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, October 13, 2010

"Talent is an Accident"

As all of my students know, I am an avid reader of magazines, books, blogs, postings, websites, etc. that have anything to do with singing. One of my favorite sources for "teaching tidbits" is OPERA NEWS, which just celebrated its 75th Anniversary. In an article called "Life Lessons" F. Paul Driscoll wrote about 12 things he'd learned about opera during his 42 years of fascination with the art form. One that stood out for me was the following . . . "Talent is an accident."

Oh boy, could I relate to that. On some level you are born with talent or you aren't. This is something that is very difficult for me to deal with as a teacher; especially with young people. I cannot tell whether a person has the talent to be a professional when she is in junior high or high school. I believe it is my job as a teacher to guide the student who wants to sing to become the best singer she is capable of being. Throughout the years I have been surprised, yes even shocked by the "talents" that have blossomed in people due to nurturing, maturity and proper training.

Driscoll spoke of opera's many talented failures. We all know of talented people in whatever aspect of the arts we may be involved in who have managed to burn themselves out and their talents with them or who just didn't have the "talent for talent." They didn't realize that even the talented would be asked to put in hours of work, be team players, and subsume their egos at times. Then there are those who, as Driscoll puts it had "great PR." I never knew this but there was a soprano named Marion Talley who made her Met debut at 19 to huge press attention and was finished at 30! Sound familiar?

So, I'm going to end this little rambling rant with a quote from Mr. Driscoll with which I heartily agree and hope some of you will react to my latest entry.
"Talent needs to be tempered and nurtured by hard work and discipline to stay the course."