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November 2017
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Houston NATS Student Auditions

Music: If you've noticed my absence from Livejournal lately, the reason for it is now over. :) Yesterday was the annual spring student auditions for NATS, the National Association of Teachers of Singing. If you're taking voice lessons, your teacher will generally encourage you to enter this. It's a way to get feedback about your vocal skill from other teachers in your area--more people than just the teacher you regularly work with.

I made semi-finalist, this year, which means I scored 90 or above on my performance. I sang three pieces: "I Attempt from Love's Sickness to Fly" by Henry Purcell, "Reflets" by Lili Boulanger, and "Going to Heaven" by Aaron Copeland from a poem by Emily Dickinson.

I am way thrilled!

Each year, they organize this better and better. The first year I auditioned, they did classical and musical theater students all on the same day, and they didn't announce the finalists until after 5pm. I didn't get out of there until nearly 6:00. The second year, they managed it a little better. Last year, they had classical students perform on one day, and musical theater students on another, which reduced a lot of crowding. This year, they were finished announcing the finalists by 2:30pm, and I was able to leave at about 3pm, after listening to all nine of the adult finalists (for beginner, intermediate, and advanced adults). Getting to leave by 3pm was great, and I suspect the teachers (who were judging) appreciated it, too.

I've already decided that my aria for next year will be Micaela's aria from Carmen that I was going to do for NATS this year, except it was killing me. It's "Je dits que rien ne m'epouvante". I had a difficult time with it because I wasn't breathing properly for the high notes; I wasn't keeping my throat open enough for them. I need to work on that if I want to improve as a singer and as a soprano. I also need to start working on longer pieces--which will require me to learn them faster.

Of the adult pieces I heard yesterday, I really liked one by Mozart called "Ave Verum." There is also a kick-ass aria (way high tessatura) from La Bohem called 'Quando men vo" that I'm considering, and my brain keeps telling me, "Don't be insane!"

The lady who sang "Quando men vo" had an almost shrill voice; the notes sounded high and piercing, and my synesthesia impression was of whiteness and a very sharp, glass-like quality. I don't want to sound like that, but I guess it really depends on the nature of my voice and how I shape the music.

My only reservation about doing the "Ave Verum" is that, if I'm going to sing Latin prayers, I really prefer to sing them as Gregorian chant done in the correct style, not as the text of a Gregorian chant set to classical music. That really ticks me off. I felt the same way about singing "Greensleeves" as a classical piece, when, really, it needs to be accompanied by a lute, not a piano. But, hey, that's my pet peeve. I'll talk things over with my voice teacher when we decide which pieces I'll work on for 2011 NATS during the coming year.

Comments

Congratulations on doing so well!

Thanks, Bill! I was rather surprised to have done that well.

Chantal

Congrats on your score and placement! :D

I still really, really want to take voice lessons. How did you find your teacher? I've googled around but am sort of overwhelmed at the number of teachers in Houston - no idea how to choose!!

Brandie--Hi! I did the same thing--went Googling. I can't remember the name of the site I visited, but I was mainly looking for classical voice teachers who taught near my home. I picked one and emailed her. For some reason, she couldn't take me on, and she referred me to my current voice teacher, Frankie Hickman.

I've been very satisfied with Frankie. She can tell you exactly what your muscles are doing when you sing, which I like, and she knows when to push you farther and when you're not ready for that, yet.

So mainly, I found Frankie through dumb luck. (g)

I'd suggest deciding what sort of music you want to study, and then talking to people at the local universities to see if they recommend any teachers and what sort of students those teachers will accept. That way, you can at least be assured of getting a high-quality teacher who won't damage your voice.

Here are some names of Houston music teachers who have judged me during NATS in the past:

Judy Boyter
Frances Fenton
Angela Pickering
Diana Stoenbach (Not sure about that spelling. Mostly, it was 'illegible scrawl.")

Chantal

Edited at 2010-04-12 12:53 am (UTC)

It all sounds really impressive... Congrats!

Rocio--Thank you! :)

Chantal

NATS

Congrats, Chantal! I know you worked hard for this. :)