Teacher Training Institute 2017

Courage, Creativity & Authenticity


Junior Composers and Avivo are partnering to serve music teachers again this summer!

Register Early While Financial Aid Funds Are Plentiful!

Friday, July 14, 2017, 7pm – Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 3pm
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

$75 Discount for Students
$50 Discount for National Federation of Music Clubs Members

Register now!


This workshop will be facilitated by Avivo Teaching Artists Patricia Plude & Leo Wanenchak.

Pat is a master teacher, someone who invites you back into yourself and allows honesty and artistry to be revived. Leo has energy, ideas, and support for us all. With Leo, I feel energized to be the best teacher I can be!
Marie Scholtz
Elementary Vocal Music Teacher
Golden Valley, MN


In Avivo’s signature workshop, participants practice the art of learning and teaching music through improvisation and engage in playful exploration of their artist-selves.

Our 2017 workshop will be informed and guided by excerpts from David Whyte’s poetic text, Crossing an Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. Our time together will include Creative Activities in Musicianship and Rhythms; Pedagogy Roundtables; and a multi-session Choral Experience.

Courage, Creativity and Authenticity is for musicians, private teachers, classroom teachers, and choral or instrumental ensemble conductors who wish to learn more about themselves as artists, musicians, and educators, and who want to infuse their music making with new life!

Thanks to our generous donors, limited financial aid is available for musicians and teachers needing support.

Documentation of study will be provided to apply to Continuing Education Units in your state.
Please see Workshop Overview, Session Descriptions and Fees & Financial Aid for more information.

We’d love to hear from you! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to write us at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

We hope to see you in July,

The Avivo Team

Hear what Avivo workshop participants have to say:

Workshop Overview

“We all have our own ground to work, you know. You have yours, too. You just have to find out what it is. It is right on the edge of yourself.”David Whyte

At Avivo, we have long believed that improvisation is a practice that takes us to the edge of ourselves. For to create spontaneous music, we must drop into the deep River of Creativity at the heart of our being, and we must give ourselves over to its currents. Sometimes we must also face the fear demons that inhabit the banks of that river: demons that whisper “You have nothing original to say!” Or, “Everyone is a better musician than you!” Or, “You can’t possibly compose something artful in the moment!”

At an Avivo workshop we acknowledge and honor these demons, and we don’t allow them to run the show. The River of Creativity is deep and wide, and we know that everyone can successfully navigate its currents.

Believing that the voice is everyone’s first instrument, each day begins with a Choral Experience. This time is a warm up for the creative work to come, and a first step toward claiming the personal authenticity that manifests through singing. It is a time of community building as together we learn beautiful choral repertoire in creative new ways.

The remainder of the morning is spent in group improvisation sessions. This year these sessions will be framed by conversations inspired by readings from David Whyte’s Crossing an Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. Using clear forms and parameters that allow each person to enter at his or her own level and pace, we will immerse ourselves in that River of Creativity. With playfulness, lightheartedness, courage, and wonder, we will travel to the edge of ourselves and create spontaneous music together. Participants will leave feeling more related to their own improviser – composer selves and with clear guidelines for recreating improvisational forms in their classrooms, studios, and rehearsals.

In the afternoons we break into smaller groups for skill building and pedagogy classes. Here we explore Avivo’s proven activity-based methods for teaching the fundamentals of music through improvisation and composition. These sessions, which include work with solfège, rhythms and Dalcroze Eurhythmics, as well as intervals, triads, and harmony, are designed to help our participants deepen their own skills and master creative activities to try in their studios, rehearsals, and classrooms. Each afternoon also contains space to practice new skills and improvise alone or with friends, as well as times of group reflection on what we have experienced and learned throughout the day and how it might be adapted to different learning and teaching situations.

As the community forms, individuals successfully take new risks and learn new skills, and everyone rides the currents of their River of Creativity, the excitement is palpable. Indeed, Avivo’s Courage, Creativity & Authenticity workshop is often experienced as a sacred journey of transformation.

Come join us on the journey!

Session Descriptions

Choral Experience: We will explore a creative approach to aural understanding and facility applicable to any vocal or instrumental ensemble rehearsal.

Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity: In his poetic text Crossing an Unknown Sea, David Whyte recalls a conversation with an individual he meets in a serendipitous manner at an important crossroads in his life. The man challenges him: “We all have our own ground to work, you know. You have yours, too. It is right on the edge of yourself. That’s the edge you go to.”

Through artful improvisation and guided reflection, participants will engage in active conversation with their creative edge and with the courage and authenticity that form the ground of their being.

Pedagogy Roundtables: Throughout the weekend participants will be invited to reflect on their own experiences as adult learners and to explore how the ideas and activities presented may be adapted to personal practice, the private lesson, group lesson, classroom teaching, and the instrumental / vocal ensemble rehearsal.

Creative Activities Classes: These classes will offer a hands-on exploration of creative activities that will enrich, enliven and transform personal practice, the private lesson, classroom experience, or rehearsal. Participants will depart with an experience of specific activities, which can be transported and adapted to their unique situation. Exact classes will be selected as the learning community takes shape during registration. Here are some possibilities:

  • Rhythm & Improvisation (entry level and more advanced for returning participants)
  • Musicianship & Improvisation (entry level and more advanced for returning participants)
  • Exploring Sound through Improvisation (foundation of acoustics and the overtone series)
  • Musicianship in the Private Lesson (discovering music as a language)

Fees & Financial Aid

$450 Tuition – Register Early For Financial Aid Support!

A $50 non-refundable administrative fee is required with submission of your registration and is applicable to your total tuition. Receipt of this administrative fee reserves your place in the workshop.

Room & Board is available in Middlebrook Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities:

  • $196 for a single room for four nights
  • $148 for a double room for four nights
  • Optional meal packages (4 breakfasts $40; 4 lunches $72; dinners on your own)

Balance of tuition and room and board fees are due upon registration confirmation and financial aid award, as applicable.

Payments may be made through PayPal (will include PayPal’s service fee) or by check. Checks should be made payable to Junior Composers Summer Programs and mailed to Avivo Registrar; c/o Erin Pearson; PO Box 60005; Nashville, TN 37206

Financial Aid: Some need-based financial aid is available in the form of partial tuition remission and / or travel reimbursement stipends for those who must fly to Minneapolis. Financial aid awards are not applicable to Room & Board Fees. All awards are based on need AND on a first-come, first-served basis. Please apply early!

Financial Aid Application Process

  • Complete the online registration form and submit a $50 non-refundable administration fee. This fee is applicable to your total tuition and reserves your spot in the workshop. Your financial aid application will not be processed until this administration fee is received.
  • Send a one to two paragraph Statement of Intent and Need to Patricia Plude, Director of Avivo: email hidden; JavaScript is required. This statement should answer the following questions:
    • Why do you want to participate in this workshop?
    • Considering total tuition, room & board, and travel costs, how much can you contribute to your participation? How much tuition remission will you need?
    • If you are flying, how much will your flight(s) cost? How much do you need (if anything) in the form of a travel reimbursement stipend?
  • Within 14 days you will receive notification of your financial aid award and / or travel reimbursement stipend. Your tuition balance is due upon receipt of this award letter. Your financial aid award will not be guaranteed until the balance of your tuition is received.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation before June 5, 2017: tuition and room & board payments will be refunded, minus the $50 administrative fee.

Cancellation after June 5, 2017: all tuition and room & board payments are non-refundable.

Parking: Parking is an additional expense at the lots on campus: http://www.pts.umn.edu/sites/pts.umn.edu/files/wbank.pdf