Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What do YOU like the most about singing lessons? A Q and A with students!

There are always on-going questions in a singing teacher's mind about his or her students.  Mine are: What is your favorite part of taking singing lessons?  and How had taking singing lessons changed your goals for singing or how you think about singing?   I thought I would poll a random number of my students (various ages and ability levels) to find out the answers!

What is your favorite part of taking singing lessons?  

-My favorite part of singing lessons is working on songs, and making break throughs with my technique.

-Improving in general

-Learning new songs (from musicals) that I do not know

-Extending my vocal range

 How has taking singing lessons changed your goals for singing or how you think about singing?

-I’m now more aware of using support in singing and keeping vowels open

-I feel more confident going into an audition because I always feel prepared

-**Singing isn’t something you are super-focused on when performing, it is more of a state of mind that lets the music carry you!

-Lessons have showed me that learning to sing is an activity that requires learning many different pieces of technique and then putting them all together once you have committed them to (muscle) memory. 

Just as each singing voice is it's own unique instrument, the value of voice lesson to each singer is distinct and wonderful!  What you may already know well, may be brand new to someone else.  Singing lessons enhance your voice, mind, and body.  What do you like the most about singing lessons or teaching?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What is the BEST thing about performing in a recital?

There are many opportunities to sing and share your gift with others when taking voice lessons.  You audition for various things:  roles in the musical, solos in a concert, an opportunity to sing in a more select chorus. However, one of the MOST valuable experiences though is performing in the Voice Studio Recital!  Why?

-You are sharing your vocal gift with your family and friends and with others who are working on their voices the same way that you are.

- It is generally a smaller venue than a school concert, musical, or public show! It helps you to work out those butterflies in your stomach. The more you perform, the more comfortable you become with singing in front of others and communicating your song!

-You get to know other students in your studio!  What is better than having like-minded friends?

-You are exposed to more music; the music that others are singing.  You may find a style of music you never knew you liked before OR a particular song you would like to sing.

- Preparation to perform in a recital is valuable.  You work on really fine tuning a song from the pitches and rhythms to the nuances of phrases to communicating the meaning of the song to the audience.  You PERFECT the piece (s) to share with others.

- Now, you also have a song that you can use for an audition and be very comfortable because you have already performed it!

- You get to share your love of music, a part of your heart. 

Performing in a recital is not always the end goal as many students (especially adults) want to work on improving their voice for themselves and they purely enjoy singing and the process.  Everyone is at a different place with their singing and comfort level.  Once a student obtains a certain level of confidence and skill, performing in a recital a great experience and one I encourage you all to try.  I also offer an' informal recital' in which students perform for one another with no family or friends present.  It is a great first step to performing in a Studio Recital!

Let me know your thoughts on singing in a recital!  Happy Singing!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why is it Valuable to Participate in a Masterclass?

Often times I get the questions, "What is a Masterclass? and Why should I sing there?".  There are many types of Masterclasses and many reasons to participate.  In a masterclass atmosphere, you get the opportunity to sing for others in front of others knowing that you may not be performing a finished product. You get to work on the selection  with others being present and learn from what that teacher or presenter has to offer other singers.

There are 2 main  types of masterclasses- 1) The studio members with the studio teacher only 2) Performers with the studio teacher and another guest presenter or teacher.

The idea of a masterclass with just your teacher is that you work on your music with them in front of others. It is a performance opportunity in a low stress atmosphere.  The teacher is able to interact with you and get others input of the performance at the same time.  You get to hear what a teacher says to another student.  It may be something you have heard before that may impact you differently or said in a new way.

A masterclass with an additional presenter or specialist of a related area is to offer new but related information to you and your performance.  A different voice teacher may say similar things, but just differently enough that it makes a larger impact.  An acting teacher adds a new dimension to your performance.

Often times masterclasses have a theme as well.  I recently hosted masterclasses with an acting coach where we focused on how acting out a musical theater piece (and allowing movement) impacted the performance and voice quality.  I also had a brief yoga session at the beginning of the masterclass to show how opening up the body with yoga impacts the singing voice.

Here are some responses of a Q & A with students of a recent Masterclass on Movement and Acting in Singing:

1.  What is the most valuable thing you learned in the recent masterclass on movement and acting while singing?
-  How you interpret the music & how incorporate hand motions to the music
 - I learned to relax and use my whole body more than just my top half
- Opportunity to perform in a low stress, educational environment and know I was only going to improve
- How to open my ribs and use the air really in my lungs 

2.  What was your favorite part of the masterclass?
 - Performing the song & getting feedback
 - Yoga (multiple responses)
  - Vocal warm-ups and Yoga which opened body better for singing

3.  What do you think you will carry away from the masterclass and use in your singing?  
 - The tips on hand motions & how to incorporate them and acting
-  I will carry away more confidence in my movements and allow myself to flow more and be more natural looking
- To use more acting in my singing
- How to see the person that you are singing about in a song and simulate that in a performance

4.  What would you like to see addressed in future masterclasses?
- More time for individual instruction
- More group instruction/time on yoga and acting in general
- How to use the space around you while singing

As you can see, each student takes something different away from a masterclass.  This depends on where they are in their journey of singing.  Each masterclass can be tailored to certain teaching concepts, enhancing the learning process even more!  In this particular masterclass we were working on really acting out the piece you are singing and how that enhances the performance!  This masterclass was effective in explaining to students that yoga is very valuable to singing and that movement while singing is natural and improves your performance!

What are your thoughts on the benefits of a masterclass?  What do you want out of participating or want your students to gain from the experience?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The MOST IMPORTANT Reason to Take Singing Lessons? IT'S FUN!

Over the last few weeks, I have spouted out a lot of good reasons to take singing lessons.  Which one is the most important?  To me it is that singing lessons are FUN!  Why do we usually start music lessons?  Because we enjoy music!  We like to sing, to play the piano, to dance, to create.  It is fun to do and we want to learn how to do it better!  First and foremost, it is to MAKE MUSIC and HAVE FUN DOING IT!

Of course there are many 'extra-musical' benefits to taking singing (and other instrumental) lessons.  These are the BONUS reasons we should make time for music in our lives or our children's lives.  Music is a fun outlet and an escape which provides emotional release while it helps develop many academic and life skills. Many CEO's, presidents, and other leaders of the world studies music at one time and state it helped to create their work ethic.

Keep singing and making music if you already do and make time for it if you have ever considered it in the past!

If you missed any of the wonderful reasons your child or you should take singing lessons, click the itemized links below to read more about a topic:

Here is a list of skill sets that advance with voice study:

Add a little music to YOUR life!  Please let me know your thoughts and comments and how you can have fun learning to make music!