We had a good crowd last weekend for the all-day vocal retreat with our artistic director, Jennifer Rodgers Beach. And everyone benefited even if they weren’t actively a master class participant, because you know what? The MCs performed their piece in front of everyone! Which means we all got to hear Jennifer coach, support, and guide singer through their hurdles – whether they were technical, creative, emotional, or highly personal. Particularly when she said, “This is a friendly audience….there is no better safe space than this, other than possibly, your shower.”
Some choice quotes and lessons from the day, in no particular order – paraphrased to make sense:
- The audience also has a responsibility.
- It’s always easier the second time. Trick yourself into thinking you’ve already been up there once, so you’re past the initial shock of being on stage.
- Move out of the crook of the piano – that way you face the audience.
- How you put yourself in front of the audience makes all the difference.
- A relationship is important. Put communication first. You could sound technically perfect, but it helps you sing better, if you have a relationship — because after that beauty fades, we don’t stick around if the singer doesn’t have any thing to say anything to tell us.
- Think of the person you love, focus, sing to them – it changes your voice, it changes everything.
- Think of your rile-up issue – it gives you energy, power.
- Take a better, freer breath, rather than a “bigger” one.
- If necessary, run while singing, to loosen up! (You kinda had to be there for this one.)
- “Being up here gives you gumption!” (From a non-master class participant who went to the piano to sing one unrehearsed phrase.
- Shutting out the audience may feel like a blanket, but it’s added nervousness and you spend energy trying not to be nervous.
- “In other words, stop being scared!”
(More photos of the retreat are at our facebook page.)