Thursday Nights 2010, 2011

Mardi Grant at The Duplex

Happy New Year to you all. This post is so late, I have changed the content three times already, in my head anyway! So much for New Year’s resolutions. Like I said earlier, it’s hard to assign a level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) when it comes to singing. The most common thing I’ve read on line concerning adult vocal training, is that millions of you out there with a voice, went to college and got your BM, and came out with a voice that no one wants to hear! So, does that make you advanced?  Really, who cares! I said my Monday class has a ‘lifelong relationship’ with their voices, but as we know from Dreamgirls, being the one with the voice doesn’t mean sh*t!

My Thursday class has plenty of voice, there’s no problem there. They also have a life, or as most people would call it, income. And now, they are either getting back to it, or finally putting it all together for the first time and getting up on stage where they belong.  The thrill factor and group dynamic of the Thursday class has been so remarkable, that at certain times I have wanted to move 1 or 2 singers to the Monday class and they wouldn’t go.

The only reason I reference these workshops is because I see the same overall themes concerning the singers and it has less to do with talent than it does the, as I call it,  ‘burden of responsibility’.  Before the first breath is taken , the singer is making 5 million decisions that are not only unnecessary, but contradictory to the result they really want. And that is one very long story made short:” Just because someone says this is good singing , doesn’t mean you want to do it!!”

You’ve all seen it, the singer inhales, the eyebrows go up, the chest wall is lifted and there they go, singing at you. They may be good, they may be bad, but either way it’s mostly a bunch of singing instructions that all add up to mediocre at best. You may observe that he or she has a lovely voice but there wont be much feeling going on from either side.

So, this is the first thought for 2011.  You should sing because you love it. That’s all you have to know so far. Start with an on line lesson, do some singing after that with your favorite CDs, anything. Don’t worry about the why’s, and how’s, and what’s the point, blah blah blah. You can’t just tip one domino. Once you start, they all go! Take one step and it will lead you to the next. I guarantee it. My technique is about developing YOUR voice. The closer you get to your own musculature, the development of your own instrument, the closer you get to your own artistry.  Things will change, you will start to find some new music, new lyrics that speak to you differently now that you’re playing your instrument with some information.

Start today, set a reasonable goal for yourself, like singing 3x a week. If you want it, you will do it. I am an aggressive teacher only because I have yet to meet the singer I couldn’t help. I have met many many singers who absolutely will not let me help them, but that’s for their shrink, not me.

It doesn’t matter how much time has gone by since you last sang. The beauty of working with adults is that they bring their whole lives with them everywhere they go. Busy people get a lot done. Successful people have a very high expectation of success. Smart is smart, so do it!

Last Thursday was the start of the new semester and it was one of the most exciting classes we’ve had, and that is saying something! No miracle, no mystery, just one foot in front of the other.

Happy New Year!

Patrick DeGennaro

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