I just came back from a coaching on the scene from Ariadne that we'll be presenting in a month. It's the quintet right before the aria, and then the aria (Zerbie's).
The coaching was great.
I love getting really really specific with things. I definitely got called out on some sub-par translations of phrases (yea, and I've been singing this aria for a few years now!! Crazy- I really thought I had it down). We looked more in depth and at tempo markings and basically all other markings on the page besides the notes (which is sometimes that LAST thing you think about when you're trying to get through Strauss and the German).
And then we got to the issue of commitment v. checking out while singing.
I've gotten this comment from this coach a few times in a few different arias. He feels that because it's so "easy" vocally for me, and text-wise, diction..ie- I've done my homework-- that I sometimes just "coast". And it's not bad, but it's just
not as good as it could be if I invested and committed more to what I was saying, singing, etc.
So while I could be more dramatic and deliver the lines, more often I just rely on the voice to do what it does best, and although it is impressive, it may still leave something to be desired.
I received that comment today, worked on some lines, re-sang them, and then all of a sudden when I was pretty much thinking about nothing except keeping ONE thought going- ie- "I'm cute and flirty and can't make Ariadne mad" he stopped me after a phrase and said, yes- that was it.
What is it about half zoning out, or not thinking about the words as they go by, but thinking of a larger concept- that sometimes gets people to believe I'm "acting" or "committed" to the pieces?
And then on the other hand, in some of my other pieces when I am absolutely thinking about "making" the word that comes next actually occur because of my acting, THAT is equally as committed- and I'm working hard with the words and music.
It's frustrating. Also, because it's a coaching (and I know I shouldn't say or think this) sometimes I DO leave the "drama" aside because I want to concentrate on the coaching of the music-diction-phrase- everything technical that is separated from the drama.
But that is soo soo soo wrong..I know. I don't mean to do it- I just know that I don't commit as much in a musical coaching as I would onstage.
Does everyone really- I mean really- with every vocalise, every minute in the practice room, coaching- really commit? Dramatically? and Vocally? ALL the time?
This is tough. It's not really being lazy. I think it's just coming into the coaching with a different energy about what needs to be done..and that is detrimental- because what I end up doing is compartmentalizing the voice and the acting and the musicality and the diction and the interpretation into different drawers and yes, although they can be all opened at the same time, it's very easy for me to just rummage through the T-shirts and forget about the sock drawer.
So what do I feel about that coaching?
I do good things. I sing well. I "impressed"- or showed that I could do it, I was working on it, I have ideas...there is a glimmer of what could come in the future with this..
Also, I don't know really how to approach my stage of development either. Am I a professional artist who is working side by side with a colleague? Or am I a 'student' who should still have that "teach me everything you know" mentality from the authority figure?
All things to think about.