rhu: (Default)
It's been a while since I posted about my voice lessons. The last few weeks we've been working on Winterreise and it's been awesome. Tonight I really felt that I was producing performance-quality sound without being self-conscious about it; my posture just fell into the correct position and the resonance and emotional expressivity were there.
rhu: (Default)
It's been a while since I posted about my voice lessons. The last few weeks we've been working on Winterreise and it's been awesome. Tonight I really felt that I was producing performance-quality sound without being self-conscious about it; my posture just fell into the correct position and the resonance and emotional expressivity were there.
rhu: (Default)
Last night was my first lesson since three weeks ago (because of the break) and I had that awful cold that's been going around over break, so I was really worried that I would have regressed vocally and forgotten the music that I'm working on. (I was a naughty boy and didn't even review it at the piano.)

I was pleasantly surprised by how well my lesson went. My teacher said that often after taking a break and being sick a singer actually sings better because they don't really care how well they sound, they just want to survive, so they don't tense up! I was certainly much more relaxed than I expected.

And she came even closer to convincing me to sing at a recital in the spring. I've been working on "Honor and Arms" from Handel's Samson and it's a remarkably fun piece to do.
rhu: (Default)
Last night was my first lesson since three weeks ago (because of the break) and I had that awful cold that's been going around over break, so I was really worried that I would have regressed vocally and forgotten the music that I'm working on. (I was a naughty boy and didn't even review it at the piano.)

I was pleasantly surprised by how well my lesson went. My teacher said that often after taking a break and being sick a singer actually sings better because they don't really care how well they sound, they just want to survive, so they don't tense up! I was certainly much more relaxed than I expected.

And she came even closer to convincing me to sing at a recital in the spring. I've been working on "Honor and Arms" from Handel's Samson and it's a remarkably fun piece to do.
rhu: (Default)
Had an amazing session tonight -- I sang an E full voice, not falsetto, and felt the top part of my face buzzing with the resonance. Wow! Now I understand what it means to get the "mask" involved. I just need to make it happen a few dozen more times so I can figure out how I did that.

Actually, what my teacher said shortly before that was that I should emphasize the lower partials. At some level, this makes no more sense than any of the various visualization techniques that I've heard over the years and mocked as ridiculous. But for me, this one worked -- I understood in what way she wanted me to produce a different sound, I made some changes that I thought would produce that sound, and it worked.

When my folks were visiting this weekend they listened to me rehearsing and commented that my voice sounded "lower", and I wonder if that was the same thing: producing more power in the lower overtones.
rhu: (Default)
Had an amazing session tonight -- I sang an E full voice, not falsetto, and felt the top part of my face buzzing with the resonance. Wow! Now I understand what it means to get the "mask" involved. I just need to make it happen a few dozen more times so I can figure out how I did that.

Actually, what my teacher said shortly before that was that I should emphasize the lower partials. At some level, this makes no more sense than any of the various visualization techniques that I've heard over the years and mocked as ridiculous. But for me, this one worked -- I understood in what way she wanted me to produce a different sound, I made some changes that I thought would produce that sound, and it worked.

When my folks were visiting this weekend they listened to me rehearsing and commented that my voice sounded "lower", and I wonder if that was the same thing: producing more power in the lower overtones.
rhu: (Default)
I haven't posted about my voice lessons for a while, so since I just came back from a particularly good one, I'll post.

In particular, what made this one good was that for the first time in years I sounded like a soloist. Not for very long, and not a particularly good soloist, but that's what at-home practice time is for. The critical thing is that we (and by "we" I mean "my teacher") identified a significant technical issue that, once addressed, made a world of difference in the sound I was making.

The issue is that I have a big mouth. Or, more precisely, when I sing I have a wide "choral" mouth, and soloists apparently need "a more focused aperture" while still keeping the soft palate high. So I practiced singing like Julia Child with my finger in my mouth. It felt artificial, and I had to spend way too much of my concentration on the shape of my mouth, but I could hear and feel the difference.

So now I just have to practice until that feels normal.
rhu: (Default)
I haven't posted about my voice lessons for a while, so since I just came back from a particularly good one, I'll post.

In particular, what made this one good was that for the first time in years I sounded like a soloist. Not for very long, and not a particularly good soloist, but that's what at-home practice time is for. The critical thing is that we (and by "we" I mean "my teacher") identified a significant technical issue that, once addressed, made a world of difference in the sound I was making.

The issue is that I have a big mouth. Or, more precisely, when I sing I have a wide "choral" mouth, and soloists apparently need "a more focused aperture" while still keeping the soft palate high. So I practiced singing like Julia Child with my finger in my mouth. It felt artificial, and I had to spend way too much of my concentration on the shape of my mouth, but I could hear and feel the difference.

So now I just have to practice until that feels normal.
rhu: (Default)
Tonight was my first lesson in the songbook rather than the Vaccai exercise book. I had prepared Alma del core (Caldara), which is a beautiful aria.

Details )

For next week I'm supposed to prepare an even more passionate text, Amarilli, mia bela (Caccini) which will depend a lot on my mastering two things: an emotional pathos underlying the breathing, and baroque ornamentation.

My teacher is eager to have me consider signing up for a recital, perhaps performing a duet with another of her adult students. That's awfully flattering, but at this point I think it would be a distraction.
rhu: (Default)
Tonight was my first lesson in the songbook rather than the Vaccai exercise book. I had prepared Alma del core (Caldara), which is a beautiful aria.

Details )

For next week I'm supposed to prepare an even more passionate text, Amarilli, mia bela (Caccini) which will depend a lot on my mastering two things: an emotional pathos underlying the breathing, and baroque ornamentation.

My teacher is eager to have me consider signing up for a recital, perhaps performing a duet with another of her adult students. That's awfully flattering, but at this point I think it would be a distraction.
rhu: (Default)
Overall, my teacher was pleased with the exercises I had prepared. We identified a few more things that I need to work on. After 15 years in Zamir I have become used to putting a "hairpin" on every note and I have got to stop doing that, developing a more even legato line. My breath support starts to taper at the end of notes and phrases, instead of staying strong. I also need to bring uniformity to my vowels, and make all of them a little brighter. I was aware of my trying to "clamp down" on my sound, which I think is the result of years of trying to figure out by myself how to "blend" with my choral section.

I was a lot less nervous than last week, and had much better pitch control. Yay. And I have already started showing improvement on my tendency to lift my chin and sternum. And as long as I'm blaming JJ for the negative aspects of my conditioning, I should give him credit: I did very well on the Italian pronunciation, the placement of the diphthongs, and the deferring of the consonants until the end of each note.

General negatives: I was disappointed with how tight my breathing felt tonight. My fault; I rushed from the JCDS curriculum night and I was physically full of stress. And I'm still out of vocal shape after not singing much over the summer.

But overall I'm already noticing some improvement, and an awareness of where my problems are. We're going to continue working through the exercise book, and in a few weeks we'll also start adding some Italian songs. I'm happy to spend the time fixing the technical aspects of my singing with exercises; this isn't a race to get me in front of an audience.
rhu: (Default)
Overall, my teacher was pleased with the exercises I had prepared. We identified a few more things that I need to work on. After 15 years in Zamir I have become used to putting a "hairpin" on every note and I have got to stop doing that, developing a more even legato line. My breath support starts to taper at the end of notes and phrases, instead of staying strong. I also need to bring uniformity to my vowels, and make all of them a little brighter. I was aware of my trying to "clamp down" on my sound, which I think is the result of years of trying to figure out by myself how to "blend" with my choral section.

I was a lot less nervous than last week, and had much better pitch control. Yay. And I have already started showing improvement on my tendency to lift my chin and sternum. And as long as I'm blaming JJ for the negative aspects of my conditioning, I should give him credit: I did very well on the Italian pronunciation, the placement of the diphthongs, and the deferring of the consonants until the end of each note.

General negatives: I was disappointed with how tight my breathing felt tonight. My fault; I rushed from the JCDS curriculum night and I was physically full of stress. And I'm still out of vocal shape after not singing much over the summer.

But overall I'm already noticing some improvement, and an awareness of where my problems are. We're going to continue working through the exercise book, and in a few weeks we'll also start adding some Italian songs. I'm happy to spend the time fixing the technical aspects of my singing with exercises; this isn't a race to get me in front of an audience.
rhu: (Default)
So last night I had my first voice lesson. I got the strong impression that the teacher is looking forward to working with an adult (most of the students at ANMS are kids) and with someone who has had enough vocal experience (and training from my conductor) that I already understand good posture and breathing, even if I haven't completely internalized what I've been taught.

It is that internalization, of course, that I am hoping to develop by working one-on-one with a teacher who can act as a coach, watching me do it and pointing out flaws in my technique. Based on our first lesson, I think that this is going to work out very well. Details... )

I used my Zoom H4 to record the lesson and the recording is quite clear. I've been consistently quite pleased with this device's ease of use and quality of results.

We'll be starting with a book of basic exercises. The first one has phrases that move primarily by step, the second by thirds, the third by fourths, and so on. The lyrics are Italian, of course, because Italian vowels are pure.
rhu: (Default)
So last night I had my first voice lesson. I got the strong impression that the teacher is looking forward to working with an adult (most of the students at ANMS are kids) and with someone who has had enough vocal experience (and training from my conductor) that I already understand good posture and breathing, even if I haven't completely internalized what I've been taught.

It is that internalization, of course, that I am hoping to develop by working one-on-one with a teacher who can act as a coach, watching me do it and pointing out flaws in my technique. Based on our first lesson, I think that this is going to work out very well. Details... )

I used my Zoom H4 to record the lesson and the recording is quite clear. I've been consistently quite pleased with this device's ease of use and quality of results.

We'll be starting with a book of basic exercises. The first one has phrases that move primarily by step, the second by thirds, the third by fourths, and so on. The lyrics are Italian, of course, because Italian vowels are pure.

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Andrew M. Greene

January 2013

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