Saturday, January 23, 2010

Take risks!!

I have been musing on this for a while, and it is perhaps a repetition of things said in the past, but is worth saying again. When I say take risks in your audition, what I actually mean is - allow yourself to actually express yourself - the reason (I believe) anyone does this is singing thing is because at some distant (or not so distant) point in the past, he/she felt a desire to express themselves through the use of the voice. This is a very basic, primordial instinct, and is a completely individual expression. One of the unfortunate side effects of voice lessons, coaching, diction classes, staging classes, etc. is a certain homogenizing of this very unique urge. Of course, that is not the intent of any these things. Rather, they are intended to refine and bring out in the most beautiful way, the voice that is inside (rather like the way a diamond is processed),
It seems to me the most successful auditions and performances I hear are those where training has not blurred the very personal expression and talent of the singer, but rather the opposite - it is enhanced and highlighted.
I think this is an important thing to hold onto as you plan any audition - and performance.


  1. The topic of your post is something that has been on my mind ever since I heard a statement by one of the judges of the Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions - while watching "The Audition," on PBS -- that they were looking for a singer who "had something to say."

    Even though I am a hobbyist singer who does not technically sing at a very high level yet, and who does not audition, that statement of this judge jumped out at me, and I realized that it was important to me as a singer to have something to say, and that is what I am going to strive for alongside striving for improved technique.

    I wrote a post about this topic just recently in a post Do You Have Something To Say? in case you are interested.

  2. This is where a coach would be helpful, too, I think. A voice teacher generally works on vocal technique, but a vocal coach helps with acting and expression. It's hard to get to that place where good technique becomes automatic, and free expression is possible. Natalie Dessay talked about this in a recent interview.

    I just had my first session with a vocal coach, and I can't emphasize enough how important I think it will be. There's acting, and there's singing, but putting the two together is not always intuitive.

    As far as taking risks--It is definitely a risk to take your mental focus away from vocal technique and throw it into expression. Or to find a way to meld the two. Actually, acting is itself a risk! Letting strangers see emotion!!!

    Thank you for this post!