New Years is a time to reflect on where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. It is an especially good time for young singers to look at their goals, both personal and professional. Here are a few thoughts.
“IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU IN THE ART – IT IS ABOUT THE ART IN YOU”.
This is a very important Maxim for singers to look at, and there is no better time than the beginning of a new year, a new decade and a new semester.
MAINTAINING THE JOY OF SINGING:
“I worship the human voice. There is nothing like singing; It is a romance when you share the music and the poem. The voice is God`s instrument. I want singers to enjoy music making. That’s what it should be about : “la Joie”. (Dalton Baldwin, Collaborative Pianist/Coach)
THE UNIQUENESS OF BEING A SINGER:
Mr. Baldwin, who recently passed away, was also quoted as saying: “Singers are vulnerable people. They face their listeners with ultra nakedness, individual exposure and judgement every time they open their mouths. This reality is because the singer’s entire body is the instrument. It is with us 24 hours a day. We cannot see many of the physical elements involved in beautiful singing. We cannot hear ourselves as others do and we cannot put the instrument away.
For all of the above reasons it makes sense that a singer may tend to focus inwardly on themselves. We “try” rather than “allow” the voice to work efficiently as it is the perfect instrument. There are no man-made parts. This takes both knowledge and awareness.
“IF YOUR GOAL AS A YOUNG SINGER IS TO “IMPRESS” OR BECOME FAMOUS, YOU WILL HAVE AN UNHAPPY LIFE. IF YOU PURSUE YOUR VOCAL AND MUSICAL DEVELOPMENT FOR IT`S OWN SAKE YOU WILL HAVE A VERY HAPPY LIFE.” (Javier Camarena, Tenor).
Singers tend to have “larger than life egos” and for good reason. What a singer does is somewhat heroic. But a healthy ego is developing confidence in your potential in going forward with your artistic and interpretive goals rather than seeking fame and fortune.
21ST CENTURY SINGERS AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITY:
Today’s young singers have inherited a 400 year old wealth of beautiful music. Each generation is able to be aware of all the great repertoire written for the human voice and all the great artists that have brought it to life. We are able to know the past and bring it into our own time.
Modern singers, teachers, coaches, etc. are the ones responsible for keeping alive this ever-evolving art in today’s fast changing culture. This is not done by being a perfect technician. We move audiences by bringing to life the deep and honest human emotions heard in the great Classical Vocal Repertoire.
FINDING AND DEVELOPING YOUR OWN INDIVIDUALITY AS AN ARTIST:
“It seems that at some point in their development, today’s young singers shut down their own personality. Many seem to be trying to fit into a mold.” (Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Music Director, Metropolitan Opera). He continues in a New York Times interview : ” This is contrary to what I look and listen for. I think the audience wants to see distinctive personalities and hear recognizable voices.”
Each singer brings unique characteristics to their art made up of many things: life experience, relationships, education, our culture, early exposure to music, etc. etc. We must tap into this individuality to be true interpretive artists.
LOOKING BACK: Staying in touch with when, why and how you started your journey to become a fine singer and artist.
LOOKING AT TODAY: A chance to objectively look at how far you have come in what you have attained at this point in time.
LOOKING AHEAD: Setting the bar ever higher in your goal to share with your audience, whoever they may be… the Art in you.
All of this takes time, patience, curiosity and passion. I wish you all a world of beautiful music-making in the years ahead.