The Montréal-based mezzo-soprano will headline an online music therapy panel discussion titled “Music Heals.” Her segment is Saturday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m. (ET). Feher will draw mostly on her experiences with MfP, a systematic method of music improvisation that fosters deep listening, mindfulness and creativity.
To register for this and other HKGNA events, visit hkgna.com/hkgna-music-festival-2020.
Feher joins a distinguished panel of music therapists and educators, including Ken Aigen, associate professor and director of music therapy at New York University; Chong Hyun Ju, professor and chair of music therapy at Ewha Women’s University (South Korea); Aaltje van Zweden, founder of the worldwide Papageno Foundation; and Mathieu Pater, the foundation’s head music therapist.
“I am thrilled to discuss, on the global stage, how I use Music for People tools and techniques,” says Feher, who established an MfP program in Montréal in 2018. “I will explore principles seldom addressed in traditional music education settings—ones that affect your mood and result in improved health.”
In the wake of COVID-19, Feher has become a fixture in MfP’s online programming. She not only co-hosts the popular webinar “Fill Your Home with Music,” but also has appeared on “Music Alive!,” a virtual wellness program for seniors, families and caregivers.
Feher also co-facilitates MfP’s Musicianship and Leadership Program (MLP), whose curricula she is helping re-design. She recently created “EuSing!,” an MfP-inspired webinar series that uses improvisation to “open up the voice.”
“I work at the nexus of mind, body and music,” says Feher, who teaches classical and contemporary voice at her alma mater, Concordia University. “I’m particularly keen on helping people discover and enjoy their authentic voice, regardless of their level of singing experience. Such exploration requires a mutually respectful, interactive and supportive environment.”
Feher’s talents were on display this past summer at MfP’s first online “Art of Improvisation” workshop, which she co-facilitated, and at the International Society for Music Education’s Community Music Pre-Conference Seminar, where she co-presented with MfP Program Director Mary Knysh.
Among her collaborators is 2020 JUNO Award-winning singer Dawn Tyler Watson. “Irene is so easy to talk to, like an old friend,” says Watson, a fellow Concordia alumna. “When she called to invite me to participate in ‘Art of Improvisation,’ we spoke for nearly two hours. Irene makes everybody feel special.’
With more than three decades of teaching and performing under her belt, Feher feels she is embarking on a new chapter of her career—due, in part, to the pandemic, which has sent her private teaching and music improvisation facilitation work into overdrive.
Mindful music making and healthy vocal production are key to everything she does.
“Music and sound can help us find healing in times of crisis,” says Feher, who earned a doctoral degree in music from McGill University, where she teaches a vocal technique course. “The benefits of improvising with others are endless, not the least of which is stress reduction.”
Since cellist David Darling co-founded MfP in 1986, the organization has found a worldwide audience in teachers, performers, composers, singer-songwriters and healing arts practitioners.
Feher attributes MfP’s success to its signature humanistic approach, in which there are “no wrong notes.” “Just as everyone has a unique story to tell, melodies and harmonies can be equally exciting—and healing,” she adds.
Founded in 2009, HKGNA is a registered charity whose annual music festival helps inspire and nurture young artists. More information is at hkgna.com.
To learn more about Feher, visit livingyourmusic.com.