Anne Tomlinson has served as Los Angeles Children’s Chorus Artistic Director since 1996, overseeing the educational and artistic development of the 400-member chorus and conducting LACC’s renowned Concert Choir and Chamber Singers. She has positively impacted the lives of thousands upon thousands of children and helped shape LA’s cultural landscape in myriad ways over the past two decades. Today she talks to Ryan about the all the right keys: the best keys for children to sing in, and the keys for singing for a lifetime.

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Highlight to Tweet:         “Children can learn the basics of singing best in a choir.” – Anne Tomlinson

Show Notes:

  • About Anne:
    • Anne Tomlinson is the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC).
    • Her background is in piano, not teaching, but she learned from outstanding mentors while accompanying the LACC
    • LACC is famous for bel canto teaching technique, producing a uniquely pure and resonant sound.
  • On repertoire:
    • Latin, Italian, German, Hebrew, Spanish, and Japanese are all good language choices for children, focusing on Italianate vowels.
    • When selecting repertoire, focus on educating not just your students, but also your audience. Have the children talk about the piece, helping parents understand why we make these musical choices.
    • Pick repertoire that supports the technique of the choir.
    • Balance your selections, considering, unison, parts, sweet melodies, and more rhythmic selections.
    • Can’t find a piece in a sharp key (better for young voices)? Transpose.
  • Your choir is bigger than just the children in it
    • Want to build relationships with other community arts organizations? Just ask for an opportunity to meet and share your goals and vision for a partnership. Invite them to your concerts, have children talk to them, demonstrate how their ticket sales are likely to increase.
    • Teach children how to sing for a lifetime, technique that will allow them to sing in whatever style they choose as an adult. Shaping a singer is a long game, and children can damage their voices singing in styles that are not developmentally appropriate.

Bio:
Anne Tomlinson, Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), oversees the educational and artistic development of the Chorus and leads LACC’s renowned Concert Choir and Chamber Singers. Additionally, she is Children’s Chorus Mistress for LA Opera. Tomlinson has worked with celebrated conductors Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Plácido Domingo, James Conlon and Grant Gershon and prepared the Chorus for performances with LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale, among other leading organizations. Tomlinson’s film work includes the 2002 Academy Award-nominated documentary Sing!, which chronicles a year in the life of LACC, and the sequel documentaries Sing Opera! and Sing China!. Her live broadcast work includes the January 2005 Chamber Singers performance on NPR’s nationally syndicated program “From the Top.” Tomlinson is a frequent guest conductor and presenter at symposia, workshops and festivals both nationally and internationally. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and Master’s degree in conducting from Northwestern University, where she studied with Margaret Hillis. Among many awards, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus and Tomlinson are the 2014 recipients of the Chorus America Margaret Hillis award for choral excellence. Tomlinson is stepping down from Los Angeles Children’s Chorus at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, after 22 years of leading the organization to unprecedented growth and artistic excellence.

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