June Practice Challenge (Mine, Not Yours)

I’ve been seeing a lot of my colleagues set themselves a goal of singing through the entire 24 or 26 or 28 Italian Songs collection. They’ve taught them ad infinitum over the years, but they’ve never actually sung them themselves. So, in this time of respite from performing and in-person teaching, they’re recording themselves singing the songs.

That’s nice.

I don’t wanna.

Maybe I don’t wanna because everyone else is doing it. (I’m like that.)

Maybe I don’t wanna because there are only a handful of them that I really like.

  • Vittoria, vittoria mio core
  • O del mio dolce ardor
  • Amarilli, mia bella
  • Se miei sospiri (or Pieta, signore, depending on which book you’re using)
  • Quella fiamma (and I like the tacky version with the “Il mio bel foco” recitative from the 24/28 series, even though it’s really not authentic and very cheesy)
  • Tu lo sai

But if I commit to singing those, I’ll have to sing

  • Caro mio ben
  • Sebben crudele
  • Alma core
    AND THE WORST ONE OF ALL
  • Se tu m’ami

I hate that song with a white hot passion. Teaching that song is truly the definition of having taught something ad nauseum.

So I’m not gonna. Because I don’t wanna.

But what I do want to try is singing through a technique book of vocalises – which I never did in my undergrad or grad school studies, and which I’ve never used in my own teaching. I’ve always done ones I’ve gotten from books, or teachers, or workshops, or made up myself. But a lot of my colleagues teach from the technique books – mainly Vaccai. So a couple of years ago, I picked up a book of Collected Vocalises: Concone, Lutgen, Sieber, & Vaccai (medium key).

I really like the Concone and the Lutgen. Vaccai leaves me as cold as Caro mio ben. (But not as bad as that which shall not be named again.)

Appcompanist has all of the Concone accompaniments, although they’re in the high key, so I have to adjust them a bit. They also have the Vaccai, but, unfortunately, neither the Lutgen nor the Sieber.

So my June challenge is that I’m going to read through all of the Concone this month. Maybe I’ll put them on FB – maybe on my personal page, maybe the studio page, maybe on Insta, maybe all three. And maybe if I feel like it, I’ll throw in one of the Vaccai.

If you’d like to try this, you can pick them up on Amazon. (Note: I do have an Associate Affiliate account, so if you purchase from one of these links, I will receive a small pittance.)

What If You Were Your Own Teacher….

I just read the phrase, “as if they were their own teacher” on a FB page of independent teachers, in regards to how a student would do self-evaluation, including:

  • Finding three things they did well
  • Finding a couple of things they’d like to fix
  • Figuring out how to fix them
This was based on the idea of submitting a video to a teacher in the event that you were unable to make your lesson that week. The teacher would then review the practice video and give his/her own observations and suggestions. I thought this was a really great option. I’m thinking of making this an option in the fall.
So here’s a challenge for you this summer:

  • Video your practice session (you can use your phone) as if it were a lesson. Include:
    • Vocalises
    • Repertoire
      • Do each song all the way through without stopping
      • Stop and address the issues you need to address
  • Watch the session – either afterwards, or stop after vocalises
  • Evaluate it
    • Were your vocalises varied enough? 
    • Did you vocalize long enough?
    • Were the things you stopped and addressed the things you should have stopped and addressed? Did you leave anything out?
    • What did you do well? (There must have been something.)
    • What do you need to address the next time you practice? How are you going to address this? When?
    • Is there anything you noticed that you need to ask me about?
I’m going to try to do this too. Let’s see what happens.