End of Summer

Ican't believe it went so fast. Summer that is: gone, poof, over.

No travel. No beach. Not that I missed the latter.

What did I do?

I stayed home, taught, and worked on a literary project.

You learn things when you write and teach, at least I do. It can be the same concept, but the application for a new student teaches me new things—in this case a big thing. I then experiment with teaching that to another student to see if it has legs. Which leads me to posit: There are no secrets in singing, just the secret of being aware, keeping your eyes and ears open, and making connections. If you can do that you can get somewhere, both as a teacher and a singer.

The longer I teach, the more I see how things can and won't work for a student. I get a sense of how far I can go‚ indeed, how far the student can go. To have this kind of insight I have to listen to the student from the minute they enter the room: what is said, how it is said, what's going on their life, what isn't, what is desired and feared—and their ambition. It drives some forward and others nuts, keeping them from the very thing they want.

I had ambition when I was in my late 20's and 30's, though it wasn't exactly the ambition to be a great singer. Yes, I wanted to sing, but I also wanted to teach, and said as much to the first teacher who made a real difference in my life—Margaret Harshaw.

We aren't supposed to say that we know what we are doing in print, but I can look back from the beginning of my career as singer and teacher and note that—in large measure—I have achieved what I set out to obtain when I met the doyenne of voice teachers 35 years ago: I learned to teach singing—not only what but how. I got to sing too. Harshaw started the ball rolling with one question which was asked at my second lesson: "So, what did you learn since I saw you?"

The permission to be curious is everything—at least it has been for me.

I started this blog in 2009 with the intent of sharing my curiosity for historical vocal pedagogy. I originally used a photo in the "header" of two ladies talking at the old Met. After my summer hiatus, I've found myself going back to that photo again—and retooling this blog—visually speaking, making it a bit more streamlined. The important stuff is still here, the download page of historical vocal pedagogy texts being found by clicking on the gadget in the upper left hand corner. You'll find my little book there too as well as a few other items.

Keeping things simple, direct, and doable.

Like a voice lesson.