Voice Lessons, Workshops and Mentorship Program
For the past ten years I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to teach workshops and masterclasses at a variety of opera studios, universities, and music schools. I love meeting young artists from all over the world, learn about their unique gifts and talents, and try to figure out how I can contribute to their development, as intuitively and meaningfully as possible.
All students need a variety of teachers to acquire the necessary breadth and depth of understanding, as well as support them in translating that understanding into practical application and actual skill. It is my wish to provide the connection between intellect, technique, artistic intention, and that often elusive presence, or charisma. The intention is always to leave each student with an increasing experience of the Self – seen, heard, and deeply felt…. and completely available to the audience.
I offer consultations and voice lessons on an individual basis in Stockholm, and sporadically on the road. My technical understanding is a synthesis of three distinct, but complimentary schools of thought, as taught by my father Arne Sunnegårdh, mezzo-soprano Glenys Linos in Vienna (mentored by legendary Madam Hidalgo), and David Jones in New York. All three have, or continue to spend their long careers propagating the market with healthy, structurally sound, exciting and beautiful vocal ideals.
As I fundamentally believe that voice teachers need to be available to students continuously, especially during initial technical development, I have only recently started accepting students with appropriate previous experience and needs, compatible with what my still active singing schedule allows.
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These take place over 2-4 days during which we map, excavate, reorient, and build awareness and stamina in artistic, professional, and personal territory.
For better or worse, it is a jungle out there. 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 while a career might be 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? Certainly not! 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 to get rooted, and stages are littered with distracted, busy, and frenetic performances.
Wilderness Workshops are directed to advanced singing students and emerging artists who seek to hone their artistic and life skills, not just in preparation for a professional career, but in pursuit of a meaningful and satisfying one. 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.
During Wilderness Workshops, the individual singing participant is given ample opportunity to be seen and heard in a way as to discern artistic and technical resources and boundaries, blind spots, obstacles, and accesses to self-expression unique to them.
The group discusses common themes challenging the performing artist – at home and on the job. Guided and individual exercises and homework dive deeply into preconceived notions, firmly held beliefs and judgments, as well as the development of conscious steps toward intuitive and organic presence. All participants are encouraged to question the nature and topography of the “ground” on which they stand, as well as guided to perceive their gifts and possibilities in a new, or alternative light.
As a group of observers, all participants are encouraged to develop the art of observation and articulation – as colleagues, audience members, fellow students. Ultimately, to discern and deepen their own integrity as members of an interactive and interconnected community, onstage and off.
As authentic artistry often overlaps with (or is contaminated by) external concerns, ample time is given for discussion and Q&As.
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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.
- 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)
For further information, please email: email@example.com