July 20-24: CCM Institute
July is always one of my favorite months because it's when I attend the Contemporary Commercial Music Voice Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah Conservatory. The CCMI opens me to the expansiveness of human experience, both in myself and in others, and not just in the world of singing.
I first attended in 2009, getting my certification in Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method in Levels I, II, and III. After getting my master's in voice pedagogy, which, in almost every academic institution, is focused on classical singing, I wanted to know the science and methods behind other singing styles. Not only did I find that information, but I found a great community of people.
There were 18 different countries represented at the Institute this year. I hung out with people from Israel, Colombia, Australia, Taiwan, Chile, Brazil, and Canada, just for starters. There is an enormous need and desire for the kind of work that Jeanie is doing, so people travel huge distances to be here.
At CCMI, I've heard Brazilian folk music, Brazilian popular song, Indian classical music, Israeli music, Chilean folk music, Columbian folk music, musical theatre, classical, jazz, pop, rock, R&B, folk, country, and more. I've been in many academic settings where there would have been significant amounts of tension surrounding the fact that people were singing some of these kinds of music. But at the Institute, every genre is given a safe space to exist. Every year, I watch walls crumble. Defenses drop. Prejudices dissolve. Genres (and the people who sing them) coexist not just respectfully, but happily. It may seem strange to most people that this wouldn't be the norm, but this is indeed a very rare and unique environment. It's hard to describe just how amazing the energy is, and it only seems to get better every year.