After my incredible Summer Camp experience, I had the privilege to give a recital and Master Class at the Annual Convention of the Music Teachers’ Association of California.
I awoke early on Sat. to make the trek to Oakland for my rehearsal with my accompanist. I arrived a bit early, as usual, to give myself time to clean up and get some water before we began. As I washed my hands I heard, “You must be Carrie Hennessey! You look just like your photo!” Apparently, that’s not always the case!
The ice was officially broken and we were off to rehearse. As we plugged through the ambitious recital rep, I learned much more about Dana and her career. Thankfully I didn’t fully know her background BEFORE we began. She studied lieder in Austria and played recitals for the likes of Benita Valente, soprano extraordinaire! That made me nervous, but Dana seemed thrilled to play for me, which was a huge relief! We almost blew the roof off of the Oakland Marriott with our incredible energy. (It was my buoyant energy times TWO!) At the the end of running a short, driven Amy Beach song, the practice room door open and an accompanist from next door said, “Um, yeah, heard ya!” Hilarious!
Two days later, the recital went off without a hitch. I couldn’t believe how quickly it went and that my daring, big rep choices worked so well. Dana and I just giggled at the end, it was quite an experience! The audience was small, but truly engaged in the performance. The grand piano was beautiful! Dana and I decided to have the lid all the way up. As I stood right in front of it, it felt as if I was being carried away by an orchestra. That cushion of sound from the piano was all I needed!Who knew that a hall in the Marriott could be so gratifying!?
Two hours later was the Master Class. Three young, talented singers presented a song to me and the audience. I LOVED working with them! I learned so much about myself and my singing through the teaching process. We went over three major check points, breathing in a circular motion so as not to hold breath at any given point; aligning the body from the bottom to the top so that the head is like a bobble head; and also SEEING what you sing, interpretation and color in voice HAS to come from seeing/feeling the precise this that you are singing. The students were all incredibly responsive and produced some amazing results. What I loved even more was that the teachers were just as engaged. They had clarifying questions and comments after students had tried new things. It was a learning process for everyone there, including me!
It’s true, teaching does teach the teacher!