I have been going to singing teachers’ conferences for many years now, nearly 40 years in fact and so I have seen and learnt a great deal from my colleagues over the years and my teaching is indebted to them. Having just returned from Berlin I thought I must write down a few things I learnt from there.
Jonathan Ware originally from Texas but now working in Berlin did a finger click trick which I have now used with my own students to keep them focussed and ‘in the moment’ of the thought and emotion of the phrase. So the singer singing Frülingstraum was asked to finger click each new thought as she sang and it did keep her ‘in the zone’. So often we can be carried away by the beauty of the melody and forget what we are singing about.
The second thing he did was encourage her to make kindergarten gestures/symbols for each word she sang which struck me as a good memorisation tool and I used to do something similar so that reminded me to try it again with my students.
Adam Benzwi, who was from California originally, titled his presentation “Pas de Deux – Text und Musik” and he took a 4 pronged approach.
- The singer had to put the lyrics into his own words, but not just a description of the song but speaking the character’s self expressions
- Speaking the lyrics while the melody is played
- Half singing the phrases, half spoken
- ‘Singing/speaking’ tone
Again I have been using this with certain songs to really get my students to focus on the words and the meaning they carry through the music.