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Showing posts from 2017

Yoga and Singing: A Perfect Match

I write to you all after having just finished watching the movie titled "Awake: the Life of Yogananda". I have been profoundly impacted by this film and its interconnectedness to singing. More specifically, I was delighted, although somehow not surprised, to see that Amelita Galli-Curci, a very famous Italian opera singer in the early 1900's, was a visitor to Swami Yogananda's school in Los Angeles, California. The film shows that his teachings completely changed her approach to her own singing and benefited her not only psychologically but also heightened and improved her vocal abilities. This doesn't surprise me because I believe, as a singer, that we are drawn to discovering life's deep truths. We singers are called to tell stories that can uncover pathways into opening the hearts and minds of our listeners in order to positively change them and their views on life and their fellow human beings. When you sing for a living, you are inextricably bound to de…

Dissecting Vocal Technique: "O zittre nicht" sung by Christina Deutekom

This morning I was confronted with a video on Facebook that was posted by a fellow singer who was fascinated by the vocalism in the video and didn't really know exactly technically what was going on, so I decided to break it down in this blog post, because I think it's worth discussing how much tastes and vocal technical practice has changed in the past 49 years, since Christina Deutekom sang the role and was acclaimed by the New York Times (according to this Wikipedia biography of her) as being 'the greatest Queen of the Night of our time'.
Here's the video: 

So- I sing this piece- and have been studying it and singing it for 4 years now-just so you know where my thoughts are coming from- and from a technical perspective this recording to me is all over the place. In the recitative she changes the text (at "ja schuldlos" and "dies tief" which at the time she was singing was normal- in fact people here in Germany have even suggested that I do that…

HOW-TO: Choose Music for a Solo Recital

I think it's safe to say that all of us Singers will have to sing a Solo Recital at some point or another. Which, just to be specific, is a concert where the singer performs a bunch of songs with piano accompaniment for about an hour to an hour and a half, max. That's the traditional Solo Recital, hence calling it "Solo", because the Singer is the main performer and it's basically a showcase of their singing abilities.There are, of course, other variations on the traditional Recital theme, where you collaborate with other Musicians- either Instrumentalists or Singers or both- and one singer is not the sole focus of the event. This is sometimes called a Collaborative Recital (but some people refer to a Solo Recital as a Collaborative Recital too- so just note, these terms are flexible), and is also a common type of performance which you'll see just as often as Solo Recitals.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog post, and the most exciting part of any R…

Why LA LA Land is Dystopian, and what the National Endowment for the Arts and Ending the "Gig Ecomony" can do to fix it

Like many of you, I went to the movie theaters a few months ago to see the movie "La La Land" because of all the rave reviews it was receiving from critics. As you can imagine if you've also seen the film and are a working Performing Artist, I was pretty angry at the predictability of the movie's plot, and their insensitive and narrow-minded presentation of an Artist's life and options they have. And, then coincidentally, my issues with La La Land were summed up, in a masterful blog post that I happened to stumble upon last week written by Linda Essig, who is the Director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, and if you're curious to read her thoughtful words, you can click here to see her post.

Basically, what she says is what I was feeling right after seeing the film. Why does life's trajectory always get over simplified to two distinct and different choices for an Ar…

What an ENT Doctor Visit is like for an Opera Singer

So I was lucky enough to recently have had vocal troubles. I know, I know- sounds not so lucky. But, behold! It was. Because my vocal troubles were really minimal, actually. It started rather slowly and then got worse; I was often a bit hoarse after singing (either after an hour-long coaching of Opera Arias, or after 2 hours of private practice at home) and I knew that that wasn't normal. So off to the ENT Doctor (Ear, Nose and Throat, or in Germany they are called HNO which stands for Hals, Nasen, Ohren- the same as in English, just "auf Deutsch") I went. And luckily for me, here in Munich there is a ENT that works in the Klinikum Rechts der Isar, which is run by the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (for those non-German speakers- the Hospital on the right side of the Isar [River], which is run by the Technical University of Munich) who works in a department of the hospital which was specifically designed to treat Musicians' injuries. Cool, right? They often deal w…

A Singer's Essentials: Accessories

For the New Year I wanted to offer you all some of my 'essential' products for a singer's life, so I've made a list of some things that I simply cannot live without. And no, in case you were wondering, I'm not being paid or compensated in any way to endorse these products. I merely like them enough to want to share their awesomeness with the world, and with you, dear Reader. Although I wouldn't mind having a lifetime supply of some of these things...and neither will you, once you try them! So, happy reading and happy finding new favorite go-to products for yourself or the singer who is dear to you.

1.) Burt's Bees Lozenges (

Especially when Winter is in full force and we are plagued by dry air from indoor heating on full blast, having a lozenge in my purse or coat pocket at all times is essential. I especially like these because they don't have any high fructose corn syrup in …