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The Think Method
Does It Really Work

by M. Ryan Taylor


David Aks leads a busy career working with singers—from his main job as artistic director of the California State University–Northridge’s Opera Theater, to his more than 20 years working with Ann Baltz’s OperaWorks, to his long list of conducting credits nationwide. So how did this once-upon-a-time cello performance major at Oberlin College become so immersed in the opera field? More importantly, how did he create the curriculum for which he’s best known—empowering singers to use their minds fully in a form of practice Aks calls audio-visualization? And what is audio-visualization, anyway?

I sat down with Aks and singers who have worked with him to get the answers.

Could you please tell us a little of the story of your journey, from your training as a cellist to becoming the head of CSUN’s opera department and working with OperaWorks? What got you interested in working with opera and singers?

I was raised in a musical household. My grandfather [Wallingford Riegger] wa...

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