Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Transposition, Cakes and I'm still learning !

I'm almost at the end of my first week back, and feeling quite tired. The thing is, it is a good tired, not the worn out and frustrated tired which was par for the course in my previous life. I absolutely love the fact I can do all my work at home. I can teach, chat, drink cups of tea, and as I did today, enjoy an hour between the lessons of two good friends topped off with Scotch pancakes and lashings of butter !

This does not mean that my teaching is not just as fruitful and challenging, what it does mean is that I can actually do the 'job' and at the same time suffer none of the downsides of travel, institution working and fuel/ticket costs. It is another win win.

I taught one of my small pupils today. Young L is 10 and I have had her for around three years now. She began singing lessons with a very very small range, possible only four or five notes, and with a small pitch difficulty as well. I realise now that this pitch issue was more due to the fact her natural inability to sing within a larger range was very confusing to her ear. She knew the note she was hearing but simply could not copy it and so sang the nearest one she could manage! Three years down the line her ability to pitch has grown with her range, and she now can span more than an octave. The interesting thing about L is that she is, and probably always has been, a natural alto, and even today in her lessons she starts her octave down scales at the A above Middle C !!

She does not use a chest register, and the whole octave is in her natural middle voice. My acceptance of this most unusual vocal situation has meant that I have begun to give her many more typical '10' year old songs, but in a lower key, sometimes as much as a third below the norm (whatever that is!).

We tackled another of the Peter Jenkyns songs from Fancy Fair, the wonderful Percy the Porcupine, about which I have previously blogged. Modern magical technology allows me to lower the pitch on my Clavinova, and so a world of repertoire opens up to a wonderfully keen and excited little girl, for whom the original pitch would have rendered much music utterly impossible.

It also means that I will never have to compromise and give her less suitable songs which happen to be in a manageable key for her aspirant Kathleen Ferrier tone quality ! We are jumping ahead rather there I realise !

So, we never stop learning or accepting. I can open up the fantastic world of classical song to this child, all because of a small and unobtrusive black button on my magical piano if I calmly accept that transposition is A OK !

It's taken me awhile...................


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