Friday March 9, 2012

Artist News

Master Your Performance

Course takes you beyond stage fright, nerves and helps improve confidence and presence March 17

Released by Graham Yates, CAM 


erformers of all kinds, from musicians to public speakers, will be familiar with this scenario: a performance can be thrown off course, even after diligent preparation, by nerves or something unexpected like a misplaced prop or microphone stand.


The solution, according to Mel Nieva who is a professional Vancouver musician and teacher, is to learn to "own your performance." She is offering a masterclass on this subject at the Academy of Music on Saturday, March 17.


Nieva is no stranger to Chilliwack. She grew up here and studied voice at the Chilliwack Academy of Music before going on to do diploma work at Capilano University (then College) in both classical and jazz fields. She has now returned to give coaching and masterclasses to young musicians. Most recently, she ran a successful Glee-inspired summer camp at the former Chilliwack Arts Centre and helped debut the Sto:lo Vocal Ensemble in December.

Now a seasoned performer, she knows from experience how nerve-wracking learning the art of performing can be. "I was always a really self-conscious kid," she says. "I would freak out over the littlest flaws and so I didn't perform for a long, long time."


As a result, she has developed a teaching style that is informal and encouraging. Masterclass participants, for instance, get a chance to fiddle with that proverbial microphone stand and as a result learn how it works and how to avoid feeling flustered when an audience is watching.


Participants will also explore concepts like stage presence, introducing oneself and others, and collaborating artistically with an accompanist or backup band. Owning one's performance is partly about owning the stage and exuding confidence as a performer. According to Nieva, this confidence translates into aspects of everyday life, too.

Another skill learned at Nieva's masterclass is how to offer constructive criticism. Auditors are invited to encourage (rather than "critique") their peers' performances and in the process become aware of the things that will improve their stage presence, too.

The "Own Your Performance" masterclass is open to all young musicians aged 8-18 and is equally geared to vocalists and instrumentalists, classical and popular musicians.


It takes place on Saturday, March 17 from 1-3 p.m. in the Wagner Appliances Studio at the Cultural Centre. A live piano accompanist as well as iPod connectivity for backing tracks will be available for those who require them.


The cost is $25, and participants must contact the Academy of Music to confirm their attendance by Thursday, March 15 at 4:30 pm.


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