Today I am teaching my third week of the year at Christ’s College, Cambridge. The students are all back, so keen to learn and so willing to trust. Trust is huge for a singing teacher. We are teaching singing… something we can all do already, and yet we so often have to pull our students towards something which feels unnatural for them. I visited Amalfi this summer and was reminded how very natural the so called ‘forward placement’ of the voice is for an Italian. A young guy loading oranges into a van was singing a local tune with a tenor voice that would be the envy of most British tenors. He had probably had not had any vocal instruction, but his language and the setup in his vocal tract were such that the voice just rang out freely with the text, and just turned out the classic Italianate resonance. So today, after a few weeks working hard on body balance and alignment and breathing, we’ve been exploring language and the ‘ringing’ sound that we can produce when we set up the vocal tract really well. Observations so far from the students have included ‘that feels much less effortful’ and ‘there’s the legato that I never seem to be able to find’.
Tomorrow I’ll need to put it into practise as I sing the Faure Requiem at St George’s Brandon Hill in Bristol. Let’s see if I can practise what I preach!