Vocal Exercises

Vocal Exercises Jason Robert LeClair

 

Mom was an art educator giving afterschool art lessons. It was there during grade school that I learned basic design principles and color theory. At age ten, I won my first art contest; an environmental poster competition. This gave me outside proof that my art was good. After all, when your mother tells you you’re a great artist, that is what she has to say, right?

I continued under my mother’s tutelage shortly after she started working full time as one of the art faculty at Mount Saint Charles Academy. Attending “Mount” from grades seven through twelve, my mother helped me stay constant in my sketch work and development as an artist. In class, she treated every assignment with reverence and seriousness. Her projects were challenging and substantial. They directly correlated with what I would learn as a freshman in college. I still have Mom critique my work today.

When I entered into AP art in Junior and Senior year of high school, my art teacher knew how to teach architecture, but not fine art. For him, AP meant Auto Pilot; at least when it came to my best friend, Michael and myself. We did whatever we pleased as long as we were making art. So Mike and I turned to Mom and each other for feedback and guidance. With that help, I developed a portfolio that earned my acceptance at every school to which I applied. RISD was my top choice, but I was not able to afford it. I received moneys from the Hartford Art School in Connecticut and began my higher education there.

Great influences on me as an artist came out of my years at Hartford. My freshman year I was exposed to all types of art and materials that I would not have otherwise encountered. I fell in love with sculpture, and with drawing all over again. But the real definitive portion of those years was my work-study. I took a job in the technical theatre department of the University. My father was an industrial arts teacher and I had picked up a great number of woodworking skills from him. In the work-study, I learned how to apply them artistically to create practical and aesthetic scenery and props. In that scene shop I learned to paint.

Due to funding issues I had to find another school. I transferred to Massachusetts College of Art. Switching my major from illustration to Studio for Interrelated Media. SIM, is where I grew to appreciate experimentation and development of artistic voice. I graduated from Mass Art and began “real life.” Years went by and I worked in corporate America as a manager, sketching at every free moment, unsatisfied and dying to be an artist.

As it would happen, my mother was the one to help me out of this. She told me of a position at an all girls’ Catholic school for a theatre teacher. I applied for the job on a long shot. Needless to say, that position started my arts education career. For eight years I developed curriculum and taught everything from scenic painting and construction to Shakespeare.

A year prior to taking this position, I had made the worst decision of my life that generated the best the universe had to offer me. I married too young, too quickly, and too desperately. I do not wish to revisit it, but suffice to say, I ended it. I was left with two beautiful little girls and through my first job, had met my soul mate a year after I ended my marriage.

Finding that person, who has been the most inspirational and supportive partner an artist or man could hope for. Gina, my soul mate, my wife, my Angel, has given me the drive and purpose to again pursue my art. Moreover, having remarried without an annulment, I was forced to resign from my job at the all girls’ Catholic school. That brings me to my present position. I was brought on as the “artist in residence” at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts, a position created for me. Proceeding to get certified I took all of the education courses I hadn’t needed to at a Catholic school. I earned a dual certification in K-12 Art and Theatre. Last year I was able to pay Gina back for her love and support. As miracles happen, last year she needed a kidney and I was her exact match. I shed 60lbs. in five months in order to donate my kidney. We have saved each other and are both preparing for a better future by getting our masters degrees. The universe has given me a partner, a career, a future, and a generation to educate that will follow their own footsteps and find their own artistic voices.

VocalExercises_JRLSML

 

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