Time and again, it is obvious to me that many singers are spinning in circles when it comes to working in the practice room. Intelligent people with every intention of spending time to improve technique and gain self-confidence are doing nothing more than grinding in old habits. And we wonder why we don’t like to practice? If you’re not spending a good bit of time practicing to DISCOVER–to redefine what you’re learning in lessons and classes so that it becomes your very own–you are not progressing very much. Continue Reading
A great tool for memorization is to “storyboard”–something that film makers do to map out scenes before they are shot. Draw a symbol for each idea or part of an idea in each phrase of what you are singing. These can be realistic–or even silly–anything to help you string the parts of the whole together so that you can remember them in order. Here is an example of my storyboard for Bizet’s “Ouvre ton coeur”–just click on the link below (and yes, it’s fine to laugh at my drawing skills or lack thereof!):
I ask my students to translate any selection (even if it’s in their mother tongue) into their own every day vernacular, so as to have as personal a relationship to the text as possible. I’m pretty pleased with my translation of Chausson’s Le Charme:
Quand ton sourire me surprit,
When I was first caught off guard by your smile–
Je sentis frémir tout mon être,
I felt a tremor throughout my being–
Mais ce qui domptait nous esprit,
but the exact thing that captured my heart–
Je ne pus d’abord le connaître.
I wasn’t able to discern at first (I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what it was)
Quand ton regard tomba sur moi,
(After which) When your gaze fell on me–
Je sentis mon âme se fondre,
I felt myself melt inside–
Mais ce que serait cet émoi,
but whatever emotion this was–
Je ne pus d’abord en répondre.
I could not yet acknowledge it.
Ce qui me vainquit à jamais,
The thing that finally conquered me–
Ce fut un plus douloureux charme;
turned out to be a sadder charm–
Et je n’ai su que je t’aimais,
and I only knew that I (actually) loved you–
Qu’en voyant ta première larme.
upon seeing your first tear.
So I’m getting a duo recital ready with a longtime friend and student Diane–and I’ve decided to prepare the recital with exactly the same system that I ask my students to prepare the selections they work on for class or lessons.
Because I’m doing a set of three French selections and it’s been a LONG time since I’ve sung in French–I decided to use the following “tools” put out by The Vocal Library, which I have been telling my students about for a couple of years–but have never sat down to use myself.
They. Are. Fabulous.
…and if you want the companion book that contains the songs themselves, complete with background history and IPA:
Boy–things are sure easier now than when I was in college. And I’ll have you know–it’s very disturbing to me that I’ve become one of those people that is able to say that.Continue Reading