Those who came were their usual cheery and happy selves, and one in particular, my superb mezzo N, had a cracker of a lesson. Her 18 year old voice has been changing dramatically over the last few months and this week the range suddenly evened up, grew fatter and was feeling a great deal more comfortable ! This is a joy indeed. N has always had a chocolatey and mellow dark tone quality - since she was 8 or 9 years old, which led me to believe that it was a foregone conclusion that the young mezzo would become the mature mezzo ! The break between chest and middle register was easier, and much less 'clunky', and the top G and A flat were solid as proverbial rocks ! She was so excited, and when she sang her Strauss lieder when clearly the quality of tone, top to bottom was a delight to behold.
Eighteen is quite possibly the most exciting age for a female voice and its development - the changes, the bumpy or breathy tone evens and clears as if by magic. In fact for N who sang the most beautiful Iolanthe in July, it was astonishing how the size of her aria in the final few moments of the show, had tripled in depth and strength from when she sang it a couple of years ago at Saltburn Music Festival. It was as if we were hearing, only two months ago a glorious technicolor version of the same piece, sung as a 16 year old.
I know some singing teachers do not believe that young singers should tackle repertoire which is grown up, but I disagree - as long as the teaching is safe, handled gently and carefully, there is no reason why a talented, intelligent and feeling young singer cannot make a very good fist of it, but in the size which is safe for that moment. So long as they 'sing within their vocal box'. This means we really see the development when it comes around again a year or so down the line. It is a win win situation. The musical youngster feels fulfilled with the joy of tackling beautiful music, which in turn helps them grow and develop.
N has sung somewhat serious and profound English Song since she was about 12 years old, and loved every crotchet and quaver. That can only be a big plus in her singing life and her vocal progression.
I will always follow my intuition with young students.....if they love it, can sing the range safely, and NEVER push their voice they sing with my blessing !
An Iolanthe of great depth - well done N !