performance/teaching & facilitation

"Frances brings a spirit of sunshine to any musical endeavor, brightening the space and warming the hearts of those present.  Her music is honest, passionate and intensely communal, with enthusiasm and charisma that reach across generations, cultures and genres".    -Daryl Snider, musician

Performance
background:  
Frances comes from a musical family and a rigorous classical training in violin and piano (including studying violin performance at Oberlin Conservatory).  For the past 13 years, she has been improvising, writing her own music, and learning from folk traditions.  She is currently studying North Indian music with Humayun Khan.  Frances has joyfully played and performed with Howard Levy - former harmonica player with the Flecktones, David Darling - grammy award winning cellist, Mageshen Naidu guitarist extraordinaire from South Africa, Cajun and Creole fiddlers in Louisiana, Creole fiddlers in Cape Verde, the merriment goes on... 
 
She currently plays with the band Mandalélé:
"Mandalélé" is a high-powered, fun and thoughtful trio bringing together diverse musical and cultural backgrounds.  We are three singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist women: Lorraine Duisit (former member of "Trapezoid"), Wendi Sirat and Frances Miller.  Our music is mostly original with influences from Hawai, Kenya, Gypsy fiddling and music from the blue ridge mountains of Virginia where we live.  Our songs cover a range of emotional landscapes reflecting the joys and challenges of our life journeys.  Our main instruments are violin, bass, ukelele, mandolin, viola, the hang drum, guitar and of course, three-part vocal harmony.
 
...And a new band, Sopa Sol:  Frances, Jason Mundock, Daryl Snider and David Armstrong.
Sopa Sol's
music is an eclectic, organic reflection on being wholly human, with a blend of instrumentation from traditional to exotic, and everything...including genres...is open to interpretation.
 
Frances also shares the stage with a number of other musicians on an on-going basis, including Mike Deaton,
Jessica Smucker and the Sleeping World, Paul Reisler
and Kid Pan Alley, and Ron Kravitz.
 
Frances is available for gigs with Mandalélé, Sopa Sol, solo or with other musicians for community events, festivals, schools, retirement/convalescent homes, private events, etc.
e-mail francesemiller@hotmail.com to request gigs
 
Studio Work
background: 8 years of experience with studio recording work at 6 different recording studios.  In addition to her own work, she has added violin/strings tracks to many artist's albums.  
 
Available for hire for recording studio work. 
Teaching
background:
  • 10+ yrs of experience with private lessons and 3 yrs experience of classroom teaching.  
  • violin, beginning piano and freeing the natural voice
  •  focus on creative expression and creative process regardless of instrument.
 
Violin lessons:  Holistic approach, attention given to keeping the body healthy, incorporating improvisation and a number of fiddle/violin styles.
 
Available for teaching private lessons and group classes.  All ages welcome.  
 
Facilitation
background:  
trained improvisational music facilitator through Arthur Hall Village Playshops and Music for People 4 year program.  She hosts numerous community music events.  Events (past and current)include:
  • singing workshop for people who thought they were tone-deaf
  • on-going improv vocal women's singing group 
  • drum circles
  • improvisational events for school orchestras
  • general community groups with mixed instruments
  • drum/peace education circles - using drumming as a way to explore different topics
More about Music for People, an organization dedicated to practicing a humanistic approach to music.
 
In Frances' words:
"The folks who created Music for People have worked over the years to figure out core, essential elements that make music "work".  Based on these, they've developed entry ways (musical games) into music-making that are accessible to everyone regardless of experience level.  So in a Music For People workshop, you may see a professional musician sit down with someone who has just started playing the rainstick a few weeks ago and realize that, oddly enough, there is a kind of equilibrium between them.  This is because free improvisation in that setting is about listening, about being authentically yourself each moment and about having the courage to face the unknown together - moment by moment.  The music that comes from these experiences is often astounding and transformative as we realize we can really meet each other as human beings - through our sounds, regardless of our differences."