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I had my first voice lesson in slightly over two weeks today, and I felt woefully underprepared. The three times I intended to go to Guildhall to use the practice rooms to learn "Honour and Arms," I was delayed by travel and other logistics such that I only got two thirty-minute sessions at the piano. Thus, it wasn't completely learned. I had spent more practice time on the Schubert than on the Mozart, so "Aprite un po' quegl'occhi" wasn't solidly memorized. And there were several practice sessions when I couldn't quite get my support going or get the right placement in the voice and was feeling discouraged or when my mind was elsewhere and I simply couldn't focus on singing. I also didn't get enough sleep last night, which never helps.

Pollard noticed and commented, after we ran through exercises, that my voice seemed just a bit, "five percent or so," less than my best. Halfway through the lesson, though, he remarked that I seemed to have recovered and was singing at my top level.

He gave me the choice of what to sing first. I wasn't brave enough to attempt the Mozart from memory, so I chose "Gute Nacht." Pollard stopped me after the first verse to comment on how well I was singing before allowing me to continue. Afterwards he told me this was the best I had sung that song. Then we continued with "Die Wetterfahne," which I didn't feel I sang well because of a few brain farts. But Pollard did like my soft high notes and remarked that this song is at a stage where it could be great in short order. He instructed me to learn the next song in the cycle, "Gefrorne Tränen." (I wonder if it's his goal to have me learn the entire Winterreise cycle.)

At one point, he praised the expressiveness of my singing. He said that I've improved dramatically in my ability to produce the same note in different ways depending on what I'm communicating. When I first came to him, he felt I produced my sound the same way whether I was singing a Verdi aria or a Schubert lied Now he feels I am far more expressive and nuanced. As frustrating as all my work on the soft singing has been at times, it is clearly paying dividends.

We also discussed what I need to do to prepare for Guildhall auditions. For now, I just need to keep up what I'm doing. In a few months he will recommend a regimen I need to follow, including some night classes. He also says he is going to use his considerable influence to delay my audition so that I am better prepared and don't hurt my chances of getting into the opera course by a less than impressive Masters audition. ("They're not stupid enough to disallow a late audition when a respected faculty member says he has a student who shows a lot of promise.") Of course, I want to settle everything now, but I need to trust that he knows what he's doing and has my best career interests in mind.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
Congratulations, that sounds like some wonderful encouragement. It also sounds like you're making some great strides with your voice! I'm so happy to hear good things, even when you're tired. :)

You have a beautiful voice, I am pleased to hear you are finding new ways to express through it!
Jul. 25th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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