Written by Becky Chaffee
Published: February 5, 2015 at 2:46 AM [UTC]
See Part 1 of this interview, How Nora Germain Got her Jazz Violin Education in January.
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Violettes: You are lucky to be perfectly located and well connected to do what you love to do. You graduated from the University of Southern California in spring 2014, but your resume is long with professional playing, recording and stand in parts in movies.
Nora: I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. Although there are many arts organizations there and the general public is very hungry for art and respects art, I knew I wanted to expand. So, it took a few moves for me to realize that I wanted to live in LA, but I finally was able to choose it and I love it. Who knows, I may move to Paris one day! Ha!
One more thing -- with technology these days, it matters much less where you live, since you can be seen and heard all over the world from your bedroom. And a lot of musicians can give Skype lessons and even do recordings via email, so you don’t have to live in a big city, but I certainly enjoy its variety!
As far as connections go, that’s kind of up to each individual person. Sometimes it’s hard to connect with certain people and that’s ok. Maybe someday you meet, maybe not. But making connections is each person’s responsibility. I don’t like to leave things up to fate, so if I want to meet someone and I have the opportunity to, they’ll know it! I’ll show up to that person’s concert or whatever it may be and shake their hand. Then go from there.
Violettes: I listened to a number of your You Tubes, but did not run across one with your singing. Are you also able to do jazz singing? (Isn’t that called scat?) If so, what age did you start learning to do that? Can you point us to one of your singing you tubes? Do you ever sing at the same time as you play?
Nora: I love to sing, and only started to recently, so I don’t have much out yet. But, I do have “How About You” from my album “Little Dipper” available on YouTube, as well as on the album of course. And, I sang "Salty Dogs” on that album also. I’ve been singing more and more live, which is great fun, but a bit of a challenge when it comes to the lyrics!
I love to scat, and a lot of jazz musicians that are not singers actually know how to scat also. Sometimes when we (musicians) are trying to explain a melody or recall a solo to one another, we scat it! So it kind of comes with the territory. I’ve only started singing less than a year ago, so I’m not sure if scatting or singing while I play at the same time will become part of my repertoire, but you never know! For now I’m sticking to singing the melodies and trying to develop a nice clean tone with my voice. Oh, and remembering lyrics!
I started singing when I was a young girl, usually nursery rhymes and folk songs but also some classical music when I was in elementary school. I always loved singing but never added it to my performances until 2014. Now I’m having so much fun singing!
Violettes: You must have been playing at a professional level from a very young age to have such a resume age 23? Can you tell us about some of your professional work when you first started?
Nora: Absolutely! My mom and a few of her colleagues started Suzuki Strings of Madison, a Suzuki classical violin school in Madison, Wisconsin, around the time that I was born. So my mom and her friends were teaching all these little kids the violin, one of them being me. When we got old
enough to stand up straight and hold a violin, she got us all performing in Madison, in small theaters, outside, for the holidays, in opera houses, in barns, all over town! Some years we got to play some amazing venues like the Milwaukee Art Museum. We would play folk and fiddle tunes in unison or
two or three part harmonies. We also played easy to moderate classical repertoire as well as some show tunes like “Hungarian Dance” or other things like that.
Violettes: Have you done some acting training. Or what is the extent of your involvement in theatre, if any?
Nora: I don’t have much acting or theater experience at all, but in 6th grade I was in a local high school production of Les Miserables, playing Little Cosette. That was about the only time I had to really act in
a serious setting. In high school, I sung and danced in the high school Glee club of sorts, and that was always a blast. Sometimes I played violin in the backline band too! Other than that, since moving to LA, I have had the opportunity to do a lot of background acting in TV movies, some of which I also play part of the score for! And, now and again, I get to play violin on screen too; once I did an episode of Glee and I also played in a Hallmark TV movie called “Strawberry Summer.”
Enjoy another video of Ms. Germain:
Visit her web site at: www.NoraGermain.com
This Blog is by Becky Chaffee, Owner of ViolettesbyBecky.com Quality Music Gifts (See our Violin Bag).
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