We’ve heard from former workshop attendees, including two Masterclass students. Seems only fair that we also hear from the directors, don’t you think? Up first, our own very Fearless Leader, Jennifer Rodgers Beach.
VCS: How do you, the director, prepare for a workshop?
JRB: I have a general outline of what I want to cover. Then I put my trust in what I know and being present to what is needed and how the participants respond.
VCS: The big(gest) mistake(s) singers make are _____________.
JRB: Apologetic/judgemental/critical thinking while they are trying to sing!
VCS: The big(gest) mistake(s) directors make are _____________.
JRB: Using negative reinforcement – it just shuts singers down and makes them afraid to make mistakes!
VCS: What is your favorite exercise to improve technique?
JRB: Sliding notes.
VCS: What is your favorite tricks to improve sight-reading?
JRB: Actually sight-reading! AND finding patterns and home-notes to refer to.
VCS: What is your favorite memory from a time you took a vocal workshop?
JRB: My favorite memories are from leading them – when students have taken a risk to try something they were sure they couldn’t do. And the times when very personal moments come up and let their emotions be in the room with us.
VCS: I say Masterclass, you think ______________ .
JRB: Interactive learning.
VCS: A student comes without a piece of music for Masterclass – what do you make him/her sing?
JRB: Preferably anything (the National Anthem, Jingle Bells, whatever!) because the setting really works for a song rather than just vocalizing. FAR FAR preferable for masterclass participants to have a piece – even if they just starting to work on it!
VCS: Your Masterclass students will probably be a bit nervous. Will you be?
JRB: Nope! I love love love the masterclass setting and I trust that anything that needs to happen will happen!
VCS: What do you do when you’re nervous – no, “find a bar” is not an acceptable answer.
JRB: Breathe and communicate.
Now ya know…why we adore Jen. She gets that it’s terrifying to stand in front of a crowd. And she will not judge if you need a tissue, or sing Jingle Bells. (Although please, don’t. It’s just …. wrong in June.)