Thursday, September 3, 2009

Teaching an old dog new tricks...

I have spent the morning on the computer doing all the computer-related things that one does to manage their lives - Blogging, emailing students, sending thank you notes for studio referrals, being in touch with colleagues, uploading a video to my YouTube channel and of course, Facebooking. Finally after looking at the clock and realizing my arms were locked into one position, I decided to head outside with my coffee to enjoy this beautiful Prince Edward County weather!

Now normally Iwould sit at the front of my house but today, I took my chair over to the deck that served as a "stage" for our annual outdoor concert this summer (Lakestock '09) and sat there instead. What a difference a new view can make! The lake out front looked different, I got new ideas for my gardens (I should really cut the grass!) and then I started to think singing.

It got me thinking that we can get stuck repeating old patterns and wondering why nothing changes. The same goes with developing and managing vocal technique and repertoire. Yesterday I had a lesson with my mentor Mary Lou Fallis in Toronto. She kept saying to me "think the pitch BEFORE you sing". "But I am" I thought...but really, I was breathing, setting a vowel then pitching it. No wonder the onsets were out of balance! Once I started to make that realization, things started to fall into place.

So back to my deck today...I decided to start singing right out there in the sunshine with the breeze blowing the flag and the fishermen going by. A new space, a new idea and voila, some new sounds. Added to that, the lack of feedback when you sing outside, made it a real kinaesthetic singing sensation and took me to a different place where I could assess things and get NEW and DIFFERENT results.

The point? Find a new space, get a new set of ears (teacher, coach, friend), try something new and you might be surprised by the results. You know what they say about old dogs....prove them wrong! And NOW is the time to do it!

3 comments:

s@bd said...

oooh! fabulous!!

(and look how young Steven looks!! tee hee!)

Anonymous said...

In, our music studio the passing of students between teachers is not uncommon. A new technique, or set of ears can help catapult a stagnant piece. I admit subsequently over time a “rare” student enters my studio. A unique bond develops an undeniable soft spot in my heart. It doesn’t happen often, but those “rare” students a teacher can’t help fighting a bit harder to keep.


Your site is undeniably a fountain of knowledge for music teachers like myself. Thanks for posting.

Lynne

Elizabeth McDonald said...

Thanks for reading Lynne and Shannon!

I hope that I can continue to serve the teachers who are out there motivating and inspiring their students AND the students out there with dreams of being a singer!

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