Got to take a voice lesson with Slovenian soprano Irena Preda today. The last time I took a voice lesson was two years ago, so it was refreshing to have the one-on-one time to work a little on vocal technique.
Preda, in town to perform at the Kennedy Center*, worked with me using simple breath support and scale exercises. The differences they made were, for lack of a better phrase, tremendous.
Real talk: I think it’s easy to be a lazy singer. You learn the music, hit the right notes in rehearsal and you think you’re good to go. When in a large esemble, your odd choice to take a breath can be masked by the masses around you. (Please note: I am guilty of all of these things.)
But singing is about much more than that. There’s the breath behind the note, the shape of your mouth, the steady release of the sound and the musicality that ties it all together to make it appear to be effortless.
Even though my time with Irena spanned about 25 minutes (going first and arriving early has its benefits <– yes, I said that), she got me thinking about how I can improve on my own techniques.
She also noted that I seem to hold back, calling attention to it especially when I would lose focus as I’d sing up and down the scale.
“I have a feeling you have quite a voice inside of you,” she told me, encouraging me to sing with not only focus, but passion as well. “Let the world hear it. We want to.”
Thanks, Irena, for the compliment, for the lesson, for putting these thoughts into my head.
*Lucky for us, the Kennedy Center has a video of her performance with Slovenian pianist Nejc Lavrencic (who I also met and thought he was very nice) up on its website.