This week – I’m preparing for my vocal exam next Wednesday. Asking questions of myself; how can I better this? Am I using my time effectively?
I recently found myself at an enriching crossroads, where I reached a point in my development and I was unsure where to take my music from there.
I have been singing with the conscious effort of being correct. But I cannot do this when I perform. I need to lose myself in the music that I am performing. I am singing the dots, rather creating a line and sewing the phrase together.
“Nowadays, we tend to rely on sound rather than shape. But music is not about sound. Sound is simply its material, (as paint is for painting). What music is about is gesture, colour, shape, form and, especially, emotional intensity.” [The New York Times, Rodger Norrington. 2003].
My voice is like paint, but if I don’t involve good technique of brush strokes, or make decisions myself on how I want to paint I’m only copying someone else’s interpretation and not my own.
So I turned off my iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. I lost myself in music such as Debussy and watched master-classes and interviews of idols. e.g.
Barbara Bonney master-classes:
“You are supposed to like yourself. That’s the thing, you are supposed to like yourself and who you are because if you don’t how can they like you, (you know). So it’s not about saying ‘Oh I am the best in the world’. It is about saying I accept myself, I trust myself. I enjoy being me, I love having my voice. And all I can do is share that with you through the music that someone else has written. And that I have the privileged of singing for you.” – Barbara Bonney.
I need to practise every different option for every phrase: swelling, diminuendo, crescendo, attack, softly float… So when I get to perform I have more ideas to play with. It isn’t about practising and creating a structure that I must follow every time I perform. It is about preparing for every scenario so when I sing from my imagination I can spontaneously react to my emotions at that second rather than thinking.
“You have to be prepared for everything the conductor wants you to do, but on top of that you need to be ready for everything you want to do.” – Barbara Bonney.
It is me who is expressing; it is my imagination; it’s Charlotte’s version of Rusalka, Mimi, Tosca … It is my version of the story and I need to be brave enough to tell it how I feel it should be told at that specific space in time. I can’t change the notes it’s more about adding more emotional intensity.
It always keeps it interesting; therefore you are not a copy of yourself every time you sing. Every time you sing it is completely fresh. Maria Callas said “I practise, practise, practise, I go on stage, I turn off my brain, and I let it go, I see what happens, I improvise the entire evening.”
This is where I am at with my pieces, I have learnt them, I have practised them and now I need to explore every dynamic option so that when it is my time to perform I can let go and sing from the heart .