One of my past students is giving a recital in Paradise this evening. Fiona was my first pupil here. She has a tenacious mother who 13 years ago, kept ringing and asking if I would hear her! At that moment I did not have a completed house, let alone a music room, but after the third phone call I agreed to hear her and we met at a church in the Kyle of Lochalsh where I heard this rather shy and under confident 15 year old sing.
I heard some beautiful sounds, which were clear pointers to a very interesting voice in embyo, so I told her mum I would take her on the minute I had a piano and a space to teach in!
How glad I am that I did. She has just completed her Masters with a First, at the Royal College of Music in London, and is now a wonderful, rich voiced mezzo soprano, ready to conquer the world, if she so chooses !
She came for a lesson on Thursday and it was as if she had never left ! She eased back into my music room like donning a well worn coat, and after a few tentative moments her glorious tone resonated around the room and gave me goose bumps.
Even after all the training, all the learning and all the sheer physical effort, still the same old basic technical rules have to be said over and over, and strong abdominal support for good breath and tone quality is possibly the most fundamental of all ! So, in an effort to go straight back to basics, without making it sound patronising, we got straight back to using the lowest muscles to keep the sound even more open and free!
However wonderful a voice, and however well trained a voice, these underpinning techniques are essential. Fiona needed, like all singers, to just have her body reminded of this, and suddenly she felt and heard the glowing tone, already so beautiful, glow even brighter than a log fire !
My lovely alto student M, put it very succinctly, when building a house, if the lowest part of the build is just a fraction of an inch out, as the house builds the fault grows and grows out of all proportion. Get the foundations right and the house is true, and as solid as rock ! What a great analogy !
Anyhow, tomorrow after the recital I will update! I know what she is singing as we went through most of it in her lesson, but just incase anyone who is going reads this, I don't want to spoil the surprise !
Off true foundations !