Training

Workshops and Mentorship Program

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Over the past ten years I have had the opportunity to teach workshops and masterclasses at many of the opera companies where I have sung, as well as been a guest teacher at a few educational institutions. I enjoy meeting young artists from around the world, getting acquainted with their unique and personal gifts, and figuring out how I can contribute to their development in the most intuitive and meaningful way possible. All students need a variety of teachers to build a body of knowledge and practice the application of that knowledge. I aim to provide the link that often goes missing – the glue between intellect, technique, artistic intention, and that all too often elusive presence or “charisma”. The goal is always the same: leaving each aspiring artist with an ever deepening sense of Self – seen, heard, and profoundly felt. And fully available to the audience.

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Wilderness Workshops

These take place over a 2-4 day (9-12hrs) period during which we map, excavate, reorient, and build awareness and stamina in artistic, professional, and personal territory.  

It’s a djungel out there. It is, truly! It’s exciting, interesting, curious, confusing, exhausting, soul crushing, and sometimes just plain dangerous. From every perspective. There is no formula for success, and even when someone does everything right, things can go very wrong inside of a blink of an eye. There is practically no margin for error politically, even for the most accomplished of artists. And even when a career is going well, the lifestyle and the sacrifices may just not be tolerable to the eco-system of the human being doing the work.

So, now what? Throw in the towel before even beginning? That certainly is not my point of view. But I have come to believe that True North in this context is an internal one. Being a bright beacon of talent, musical accomplishment, artistic presence, and exciting power and prowess onstage comes from cultivating the light within. Our artform is suffering the consequences of a society moving too fast for true artistic insight and growth, and stages are full of distracted and “busy” performances.

Wilderness Workshops are directed to advanced singers and emerging artists who seek to hone their artistic and life skills in preparation for a professional career. Attention is given to deepening our relationship to learning, process, and development of our unique artistic personality, capacity, and resilience – from the inside out. Personal obstacles to the work of interpretation and embodiment of character are distinguished and addressed through cognitive discussion, physical and technical awareness, and the distillation of intention; all leading toward the goal of being present, competently expressive, and appropriately free of self-concern.

Non-singers and non-singing participants are welcome.

To read more click here.

The devil whispered in my ear, ‘You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.’

Today I whispered in the devil’s ear, ‘I am the storm.’

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Mentorship

Looking back, I wish I had had a person to partner with during key periods of my development, both artistically and career wise. Someone who was not my teacher or coach, but who could insightfully reflect on the progress I was making. Someone who did not stand to profit from any choices I made, but who could help me tailor my choices to my life as a whole. Someone with personal experience of the joy, heartache, successes and pitfalls of taking on a singing career, and who had the wisdom to learn from all of it. And most importantly, someone who had the heart, empathy, and visionary ambition to wish me only the most rewarding experience in my life as a singer. Frankly, I wish I had known then what I know now… and had someone to stand beside me as I grew.

So while I can’t go back in time to adjust every misstep in my own career, or take a beat to breathe in every success that flew by, I am certain I have the knowledge, insight, and generosity to effectively support young artists-to-be in their quest to become not just successful, but to deepen their artistic commitment and reward as well.

The Wilderness Mentorship Program is a tailored program, running a minimum of three months, and includes:

  • A minimum of four 90-minute Initial Sessions in Person, working both artistically with a pianist, as well as one-on-one in conversation.  
  • Twice monthly Coaching Calls via FaceTime/Skype, or in-person sessions.  Follow-up on longterm goals, preparation, development, professional experience assessment, and regrouping.

Areas covered: 

  • In-depth assessment of personal and artistic goals, aspirations, resources and limitations, as well as lifestyle assets and challenges. 
  • Development of a reasonable, yet goal oriented plan of external action, while setting the course for longterm personal development and deepening of artistic values and integrity.
  • Repertoire and study timelines, incremental artistic goal setting
  • Building a Support Team – personally, professionally, and artistically
  • Developing personal integrity and inter-personal communication skills
  • Work/Life balance strategies
  • Managing the non-artistic areas of an artistic lifestyle (travel, health, fiscal responsibilities)

Approximate cost:

  • Initial Creation Sessions: $1000 (based on 4x90min, excluding pianist)
  • Monthly Calls: $150 (total 90mins)

Potential sliding scale rates available upon evaluation.

For further information, please email: mentorship@erikasunnegardh.com

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