This week I had my second singing lesson. I feel quite comfortable learning and practicing in German. As I expected, one of the challenges is the technical vocabulary. In the first couple of lessons, I noticed that I didn’t know very important words for a singing student, such as Lunge(n) [lung(s)], Kehlkopf [larynx], Kiefer [jaw], and Stimmbänder [vocal chords]. But I’m learning on the go 😃.
Some of these words can give rise to big misunderstandings. I need to be extra careful with anything that contains -spannung. For example, Verspannung means tension, and Entspannung is relaxation. I tend to confuse them all the time 😅. Thanks, Patrick for your patience! It’s good to have such a forgiving teacher.
In this second week of the project, I discovered a song by Richard Strauss that I loved almost instantly: Morgen. I was captivated by the beautiful piano accompaniment that opens the short composition. I found out this Lied thanks to Elena Dreisig’s rendition, accompanied by Jonathan Ware. Then, as always, I went on to listen to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Jessye Norman, Jussi Björling, and many other great singers. Some of them sing it with orchestra, others with piano accompaniment.
Here’s a recording of a fragment of the song, made on October 15th. My rhythm is off most of the time, and there are many things to improve 🙃. It’s one of the first tries! Hopefully, it will get better with time. Here I’m using this piano accompaniment track (thanks Mandee Madrid-Sikich! 😃)
The Second Week of Practice
On October 11th I had my second lesson with Patrick. We worked on a few exercises taken from the Rabine Method, focused on expanding the breathing capacity and availability for singing. During vocalization time, I had to focus hard on keeping my jaw relaxed and opening my mouth more. I mean, way more! I know this was a problem already, but it’s still not an easy one to fix. For that reason, I need to remember this during the weekly practice. Keep it always in mind.
This second week I counted five days of practice plus the lesson. Much better than the first week (when I only practice three days). I noticed that finding the new song (Morgen) increased my motivation by leaps and bounds. Even though I spent a lot more time listening attentively to many recordings of great singers, and singing the Lied myself, I know that this doesn’t necessarily guarantee improvements. It’s important to identify my weaknesses and work diligently on them. Singing songs is always enjoyable, but there are things that need to be trained and drilled with exercises, vocalizations, etc.
Here I’m going to share some excerpts of my weekly practice. I’d like to thank the fabulous pianist Mandee Madrid-Sikich, who kindly allowed me to use her piano accompaniments for this project. She has a fantastic YouTube channel dedicated to the world of Lieder. I recommend you check it out! 🤓https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmkokbjDkm1hFQC4UmI374A
Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’
Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’,
So schwindet all’ mein Leid und Weh’
Doch wenn ich küsse deinen Mund
So werd’ ich ganz und gar gesund.
In the first excerpt, I’m going over the notes of Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’ with my piano. I’m playing the melody and singing along. This was recorded on October 13th with my cell phone:
The fragment below was recorded on October 10th on my desktop computer. Here I sing the first part of the Lied, with Mandee’s accompaniment. I’m singing it in F major (the baritone key):
That’s all for now! 😊