"I teach a class called Spontaneous Composition, and I love it so much. It was originally taught by Rhiannon. She’s an incredible improviser. She’s sung with Bobby McFerrin in his Voicestra for twenty-something years. I’ve worked with her for many years, and the techniques that I learned from Rhiannon have transformed me as a singer. I was incredibly honored that she picked me to teach it. Students really love it, because it’s just a little bit different than what they’re used to. And it helps them go to their creative edge. It also helps them with performance anxiety, because they do a lot of exercises solo and then in small groups. My class last semester was so excited about it that they’re starting a spontaneous composition club."
"We get into a circle and do some free improv before they’ve even heard each other sing. And something amazing happens. Someone starts a note, we start in unison, and then we branch off into improv. I ask them at the beginning, try to come back to a unison note and we’ll end somehow. Nobody cues it, it ends by itself, and it always works. There’s a lot of power in it."
"We do a lot of improvisation with lyrics, as well, which is very different from other improv classes. I think really connecting to the lyrics that you sing, it’s such a powerful thing, not only for the performer, but for the listener. We are responsible as singers to take our listeners on a journey and to touch them deeply. You can have amazing technique and an amazing voice, but if you don’t connect with your listener, then you’re really short-changing them and you’re short-changing yourself. One of the things that I have students do is learn a song together, and I ask them to write an introduction to the song to make it more personal for them."
- B.M., University of North Texas, vocal jazz
- Recordings include The Secret (ABC Jazz) and Sometimes I Feel (Jazzhead)