Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Why Should You Learn to Sing in a Different Language? Why Italian?

I very often am asked the question, "Why should I learn to sing in a different language like Italian?"  As Americans, we think everybody speaks English and we listen to most of our music in English, so why should we bother to learn to sing in another language?

Backtrack a minute- what were the first languages of the world?  Latin, Italian, French, German, Hebrew, there are so many.  Therefore a large bulk of music written to date has been in a different language.  I am not speaking of pop music and musical theater, but many other styles of music that seem to be tossed aside.  Why SHOULDN'T you learn to sing in a different language?  Why should you rule it out simply because it is not your first language?  Singing is a form of communication in addition to being a think of beauty.  If we want to be able to communicate our song, we should learn to sing in more than one language.

Why Should You Sing in Italian or Latin?  A short list:

- Italian/Latin have PURE vowels that make it easier to sing than English once you are familiar with the language.  This can carry over to our singing in English since it enhances the resonance and overtones.

-  Because we do not generally speak it, we do not inflect our accent upon it.  (Southern, Mid-western, or Northeastern).

The beauty of the music itself!  There is a variety of beautiful songs for all ability levels available to study

- Studying music in another language broadens your horizons and exposes you to music you may not even know exists.

-  It increases your historical knowledge of music how we got to the music of today
   Most Italian art songs use the following:
     - Sequence
     - Verse and Chorus
     - Embellishing (adding notes to) a basic melody

- Creating artistic licence through embellishing a melody.
*Think about it -When was the last time you heard the National Anthem sung without added notes or     looked at sheet music for a pop song that is written differently from how you hear the artist perform it? This concept did not develop in the 21st century, but is centuries old.  When songs were performed as entertainment in parlors for guests, singers added notes and embellishments to the melody as personal artistry.

- Learning a little bit about other cultures helps us to appreciate differences and understand our own.

- When you then go and sing English, your singing of English is improved because of your mastery of pure vowels which CARRY the sound.  This is not to say we do not stylistically need to alter vowels, but it helps you to find your true sound first.

What if people don't understand the language or what I am saying?

Few people in your audience would actually claim to know word for word what you are saying. However, if you have researched the meaning of the words, you are able to sing the piece in a way that communicates the MEANING of the song.  Most recitals also provide a translation or opera's have subtitles.

Why not give it a try and see not only if you like it, but what it can do for your singing voice?  It is great to explore singing in many languages.  Some may be more comfortable for you then others, but expose you to so much beautiful music!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Break it Down Part 5: Share How Practicing Voice has helped YOUR stress, academics. How did you get it all in?

As I encouraged you to keep a journal and track your practice and progress in the series, "Breaking It Down",  I wanted to share about how I "Practiced What I Preach".  I have been working on a regular practice schedule and noting what changes it has made in my overall demeanor as well as the progress I have made.  Here is a quick summary of thoughts:

1.  Overall I notice I am happier when I have made the time to practice.  I feel good when singing even if I face challenges in my practice session.  I got something done on my list and it lifts my mood!  The more often I practice, the less challenges I face because my body remembers the good techniques through more frequent practice.

2.  I am feeling great because I am perfecting more and more repertoire and researching more repertoire for my students.

3.  I get more accomplished after practice sessions because my brain is motivated.  It helps me to organize my thoughts to carry forward in my days.

4.  I am less stressed because I feel good when singing.

Now, it's your turn to share:  What did you notice?  What has become easier or harder?  How is your mood?  Motivation?

Let me know how this has helped you!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Break it Down Part 4: Which learning style are you? How do you use this knowledge in learning to sing?

We all learn in a different way, which one are you?

We all have different strengths that best guide our learning. Are you primarily a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner?  How does this knowledge help you?  It can help you to learn a song faster and more effectively!

Each of us use a different combination of these skills to learn something new, but take a moment and ask yourself:
1.  Do I learn things the best by listening (auditory)?

      ** Do I remember what my teachers say the most?
      **Can I think back to remember exactly what was said?
      **Can I produce singing best by listening and then trying to recreate the sound?

2.  Do I learn things the best by seeing it (visual)?

      **Do I remember best by looking at the board or my notes?
      **Do I think back to remember and visualize what was written down on the page?
      **Do I want to see the notes and rhythms or vizualize a concept and then sing to
            understand/remember or recreate the sound?

3. Do I learn things the best by doing (kinesthetic)?

      **Do I remember something the best if I have actively moved while learning?
      **Do I think back to remember and need to do the action?
      **Do I repeat a physical action or practice, practice, practice to physically recreate the sound?

You may find that you answered yes to many of these questions and under each category.  Since we all learn with a combination of the above, that makes sense.  But, which one do you lean on the most?  It may be helpful to think about when you are studying for or taking a history test.  Which resource do you use the most?  Do you write to study?  Do you talk through it?  Do you study the page and then close your eyes to see where the information was on the page?

We learn and process information in the different areas of our lives in a similar fashion.  Especially if you are new to musical study (voice lessons), determine which of the 3 learning styles you lean on the most in your academics and then try to use that element more in learning to improve your singing.  Your singing teacher most likely uses a combination of elements to help you to learn, but by identifying your DOMINANT learning style and sharing it with your teacher and remembering it, you can facilitate (and speed up) your learning better technique!  In teaching singing we are dealing with an instrument that we cannot see and which our brain has a lot of control over.  If we help classify how that brain processes information best, we speed up the learning process!

Lean on your dominant learning style when you practice.  How did this help your singing this week?  Happy Singing!