Well I find myself with only three more days of teaching, and a masterclass on Sunday evening, so the pressure is winding down a little - not so much that I do not have always to be on my toes, but there is a small and growing light at the end of the tunnel !
Yesterday was a longer stint of teaching so this morning it took me a few hours to recover, potter in my room and drink copious cups of Scottish tea. I find I don't eat very much, except if I am in a restaurant, as the time in the evening after finishing at 10pm and getting back to the hotel by 10.30 means that I really want to unwind with an episode of Call the Midwife, or a new series I have found on Netflix called The Bletchley Circle! After that I fall asleep and then wake up around 9 or 10 the following morning - the 'work/play' of my day has shifted quite tangibly.
Yesterday I saw a very keen and eager gentleman, J who spoke much less English and we really needed the assistance of Tiffany who interpreted almost everything I said. He was very determined and having been told the top notes he could manage was about F, or F sharp, with some excellent mouth shapes and lots of confidence boosting he reached the dizzy heights of a B flat, and is most definitely a tenor ! J could not believe what he had achieved and bowed his thanks to me many times. Remember that guys ! He had a very malleable mouth which needed much in the way of behaviour therapy - but he worked so diligently and with such drive it came by the end of his hour, and he managed all the Nor shapes in the Grade 7 exercise 'Nel contrasto' ! He said how much easier he had found it by opening the sound and keeping it consistent !
I have found the word 'consistent' to have been something of a mantra whilst working with these well taught and delightful students. To sing in such a foreign language is in itself a great achievement, but to keep the memory of all those sounds is positively amazing !
A returning student was K whom I worked with last weekend. She was so wonderfully poised, her legato quite beautiful, and her ability to sing through the vowel has been some of the most pleasing work in my time here. I wanted to scoop her up and bring her back to Inner Sound ! We worked on tiny changes to her posture and you can see that in a photo below. She also accompanied for my lesson with J ! Very musical girl !
My hosts again took me to dinner at a local utterly Chinese restaurant between the afternoon and the evening session - not a word of English anywhere in the large place or on any menu. I left it to them to order. After some discussion I asked for some green vegetables, some steamed fish and said that I loved beef in ginger sauce.......well it all appeared and what a happy woman I was to see a large plate of bright and vibrant vegetables, a whole fish complete with a face, (Agh ! We Brits are very squeamish about that sort of thing, but I just got on with it !) and a dish of sizzling slices of beef cooked with lots of ginger and some more greens ! It was a light and delicious meal, and set me up beautifully for an evenings' teaching. How very kind these people have been, and how appreciative.
Today's photo gallery is very diverse !
My studio is cleaned by a robot Hoover which trundles around the floor cleaning every speck of dirt, I was so impressed I took a photo of it. It is a little blurred as it was whizzing quite fast across the floor ! A picture of my daily shuttle bus and the driver who is so cheerful and happy and always waves and talks to me in breezy Cantonese as if I understand. I just smile brightly and nod ! A lovely photo of singing teacher and interpreter Tiffany in the bow of the piano. She is clearly inspirational in her job !
A final small moment - this morning on my way to teach I noticed the wool sign on the shop name ! How funny is that, in the middle of the Northern Territories where all is totally Chinese this shop selling wools and sewing equipment is so clearly understandable to the whole world !
The very talented K doing a 'posture' moment in her lesson !