A few months ago, I watched a series of videos by Elly Ameling on art song, and jotted down my notes on them. Here they are (and I’ve added a few notes today, in italics):
- LEARN YOUR MUSIC “BY HEART” – so much more than just memorizing it. By heart.
By heart – not only in your head, not only in your voice, but in your heart. The song has to inhabit you emotionally as well as technically.
- Connecting with your audience in a song recital
I’ve talked about this before. I think a song recital should be as personal as a cabaret show. Again, it goes back to learning the music by heart.
- Being in the zone
I think this is the same as being in character – I have had a few times in my life when I was so deeply in character that I responded to something that happened on stage as the character would; and once in a way that was kind of embarrassing when the scene was over. You have to ask me. I won’t write it here.
- Fame is ephemeral but music lives on forever. “The importance of you is relative. The importance of your task, however, is absolute.””
If your goal is to be famous, you have the wrong motivation.
- “Breathing is a necessity. Phrasing is an ever-present possibility.”
You breathe to live — and to sing. But you are singing phrases – how to make them mean something is the artistry.
- Loud singing is boring. Like belting, save it for when you need it!! Piano takes artistry, forte comes by itself. Vary from ppp to ff based on what the text and music asks for.
Motivate your dynamics. But remember that ppp-ff is unique to you. Don’t sing breathy in the service of singing soft and don’t push in the service of singing loud.
- Diction vs. pronunciation
Funny thing, I just talked about this in my new IGTV series, Warmup Wednesdays (also on YouTube):
- Using chant to create phrasing – recitative – legato
When I was still singing in choir at church, the women started doing Communion chants – and I fought it hard at first (maybe because it didn’t use standard notation and maybe because I was being a brat). I’ve grown to love it and find that there is a real artistry to make it sound expressive and not like an endless syllabic drone. Here’s an example. (Note: You don’t need to watch all two hours of this to get the idea.)
- I think that music came my way, and fortunately, I said “Yes” to it.
The best answer I ever gave.
- Imagination – Message – Research
Trying to remember what this means. What I’m thinking is that you start with imagination (inspiration?) and then determine what your message was and research how to best get it across.
If you’d like to check out the series, here’s the first episode. There are 14 of them but none of them are longer than 10 minutes, about half of which are recordings of her singing from her heyday. She’s 87 now, and these videos were made earlier this year. Music keeps you young!!
If you want to say “Yes” to music,
contact me for a Vocal Discovery Session