I had a very light day today - only three pupils ! It is the school half term holiday for the next two weeks, so many of my under 18's are spending the holidays doing exactly that, holidaying !
I did have the talented and dedicated R today. She is working herself into a frenzy for many up coming events in the next 6 months. She is singing the beautiful V'Adoro Pupille from Handel's Giulio Cesare. At 15 years old, this is a big sing for her, but my goodness given the challenge she rises to it with a magnificent strength and positivity. She used the aria at a festival last May, and sang with poise and style, but when I hear her today I realise, if indeed I could ever forget, how rapid is the development of a young singer between 14 and 18 ! She has more depth of tone, more stamina and more breath, but more than any of those vitally important elements she has such a core confidence. A solid and almost immovable type of confidence which if one could bottle and sell, one would be a billionaire singing teacher !
She sings the decorations with such conviction, as if she has been twirling her way around a melody all of her life. She understands the flow of the legato, and there is ne'er a hint of the dreaded intrusive 'h' when she sings melismas, or in layman's terms, runs. In short she is twice the singer she was a year ago, and twenty times the singer she was 2 years ago. I was aware of the turning point, but as in most youngsters' lives, cannot exactly put my finger on quite why it happens when it does. What is it in growing up which allows a somersault change in approach, confidence, self worth etc...... I wish I knew!
In the end, of course, it does not matter why it happens, only that it does, and I have the joy of being part of that process, and watching those miraculous developments at close quarters. Along with her Handel she is singing a most sophisticated Amarylli Mia Bella, and a pert Mozart aria, Un Moto di Gioia from Figaro. So many singing teachers have a strong aversion to teaching young children to sing, and voice their feelings vociferously. In safe and gentle hands it is just as possible to give a child a solid grounding in classical singing as it is to dance or play the violin. R is a perfect example of an early starter making good, and benefitting a hundred fold from absorbing all the ' hard bits' before she was aware there were any.
I have witnessed it so many times in my career, and it always takes me by surprise, and gives me goose pimples of glee !
I take my hat off to her, and all her predecessors over the last 25 years of my teaching who grew up into fine, confident and stylish performers by their mid teens, and don't even remember the learning !