By Andrea Haring
The Linklater Community recently graduated nine new Designated Linklater Teachers in Frauenchiemsee, Germany! These trainees hailed from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Ireland, and had been studying for years – getting to know the voice progression with their Designated Teachers. Some had also taken workshops with me in Bayreuth or New York City, and of course with Kristin Linklater at her Voice Centre in Orkney. They had all gone through 50 hours or more of private instruction – being checked on every part of the work – with their Linklater mentors in their respective countries. Then, after an audition process, nine trainees were chosen to go to the final designation workshops. These two workshops are structured for the group to go through the progression in great detail with Kristin Linklater for the first three weeks – recording all the work – so that they can then go back home for a year and practice teaching it to their own students. The final designation workshop, which we just finished, assigned the teacher trainees a specific class to teach volunteer practice students. A group of senior Linklater instructors (Michael Petermann, Heidi Puffer, Barbara Schmalz-Rauchbauer and I) watched and worked with the trainees for a week before the practice students arrived and were led through the complete progression of Freeing the Natural Voice exercises. The teacher trainees got feedback through the two weeks from the senior teachers and their peers on their teaching presence, the structure of their class, and their connection with the practice group.
Frauenchiemsee is an island in the middle of a lake in the very south of Germany – right next to the Austrian Alps. The setting is incredibly beautiful and serene, and the water is very clear. There is an old convent which was renovated with dorms and conference rooms for outside groups. The nuns were a benign presence, and we would hear the church bells throughout the day. The island itself is small – I liked to walk the full circle around it in the early mornings and again at dusk, which was about a 15 to 20 minute journey. The houses along the water have small yards overflowing with flowers, and bright flowers up in window boxes as well. In the mornings you can smell the wood chip fires where the fishermen were smoking the fish they had just caught in the lake. Often after a day’s work, the group would go to one of the small beaches for a quick swim. We all enjoyed the lovely sunsets over the water at the day’s end, and then would talk by the lake as the moon and a brilliant canopy of stars illuminated the sky at night.
In the final day or two before graduation, we were joined by some of the other German and Austrian Designated Linklater Teachers: Christine Kugler, Christine Steinhart and Albert Weilguny, and family members of the graduates.
I felt honored to be a part of this final process as one of the observing senior teachers, and send all the newly graduated group my warmest wishes for a long and satisfying career as Designated Linklater Teachers.
Here’s to the newest class!
Ulrike Arp, Katharina Bigus, Natascha Clasing,
Bernadette Cronin, Stephan Freiberger, Luise Gebauer,
Anna Kühn, Klaus Michalski, Alex Weikmann
Class of 2016 and Teachers