On Friday, I hosted a masterclass featuring conductor Richard Carsey, who worked with 7 singers on musical theater repertoire. Some students were pre-professionals who want to pursue musical theater. One was an avocational performer in her local community theater companies. Two more were professionals, one experienced in musical theater, the other making a decision to crossover from the opera world.
I took notes for the participants because I remember doing masterclasses and having people ask me, “So – what did the clinician tell you?” and I was able to say a few things, but I often couldn’t remember all the specifics because I was singing at the time! So I decided that I would take the notes that they would take if they were able to do so – and sent them out at 4am the next morning because I couldn’t sleep.
As I was going through the notes (somewhat groggily) before I sent them, there were a few common things that Richard said to multiple people, and they were:
- Every detail is a clue
The admonition to simplify wasn’t limited to one particular thing. It referred to:
- technical approach
“Every detail is a clue” was in reference to multiple elements as well.
- The pitches chosen at the beginning of “You gotta die sometime”
- The images Anya sees in her mind’s eye in “In my dreams”
- The switching between major and minor tonality in “From the home I love”
The singers were all very receptive to Richard’s very insightful and supportive comments, and implemented them to the best of their ability in the time allotted. Watching people’s faces as they absorbed what he was saying and then trying again with those intentions in mind was extremely rewarding for me as a teacher and an artist.
See how happy everyone looked at the end of it? (I look a little crazed, but that’s how I manage to keep from blinking.)
I am hoping to continue this series of workshops/masterclasses under the Curiously Strong Performing umbrella. I am currently considering the following:
- Self-taping workshop with a Las Vegas colleague (who rocks at this)
- A masterclass on the dramatic aspects of songs with the Executive Stage Director at the Metropolitan Opera
- Some kind of improvisatory workshop with an internationally renowned L.A. based opera/music theater educator
- Adding pop music to the musical theater audition book with Lissa deGuzman
The last one just popped into my mind while I was writing this and I haven’t actually talked to her about it yet, so I need to send an email. The other three people I will speaking to in the next few weeks and plans will be made!
If you took this masterclass, what takeaways did you have? For that matter, if you took any masterclasses/workshops anywhere this summer, what takeaways did you have?