Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Natural Perfumery Basic Class -- online, worldwide

Note: this is a really long post, you may wish to cut and paste it into Word (four pages.)

The course outlined on this blog is grounded in educational focus and content, and was reviewed by University communication specialists. There will be 12 Modules and assignments given out to the students monthly. Some modules will stretch over other months, and two are short, due to their content. I thank all my friends on the internet for encouraging me to teach and I guarantee focus, tips, techniques and guidelines from a professional perfumer with 15+ years experience in the business. (edited for grammar Jan. 2008 ;-)

To sign up for updates for this course, please use this form:

If you desire to study perfume creation at your own pace, and be part of a community of students, this perfume course is for you.

Update for the Announced Basic Natural Perfumery Class

Student participation will depend on several factors, including content, time frame, cost, and intent to begin studies at this time.

Many of you are familiar with me and my experience in natural perfumery. If you are not, please visit the links to read more about me and my perfumery and educational background. Not found there is the fact I was an Adjunct Professor in the Masters Program of Urban Design at Florida Atlantic University, which although it demonstrates my teaching skills, is not directly relevant to perfumery. I have studied perfumery for 30 years, consulted with perfume industry professionals in my vocational development, and created and sold perfumes since 1992.

I have hosted the very dynamic Natural Perfumery Yahoo group since 2002, and have built up the membership there by nurturing those truly interested in natural perfumery. It is perhaps the greatest repository of natural perfumery information on the web. However, it is not "pulled together" for the serious student, so I created this course. There are now 1400 members in the NP group, and I'm a List Mom to them all. In this course, I will be the Teacher, a role that I take very seriously and am very happy to fill.

This course will only address natural aromatics. Basic perfumery techniques are very similar whether using naturals or synthetics, so if you desire to enroll and use synthetics in your blends, that is fine, your educational needs will be met, but please understand discussion of synthetics will not occur in the study forums, and I cannot answer questions on synthetics since I do not use them.

I have received many individual emails asking about details, and I will attempt to address them in this post. I have hired several online teaching experts to work with me in making this class the most comfortable, accessible and rewarding learning experience for you, and some of the organization and content was designed at their suggestion.

(Update Jan 1, 2008: Please note below this information was for the Fall 2007 class. These students received a greatly-discounted tuition due to the fact they were on the inaugural "maiden voyage" for the course, and realized that there were glitches to be worked out. This included the editing of the Primer, labeling of the aromatics (comprehensive labeling is in place for the Spring 2008 course) and some website kinks that have been worked out. The tuition for the March 2008 course is $1400.)

Start Date: October 6, 2007

Cost: $800 includes Primer, essence kit of 25 natural aromatics, online audio course, student forum that will be open for one year, accompanying online class modules with extra assignments, quizzes, and learning games. Sign ups will begin August 15th. A non-refundable $300 deposit to hold your place in the class is required. The next course's tuition will be higher, this introductory price is for the October course only. Tuition is non-refundable for any reason once class has started.

Class size will be limited to forty (40) students. Preferred class size will be 20 students.

Admission Requirements: Commitment to self and other students to form solid study and professional standards to move onward in the study of natural perfumery; computer speakers or headset; quiet, dedicated workspace to devote to aromatics; long distance phone carrier or Skype to talk with teacher; small amount of funds to purchase extra supplies as needed (suggested list at end of this update.)

Please understand the luxury of time and community you will be given with this course. No weekend course for $300 and then you’re adrift, all on your own, wonderful learning experience *or* $1000 week in Grasse, and then alone again – this course is constructed in such a manner to open up the world of a student community to you. Now you will be able to work with the modules and Primer and recorded classes at your own speed, have a forum to ask questions and form study groups with other students, no matter where in the world you live.

Second Change:

I originally planned to have “live” classes that would be recorded for later playback. The experts I’m working with, local University employees who are the techies for online classrooms, said this isn’t the best way to proceed for several reasons. Their University had backup generators, but still their online classes were a shambles after Hurricane Wilma. For those who don’t know, I live in Miami. After Wilma, I was without power for 15 days. Such a setback could really interrupt the flow of the initial six lectures, so they convinced me to record the lectures.

Additionally, the time zone spans of the potential students stretches from Singapore to Stuttgart. It would be impossible to get all of the students together on the same day, at the same time.

I was also told that many students would be shy at having their voices/questions recorded at the end of the lecture, as I originally planned, and that this might stifle their inquisitiveness and need to have lecture points explained further.

Now, you can listen to the lecture at your leisure during the assigned week, and as often as you wish thereafter. Even better, you can set up an appointment to talk with me, either by phone or Skype for a brief Q&A, probably 10-15 minutes. This can really draw out our shy students, and I always feel that much more is accomplished when talking rather than just typing an answer – nuances, quicker variations in topic, and perhaps a whole different topic, can be explored.

(Update Jan 1, 2008: there will be six pre-recorded lectures for the course. It was discovered in the Fall 2007 class that due to the different time zones and other obligations of the students, all the pre-recorded and live recorded meetings were unnecessary. Students attend a once-monthly chat that is live "typing" as in a chat room, and those who miss it can view the archive later.

Those who miss is can also call or skype me for a 15 minute consultation for any study questions they may need answered. There were many technical problems getting the lectures recorded and uploaded in the inaugural class. These have been solved (keeping fingers crossed!) and will be available. Students will be polled as to their opinions as to whether or not the lectures are necessary, since they can interact with me daily online or by phone if they miss the monthly chat.)

Summary of the Elements and Scope of the Class:

(Update Jan. 11, 2008 - here are the details of the lectures that were glitch-ridden. See above paragraph for more details.)

  1. The class will be pre-recorded, so you do not have to be in front of your computer at a certain time. That is OK for a one-time course, or a course that does not involve students from many time zones around the globe, so we’ll be able to accommodate everyone with this arrangement.
  2. The recorded class will probably be in a mp3 format, streaming, so it will work with dial up connections. You can listen to it at your leisure, any time of day or night.
  3. No telephone fees for the students with the pre-recorded class. I didn’t realize going into this class that many overseas calls to the USA were going to be quite expensive for the students. Many countries don’t have the deep-discount long-distance plans we have.
  4. Now the students will have the opportunity to call me or Skype me (which is free) for a 10-minute consultation for each of the weeks the class is in session. This also allows a much more dynamic one-on-one with me, and you’ll get specialized advice. The teaching experts also told me that many students might not realize they even had a question until days after the course, so this serves the students much better.

The course will commence Saturday, October 6, 2007, a Saturday. At this time the first lecture will be uploaded to a password-protected website. Subsequent lectures and modules will be available October 13, 20, 27, November 3, with the final lecture and module uploaded November 10th.

(Update Jan 11, 2008 - soon after writing the above paragraph, I expanded the course to twelve module classes.)

But that’s only the beginning!

1. Audio Class Lecture for Six weeks with teacher telephone conferencing

2. Primer*

3. Twelve content-rich Online Class Study Modules

4. Study Forum for student study groups

5. Kit containing 25 natural aromatics and scent strips in a protective wooden box

6. Blending sessions

7. Quizzes

8. Games

The course will be “live” for six weeks, and the students are enrolled in the class study modules and study forum for six months. This is to try to mimic the “real world” perfume school where the students would be able to interact with the other students as the put their classroom learning in to action.

Much of the basic work will take this long. You will work at your own pace, but dedication to repetitive analysis of the aromatics, creating accords and evaluation of the skills set will realistically take the full year. This will be evident as the Primer is read, the Modules and tests begun, and the realization that the class is laying the foundation for a discipline of study that takes years to perfect.

The year will allow the student to begin to sharpen and polish their knowledge base and refine their skills. You will be able to network with the other students, and build friendships that will last a lifetime. Your effort and dedication will dictate what you get out of the class, and as a teacher, I feel that this format will allow you to feel connected. The students are coming from every part of the world, and there will be no isolation or solitary study—unless the student desires that, of course.

*Note: I am writing the Primer to be as comprehensive as a Primer can be, based on one I wrote years ago for the USGS on Alternative Futures Planning for the Natural Resources. If, after student feedback, I feel it needs revision or expanding, the students will receive a revised copy, at no extra cost except shipping, when it is completed.

(Update Jan. 11, 2008 - the Primer was reedited, revised and the update will be mailed out, or sent via attachment, as per the individual student's wishes.)

This blog will be the quickest way to find out new information as we move forward towards October 6th.

Thank you for your interest, and good luck and kind encouragement as you move forward in your quest to become a natural perfumer.