The walk from the bus stop to the academy today was delightful, a calm and breezy 17 degrees, bright sunshine and the incessantly cheery singing of the Red Whiskered Bulbuls in the trees made for a lovely 20 minute amble !
I was a little concerned today as I knew that my first student was 9 year old K, a quick and intelligent young man who came confidently into my studio for his hour lesson. I was filled with trepidation as to how I might fill 60 minutes with one so young, and when I recall that even at the JRAM no singer of any age had a lesson longer than 45 minutes, it was a bit daunting ! I need not have worried, clearly the Hong Kong way involves much concentration from an early age and young K was enthusiastic, intense and wanted so much to do his best ! He steamed through the vowels very well, then we got to Row and he started singing almost before I had finished explaining and out of his mouth flowed a beautifully shaped and very loud 'Grow' ! I inwardly laughed and tried not to let my feelings show on my face, but let him carry on all the way up singing this little mantra, and it was as if he was willing himself to develop more inches as he was singing ! How cute is that ! He sang me a delicious Caro Mio Ben, high was accurate and beautifully in tune, but I hope and suspect that the sentiment went far over his head. I am not generally very pro singing repertoire which is above the emotional development, and I would have loved to hear him sing 'When I grow up I want to be a Pirate!' or a Haydn's 'Sailors Song' - but whatever he sang he was a joy to work with !
A shy and sweet young lady of 11 came in next. She was on the timetable with her Chinese name, but her mother introduced her to me as Katrina, what a lovely and Scottish moment that was ! She was very shy and quite afraid of me I think, but after 15 minutes or so she realised I was not so awful, and as we worked through her song and I made her work very hard on consonants she melted. There was much laughter at her marvellously explosive T's and B's which almost drenched us both, and the mirror ! She loved the fact that these were called EXPLOSIVE consonants as it reminded her of comics and big firework explosions ! Her 60 minutes flew by, and she understood exactly what I wanted after seeing a glimpse of J on video !
A lovely lady dentist came later and was a delight to teach. Like my ladies, E has come later to singing and is making much of the opportunity. She was eager and clearly loved singing be it exercises or songs. The world over some students find making a long jaw shape quickly very tricky - when we make a slower shape we call this 'chewing'. E found the quick action quite hard, so the tone quality wavered between open and closed. She persevered and persevered and eventually got her recalcitrant jaw to work with more accuracy and speed - she was so delighted with the result and could hear that the legato was so successful ! I suggested that as a dentist she might realise that some folk could do more with their jaw than others ! She was utterly delighted to think about it ! A lovely lady who I will see at the end of the week, and she will have memorised her Sonntag by Brahms - see I am just as tough on HK ladies as Paradise ladies !
A good day.
The motorway above the park - they use space so brilliantly !
All trees in HK have a number and possibly a name ?!
They care so much about those trees they have !
The red Whiskered bulbul - an Internet image as I cannot get close enough with my phone camera, but I promise this is what I see every day going to 'work' !