This is a new addition to my blog. I'd like to be able to keep up with the activities of my students on my blog, so that it can be edited more quickly and efficiently than on my website. So . . . please let me know what you are up to and I promise it will get published here!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Well, the Tony's are all passed out and the Broadway season is over. How wonderful that the musical theatre awards went to singers with distinctive, unique voices. Let's face it . . . when you hear Patti Lupone sing, whether you like her voice or not, you know it's her. The same can be said for the lovely Laura Benanti, who I have known since she was 19 and Kelli O'Hara, both of whom are "New Broadway" stars but are equal in individuality to the ingenues and leading ladies of the past. Unlike so many of the thousands of kids being ground out of MFA Musical Theatre programs all over the country designed to "fit" the current sound or the screechy little "Legally Blonde" wannabe's who you basically cannot tell apart. This leads me to speak about a reading I did last week of a new musical based on the hilarious Susan Seidelman film, Boynton Beach Club. It featured a cast of fifteen actors, most "of a certain age" (including Tony nominees and winners), each and every one with a distinctive, unique, voice. No cookie cutter techniques, no "chorus girl/boy" sound, everybody was an individual and together we rocked the joint! Of course, we had no microphones and sound mixers to mess with our beautiful sound, but, I'll tell you, when I heard those six guys sing "Dirty Old Men" in four-part harmony and when we "girls" did three-part girl group singing, I was in heaven. To bring this back to teaching . . . this is the kind of teaching I believe in. Finding your true voice. Your most beautiful, healthy, free voice.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Yesterday I worked with a new student, a lovely young man who unfortunately had to quit college in the middle of his studies to take care of his family. There is no question that this is a gifted singer who has already had excellent training and should be singing professionally some day and/or passing on his love of music to young people. His passion and joy are infectious and we had a blast at the lesson. The high points of the lesson were definitely what I call "Ah Ha" moments. Something clicked. But not just in his head. In his whole being. He "got it." Or to quote "Stranger in a Strange Land" he "grocked it." Every part of his instrument lit up and he had to pause to absorb the fact that what had happened had truly worked as completely as he felt it had. So we did it again. When the "ah ha" moment can be duplicated I know that we are on the right track. Often whatever breakthrough we achieved or principle I was teaching was something another teacher had tried to communicate before but perhaps the method the teacher was using wasn't right for him or he hadn't been ready to absorb the information yet. That has happened to me as a teacher many times before. I've had students come back to me and say "You know that thing you were trying to teach me when I was fifteen? Well, now that I'm twenty-five and I'm working with someone else, I finally realize what you were saying works." I'm always delighted when I hear that they have gotten it. No matter who they get it from, as long as they get it and it sticks!