Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kashu-do (歌手道): Let It Come To You: An Issue of Faith in Career Management

I don't believe there are short cuts in attaining the level of artistic proficiency that makes a singer's product viable for market!  Unfortunately, because singers often achieve certain proficiencies without being conscious they have been learning, there is a false belief that immediate results can be achieved. When I put singers through the paces, there comes a point of questioning whether they have the talent to continue. These moments of doubt often come because they have not had to confront head-on their weaknesses. Two things may result: 1) They will persevere and achieve results having consciously worked out their problems. Real confidence come from seeing that a problem is indeed soluble when addressed logically and given enough time. 2) The student will believe that another teacher can accomplish results better than I can. Both have occurred and both will continue to occur. Fortunately I seem to attract students who have had enough of the short-term quick fixes and are often ready to pursue a long-term solution. And so I adopt Beverly Sills assertion:

There are no short cuts to any place worth going!


It is also true that singers who are looking for a short cut are also in a hurry. The music field as we know it seems to rush people along. But I am of the mindset that time is inconsequential when the product is of the highest quality. What impresario would not want another René Pape



or another Luciana d'Intinto




Hence a Daniel Webster quote:

There is always room at the top!


We are plagued with the impatience that fosters the need for immediate gratification.  I am an admire of baritone Timothy Noble who made his operatic debut in his forties after a career as an opera-loving truck driver or Magda Olivero who was unknown in the US until Metropolitan Opera General Manager, Rudolf Bing discovered her in her sixties in an Italian theater and had her open the Met season with Tosca, of Giuseppe Verdi who failed to be accepted to conservatory twice and became arguably the greatest operatic composer ever and yes Susan Boyle who sang for 35 years before stunning Britain's Got Talent.  In a sense it is not about perfection, but rather a commitment to long-term self-perfectionism.

How does one get to readiness for success?  The moment one stops following the rules and creates his/her own path!

Along those lines, one student of mine who seemed in her late twenties pressured by the operatic machine of fall auditions and spring auditions, running a race stacked against her needs to take time to fully develop, decided to stop the turning wheel in which she was the hamster. She began singing for fun again and low and behold, her former weakened middle register is the strongest part of her range now.

Some people will have the kinds of attributes that suit the current system and they will progress in it. Some will come to a dead-end because the system is very flawed, but some will ride the system as far as it goes and then invent the road where it stops. But others need to create an altogether new road for themselves. In such cases, they will create a product and the career will come to them.

I have seen a lot of faith among my students, but it takes ultimate faith to say: "I have something unique and extraordinary inside me and I will craft it until it is ready for the public to enjoy!" Indeed:

Paul Masson will sell no wine before its time!


Nor should a singer present himself/herself before it's time!

In the end, it comes down to whether one believes that there is something unique and interesting and true inside of himself that will inspire the average person. If one perceives himself as just another singer trying to make it, then that is precisely what will manifest. And that one will spend a career competing in a huge pool of others who perceive their limitations rather than their infinite possibilities.  Some of those will succeed simply by the law of averages, but there will be no science as to why they succeed. It will be a crap shoot!

We are all diamonds in the rough! Some of us with a lot more rough! It takes faith, courage and patience to shed the rough and make manifest the diamond! When a diamond is evident, all will come to it! There is a science in this! When the diamond has been released, everyone knows it!

If you do not see the diamond in yourself, why should anyone else?

© 1/19/2009


8 comments:

Jenny said...

Love this! Thanks, Ron!

Gige said...

A sincere thank you for this post. I've been following your blog for a few weeks, and your thoughts never fail to lift me in moments of discouragement.

An Englishwoman abroad said...

" If one perceives himself as just another singer trying to make it, then that is precisely what will manifest. " So true, and real food for thought.

This rough diamond just had to take the afternoon off polishing her facets, by the way - couldn't stop hitting the repeat button on the Rene Pape video!!

NHB said...

Hi,

I was directed to this excellent post by another blog. How inspiring and inteligent this topic is. I will be returning to your blog and await more posts on various facets of our beautiful art.

N.

Jean-Ronald LaFond said...

Welcome to the blog NHB. I look forward to your commentary.

PB said...

Ron,

I just read this post today. I really needed it. What you wrote... hits home.

The story of my life has been "inventing my own path." Just feels great to have that validation.

Thanks for being the great soul you are!

Jean-Ronald LaFond said...

From Dovie Lee (mistakenly deleted):

Gosh this is sooo true! Story of my life! Ive worked with several vocal coaches as a CCM singer....I dunno....I still dont think I have a WOW factor! ....Woo time...always laughing at me! :( Ill be 21 in march so I guess I should slow down.

One vocal coach from Youtube told me, The cartilage around the vocal box is not completely hardened until the age of 30 so thats why we are so frustrated as young singers.

Is that true?

Jean-Ronald LaFond said...

No Dovie Lee, that is not the problem. The larynx changes throughout our lives. The calcification of the larynx is a part of the maturing process, but it is not necessarily beneficial. In fact maintaining the pre-calcification flexibility of the tissues is desirable.

Young singers have problems because they are not aware that muscular training of any kind, including the voice takes time. It is not only about coordination but also about building strength. Patience is the required virtue!