A year of isolation, of singing in my apartment and not making music with other humans...so now what?
I'm getting my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine this week and it hit me that I could maybe start making musical safely in public again and I felt...overwhelmed. I talked with my therapist (because mental health matters) about this and she reassured me that I'm not the only one.
When the lockdown happened I went into shock. I was either sailing through or a complete depressed mess, crying every night and aching for human interaction. Now? It all seems so daunting...
Making music in a post-pandemic climate seems almost impossible, yet we've been able to create some pretty spectacular things during this time. Most importantly I hope that this time causes some music companies to make some serious changes (ie: inclusivity, abolishing yellow and black face in opera, debuting new works especially by composers of color and female identifying creators, and using virtual concerts as a serious platform).
For educators, this new age of Zoom lessons has been a blessing because we're able to reach people that maybe though because they were out of state, or the country couldn't receive quality lessons! I for one, even though Zoom can be exhausting, have found that virtual lessons are just as constructive as in person ones! Of course, I miss seeing my students, I've been able to expand Prism to all over the U.S because it's been normalized. Making music and creating a safe space for creative minds is imperative, and if a student can find that on Zoom, then that's perfectly ok. Because, we'll need more of that in this post-pandemic world. More acceptance, more safety, more inclusivity and more compassion.
So now what?
We move forward, slowly and safely and for now you can still hear me singing opera in my apartment.
Well it's happened.
After YEARS of vocal turmoil, frustration, let down and down right confusion I am officially transitioning to dramatic soprano. To most people this might not seem like a big deal, but to a professional classical singer this transition is huge.
So what the Fach? And what is Fach?
"The German Fach system is a method of classifying singers, primarily opera singers, according to the range, weight, and color of their voices. It is used worldwide, but primarily in Europe, especially in German-speaking countries and by repertory opera houses. The Fach system is a convenience for singers and opera houses. It prevents singers from being asked to sing roles which they are incapable of performing. Opera companies keep lists of available singers by Fach so that when they are casting roles for an upcoming production, they do not inadvertently contact performers who would be inappropriate for the part."
As someone who's entire singing identity has been focused around singing mezzo soprano repertoire but always was uncomfortable this is a huge but necessary shift. It's going from playing the ugly step-sister and teenage boys to the dramatic love interest, something I've always had a hard time identifying with...
Now let's talk about impostor syndrome.
As long as I can remember I've always had impostor syndrome going into any audition, competition or performance situation (especially in front of my peers). I could never shake the feeling that somehow I didn't belong, that I wasn't good enough...
Turns out I was singing the wrong repertoire! Most dramatic sopranos don't blossom into full form until their 30's so I guess I'm right on track, but for most opera companies women in their 30's are considered "aged out" and to that I say..."SCREW YOU" ! It takes a long time for the dramatic, larger voice to mature and be given the chance to come to life. I'll never forget my voice teacher in undergrad saying that "I couldn't sing high notes because I was depressed..." when in reality she just didn't want to teach a bigger voice because it's hard. I can't thank my teachers Margaret Izard and Alenaxdra LoBianco for believing in my instrument and helping me find my place in this crazy world.
After going through all of this to FINALLY come into myself and my voice, I make sure that none of my students ever feel like they are stuck in one direction. The voice grows with you and it's imperative to give yourself a chance to explore your own sound making and finding a teacher that will help you get to where your potential is is crucial.
It's my job as a teacher to help my students get out of their own way with the "wont's, dont's cant's and will not's" that this career sometimes tells us. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOUR BODY IS ENOUGH, and it's beautiful.
So cheers to new dramatic beginnings!
Sometimes we need a little motivation to start practicing! In the video below I demonstrate the basics of the vocal technique I teach. This technique is for ALL genres! Whether you want to sing opera, musical theater, pop, jazz, rock etc... this technique can get you through it!
My style of teaching focuses on getting you out of your own way and most importantly,
maintaining vocal freedom!
Try this out at home! Happy singing!
For most of us, singing came as the first form of communication as a child. That was definitely the case for me. It was a natural part of my being and from a very early age I knew that I wanted to make music. As I got older and progressed down the typical path of choirs, voice lessons, theater camps and competitions, I suddenly felt out of place.
I knew that I should sing but everything about me seemed like it wasn't meant to follow the straight and narrow path that classical music tends to offer. As I moved into my college years, singing almost became a burden. I felt as though the teachers and professors I had saw the potential but didn't want to work with me to find the core of my voice. As a result I sang repertoire that brought me almost no joy and made me feel like I was literally swallowing my voice to fit into a "box". After a horrible experience in grad school with basically no performance opportunities, lots of emotional abuse and a toxic school environment I decided to take my career into my own hands. I had been teaching for years and knew that I needed to find a teacher that inspires me as much as I try to inspire my students.
I found my teacher Alexandra LoBianco through a friend and FINALLY, I had found someone who wants to work with me, for me and bring out the best in me. A good teacher always finds the potential in their student, even if the student doesn't see it themselves yet and Lexi gave that to me. I also work with her colleague Margaret Izard, who is a brilliant teacher, friend and pedagogue as well.
As a six foot tall, tattooed and short haired woman, opera always seemed like it wasn't ready for me yet and I had always felt that because I was different that I was somehow not good enough.
In reality, the institution isn't good enough, and it needs to be changed.
I created PRISM to welcome all who want to learn how to sing. To all the students that feel like they don't fit the "mold" Prism is here to help you find your own place and rejoice in the uniqueness that the human voice provides. Whether you identify as female, male, non-binary, queer or gender fluid, music is here to tell your story and I'm here to help find your voice and let it shine!
Come as you are, and make music with me!
Founder and creator of Prism Music Studio