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From Opera to eLearning: The Whole World is her Stage!

By ETM Marketing and Communications Associate Jennifer Williams

The word “opera” often comes with some stigma: lots of people consider it boring, loud, even sometimes old-fashioned. But for ETM teacher Hannah Friesen, opera changed the trajectory of her career. 

Hannah discovered her love for singing at an early age, sharing, “I began to really use my voice in kindergarten, and my parents supported my auditions and engagement in local musical theater productions when I was in elementary school.”

But it wasn’t until college that opera started to captivate her. 

The world of opera was a beautiful challenge for Hannah:  her days were filled with voice lessons, private coaching, and practicing. But, even though it was hard work, it was also very rewarding.  “Learning new music and creating art with a collective of talented artists brings so much joy! My greatest delight is when it all comes together on stage!”

As a first-year teacher with ETM, it was very important for Hannah to share her love of opera with her students. Opera is the culmination of every other art form,” she shared. “It requires all the elements of music, dance, art, and storytelling and combines them into one powerful package. Opera connects students to our world’s history and the great composers of the past. It is so important for young musicians to understand where their favorite music today comes from, and how styles and genres have evolved over time.”

So you may still be thinking: Young Students + Opera = BORING!

But not for Hannah’s students, “They absolutely love it! Once we unpack the exciting components of musical storytelling, it becomes the least boring thing ever! Imagine talented people singing as high as they can, as loud as they can, without any microphones. Now add fabulous costumes and the powerful swell of a live orchestra – IT’S MAGNIFICENT!”

Hannah’s music lessons extend beyond the world of opera. Her YouTube Channel is filled with engaging videos designed to keep music alive in her students homes. “The transition to virtual learning definitely had a steep learning curve, but I have become quite the YouTube sensation (at least to my K- 4th grade students!) So much wonderful learning has come through teaching music in the virtual space. My classroom has now come alive in student homes and I’ve enjoyed videos of whole families singing and dancing along with the lessons.

ETM Instructional Supervisor Grace Lazos shared, “Hannah uses her wide range of talents to create fun in her classroom. She’s always up on her feet, playing an instrument, leading a song, or telling a story. She has a great repertoire of examples to relay concepts to her students, providing a sample of a recitative using “Frozen” characters, among other activities. They are encouraged to draw from personal experiences, emotions, and events. You cannot help but have fun when you watch her lessons!”

Check out Hannah’s lesson “All About Opera!