My voice teacher at Ithaca College (Dawn Pierce, who is a phenomenal performer and teacher) was a genius, and I graduated with all the tools I needed to be my own teacher for a while. This is mega-important in the real world because teachers do not come cheaply! It's crucial to be able to solve your own problems as a singer, not only for financial reasons but also because, ultimately, YOU are the only one who can teach yourself how to sing. Voice teachers are actually guides: they can't get inside your instrument and tinker around until things line up; only you can experience your instrument.
|Danube River, running through Krems|
That being said, it is important to have a trusted pair of ears and an objective opinion. Enter the Voice Teacher. Personally, I think I'm still a little bit too reliant on voice teachers because I tend to get too fixated on one element of singing, and then everything else is thrown slightly out of whack, thus evoking my frustration. (Granted, I'm MUCH better than I used to be at remaining calm and speaking gently to myself.) I hadn't had a lesson since the beginning of May, and working with Jennifer yesterday afternoon clarified things for me. The lesson forced me to step back and look at the bigger picture, the instrument as a whole. Where all my energy had been directed into one place (my tongue) before, yesterday it was able to release and direct to other places of interest (breath, freedom of sound). I mean, tongue tension and tongue position can be fascinating, but when you obsess about them for too long, singing becomes miserable.
So now I have two new songs I'm going to learn, as well as the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria, which I'll keep working on. Hopefully, I'll have another few lessons with Jennifer between her performances in Langenlois and when she departs for the States in September.
|Krems, Wachau Valley|
|Apricot squares, minus a sample|
On a totally different and much less serious note, last weekend in Langenlois, Lillian, Jennifer, and I went apricot and cherry picking! I filled up a HUGE bucket with said fruit and then spent all day Monday cooking. I made six jars of jam (apricot, cherry, and apricot-cherry), apricot chicken, a pan of apricot squares (in a circular pan), one apricot pie (with a croissant-like crust), and one apricot cake. Needless to say, my freezer is full!
|Krems - I love the colorful buildings!|
In less than three hours, I'm heading off to Langenlois again. Jennifer has performances for the next three weekends, so I'll spend the weekdays in Wien and the weekends in Langenlois.
I would also like to announce that I've finished Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Askaban!! Perhaps HP is the reason for my unusually high placement score? Now it's time to begin Harry Potter und der Orden des Phönix... :)