”

For the past twenty years, I have been studying and singing the music of medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). Her music and spiritual legacy have been woven into the fabric of my professional life since it began. One of my mountaintop professional moments involved my singing one of Hildegard’s most wildly ecstatic chants on national television for President Obama’s second inaugural prayer service at Washington National Cathedral.

Her music is potent, tapped into a source that is both deep and high. Recently I came across a passage in one of her visions that I wanted to share with you. It struck me so clearly, and is clearly related to the act of singing. She says:

“Praises must be offered unceasingly to the Supernal Creator with heart and mouth…” 

– Hildegard von Bingen from Scivias, Book III, Vision 13

In her vision, Hildegard describes a symphony of heavenly beings that praise the Creator and creation. But I believe, in this quote, she is referrring to us. You and me. Human beings. Music was such a profoundly important aspect of Hildegard’s life, as much as it is for us. And as she channels her vision to us, it is clear that our role, as human music-makers, is to offer praises.

With heart and mouth.

This is elegant and soulful. It resonates with every fiber of my being. I see this as the purpose and function of the Sacred Voice, and its very personal manifestation within our lives. This looks different for each of us.

But let’s be frank. It is woefully easy to become side-tracked. We become so easily distracted!

How can we stay centered on the deeper purpose of our singing?

It is simple, but not easy: we learn how to focus our awareness in order to focus on our purpose. Awareness heightens the senses and calms the thinking mind. It connects us with our instrument, and keeps us focused. It supports our will, when we encounter our fragility.

As I teach in the Studio, we focus our awareness on our heart. The heart is the seat of the Sacred Voice. It is here that we are both connected to our divine source, and here that we experience that longing to praise the very same divinity.

The sacredness of our voice, as I observe and experience and speak of regularly, is easily eclipsed by 1) our distracted minds, and 2) the hurt places within us, covered over by protective emotional armor.

However, that sacredness can be accessed at any time, simply by an awareness practice that instantaneously connects you with your heart center. And your singular, magnificent, deeper purpose.

The heart and mouth are wedded. Your voice is powerful and sacred. I believe our work is not in finding out whether or not our voice is worthy and capable. But rather to allow its innate, divine nature to flourish and flower right here, right now.

Distractions abound. Stay focused, dear One, on your purpose.

Hugs,

allison

Allison Mondel is a reformed self-critic turned Transformational Voice Coach. She is the founder of The Sacred Voice Studio, a holistic voice coaching practice. She helps singers transform their relationship with their voice and dramatically improve their singing through a radically simple, heart-centered framework. Allison has taught and performed widely across the United States and Europe, and believes in every person’s innate potential to discover, unlock, and use their brilliant, divine voice.

you might also like…

journey of sacred voice expression

The discovery and cultivation of my Sacred Voice has been an exquisite and beautiful journey I could ever hope to take. It has morphed into an integral aspect of my vocation. As a coach, it is my privilege to lead others on their own, unique telling of this voice...

read more
“with heart and mouth”
“with heart and mouth”

For the past twenty years, I have been studying and singing the music of medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). Her music and spiritual legacy have been woven into the fabric of my professional life since it began. One of my mountaintop professional...

read more
trust is a four-letter word
trust is a four-letter word

If I had a nickel for every time I hesitated before I sang, I would be a gajillionaire. And sheesh, I even know why I do this, and I STILL do this! I am, truly, working on it. And I trust that I am meant to harvest the lessons from this innate hesitation. A balk, a...

read more

trust is a four-letter word

trust is a four-letter word

If I had a nickel for every time I hesitated before I sang, I would be a gajillionaire.

And sheesh, I even know why I do this, and I STILL do this! I am, truly, working on it. And I trust that I am meant to harvest the lessons from this innate hesitation. A balk, a questioning, a wait-a-second, a moment of…  mistrust.

Will it come out ok? Will it be what I want? Will it be right? Will it be wrong? 

I know that the mind is playing with me. I know that my body is responding to these moments with WAIT! I’M NOT SURE! I even know the solution, for goodness sake. But it’s still a challenge. 

How do we cultivate trust in our voice? How can we be sure that what is about to come out is what we both desire and expect? 

This is, I believe, one of the most challenging aspects of our singing. This, Dear One, is what we call a soft skill. It is not technical. It is mindful. I call it: Intentionality. It is the third and final pillar of the Sacred Voice framework, as I perceive it. 

Trust is cultivated when we set up conditions within ourselves to succeed. Not flail and flounder and fear and feel out of control. But to feel great, to sing great, to feel free of those hand-waving thoughts that are constantly questioning what is coming out of your mouth. 

For example, you might be a high soprano, singing some song and you come up to a high note and think, “oh no! this is too high, I can’t sing that” or “oh dear, i’m not sure this is going to work out” or “this is going to be awesome!” 

Guess what? Your obedient mind will take the cue and deliver you exactly what you prescribe. So my prescription for you and for me is: get clear about what you desire for your successful outcome. Do you want to have a fearful experience? Or a confident experience?

Unfortunately, we are so conditioned to expect negative outcomes that it feels like quite a leap to expect desired outcomes. 

I have been conditioned to expect that my voice is untrustworthy. I know why, and you can certainly read about it in this blog. But now I am partaking in the unfolding process of re-building my trust. It is rather uphill, if you care to know about it. I am confronted everyday with my own mind, and calling it out, and then re-wiring my brain to do something different than the same bloody thing it is used to. 

But there is hope. Because the more deeply I trust myself, I draw closer to the sacred within me. My Sacred Voice is no longer just a theoretical/metaphysical construct, but a force and entity within me that is deep and wide and infinitely capable. My re-building trust goes hand in hand with… surrender to my Sacred Voice.

I must surrender my ego and my control and my fear to this beautiful, graceful, gentle presence within me, guiding me and my voice, like a hand at my back, whispering “let go… just let go.”

I am learning to step back. I am learning that by stepping back from control I gain trust. It is, frankly, frustrating. I also see this tendency played out in every aspect of my life, so there is a great deal of complexity and patterning that I am learning to unravel and re-wire in many areas. 

Yet what is unfolding is completely marvelous. It is a bit slower than what I would choose, but it unfolds apace.

I am learning that my success depends upon two things:

1) letting go of control in order to build trust,  and

2) define my successful outcome.

This comes from one who has known the opposite: lack of trust, over-control, unpredictable and flimsy results.

Well, I’m over it. Starting… now. 

Intentionality follows Heartcenteredness and Flow State in the framework that I have built for singing with your Sacred Voice.

I now create an intention for singing with… trust.

Hugs,

allison

Allison Mondel is a reformed self-critic turned Transformational Voice Coach. She is the founder of The Sacred Voice Studio, a holistic voice coaching practice. She helps singers transform their relationship with their voice and dramatically improve their singing through a radically simple, heart-centered framework. Allison has taught and performed widely across the United States and Europe, and believes in every person’s innate potential to discover, unlock, and use their brilliant, divine voice.

you might also like…

journey of sacred voice expression

The discovery and cultivation of my Sacred Voice has been an exquisite and beautiful journey I could ever hope to take. It has morphed into an integral aspect of my vocation. As a coach, it is my privilege to lead others on their own, unique telling of this voice...

read more
“with heart and mouth”
“with heart and mouth”

For the past twenty years, I have been studying and singing the music of medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). Her music and spiritual legacy have been woven into the fabric of my professional life since it began. One of my mountaintop professional...

read more
trust is a four-letter word
trust is a four-letter word

If I had a nickel for every time I hesitated before I sang, I would be a gajillionaire. And sheesh, I even know why I do this, and I STILL do this! I am, truly, working on it. And I trust that I am meant to harvest the lessons from this innate hesitation. A balk, a...

read more
replace strife with wonder

replace strife with wonder

When I was in graduate school, a small but stout music conservatory, I had to take one of the most lethal classes: Graduate Seminar. Required for all grad students, it was a hodge-podge of this and that, overseen by the conservatory’s director. 

I was in there with every manner of student, but it was terribly lonely. I had no solidarity buddies from the Early Music department, and anytime we stepped out of talking about performance (like learning Schenkerian analysis or whatever) I was lost. I am pretty sure I cried.

Except every once in a while, we had a guest speak: Benjamin Zander, a motivational speaker who would blow off all of our grumpy, overwhelmed, self-conscious, conservative conservatory tops. He would say things like, “Sit in the front row of your life!” and I would sit there and think, “yes, I will!” and then look around at the class and wonder, “is this amazing to everyone else, too? What the hell is going on right now? Is it safe to participate with joy and show that this is utterly life-changing?” 

Zander introduced me to the art of The Reframe. I have fairly described myself as a myopic musician. I was not evolved or self-aware enough at that time to consider the potential of this perspective and his excellent advice. But I have never forgotten.

I recall him telling a parable about some Student who kept Messing Up. Over and over and over again, the same bloody mistake: a rut. You know that student, right? It’s you and me. What is our typical response?

I am so stupid! I suck! What’s wrong with me? I am never going to get it! Duh, I should know better! Etc, etc.

Zander suggested a reframe. Rather than, “Oh shit, I did it again, why not… how fascinating?” (I’m pretty sure that is word for word, even after twenty years!)

This was an indelible moment for me. It has shaped my journey of personal growth and completely altered the path of my voice practice. 

Dear One: you are going to make mistakes. You are going to make some clunkers. You are going to look funny. You are going to kick yourself. I’m sorry. I do it, too. But be wise about it. Mistakes are not a character flaw: they are an essential element of our humanity. But let them teach you.

What happens when you reframe your mistakes into valuable lessons?

I know it is much easier to berate yourself, but that will not serve you in any way, whatsoever. So the next time you have to, say, record yourself (which I did the other day: good times!), and you keep seeing or hearing that thing that is bothering you, try to absorb it rather than reject it.

I keep doing that Thing I don’t want to do. How fascinating!

Here is the jewel of understanding: when you bring an unconscious pattern to light, you evolve. You stop making the damn mistake. It is only possible to bring the unconscious to light when we take the timeand have the willingnessto understand our patterns.

Mr. Zander’s appearance those dreary mornings in seminar were potentially more impactful than any musical training I received at school. His ideas gave me an understanding that it is not simply the content of what we offer as musicians, but it is about our wholeness as beings who vessel that content. But we are all simply too blinded by our faults to see the true power and potency of what we do. 

So please, try to gain some perspective. With your singing, at least! 

The next time you make a bloop (which you will), or are disappointed with your performance (which you will), or pull back in fear (which you will), STOP the critique. Assess the situation. Here is my personal reframe of Mr. Zander’s question:

What is really going on here?

I swear it will help. I probably ask myself this question ten times per day. It is honestly harder to ask when I sing, but that, to me, is the most important time.

Because I recognize that my mistakes are borne of my fears. And when I can shed light on my fears (even teensy ones), they are transformed into feedback. Feedback that can help me change my habits and undo those tendencies that irk me the most and hold me back. Feedback that can help me heal.

Try reframing in your practice. Remove the Strife, and replace it with Wonder. It works. You will feel better and sing better. You will show up with greater authenticity and self-regard. You will become that vessel of something that is much greater than we can possibly conceive.

You just have to get out of the way first.

Hugs,

 

allison

Allison Mondel is a reformed self-critic turned Transformational Voice Coach. She is the founder of The Sacred Voice Studio, a holistic voice coaching practice. She helps singers transform their relationship with their voice and dramatically improve their singing through a radically simple, heart-centered framework. Allison has taught and performed widely across the United States and Europe, and believes in every person’s innate potential to discover, unlock, and use their brilliant, divine voice.

you might also like…

journey of sacred voice expression

The discovery and cultivation of my Sacred Voice has been an exquisite and beautiful journey I could ever hope to take. It has morphed into an integral aspect of my vocation. As a coach, it is my privilege to lead others on their own, unique telling of this voice...

read more
“with heart and mouth”
“with heart and mouth”

For the past twenty years, I have been studying and singing the music of medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). Her music and spiritual legacy have been woven into the fabric of my professional life since it began. One of my mountaintop professional...

read more
trust is a four-letter word
trust is a four-letter word

If I had a nickel for every time I hesitated before I sang, I would be a gajillionaire. And sheesh, I even know why I do this, and I STILL do this! I am, truly, working on it. And I trust that I am meant to harvest the lessons from this innate hesitation. A balk, a...

read more

what people think about you

what people think about you

A few weeks ago I gave an interview on my friend John’s online interview series One to One. It was so much fun to talk to John: a novelist and former editor at CNN, he had probing, sensitive, and curious questions about singing from a “non-singer.”

But I had to laugh (and inwardly groan): as my image filled the livestream screen, my title was, “Allison Mondel, Reformed Self-Critic.” (I am laughing out loud as I write this!) I joked about it with John at the time. But following the interview I thought, hm, that detail is what jumped out to him from the little teensy bio I sent along prior to our talk.

Then I thought: that is NOT how I wish to be perceived. 
And then: how DO I wish to be perceived?

I realized that I was still rather unclear about how I wish to be seen, and had not stood on a platform that was truly reflecting my work, viewpoints, experience, and knowledge. I needed to own it and state it.

So, I wrote it down. Maybe I will publish it.

I also know that I have ZERO control over how other people will respond to me, to my work, and importantly, to my voice. 

You know this, too?

In singing, I recognize that one of our greatest fears is the negative perception — and reception — of other people. This external focus can be slightly distracting for some, and absolutely debilitating for others.

Dear One: placing our trust in the validation of others is a dangerous game. It is also an illusion. What others think about your singing is as flighty as the wind and a projection of each individual.

Mind you, it is wonderful to receive praise and to be supported by others. But this sets up a pattern in which we hungrily seek validation, but end up singing from a place of mistrust, uncertainty, and fear. 

Get off of that boat quickly, my friend. It is leaking. You can only find your Sacred Voice from the inside-out, not the outside-in.

Singing well is an inside job. The sooner you let go of your need for external validation, the better you will feel, and frankly, the more brilliantly you will sing. Focus on building trust in your Sacred Voice, and learn how to operate from a more loving and trusting user’s manual. Not one that harms you.

I am co-hosting an event with my colleague and friend, Kristen Dubenion-Smith on Wednesday, September 23rd from 5-6pm EST on Virtual Confidence. Here we will talk about the challenges that many singers are facing when showing up virtually (including the dreaded perception of others that will be listening and watching) and how to create a more intentional way to show up and shine confidently.

Read more and sign up here.

You get to choose how you show up. If you don’t, then you will allow others to make that choice for you. 

So how do you choose to show up with your Sacred Voice?

Hugs,

 

allison

you might also like…

journey of sacred voice expression

The discovery and cultivation of my Sacred Voice has been an exquisite and beautiful journey I could ever hope to take. It has morphed into an integral aspect of my vocation. As a coach, it is my privilege to lead others on their own, unique telling of this voice...

read more
“with heart and mouth”
“with heart and mouth”

For the past twenty years, I have been studying and singing the music of medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). Her music and spiritual legacy have been woven into the fabric of my professional life since it began. One of my mountaintop professional...

read more
trust is a four-letter word
trust is a four-letter word

If I had a nickel for every time I hesitated before I sang, I would be a gajillionaire. And sheesh, I even know why I do this, and I STILL do this! I am, truly, working on it. And I trust that I am meant to harvest the lessons from this innate hesitation. A balk, a...

read more

overcoming the singing squelch

overcoming the singing squelch

“We are meant to shine as children do.” – Mariann Williamson

When do singers lose our joy of singing? When we do we become fearful of being heard? When do we become terrified of making mistakes?

Last year I had the eye-opening experience of sitting on a panel with other musicians at Towson University, home to an enormous department of voice majors. I was there to speak about careers in ensemble music, and it was a truly wonderful, enriching event. 

I noticed something, sitting on the stage, looking into the student’s faces. As I began to speak about my own singing journey, about having a hard time with my singing, but also how I gained a clarity of  purpose and moved past my blocks, hands began to shoot up to ask me questions. I detected a real hunger for answers: answers that helped them make sense of why this singing gig is freaking hard, and how can they overcome it. After the event wrapped up, students began to line up en masse to chat with me, in the hopes of having their questions answered. They were having a hard time.

I was heartened to help. I was also heartbroken.

The other day I was tagged on a Facebook post: a colleague was asking other music teachers about how to get students to practice more effectively. Oy, a veritable Pandora’s Box for me, having worked with a million young students (and being one myself), and the invariable battle with urging students to practice. 

Why do students resist practice? They are afraid. When you are afraid of constantly making mistakes and facing your worst insecurities–on a daily schedule–this can be torture. It can also begin the undoing of joyful music-making. Of loving music. Of loving singing. Of being heard.

I came across another post of a client of mine, we worked together only once. She recorded herself singing a sweet folk tune, it was beautiful to read her post and witness her step up courageously to her community, embracing her fears and being honest about her singing gremlins.

When we met, she was very quiet. She told me bits of her story, thoughtfully took everything in as I spoke and offered my guidance, and then when she started singing I almost fell off my seat. This person had a formidable talent, skills, all the “goods.” Why was she so fearful?

I scanned the comments of her brave post. I read the reactions of other singer friends, presumably also with formidable talents, who were struggling to find their own voice again after they finished their undergrad. One even confessed that she had stopped singing altogether. 

My heart broke again.

I have met many people who have struggled with finding their voice after school. Me, too. 

Traditional voice training is a system that means to develop a singer’s basic functionality in order to maximize the resonant potential of their sound. This means buffing out imperfections and bloops that stand in the way.

For some people, that is no big deal (or at least, it would seem so). 

For others, it is a life-threatening process. I am not exaggerating. Especially if you are highly-sensitive, which is probably a LOT of singers. 

Why would someone stop singing after learning how to sing? After stepping into an educational experience that is meant to hold them up and develop their skills and expose them to the inherent beauty of fine musical literature. Why do we run for the hills? What causes us to become so squelched?

I believe that the means by which we have been taught to improve our singing are the very same used to sabotage our singing. 

I witnessed this in my studio over many years, as every trap we fell into, every disgusted moment we have with ourselves is all connected back to one thing: thinking our singing

Let’s get out of this loop.

For some singers, this method is volatile and inefficient, and I will be frank: it instills fear and shame.

Here is the thing: your voice is not broken. It is sacred. You will not be told this in traditional music training, I’m sorry to say.

I have been told over and over in every lesson about how to fix my vocal problems, since I was in the ninth grade. A gal begins to think that her voice is broken, you know? She can even become ashamed of her voice, and herself. That is a lot to manage emotionally, especially for young people who are not equipped with the emotional tools to manage those big emotions. Especially for a real squishy emotional absorbent softie, like myself. Shame is a big deal, and the fear is real. No wonder we run away from our fears and shut down our voice.

My friend, you are not in need of fixing. You are, however, in need of healing. 

The first thing to do, right now, is acknowledge the sacred nature of your voice. Unfortunately, the voice of the mind is much, much louder. So you need to be a little bit quiet in order to begin this process.

Start by inviting the connection. It’s as simple as anything and anyone can do it.

Connect with your heart center.

Say these words: “I call forth my Sacred Voice.”

And go from there.

Hugs, 

 

allison

you might also like…

“with heart and mouth”
“with heart and mouth”

For the past twenty years, I have been studying and singing the music of medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). Her music and spiritual legacy have been woven into the fabric of my professional life since it began. One of my mountaintop professional...

read more
trust is a four-letter word
trust is a four-letter word

If I had a nickel for every time I hesitated before I sang, I would be a gajillionaire. And sheesh, I even know why I do this, and I STILL do this! I am, truly, working on it. And I trust that I am meant to harvest the lessons from this innate hesitation. A balk, a...

read more
replace strife with wonder
replace strife with wonder

When I was in graduate school, a small but stout music conservatory, I had to take one of the most lethal classes: Graduate Seminar. Required for all grad students, it was a hodge-podge of this and that, overseen by the conservatory's director.  I was in there with...

read more