Annual Singing Retreat

Pedagogical Training 2015

Pedagogical Training 2015

6th Foundational Singing Training Beginning!

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

6th Foundational Singing Training

The 6th Foundational Singing Training in California
begins June 11-15, 2015
at Ananda Meditation Center, Nevada City, CA

The 6th Training meets over a 3 1/2 year period, for 5 days each June and 3 days each February. It includes four private lessons per year, group work and choir.

This advanced course is offered to those with previous study of Uncovering the Voice (such as attendance at an Open Course and/or private lessons with Christiaan). 

In this work, the process of singing is viewed holistically, with the aim of the natural opening and balancing of the voice.  The singer is invited to move with confidence and joy towards discovering his or her own voice within the group and in private lessons.  It is a gentle process and the voice is never pushed, but gently liberated through engagement and active participation.  A wide range of specific singing exercises will be developed together with a comprehensive study of Werbeck's book.

Singing Training Topics:

Session 1:  Exercises to Forget the Breathing    June 11-15, 2015
Session 2:  Directing the Sound                        February 2016
Session 3:  Vowels and Consonants                  June 2016
Session 4:  Expansion of the Sound                  February 2017
Session 5:  Reflection of the Sound                  June 2017
Session 6:  Reflection of the Word                   February 2018
Session 7:  Summary and Closing                    June 2018

Annual Tuition:
$800 for June
$400 for February
(this includes two private lessons in June and two private lessons in February)

To Apply:

Please write a paragraph about why you would like to participate in the Training and email it to Sheryl at:  Upon acceptance into the Training, you will receive registration information.

Maximum Enrollment:  30 Students

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Annual Singing Retreat 2015

Why attend the Open Singing Retreat?

In various areas of our lives, many of us are now looking for healthier and more holistic approaches and we are feeling a new sense of responsibility for realms such as nature, food, clean air, clean water, etc.  Until recently, people have taken both their speaking as well as their singing voices for granted, as if they come for free and do not require any nurturing.  The renewing thought which the School of Uncovering the Voice brings is that we need to take care of our voices in different ways than was done in earlier days.  

How can we develop our precious, own instruments according to the needs of our times?  In earlier eras of humanity, the singing voice was a central issue in life.  Now our capacity is shrinking rapidly.  We need caring ways of expressing ourselves through our voices and to realize: Through my voice, I express my whole being and by singing, I affect my overall balance and health.  This can be done by the exercises given by Valborg Werbeck Svardstrom, who shows us easy ways to build up relation to all the basic elements needed for singing and care of the voice.   

In a joyful way, we try to experience the musical world as well as to understand the background of our doing; embracing both practicality and understanding.  Werbeck states that if there would be more singing and more righteous singing in our world, the criminality would decrease.  This thought can be understood as follows: Being with our voice connects us to more pure parts of ourselves and develops that what we may as human beings want to become (our more realized selves).  

The Open Singing Retreat provides a safe, welcoming and deeply renewing space in time to do all of this and more.  It is not only for trained singers, but it is also for people who do not yet have faith in their own capacity as singers and who are open to trying new experiences.

Open Singing Retreat
led by Christiaan Boele 
June 19-21, 2015
at Mercy Center
535 Sacramento St. Auburn, Ca  95603
Friday June 19
8:30 Check In
9:00  Introduction to Approaching the Voice  
10:15   Morning Break 
10:45  Approaching the Voice I: Study of Breath, Sound & Speech
12:00  Lunch
2:00 Movement:  Spacial Dynamics
3:00 Afternoon Break  
3:30   Transitioning to Song
5:15  Dinner 
6:30-8:30  Joyful Exercises and Choir

Saturday June 20
8:00 Breakfast
9:00  Approaching the Voice II: Study of Breath, Sound & Speech
10:15  Morning Break
10:45  Approaching the Voice III:  Study of Breath Sound & Speech
12:00  Lunch
2:00-3:00 Movement:  Eurythmy
3:15-4:00 Conversation
4:15-5:00 Children's Hour: Everyone Welcome
5:15  Dinner
6:30-8:30  Joyful Exercises and Choir

Sunday June 21
8:00  Breakfast
9:00  Approaching the Voice IV: Study of Breath, Sound & Speech
10:15  Break
10:45-12:00 Conclusion  

Tuition Options:  Registrations must be received by June 1st!

1.  All inclusive:  -includes lodging Fri. and Sat. nights in a private bedroom and six meals: lunch/dinner Fri., breakfast/lunch/dinner Sat., breakfast Sun.   $460 by April 15th; $500 by June 1st

2.  Commuter:  -includes six meals: lunch/dinner Fri., breakfast/lunch/dinner Sat., breakfast Sun.  
$360 by April 15th; $400 by June 1st

-Register promptly to secure on-site lodging as rooms are limited.

Additional Details on the Schedule:

Spacial Dynamics:  Graceful movements and activities that enhance the healthy, harmonious continuum between the body and surrounding space.  

Eurythmy:   Movements and gestures that reveal to the eye what language and music bring to the ear.  Speak and sing with the human body, making speech and music visible.

Children's Hour:  During this designated time, children of all participants are invited to come to the course for free, accompanied by their parent, to join in a lively, child-friendly singing session.  Grown ups will also be included in the fun!
For more information and to register contact Sheryl at: or call:  530-210-3208

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Singing is a primal human urge, with the potential for the expression of the core of our being.

Song has accompanied life through the eras of human culture. It holds its ever important place in cultural activities, rituals, and religious ceremonies, as well as through the work and play of everyday life. As a testimonial to this, we find folksongs fitted to the passing of the seasons, festivals, holidays, professions, and almost every other area of life, all across the world.

Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find, and develop our most precious and personal instrument, the voice. The School of Uncovering the Voice comes as a timely path to discovery and expression of the individual identity in each voice. From a range of highly differentiated exercises, the healing and regenerative powers of the voice are set free.

Through this process, singing comes to hold more than ever the potential for expression of the innermost core of personality. It is a path to encounter oneself, and tune to inner harmony.

Christiaan Boele

2015 California Calendar

Winter 2015
Feb. 2-4  Santa Cruz Private Lessons
Feb. 3  Community Choir Evening in Santa Cruz
Feb. 5-6  Fairfax Lessons
Feb. 6-7  Introduction to Uncovering the Voice
Feb. 8  Choir Day
Feb. 9-10   Novato Lessons
Feb. 11-12  Sebastopol Lessons 
Feb. 13-15  Final Session of the 5th Singing Training 
Feb. 16-18  Loomis (near Auburn) Lessons
Feb. 17   Community Choir Evening
Feb. 18-21  Pedagogical Training Year One, Session One 

(Please note that some of the summer dates might change.)
Summer 2015
June 2-4   Lessons
June 5-7  San Francisco Lessons
June 7  San Francisco Lessons or Graduate Course
June 8-10  Novato Lessons
June 11-15  First Session of the 6th Singing Training (confirmed!)
June 16-18  Pedagogical Training Year One, Session Two (confirmed!)
June 19-21  Annual Singing Retreat, Auburn (confirmed!)
June 22-26  Lessons
June 28  Choir Day
June 29-July 3 Lessons

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview with Christiaan Boele

Your school is called The School of Uncovering the Voice. What does it mean to “uncover the voice” and how do you do that?
This approach to singing was initiated by Mrs. Valborg Werbeck Svardstrom, a Swedish singer who developed this in cooperation with Rudolf Steiner.  It is based on the belief that every human being has their own unique singing voice.  Through uncovering or unveiling our voices, we can learn to connect more fully to that which wants to speak through our voices:  to our deeper, inner ideals and impulses which we are looking for in our lives.
In the past twenty years there has been an unprecedented increase in the amount of media and electronic music. Is this a threat to the human voice? If so, in what way?
In the moment when we hear music, our instrument, also physically our larynx, responds and moves according to that what it hears.  If it is reproduced music and also the variety of noises in our time (which little children often imitate) it increases the lack of flexibility of our organism and causes damages and problems in different ways.  The voices get lower, lose their higher range and become physically hardened.  That is something which is not only present in the last twenty years but already from the 60’s and 70’s from the last century.

How are children’s voices and their ability and enthusiasm to sing affected by the increase in media?
The media affects the fantasy forces of the children and also gives them too early, too much influx of many kinds of songs and musical impressions than what one would wish for.  For small children, it would be good to stay a long time just with very few, fine lullabies and working songs and to hear the singing voices of the mother, father, brothers and sisters.   Children adapt their own voices towards that which they hear and are imitating the songs of our modern times, media and external noises which cause their voices to become too dominant in many ways.

How can someone begin to “uncover” her voice?
Our schooling is not just for people who already have a good, experienced singing voice.  This is for anyone, for talented singers as well as for someone who has never had the courage to sing; who probably heard as many did in their school time that they didn’t have a voice- that they couldn’t sing.  This is basically untrue.  Often in our singing courses, we may have a trained singer, sitting or standing next to someone who has never had any voice experience; both doing the same exercises and enjoying to do this together.  What we find is that some of the exercises can be done better by the person who is so new to all singing work that they can do it more directly and in a correct way.  The untrained singer has not developed any previous singing habits that need to be overcome.

If someone has never really sung in public and doesn’t really feel confident singing, can she learn to sing?
Yes, but it is an individual matter as to how long this may take.  The time that anyone needs for development of their voice cannot be measured in a certain amount of lessons or a certain amount of months or years.  It is not a question of physical development; it is a question of how one inwardly grows with their voice.

What’s the most important thing that a person can do to protect, strengthen and improve her singing voice?
The most important thing could be to take up one’s own practice of about five to ten minutes a day of singing exercises; always in the morning, and not to look for special results but to the maintenance of the voice and growing a relationship with it. To care for that part is of a growing importance for the future.

Do you have any particular advice for male teachers when singing with younger children?
The very first thing is that one should be thankful for anyone singing with children because it is not so familiar nowadays. For male persons it is not so different as for females, but to take care to have enough lightness in the voice and to not use the voice in too strong of a way.

How often should children sing? Is it important to sing every day?
Yes!  I would say that singing all day is the healthiest way of uttering oneself and also a way of digesting impressions which come from the outer world.  In the moment when a child is in one’s own world through their singing, they show their health and their ability to cope with the surroundings.  If you look at grownups, when they are not singing, it is often a sign of stress and inner tension which hinders them from being harmonious. On the other side, if the children would sing more, every day, it would affect their feelings of balance and harmony and give them strength for their later years.

What is the future of singing?
This is an enormously large subject and I could easily spend a whole evening’s lecture discussing the different aspects.  It is hard to pick out just one detail, but one could say: In singing, you address those forces inside you which you want to become.  To develop those forces is to free your voice and that is one of the most important things for the future.

What’s your summer course like? Do you need to have attended other singing courses?
It is possible to join the Open Singing Course without any previous singing experience.  This course is for everyone, including those who come from stressful environments and want to renew their forces, to let themselves be inspired by music and to approach their voice in a new way.  For people who are hesitant to sing, this gentle approach, singing within the group, helps them to overcome their fears and enjoy singing.  It is especially recommended for people who use their voice alot, both in speaking as well as singing (such as teachers).  The singing work is also enriched and supported with movement through Spatial Dynamics and Eurythmy.

Anything else?
Let’s deepen the experiences with our precious instrument, the singing voice, and find out that it is not only there for fun or for joy but also for gaining depth, protection and health of our whole being.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Teaching Gallery

Photo: Gesangskurs März 2009 in Darmstadt!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Thanks for an amazing Singing Retreat! I didn't know what to expect...after all the work I've done on myself, I was surprised that this singing showed me some structures inside myself I hadn't known were there. I'm getting glimpses of the 'me' I am underneath all the cultural overlayment and I am thrilled to be finally able to access this territory!   -Lissa C.

The Singing Retreat has been for me a kind of soul-oasis, a place where my spirit drank from waters that fed me more deeply than I realize even now. I have been drenched in pure tone and crisp, precise consonants as well as rich and wide vowels.
The spatial dynamics and eurythmy enriched my sense of belonging, both in my physical body and my place in the group, and were a perfect counterpoint to the exercises and singing.
To listen to my own voice resonating in clear tones, and at the same time to the voices of those around me, connected me simultaneously to my inner depths and to the depths we all share... This could be called “the voice of Heaven’.   And I am ready to get drenched again!  -Pamela B.

Christiaan's Open Singing Course is a revolution in the teaching of singing.  These technical exercises gently guide beginning and experienced singers into vocal freedom.  It is an often-emotional experience that leads you back to the joy of singing.
-Dr. Lynne Morrow, Sonoma State University

Christiaan Boele's lectures are a work of art in themselves, unwinding harmoniously, rhythmically and melodically.  
 -Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training

The experience of the Open Singing Course cannot be captured in words.  Moving, replenishing, spiritual, inspiring and lovely are some words that come to mind.  Christiaan is a gentle, masterful teacher who has crafted a training as relevant for experienced singers as for beginners and self-proclaimed nonsingers.  -Dana R.

The quality of your work with us magnifies with every session.  For me, your gift of an elevated understanding of the voice has improved and rejuvenated my work with children and adults alike.  Thank you.  My own voice has been enlivened and is more flexible and pleasurable as well.  -Rusty V.

Christiaan, thank you for sharing this gift of singing with such joy, such humor and such diligence.  I had a great time at the Open Singing Course and I wasn't stressed at all.  (I am very anxious about singing and I almost didn't come.)  -Windsong B.

During my Waldorf teacher training Christiaan taught us Werbeck singing exercises. In the beginning I merely enjoyed doing the exercises. It was an interesting and new approach to singing which made me forget my doubts about not having a beautiful voice. The exercises felt doable. During the years, however, I could experience the transformational power of the exercises. Not only did they make me calmer and more centered, they also helped me to access my creative potential. The exercises felt like a protective blanket wrapped around my body. I also use the exercises to prepare myself before teaching. My voice has improved which inspired me to incorporate more songs into my lessons.-Tosha W.

Thank you!  I have studied singing for many years and appreciate the gentle, soothing, relaxing approach.  Reminded me of  yoga and of labor-opening.  -Beth G.

Just amazing!  Really connected me to my voice in a new, spiritual way.  -Ken S.

Meeting with the School of Uncovering the Voice has brought me closer to a wholesome singing practice and has provided me with a solid anchor on my vocal explorations, a safe and nurturing place for healing the voice and for growing more intimately familiar with it.  In the few years passing since this schooling first reached me, new knowledge has been constantly flowing into my listening and singing, deepening my awareness to space as the habitation of the voice and to the voice's place within it. The Singing Training will allow these understandings to further mature and will serve to continue the cultivation of presence, sensitivity and elasticity that allow the voice to shine through the body.  With the help of this sharpened presence, I hope to be able not only to meet the world with my own stronger, more centered voice, but also to impart this knowledge to others who may benefit from it.  -David K.

This course is very illuminating to me and supports many of my own discoveries during my forty years of teaching guitar.  It has cured my "hopeless" attitude about singing!  -Nan S.

Christiaan, you are a delightfully clear and holistic teacher.   What a joy you are!  -Ann O.

I have appreciated the opportunity to be in the Open Singing Course for these few days.  The spiritual understanding of the human being sets these singing exercises apart from other 'warm up exercises' that are even similar in some ways in other schools of singing.  it is this subtle yet huge difference that gives the therapeutic element an extra dimension that goes so much deeper than most approaches to the human voice.  If one is willing to do the work, these exercises can have a marvelous effect in opening the voice.  In essence, it is the spiritual understanding of the singing process and particularly the larynx which contributes to the uniqueness of this work.  -Joy S.

Wonderful course with depth, feeling and sharing of such knowledge!  -Julie M.

I loved it!  Moved to tears!  Affirmation of my inner needs.  I'm longing for the wholeness.  Want more!   -Jen A.

The small bit of Werbeck singing I have been introduced to has been restorative, energizing and healing and has helped bring practical experience and application to many of the spiritual concepts we study in my studio.  I personally have been through a long journey of vocal issues while being a lifelong performer and music minister.  Werbeck's work has helped me to recover my voice time and time again and continues to assist me in re-training old patterns of strain that I developed in early, less enlightened vocal study.  There is nothing I'd rather do than learn more about this incredible co-creative art in which we have the blessed opportunity to allow living sound presence to take form in the world.  -Kath R.

Thank you for all the sensitivity and strength you bring to the world cloaked in wonder, beauty and love.  Your way in the world brings hope and healing.  -Katherine P. 

Wonderful!  I love the mix of information and exercises!  -Noelle T.

How does one speak of "The School of Uncovering the Voice" without sounding too mythical, opening oneself to suspicion, for this is not an easy thing to speak about.  When I first came to the Open Course, I was told the work would "Meet Me Where I Was."  I silently wondered what that could possibly mean?  I grew up with an Amish grandmother, cousins, aunties, uncles and relatives, who all believed in the power of song.  I did not know this then, I only felt it.  We sang for every occasion; for work, for birth, for death, in four part harmony, without instrumentation.  My first understanding of something sacred came from song.  Perhaps the definition of Christiaan's work I might give is that one will discover that which is sacred in oneself again.  There are things buried in the heart that perhaps only music can stir up again.  -Beth N.

Wow Christiaan, what a gift you have given us.  A new impulse for our time and FUN too!  You have helped me change my life.  -Doug C.

The workshop and private lessons with Christiaan have brought me a deep joy and an awakening that I have been longing for.  I am very moved by the process of genuinely connecting with the power of the voice and the breath; of experiencing the wisdom and effectiveness of not pushing and not trying so hard... My voice transformed within a week and I already feel more connected with it.  Voice exercises from previous teachers used to bore me, but now I actually feel delighted to practice the exercises I learned with Christiaan... I experience these voice exercises as I would a meditation practice.  They bring mindfulness, focus and calm to my busy life.. bringing true healing and peace. -Lena P.

Connection, like the ripples when you toss the smooth stone into the water;  connection to the lion’s wild mane.  Thank you for these lively, living, working moments Christiaan. Joyous,grateful work! 
-Beverly K.

This day helped me gain entrance to a spacious sense of true engagement with my voice that I’ve not experienced before, with a sense that this resistance I’ve had can give way to more openness and participation. - Lily N.

I no longer linger in the shadows of silencing fear and doubt -
The sun beckons me now, waiting - endlessly, effortlessly
Sounds fly from my throat and heart like doves and swallows
With clear tones sweetly ringing- deftly, solidly, free
Led by the infinite air streaming - everywhere, always
Needing only to slow my furious pace
and quiet my restless mind,
I open to the sounds of grace Divine
And am enveloped by a harmony of song
more beautiful than even dreams' vast skies.
-Pamela B.