Team Around the Artist: Connie de Jongh
“It takes a village to raise a child”, as the saying goes. The same is true for the development of professional talent within the performing arts. Student Life, the student support programme of Codarts, advocates a ‘Team Around the Artist’ approach, meaning that the student is at the centre and is supported by a team of leading health practitioners, teachers, study coaches, embedded scientists and support staff. One of our team member is our performance coach, Connie de Jongh. Get to know Connie a little bit better through this short interview!
What is your role as a performance coach at Codarts?
“As a performance coach I help students to work on their interaction and contact with their instrument and the material (composition) within different performance contexts.”
For what problems/questions can students contact you?
“Students can contact me if they have questions related to musical and performance parameters, such as breathing, flow, posture and movement, stage fright/anxiety and stagecraft. They can also come see me if they want to improve or explore ways of playing, expressing and communicating with and through their instrument.”
Can you give us an example of a ‘problem’ that you have worked on with a student?
“I can give you many examples, ha ha. Here are two:
- A student wanted to give up playing his instrument because he was so frightened on stage. After talking/working together he graduated a few months later with an overwhelming 10 par excellence!
- A student was pushing her instrument and herself beyond possibilities because she was told she had to fill a concert space (the size of the football stadium) with her sound. She felt so much pressure that she started hyperventilating when she had to play. Coaching sessions helped her to relax and breathe normally while playing."
How can students make an appointment with you?
“Students can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), send an sms, talk to me while passing by, or just come to the open office hours as mentioned in Asimut.”
How long have you worked at Codarts and what did you do before you started working as a performance coach?
“I have been a teacher at Codarts for 31 years. I introduced the Performance Awareness coaching as a follow- up on electives on Stage Fright and Body, Breathing & Playing. I am also a main- and side subject teacher for singing in various departments. In addition, I am a member of the MR (student-staff council) and the professorship Educational Renewal. Lastly, I am the project leader of the new Student Association Yellow House.
Next to my work at Codarts I’ve enjoyed (and still do) a worldwide concert career in singing, with a specialisation in classical art song. Besides this I work with amateurs, New-Dutch status holders, actors and I write and produce (educational and performance) programs for others and myself. I am also a regular guest-teacher at Esmae Conservatory in Porto, Portugal.”
What do you enjoy most about your work at Codarts?
“The freedom and variety in my work and work context. I get to follow the very personal search of students to find their sound, their meaning and contribution. I see their struggles and victories!
I also enjoy the diversity at work. Every day many young people, carrying influences from all around the world, pass through my room. Working with them also makes me grow, learn, understand and develop. I have become a better musician because of them. And now I have come to that point where I have the space and courage to share (some people even take it out!) some of what I have learned.”
What would you consider the most important skill or knowledge that a student should learn or take from their studies at Codarts?
“Courage, trust and an inquisitive mind.”