Thursday, October 27, 2011


Sometimes I get notes from young singers asking various questions about the business or about the techniques of singing.  I always try to respond and today since I was home from Pittsburgh Opera rehearsals nursing a cold, I thought I would write someone back.  It occurred to me that it would make a good blog post.  Although I like writing blogs posts, I sometimes feel that I end up filtering myself or I become too generic with my topics. It was refreshing to be very specific and direct with my words.  This young singer met me last year at a master class I gave and he wrote to ask advice about switching voice types and to also to tell me that he was having problems "over-compensating and just doing way too much and therefore tiring myself out when really it should come easier".  Here is my response to him.  One of the great things about being an artist is helping other artists find their way. 

So, it seems you are making a switch to tenor? That is a challenge. All I can say about that is go with your gut. What feels good to you vocally? What roles speak loudest to you? Meaning, what about these characters makes you want to SING them? I've never gone through a fach change but have friends who did and they all say that once they made the changes, they connected more to the new characters they were singing.

As for the 'overcompensating' statement. Be kind to yourself. Don't try so hard. You already are a singer. Your mission is to find a way of singing that is easy, but strong. It really must come from a CALM place. You do your best singing in the shower and in privacy. Learn to cultivate that energy and presence while you are in the midst of people. Most of the time it isn't singer issues people have, it is intimacy issues. This isn't always the case, but I imagine it happens a lot. Learn to go deep inside yourself and calm yourself so that your singing flows out of your breath and not from the things you think you can do with your brain. If your body is tense from stress or will disconnect from your body and your breath. Go inside. Do meditation. Really learn to sing as if no one is watching. Once you have that tamed then you can see if it helps with technical areas. I imagine you will find that your high notes are easier and you like it more. Calm. Take time to get a good inhale and good exhale. Phrase by phrase. Slow it all down for awhile and you will see what I mean by 'go inside'.

I hope this helps! I wish you all kinds of good luck and love for yourself to pursue the craft of singing.
Keep me posted!

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