How-To

The Top 5 Things Your Music Instructor Wants You To Know

The Top 5 Things Your Music Instructor Wants You To Know

Have you ever wondered, when taking on music lessons, what requirements there may be when starting? Some instructors might give you a list of their requirements ahead of time, but most probably don't.

Donna Maurer
5 classical voice podcasts to try

5 classical voice podcasts to try

I'll fess up: I'm a podcast addict. They're the morphine drip that gets me through the day. But I've only dabbled in shows that focus on classical voice, and that's a problem. As an antidote, I've found five series, with different focuses, that are worth checking out.

Jeremy Hirsch
5 ways being a background actor helps your singing

5 ways being a background actor helps your singing

Background acting (AKA working as an "extra" on a television or film set), with few barriers to entry and mostly single-day commitments, could be a good way to fill gaps between gigs. Approach it constructively and you can hone your craft while earning a (mostly) quick buck.

Jeremy Hirsch
Nerding out: why you should definitely care what key your aria is in

Nerding out: why you should definitely care what key your aria is in

So. Back to the key of your aria. Basically, in the Baroque and Classical eras, the out-of-tuneness of various keys became associated with different affects. The theory was that a listener could be swayed to feel differently when they heard music played in G major versus in B-flat major, or in d minor versus f minor.

Jenna Simeonov
3 tips for being a respectful voice coach

3 tips for being a respectful voice coach

That mutual respect is at the root of how opera's best voice coaches work, and it's something singers should look for in their work. A coach's ability to demonstrate respect for a singer's work counts for a lot, and we have three ways to achieve it:

Jenna Simeonov
Playing bel canto: 4 tips for pianists

Playing bel canto: 4 tips for pianists

Singers know well that bel canto opera is demanding stuff. For pianists, a quick glance at the sparse, simple accompaniments in the arias by Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini can give the false impression that the repertoire is simple. The notes may be straightforward, but there's more to the art of playing bel canto than meets the eye:

Jenna Simeonov
Tick tock, singers! 3 spots to ditch the rubato (for now)

Tick tock, singers! 3 spots to ditch the rubato (for now)

What would opera singers be without their stretchy, malleable tempos? More specifically, where would they be without the unwritten rules - "performance practice", they're often called - about when you simply must take some extra time? Opera is no place for heartless clockwork; but when it comes to mastering operatic skills, sometimes being a cold metronome is a clarifying experiment.

Jenna Simeonov
A singer's to-do list: 4 tasks to keep you focused this year

A singer's to-do list: 4 tasks to keep you focused this year

Readers, the beginning of a new school year is almost upon us. Some of you get excited by the autumn colours and the fresh notebooks; some of you emit a strong sigh of "here we go again." Whether you're a fan of the fall-to-spring grind or not, it's better-spent with a good dose of focus.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria guides: Un aura amorosa

Aria guides: Un aura amorosa

Mozart's Così fan tutte - that weird mix of romantic comedy and relationship commentary - is one of the most common picks in the operatic canon; yet for many tenors, Ferrando's first aria, "Un aura amorosa", tends to come with a bit of jitters and baggage. It's fairly slow, and sits in an exposed and tricky range of the voice. When it's done well, all the technical feats go largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the beauty of Mozart's writing.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria guides: Sempre libera

Aria guides: Sempre libera

It's a cornerstone of the operatic repertoire: Violetta's Act I aria from La traviata. It's got everything, from delicious long lines to flashy coloratura, and it has the special honour of closing the opera's first act. Violetta is a role that most sopranos covet, and many of them start their Traviata trip with "Sempre libera". Along with the work you do with your voice teachers and coaches, our latest Aria Guide a little naviagtion kit to help you along your way:

Jenna Simeonov

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