Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Ophelia's Song and my new thermos mug ( vital for singing teaching you understand !)

Another day another crotchet.....or many many crotchets ! Today I had some very interesting students of all ages and stages. On my way to work I managed at long last to get a rather poor, but almost clear photo of the con belto singing bulbuls. I realise you cannot see the bright red, but I feel sure you notice the peak of feathers on the head, so it looks rather like a very neat and rather dapper punk rocker !

I also felt my sweet and new thermos mug was worth a view - I have always had my trusty stainless steel flask of minuscule proportions with me when I am working non stop but I left it in Sussex as the bottom fell off when I was using it in the car ! A great excuse to buy a little something here, where everyone has one ! It is only 6inches tall, holds one good cup of coffee and stays hot for around four hours - and I mean HOT ! These, and the cold versions for water are everywhere you look here, all travellers have them and all schoolchildren sport a variety in their school bags, but never on the MTR - it is against the law to eat or drink at all, even sweets, a penalty of $HK 5000 or six months jail sentence !!

So it stays on the side of the piano and remains there for hot slurps and extra caffeine whilst I teach !

I had a sweet and very very nervous lady as my last pupil this evening. M was shaking from tip to toe as she waited outside in the foyer for her lesson - so nervous was she that she failed to remove her shoes and had to return in a flurry to do so when it was noticed ! It took a good 15 minutes to calm her down so she could breathe without hyper ventilating ! This charming lady, who was tinier than even the smallest of my Chinese students is a nurse in Hong Kong, with much responsibility in her work, and yet the thought of an hour with moi sent her spiralling into orbit !

Once the calming had happened what a huge leap forward was made. She was singing Ophelia's Song by Maconchy, and it suited her beautifully. Her teacher had said that her biggest problem was tuning - and I agree it was, but not because of a poor ear, more that she was simply so worried about getting the song right she never ever stopped and listened to herself sing. Allowing ones ear to spare an ounce of space to really listen to the sound one is making just allows magic to happen ! This was a big learning curve for her, and it took some guts on her part to allow some silence in the song, and to take her own time - especially in the haunting and largely unaccompanied final phrases ! She was petrified of pausing !! I made her take that time and we achieved so much more heart within the song.

It was indeed hard work - like holding back a very revved up Mini Cooper just dying to zoom away from the traffic lights ! Silence is just as important as noise, and we forget that at our peril.

Dear M could not work her shifts to allow another time for a lesson later in the week, so she came for an hour then waited and practised her song and then came back again for her second hour - now that's top notch dedication !

I see M again on Sunday in the Masterclass and I am all fingers crossed that she will sing her O Del Mio Dolce more like a beautiful and stately Rolls Royce, than that zippy and speedy little Mini ! You can do it M !

Mr Bulbul - which sounds like humerous and possibly quite rotund Dickens character !

My excellent new buy ! About £4.95 well spent !

Chinese New Year decorations outside the hotel doors - the satsumas are real and growing......and as you can see, very well behaved on the bush !


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