The Wonder of Technology, Nature, and Music

The Wonder of Technology, Nature, and Music

I’m sitting on a train traveling from Oslo to Bergen, Norway. And I’m able to communicate with anyone in the world. Amazing. More amazing, however, is the scenery out the window. Miles and miles and miles of gorgeous canyon-steeped valleys filled with thin pine trees as far as the eye can see. Our train slowly winding through the narrow mountain valley following the snaking river as we go. Every twenty minutes or so we stop at another sleepy Norwegian town. At every stop the terrain becomes more mountainous as we approach the fjords of western Norway.


Amazing … and the best is yet to come.


Educators from around the world convened in nearby Stockholm this past week at the International Congress of Voice Teachers.The conference ended yesterday and my wife and I snuck away to see Norway for a few days at the behest of Dean Southern of Cleveland Institute of Music and Karen Brunsenn of Northwestern University. Their love and passion for Norway, home of their ancestors and family, is contagious and even inspiring.


Passion and energy, especially when combined with expertise and experience, can be a powerful tool for singers and teachers as well. I’ve seen that first-hand in the many years I’ve worked with teachers at various Classical Singer events, including our annual CS Music Vocal Competition. And I saw that same passion in Stockholm this past week in teachers from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Those are countries I remember just off the top of my head—I’m sure I’m missing more. I spoke with many teachers and the theme was common among them:


They love singing, they love teaching, and they want to be better at both in order to help others.


But why come all the way to Stockholm for a conference like this?


To be honest, the location doesn’t matter as much as the experience of connecting with others. Stockholm happened to provide a great venue and a great excuse to see more of the world.


Christine Anderson of Temple University told me, “It’s great to come and learn from everyone else. We have so many things in common but there are so many new things to learn from one another. Connecting with colleagues is invaluable. I only catch up with some at these types of international events. Because of this and other events I have friends around the world … literally.”


The conference featured nearly four days full of a wide range of classes for teachers to attend, starting with Yoga in the morning and ending with concerts in the evening. Many of the attendees were also presenters, so a wide range of ideas and techniques were shared and presented. One of the presenters, George Shirley, shared his thoughts with me as well:


“We try to have fun in pursing the learning process. We should always be continuing our education—formal or not. Gatherings like these expose everyone to different approaches to achieving successful outcomes. We’re able to see different strategies to employ and new ways at approaching similar challenges. No one knows it all and this is our chance to absorb fresh ideas.”


In the CS Music Community of singers, teachers, and accompanists, our shared passion for the arts is bonding. The more we come together to share, connect, and collaborate, the more we can help one another achieve our end goals, whether that be on the performance stage or classroom. The ICVT conference was another prime opportunity to join together and connect with the community.


And it was a great excuse to see the world!
Alex Stoddard

Alex Stoddard is the President and CEO of CS Music and Classical Singer magazine. Since 2003 Alex has been involved heavily with CS in advertising sales, the CS Vocal Competition, the CS Convention, and the development of the website Alex graduated with a B.A. from Brigham Young University and a M.S. from Utah State University. He currently lives in Lehi, UT with his wife Becky and their 6 children and is a high school basketball coach on the side.