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NSAA SHOW CHOIR DIRECTOR: Lisa Olson



This is my third year of teaching at NSAA and I'm excited to be working with the middle school students once again. Kids have a special place in my heart and I bring over 25 years of directing experience to this unique ensemble of talented singers. What a privilege and joy for me to learn and grow alongside them!

MY QUALIFICATIONS

I graduated from Arizona State University with my bachelors of music degree and certificate for teaching general music and K-12 choral music in 1991. In college I co-chaired the Collegiate Music Educators National Conference organization, joined American Choral Directors Association and the professional music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota. I held secretarial positions in ACDA and SAI. After college, I took students to the AZ Orff Schulwerk Association festival, which is an organization I've previously held positions in as well. Orff Schulwerk is a methodology for teaching music to young people developed by the composer Carl Orff. You may be familiar with his most famous work, "Carmina Burana." In my teaching I use Orff's principles, as well as Kodaly and Weikert. I've directed several musical productions over the years, led workshops for other professional music educators and have written songs, plays and puppet shows for children. My teaching experiences have been varied. I've taught in public schools, churches, given private lessons and am now at this wonderful charter school where 3 of my 5 children have attended. 

WHAT IS TAUGHT IN SHOW CHOIR

Choreography is part of show choir and I look forward to working with movement while we learn the music and sing 3-part harmony. It's important to teach music reading skills and you can expect that students in my class will learn to identify note names/values and sight sing various vocal exercises. This is a lot of fun when we don't take ourselves too seriously! Also, students have ample opportunity to practice singing in front of each other and on stage in front of audiences. They will surprise themselves with confidence acquired from such experiences. A range of music styles will be explored, featuring contemporary selections as well as traditional pieces.

Because the second half of the year the group performs a music theater production, students must learn various stage vocabulary, such as upstage, downstage, stage right and stage left. They will learn a little about sets, props, make up, cues and blocking, too. Part of my job is to prepare them for more challenging music theatre productions and competitions that will be available to them in high school. Mastering the basics happens now. :0)

You may be aware that middle schoolers have a unique challenge as their vocal mechanisms are changing along with the rest of their bodies. For boys, this means the changing voice can sometimes be squeaky. One day the high notes are there and the next day, they're not. For girls, the voice can be breathy (airy), also with changing ranges. We all must adapt and celebrate the mystery because we certainly can't fight it!!

ABOUT ME

When my family found NSAA, we were thrilled. We needed an appropriate alternative learning environment for our artistic children and NSAA satisfied a unique niche for us. I hope you find the same satisfaction and refuge we've found here in this community that welcomes students just the way they are -- uniquely gifted and inspired.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing piano, singing, hiking, biking, skiing, writing poetry and music, date nights with my husband, Jim, advocating at the state capitol for education, attending my kids' sporting events, serving on the board of East Valley Children's Theatre, visiting Minnesota (where I grew up) and staying on top of my adult children's lives, two of whom live out of state. I currently have 2 kids at NSAA and a 7th grader at a public school in Mesa where we live. We have two cats (one from the humane society, the other was a stray & decided to adopt us after we provided ample opportunity for her to leave), and two dogs (one from a rescue shelter and the other was a stray that followed us home from Safeway).