Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Singer

I've sung, and I've taught singing, and the latter has always brought me much more pleasure.

How can that be, I hear you say - the applause, the travel, the gorgeous frocks......well, all that is wonderful and has it's own reward of achievement, being given affirmation from audiences and peers, but teaching is another level of personal fulfillment.

Yesterday I taught a sweet and somewhat serious 7 year old who learns songs as quickly as a starving lion devours it's catch, and two ladies of a certain age who in their time with me have gone from 'I can't possibly do that' to passing their Grade 8 exams!

Today amongst others, I tackle two very talented teenagers and a young lady who has brought a breath of spring into my music room with her own brand of fun, dedication and the ability to conquer problems which simply humbles me.

Having spent the best part of my teaching in a junior conservetoire in London, 10 years ago I relocated to a 'remote' island off West Scotland. Remote ! Well there is a lie if ever I heard it!
The community is warm and inviting, and before I could say ' I may have retired....?' I had a teaching practise as big as the proverbial Bournemouth! Talent was oozing out of every mountainside, and heading my way.

So what will I teach today? A festival looms, so a great deal of repertoire to be learnt, and one song in particular stands out. The Singer by Michael Head - a glorious unaccompanied song which paints a wondrous picture of the itinerant musician passing into a life and just as quickly passing on. If you have read the Gerald Durrell book ' My Family and other Animals' then this song has to be about the Rose Beetle Man, who communicates with his flute - read it! Communicates is the word - and today we tackle the ever present problem of teenagers and showing emotions. She can do it, and is beginning to enjoy the feeling of telling the story and doing so in her own time, mostly we are bound by the piano accompaniment, but 'The Singer' is almost barless, and treated in that way has a magical and timeless feel in performance. Immaculate enunciation and a freedom in the Fa la la's and we are almost there!

Bring it on!

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