THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION

“IT REALLY IS NOT DIFFICULT TO SING WELL, AS LONG AS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO”  Joan Sutherland

THIS WISE QUOTE IS ALL TOO TRUE.  THE SECRET, HOWEVER, IS “KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO”

ANY ACTION WE ATTEMPT IN LIFE IS USUALLY FIRST BORN IN THE MIND.THE QUALITY OF THE PREPARATION IS REFLECTED IN THE EXECUTION OF THE ACTION. THIS IS NEVER TRUER THAN IN DISCUSSING CLASSICAL SINGING.

WHEN THE BRAIN IS “ORGANIZED”  THE BODY RESPONDS POSITIVELY AND OBEDIENTLY.   IF THE BRAIN IS “SCATTERED”  THE RESULT IS THE  ACTION WILL ALSO BE SCATTERED.

TO DEVELOP THIS KNOWLEDGE OF “WHAT TO DO”  IS EVERY SINGER’S GOAL.  THE CHALLENGE IS HOW BEST TO ACHIEVE  IT.

IT REALLY IS A COMBINATION OF TWO IMPORTANT ELEMENTS:

1)  A SIMPLE, EASILY UNDERSTOOD KNOWLEDGE OF THE VARIOUS ELEMENTS IN THE BODY THAT ARE COORDINATED TO PRODUCE THE VOICE EASILY & AT THE SERVICE OF VOCAL EXPRESSIVITY.

2)  WITH THIS CLEAR KNOWLEDGE, DEVELOPING  THE INNER EAR AND INNER EYE IN ADVANCE OF PRODUCING A TONE OR A PHRASE.

HOWEVER, TOO OFTEN THERE IS ONE OF  TWO WAYS MANY SINGERS APPROACH THEIR VOCALIZING.

  1.  NO REAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE THREE PHYSICAL ELEMENTS INVOLVED IN CLASSICAL SINGING. (BREATH MECHANISM, RESONATORS & SPEECH MECHANISM).   THEY OFTEN TRY A HIT OR MISS APPROACH TO A  ACHIEVE A VOCAL GOAL, AIMLESSLY TIRING OUT THE VOICE.
  2. A VERY  COMPLEX KNOWLEDGE OF THE  PARTS OF THE BODY,  APPROACHED IN A MECHANICAL FRAME OF MIND, OFTEN INTERFERING  WITH THE COORDINATION THE MIND/BODY IS CAPABLE OF IN ACHIEVING VOCAL AND MUSICAL BEAUTY.

NEITHER OF THESE TWO APPROACHES  USES A SIMPLE SET OF TOOLS BASED ON “KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO” IN ORDER TO  PRACTICE AND PERFORM SECURELY.

“KNOWING WHAT TO DO”  IS ACHIEVED SLOWLY, SIMPLY AND PATIENTLY.  WITH THE HELP OF THE TEACHER A YOUNG SINGER SHOULD DISCOVER HOW THE BREATH MECHANISM FUNCTIONS AT ITS MOST EFFICIENT – HOW THE VOCAL TRACK IS PREPARED  –  WHICH INLCUDES THE RESONATORS, THE OPEN THROAT, AND THE EASILY ARTICULATED TEXT BASED ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE.     “STOP, LOOK, LISTEN”  MEANS YOU TAKE TIME TO PREPARE IN THE MIND BEFORE YOU DO SO PHYSICALLY.

THERE IS NO ONE WAY TO COORDINATE THIS KNOWLEDGE FOR ONSELF.  AGAIN, THE TEACHER IS ABLE TO GUIDE YOU INTO THE DISCOVERY OF MIND/BODY COORDINATION  BUT EACH SINGER WILL ULTIMATELY HAVE HIS OWN IMAGERY.

THE IMPORTANCE OF IMAGERY

AS LONG AS CLASSICAL TECHNIQUE HAS BEEN TAUGHT, IMAGERY HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN IMPORTANT PART IN SINGING.    THE MORE MECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC APPROACH VERY OFTEN UNDER PLAYS THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS TOOL. WITH A COMBINATION OF CLEAR KNOWLEDGE AND THE DEVELOPING OF THE IMAGINATION THE SINGER IS WELL ON THEIR WAY TO MAKING GOOD USE OF  PRECIOUS PRACTICE TIME.

YOUR INNER EAR MUST KNOW THE TONE YOU WANT TO PRODUCE – THE PHRASE YOU WANT TO SING – THE DYNAMIC CONTENT OF THAT TONE OR PHRASE.  YOUR INNER EYE MUST FIRST SEE CLEARLY THE DIRECTION OF THE PHRASE

THE CLEAR  THOUGHT MUST COME FIRST AND THEN THE ACTION.  THIS TAKES PATIENCE AND CONCENTRATION.

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MY NEXT BLOG WILL DEAL WITH ANOTHER FAVORITE QUOTE:

“MOST VOCAL PROBLEMS ARE CAUSED BY THE SINGER GETTING IN THEIR OWN WAY”  (Stephanie Blythe).    ALSO A WISE STATEMENT.

Please feel free to respond to this Blog or to suggest topics you would like covered.

JOAN PATENAUDE-YARNELL  (Curtis Institute of Music – Manhattan School of Music