At last night’s class, we welcomed a new member, Jim. He shared his beautiful, free voice and his open, friendly vibe with us and gamely threw himself into some new practice techniques. Jim quickly caught on to the benefits of Whole-Body Breathing and reported to me this morning that he’s already been applying this powerful technique to songs at home. We look forward to having you back soon, Jim!

This week’s class theme—Start by Changing Something—was inspired by a surprising experience I’d had the day before. I’d moved the furniture in my teaching studio around to improve the lighting in the room. What I hadn’t expected was that being in a differently arranged environment would have an inspiring effect on my thinking and teaching. I found myself falling easily into my creativity and accessing a playfulness in my approach to teaching. I wanted to see what would happen if I changed up the environment for my students, and what better place to explore this than my Wednesday night Mastering the Art of Vocal Performance class?

Everyone tried changing something in their habitual approach to performing…with impressive results:

  • Sarah draped herself on the piano like a lounge singer and discovered sultriness and fun in her comedic musical theater number. Oh, and vocal power and ease to spare.
  • Jim allowed me to push his body into all kinds of contortions while he performed a pop song and found that he was not thrown off by the “distractions”, but actually got freer in himself and less nervous.
  • Beverly tapped into the rib movement of a melancholy sigh and found soaring high notes in her melancholy aria from a melancholy German operetta. (Believe me, nobody does melancholy better than the Germans.)
  • Diana sat on the floor and pretended she was 7 years old, the age at which she’d first admired the Portuguese song she performed for us. Her performance was nuanced and easeful in a way that was new to Diana.

If you haven’t yet attended my weekly classes, I invite you to come soon. There’s a discount for first-time participants and you are not required to sing unless you want to. It’s worth showing up just for the entertainment value!

In recent weeks, I’ve had the joy of attending “real-world” performances of two regular attendees of my MAVP class. On the 7th, I got to see Debra Vogel perform her delightful cabaret show, Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries, at Don’t Tell Mamas.

And on the 16th, Sylvia (also a regular attendee of the class) and I both went out to see Michael Osso star in Charles Strouse’s little-known musical Dance a Little Closer at Green Room 42. Michael was magnificent, which was not a surprise, exhibiting the poise and interpretive skills we’ve often been treated to in class. What WAS a surprise, was that Charles Strouse himself was there too, along with cast members from the original production including superstar Len Cariou, who sang a number from the show. Maybe I’m biased, but I found Michael’s easy, confident singing to be the highlight of the evening. And I’m including the avocado fries in that analysis.

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