On October 18th I had my third singing lesson. At the beginning of the lesson, I usually share with Patrick the challenges I encountered during the last week of practice. Sometimes I focus exclusively on a new thing and forget the last one 😅. I know it’s difficult to think about everything we need to get better at all at once. The idea, in any case, is to integrate the past learning experiences with the most recent ones.
In a sense, this skill building project is very similar to the first project of the year (Chess in Italian). I’m taking a lesson in a foreign language (German now, Italian in the first quarter), and during the week I practice the skill, but without much language content. In the current project, I could say there’s a bit more German during the week (the text of the songs is in German).
Even though there’s not a ton of German in my daily singing practice (especially when vocalizing or doing exercises), I think I’m still gaining a lot. I feel more comfortable taking a lesson of a certain skill in German, and I feel more self-confident. That was my main goal with these three-month-long experiments!
It might not seem like a lot, but to me, it is. I’m convinced we can start trying this out before being fully prepared. It’s not necessary to have a certificate or to pass an admission test. After you have reached an intermediate (B1) comprehension level you should be able to start learning a new skill in one way or another (taking lessons, using an online course, e-books, etc.).
The Third Week of Practice
During the lesson of the week, we worked on vibrato for a while. My teacher mentioned that would be helpful for singing the longer notes of the songs I’m learning. In order to have an experience of that, we tried some exercises where I was asked to exaggerate it (with more and more practice and with good technique, vibrato should then occur naturally).
We also practiced different ways of “attacking” a vowel (the way we start singing a vowel ). It was interesting to see that one of these involves a position of total glottal closure. The vocal cords are closed and suddenly let out a burst of air to produce the sound of a specific vowel (for example, an “i” or an “e”). By the way, I think this week I started noticing my predilection for using “i” and “e” when going into the higher register.
Here’s a recording of Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’ from October 17th (the piano accompaniment is from Mandee Madrid-Sikich. Thanks Mandee!):
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.
Wenn ich mich lehn’ an deine Brust,
Kommt’s über mich wie Himmelslust;
Doch wenn du sprichst: ich liebe dich!
So muss ich weinen bitterlich.
And the one below was recorded the same day (October 17th) on my desktop computer (Morgen, by Richard Strauss). Piano Accompaniment by Mandee:
That’s all for now! 😊