Rarely is anything spoken. So much has already passed between us.
Unfinished sentences litter preparation. Words discarded; unnecessary, inadequate. Ideas agreed upon, seemingly before they even exist between us; unspoken, soundless, clearly heard. The Accompanist is entwined; sinew and spirit, around me; my accompanist, my companion, our song.
Fingers quiver above the keys. They are already accompanying the chords not yet engaged, not yet struck. I breathe. The Accompanist has taken and already given. My breath is filled warm with the resound of fingers gracing keys, giving life to ink and page- giving life to me.
This is a bizarre act of engagement. The entwined sense and sound goes back and forth between us. The inspiration from one to the other has n...
There is a fine line between the possibility of something wonderful happening, in a tiny moment, when you least expect it. It happened in a room at Mackay Conservatorium workshop for young people, exploring with me, the possibilities of bringing a song to life.
A song presents initially, to an artistic interpreter (singer) as a series of black marks on paper; the hard labour of composer and lyricist. It once lived in their hearts and minds. It is now committed to a written form ready to be shared with others. This is a near daily occurrence for professional singers.
The challenging responsibility for breathing life into these marks on the page is daunting. The deconstruction from material form to organic noises is an art - a perfo...
Songs are made up of ideas delivered purposefully in an emotional form. Music and melody can conjure an emotional response. No debate. A Song delivers ideas (messages) in a way that is accessible and emotional – this is the music part. The delivery method (words and music) is ideally suited to the message .
The messenger, singer, needs to be authentic.
You need to be as one with and connected to, what and how you are delivering, or audiences will subliminally switch off. It’s not always about them liking you, it’s about them staying with you - engaged and transported.
The relentless intensity of engagement is essential. The challenge to the audience is - don’t you dare drift off because if you do you may miss something really funny, meaningful or moving. Give value to t...
The Friends School built the $10 million dollar auditorium for students and the lucky people of Hobart. I was lucky enough to sing in this superb acoustic and then hold a Masterclass for thirty-four gleeful Musical Theatre aspirants. It was a weekend of open hearted revelation.
To inspire authenticity, is the goal I set myself in front of a class of singers. I have no idea who they are, what they are singing or where they come from. It doesn’t matter much. Anonymity serves the singer.
We want less of you, to see more of you.
Singing and storytelling demands that the singer/storyteller jump so inside the lyric and melody, that we lose sight of them and all their foibles. They must become a medium for the composer and lyricist, not just an interpreter. The performer is that fulcrum betw...
The dilemma for the union has always been the threat that if the producer can't import then the production doesn't go on thus jeopardising the opportunities of many others. But this has rarely happened. We probably always cave or the Government is convinced by the pleading producer. Importing makes sense when there is a skill set, an ethnicity or peculiarity that we in Australia can't provide...the deal was always that an exhaustive audition process has taken place.
I have a feeling that over the last few years producers have cut corners with auditions and have cut off and cut down opportunities. A lot of this has been as a result of using specialised casting agents restricted by their budgets and experience, and imported Directors who have no feel or concern for the careers of Aust...
Impressive sound supports the adage ‘an empty vessel makes the most sound’. Or in this case, the empty heart.
There are two types of singing - Impressive singing and Honest singing. Impressive singing is often exactly that... impressive, in fact sometimes very impressive. You sit there listening to a sound that is coming from body that sounds technically well produced, even grand, but has nothing to do with anything. This sometimes beautifully ‘produced sound’ soars and dives with total disregard for the singer’s own personality, the context and the song. There seems to be a disjunct between the person and the voice. The overall effect is, ‘wow... what a noise!’, but what of that?
Has the singer fulfilled their purpose to move, inspire a...
'There is a strange paradox on the journey toward revealing authenticity and that is - we want less of you to see more of you'.
A song presents initially, to an artistic interpreter, (yes a singer), as a series of black marks on paper; the hard labour of composer and lyricist. It once lived in their hearts and minds. It is now committed to a written form ready to be shared with others. This is a near daily occurrence for professional singers. The challenging responsibility for breathing life into these marks on the page is daunting.
The deconstruction from material form to organic noises is an art - a performing art. Sinews and muscles and imagination and technique, bring pressure to b...
'Successful singing is the entwining of souls, entangling them in a web of collusion between you and the song'.
You will hear lots of thoughts and ideas about how to sing with success. It is such an elusive skill we sometimes think we have it covered and then suddenly one day it becomes difficult again. As we learn new songs, as we grow older and learn new things about ourselves, have new experiences, fall in love, fall out of love, eat different foods, change shape, have children; as we have less sleep or have more sleep; our singing will be affected.
All these factors influence the way we sing and ultimately how successful we will be. It is a whole body experience. So many things can go right and so many things can go wrong depending on your day. W...
'Singing is the heart and mind coming together to make a sound'.
My learning experience with Rita Hunter and John Thomas was both disciplined and profound. There was no turning back. I at last came to own my voice. The next step was to apply this voice to the work I was doing. This ended up being 12 years of musical theatre that required the skills of actor/singer. My training as an actor and singer combined to fulfil the requirements of musical theatre at this time.
Gone was the expectation of a triple threat. The concept of music and storytelling was enshrined in this new approach to musicals and I happened to come along with the appropriate skill set. Its impact on me and the opportunity this presented was career defining and life changing.
Enfold your heart into the soul of another and leave a legacy of kindness. This is no small thing’.*
Leaving this legacy, is the mark of successful singing. To leave something behind, to have an impact on someone’s life, to move the heart and mind of another is the ultimate and by far the most compelling reason to sing. Such is the power of music and storytelling.
In this ongoing Singing Class Blog I shall unravel the secrets to singing success that I have learnt and explored over 35 years of performing as an actor and a singer. I will reveal my own process or method for singing a song. It is a much more complex act than most realise or understand and it requires intense deliberation if you truly want to hav...