Sunday, 15 January 2012

'Were I Thy Bride' with canine accessories




I had to take my car to Inverness for a service this week, so whilst I was over that neck of the woods I taught three of my students who live in the environs of said city, to save them a trip over to Paradise.

It was a good, but long afternoon's worth of teaching, including a most memorable session with 17 year old M. She, along with a few others are entering the Inverness Music Festival in March, by which time I am in Hong Kong, so I am working them very very hard so they are ready to perform a good two weeks before the official dates.

M is singing 'Were I Thy Bride', Phoebe's aria from The Yeaoman of the Guard. She can be a serious young lady, and has a very intense, almost blinkered way of thinking about a song, so humour and fun can sometimes be in short supply! The song was going well, she had learnt it well, all was more or less note and word perfect, but it did not look much like she was seducing the clod Wilfred Shadbolt!

At the end of ideas for 'fun inducing', I decided that the last resort was to use a 'body' for her to sing to. The nearest 'body' to hand was Gretel the Cavalier King Charles ! She is dog and animal mad, so it turned out the perfect foil for her, and in a split second she smiled, giggled, cuddled and generally sang as if it were the most enjoyable moment of her short life, up to that moment. What a triumph, I must use the dog more often ! Her tone softened, she forgot about difficult breathing, she sang with bounce and freedom - it was a revelation to us both!

I wonder what the adjudicator would think if she turned up at the Light Opera class with an adorable Black and Tan King Charles wearing a miniature costume resembling the cutest jailer in the Western world.

If it were me adjudicating she would carry away the prize.

No question!

The antithesis of this happened in a small pupils's lesson, another M ! She was wriggling and scriggling so much we had a competition to see how long she could keep her shoulders from looking as if she had itching powder in her school uniform! 20 seconds was about the maximum, by which time she was exploding with wriggles!

The joy of teaching.

Everyone a unique challenge, everyday. How could I ever be bored?

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