Singing in the Summer: Vocal Students and Young Artists Have the Benefit of a Long-Established Teaching and Coaching Infrastructure in Canada, and Summer Training Programs Have Become a Key Element of This. Here's a Coast-to-Coast Survey of This Summer's Programs and Tips on When and Where to Catch Tomorrow's Stars Today

By Turf, Richard | Opera Canada, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

Singing in the Summer: Vocal Students and Young Artists Have the Benefit of a Long-Established Teaching and Coaching Infrastructure in Canada, and Summer Training Programs Have Become a Key Element of This. Here's a Coast-to-Coast Survey of This Summer's Programs and Tips on When and Where to Catch Tomorrow's Stars Today


Turf, Richard, Opera Canada


The music world has changed drastically and rapidly over the last decade, let alone the last generation. Today, the opera world seems to he defined by the popularity of opera on cinema screens or in DV) format, with new technology overshadowing and even threatening the traditional musical infrastructure. Yet, ironically, the last couple of decades have also seen the rise of several fundamentally important trends in the domain of vocal education and apprenticeship in Canada, to the extent that one might argue that young singers are now better prepared than at any time over the last century. Music faculties and conservatories offer more comprehensive musical preparation, and many young artists have also had access to superior linguistic, vocal and even theatrical training. Young Artist Programs (YAPs), which provide an invaluable, preparatory bridge between the academic and professional worlds, have grown apace in the past decade or so, and now virtually every opera company has one. Another field in which there has been huge growth is that of the summer vocal-training program.

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In Canada, the number of summer programs has not only increased in recent years, but their vocations have also become as varied as their geographical location. Several are concerned with preparing, full-scale opera productions, some concentrate on specific repertoire or genres and still others are more global, offering a variety of musical and vocal instruction. Some cater to young professionals, though the majority offer advanced training to both students and emerging professionals, as well as, in some cases, collaborative pianists.

These programs offer their participants rare opportunities to work with many of Canada's foremost music educators and professionals. In some cases, there are also Opportunities to make connections with European and American artists and teachers, connections that are becoming ever-more necessary and rewarding. It must be admitted that, considering the size of the student population, the network of Canadian summer vocal programs may have perhaps reached saturation point. But for the present, aspiring vocal artists and collaborative pianists are blessed that they have access to such a wealth of career-development resources. It can be easily argued that these programs help explain why so many young Canadian singers and pianists are able to enjoy a musical career and certainly the ease with which many are able to adapt to the demands of the modern musical world.

Our survey underlines several important factors. Summer programs have become a vital, even essential, element in the apprenticeship of young artists. Overall, these programs represent a very high standard of instruction and offer a wide-range of experiences and possibilities. They are so varied in their focus that every young artist should be able find a program that responds to his or her level of achievement and personal interests. Most programs include a performance element, and, indeed, public-performance opportunities are central to the focus of several. Some even rely on tourist audiences that keenly include concerts and music theatre in their summer-vacation plans.

It should be: noted that for the purposes of this survey, we list only programs operating in Canada and have thus not included offshore programs such as the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) in Sulmona, Italy, organized by the University of. Toronto's Darryl Edwards We also do not include the costs of any program since there are so many variables in quoted prices (some include room and board, for example, while others do not). Similar considerations explain why we have chosen not to include information about the bursaries and scholarships many programs offer. Citing dollar amounts in a general survey such as this can be confusing for all concerned. Finally, this is presented as a coast-to-coast survey, beginning on the east coast and moving westward. …

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Singing in the Summer: Vocal Students and Young Artists Have the Benefit of a Long-Established Teaching and Coaching Infrastructure in Canada, and Summer Training Programs Have Become a Key Element of This. Here's a Coast-to-Coast Survey of This Summer's Programs and Tips on When and Where to Catch Tomorrow's Stars Today
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