All Posts by Melanie Alpert

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Oct 11

“Singing Lessons: Do it Right the First Time”

By Melanie Alpert | voice

Do you love to sing? Do you want to learn how to sing the very best you can? Then DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!!!

Melanie Alpert, NATS, Teacher of Voice,

The Alpert Studio of Voice and Violin

I’m Melanie Alpert and I have been teaching voice for over 30 years. I have helped many of my students achieve their performing dreams. Whether it’s on the professional stage, in school and community productions or in choirs and various singing groups, my students have excelled. They have been winners of many prestigious vocal competitions and been accepted and graduated from the best performing arts schools in the country. They have one thing in common: they simply learned how to do it right the first time!
Actually, for several it wasn’t the first time. They had flip flopped from teacher to teacher and studio to studio not getting what they needed, or, as with so many young, even professional singers, getting vocally hurt in the process. By coming to my studio and going back to the basics, with my guidance they started over and accomplished their goals.

My first priority as a teacher is to give you the tools and techniques to sing well and healthily now and for the rest of your life. As a consequence you will sing the best you ever have in your life! And that’s really it. No mystery, no magic, just time honored tools, that with repetition and practice, will take you where you want to go. My system of teaching is clear, concise, STREAMLINED and will get you to your goal quickly.

Whether you are 9 or 49 come, let’s take this exciting musical journey together! DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME and come be a part of my studio. Your vocal dreams await!!!

Offering Classical, Musical Theater, Pop, Indie, and Contemporary singing programs.

 

Oct 04

Oh, October and Nice November

By Melanie Alpert | Studio News , voice

October and November are two huge months for Studio students. So many of us are doing so much, it’s hard to keep track of it all. If I have left out your event, please let me know. I am relying on my middle aged mind!!!!

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Mercedes Machado won first place in the Chaffey Joint Union Solofest Competition in the classical category. Congrats to all the finalists: Marissa Henkel, Laura Musquez, and Hannah Meisser who won an honorable mention in the Musical Theater catagory.

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Mackenzie Orr performs the role of Scout in Fullerton College’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” (October 22, 23, 24)

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Also on stage in in the near future is Marissa Henkel featured in the Los Osos High School production of To Gillian on her 37th Birthday.

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Michael Sturgis is performing along with stage and screen veteran Fred Willard in the Grove’s production of Elvis and Juliet.

Gracie Unger is featured as Cinderella in the Grove Theater’s Children’s Production of Cinderella. One performance only: November 14th at 12 noon. Gracie receives credit for all tickets sold, so… please mention her name.

Leanna Arredondo is Tiger Lily in the Chaffey High School producton Peter Pan.

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Maggie Anderson, Eryn Moore and Christina Stratford are featured the Lewis Family Playhouse Production of The Crucible.

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Cesar Giovanni Quintero appears in the Candlelight Pavillion production of The Man of La Mancha.

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Brandon Alpert will appear in the Performance Riverside production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

I am so proud of everyone!!! Every studio student should support your fellow students and attend as many productions as possible. Let me know what you are doing and I will post it on the website!

Jul 14

A Month of Many Performances

By Melanie Alpert | Student News , Studio News

A hearty congratulations to all studio students who are performing at a variety of venues during this month. Leanna Arredondo made a debut performance in the title character and Evan Weinmeister was a featured perfomer in the Karousel Kids production of Annie.

Kaitlin Orr, MacKenzie Orr, Angie Harold, Zach Jacobsen and Scotty Jacobsen are featured in the Citrus College Conservatory performance of Footloose.

Appearing in the Broadway Experience production of Bye Bye Birdie (a project dear to my heart, as I am the music director), are Ariel Fazekas, Laura Musquez, Miranda Ford. Elysee Carenno, Ian Hewitt, Zeke Gonzalez, Michael Vandie, Gabi Ensil, Sabrina Bertic, David Nicholson, Marissa Henkel, Hanna Meisser, Sarah Hinrichesen, Maggie Anderson, Sarah Jackson, Michael Sturgis, Cesar Quintero, Darrah Carattini-Garcia, Chris Small and Brandon Alpert. The production opens on July 24. Additional information can be found here.

May 03

Hear My Song

By Melanie Alpert | Events

Hear My Song Event Flyer •  Presented by Broadway Experience

Hear My Song Event Flyer

Please join The Alpert Studio and Broadway Experience for an intimate evening of contemporary musical theater by Jason Robert Brown, presented in concert version. This musical celebration will include selections from Songs for a New World, The Last Five Years, Thirteen, Parade and selected songs from the Jason Robert Brown library.

This production will feature many students and alumni of the Alpert Studio. These exciting and polished performers have won acclaim and awards for their singing including several who have been semi-finalists in the prestigious Los Angeles County Music Center Spotlight Awards.

I am very proud of this production, while not a kid’s show and includes mature themes, I urge everyone above the age of 12 to attend. Please forward the attached event flyer (link above) to everyone you know!

Hear My Song
The Works of Jason Robert Brown

Presented by Broadway Experience • Barbara Hinrichsen, General Director
Production directed by Melanie Alpert with assistant Directors Brandon Alpert and Cesar Quintero

Friday May 22 and Saturday May 23 at 7:30pm
Sunday May 24 at 1:00pm

All performances at: The Theatre Company • 1400 N. Benson Avenue, Upland, CA 91786

For information call (909) 982-5736

Presented by Broadway Experience • Non Profit 510(c3). Our thanks to Jason Robert Brown who graciously extended permission for this public performance.

Jan 18

Keeping Your Voice Healthy for a Lifetime

By Melanie Alpert | voice

I came across this article in Backstage, about the work of one of the most well respected vocal pathologists in the world, Dr. Ingo Titze. I’ve been following his work for several years through my involvement with the National Association of Teachers of Singing, but also on another level. I went to school with him, and we even shared the stage together as soloists in the Bruckner Te Deum!

Some of this is technical stuff, but it’s well worth the investment in reading it carefully. I hope you all do. Please make special note of the section called New Therapies, as he talks in detail about the use of “the straw”!!!

Reprinted from Backstage Magazine: January 2009

Ingo Titze
Dr. Ingo Titze

Vocal Ease

Keeping Your Voice Healthy for Life
January 08, 2009
By John Henny
There have been great advances in recent years in the field of voice research. This new knowledge is helping voice teachers and speech-language pathologists, actors and singers keep voices healthy for a lifetime.

The National Center for Voice and Speech is at the forefront of this cutting-edge research. Led by Dr. Ingo Titze, the NCVS is a nonprofit organization with locations in Denver and Iowa.

The Tired Voice
Of particular concern to Titze are people who use their voices a great deal professionally. “We’re interested in how voices fatigue,” he says. “Teachers who talk six, seven hours a day in a monologue style face a lot of vocal fatigue.” To gather real-world data, the NCVS developed a small instrument called a vocal dosimeter, which is worn by the test subject throughout the day to record vocal events. “We can determine every time the vocal folds begin to vibrate and when they stop vibrating,” says Titze. “We have shown that the vocal folds collide or vibrate on the order of a million times a day for a busy teacher. The vocal folds will also come together and apart around 10 to 20 thousand times a day. That’s similar to what the finger movement would be for a stenographer who types all day.”

The Bioreactor
Another main project at the NCVS is working in the lab with human tissue and exposing it to the same forces that would be found in a person. To do this, researchers use a machine called a bioreactor, which exposes cells and the tissue they live in to mechanical stresses, simulating what teachers, actors, and singers expose themselves to. “We then take the cells and examine them and the matrixes around them,” Titze explains. “Whenever a cell is stressed from its environment, it wants to make protein products that help to buffer these forces. We want to know all the materials the cells would like to make.” Many vocal issues arise from the cells’ reaction to stresses: “A nodule is a result from the cells saying this is more collision than we can handle, so they make some more fibrous material right around that area where the collision occurs.”

Titze is also discovering what role genetics play in the voice and fatigue. “We know that some voices fatigue very fast and others don’t seem to,” he says. “For singers and actors, it’s not always technique. You can have very wonderful technique and still end up hurting your voice. Some can sing with an abusive technique and yet not suffer the same damage. It’s similar to sports, where a player can have great technique but still suffer joint problems and injury.”

Stop Pressing
Titze warns against pressing the vocal folds too intensely when speaking. “Stressing by pressing,” he calls it. “Most vocal problems are caused by this pressing too much. We need to stress certain syllables when we speak — like ‘hel-lo’ — but we don’t always need to press the vocal folds to get that stress. You can do it with the aerodynamic system and better respiratory management.”

He says he has seen a gender shift in this area: “It used to be more of a male issue, but now females are doing it more than the males. Even young girls are using this pressed sound.” Titze suggests that celebrity role models may be part of the problem: “There are teenage actresses that sound like 40-year-old women because they bear down so hard on their voice.”

New Therapies
A number of new vocal therapy techniques have come from research at the NCVS, and Titze singles out one in particular: “One of the things we like is phonating into a very narrow stirring straw. This creates a back pressure in the mouth.” This back pressure, he explains, helps spread and lengthen the vocal folds, undoing some of the stress people put on them. “The things that people do to the voice are that they press the voice too much and they speak at too low a pitch,” he says. “They massage that organ in one area all the time, so when they phonate into the straw with a full sound, it stretches the vocal folds and unpresses them. We have them glide up way, way high in pitch and even sing songs through it. It’s very effective.”

Shouting Safely
Actors and singers often have to inject emotion into the voice, frequently at the expense of vocal health. The NCVS is currently looking into safer ways to shout or scream. “We’re studying high-effort phonation and how it can be done safely in the theatre,” Titze says, explaining that the solution has to do with using more than one sound source, in addition to the vocal folds. “It is possible to rattle other parts: your uvula, the top of your larynx, the false folds. You set pitch with a modest amount of sound-making at the real vocal folds, and you bring in these other sources. It sounds like you’re doing it all on the real folds but with much less damage.”

In addition to offering a full range of vocal resources on its website, the NCVS hosts the yearly Summer Vocology Institute, which trains voice professionals from around the world. For more information on the NCVS, go to www.ncvs.org.

Jan 02

Voice Lesson Schedule Jan. 2009

By Melanie Alpert | Studio News , voice

Happy New Year and welcome back to voice lessons.

Regularly scheduled voice lessons will resume on January 5th at your previously scheduled times. If you are unsure about your assigned lesson time, please call me asap.

Special note: all lessons on Monday, January 26 will be cancelled. Please make a note if you are paying a monthly tuition for January.

Looking forward to seeing all of you in the new year. Let’s do some good work!

Love you all,
Melanie

Nov 23

Disney World or Bust: the Reprise

By Melanie Alpert | Events , voice

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As many of you may know, Brandon and I are on the road this week to meet up with some seriously talented kids who auditioned and were accepted to sing at Walt Disney World’s Candlelight Processional. We’re performing with the Upland, CA based Broadway Experience performance troupe, led by director Barbara Hinrichsen. I am so proud to be their music director. We found out recently that we were the only group of singers, high school, college or adult, that was accepted from the Western US this year! That is quite an honor and well deserved by this group’s talented young performers.

This group includes a large number of award winning singers, from LA County Music Center Spotlight semi-finalists (three) to San Bernardino County Music Educator’s Association Solofest winners or finalists (five)  from Southern California Vocal Association semi-finalists or finalists (six) to Chaffey Joint Union Solofest winners or finalists (four) to John Child Walker Vocal Competition finalists or winners (four). Each and every member is showing great promise; we have some of the best young singers in Southern California. I am privileged to be involved in their artistic lives. We’re looking forward to an incredibly rewarding trip. And oh yea, it will be a BLAST too! Stay tuned!

Aug 21

Update for Vocal Students

By Melanie Alpert | Studio News , voice

Voice lessons will resume the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 2. If you have a Monday lesson time, your lessons will start on Monday September 8th. I am doing a lot of reorganizing of my studio and I need this extra week. All lessons will remain at the same time if I have not heard from you and/or you have not requested a different time. I am still working on scheduling and should have new schedules ready some time next week. I will email them out to you, plus a list of phone numbers in case you occasionally need to switch a lesson with another student. If you do not want your phone number on that list please let me know right away. If you need to change a permanent time slot you must let me know asap.

Hope you all had a wonderful summer. Now it’s time to get back in the swing! I look forward to seeing and hearing all of you!

Apr 13

Alpert Studio Sweeps Solofest and OCHSA

By Melanie Alpert | Events , voice

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Pictured from left: Melanie Alpert, Cesar Quintero, Mackenzie Orr, Mercedes Machado, Kaitlin Orr and Michael Sturgis. Photo: Don Orr

Congratulations to Alpert Studio Students Cesar Quintero, Mercedes Machado, and Mackenzie Orr for winning top honors and sweeping the High School, Junior High and Elementary voice divisions of the San Bernardino County Solofest competition. I would also like to recognize Kaitlin Orr and Michael Sturgis for their wonderful performances at the event. I’m sure any judge would have had a difficult time deciding the final outcome. I’m proud of you all!

Competition winners received either cash or a full paid scholarship for two week programs at the Idyllwild Summer Academy for the Arts. Again, congratulations to all participants and a special thank you to Dr. Andrew Crane, Rebecca Tomlinson and the Cal State San Bernardino music faculty for making this such a positive and rewarding experience for young musicians.

Congrats to newly accepted OCHSA freshmen

Every Alpert Studio Student who recently applied to attend the Orange County High School for the Arts was accepted! Kudos to Sarah Hinrichsen, Michael Sturgis, Mercedes Machado and Kaitlin Orr. Again, you have done me proud!

Apr 08

Solofest and Recital Update

By Melanie Alpert | Events , violin , voice

Congratulations to all Alpert Studio students who participated in this year’s San Bernardino County Solofest; each one of you performed beautifully. I have seen such growth in each and every one of you; it’s makes me so proud!
Special congrats go out to those students who advanced to the finals: Mackenzie Orr, Elementary division, Kaitlin Orr, Michael Sturgis and Mercedes Machado, Junior High division (we swept this category!) and Cesar Quintero, High School division.
Our finalists will be competing this 10:00 a.m. Saturday, at the Cal State San Bernardino theater. Please come out and support your fellow students!

Also a quick note to studio voice and violin students: The date for our Spring Recital has been set. PLEASE SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, June 7, 4:00 p.m. at the studio recital hall.

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