Monday, November 29, 2010

Sing It So I Believe It

Parents packed and shipped safely home, Alaska and I declared today a day of rest. So, as the "180 minutes" of ALL THREE football games slowly passed, I propped up my socked feet and hunkered down with a backlog of glossies to see what's sleek in this world of ours.

I didn't travel far before coming across Justin Davidson's New York magazine profile on vocal coach to the opera stars, Steven Blier. Here's the link to the full story entitled "Sing It So I Believe It," nicely done:

It's interesting to see Blier's philosophies up against those of my own vocal coach. While Mark Baxter is busily stripping away my classical training so that I can deliver the message, Blier seemingly maximizes every last drop of his students' training so they can do the same. Different styles, different venues, but plenty of room for intersection. These snippets were particularly apropos to my latest blogvestigations.

Justin writes:
"Over the past 35 years, Blier has become a guru of song, the man who patiently guides singers past their vulnerabilities, who coaxes them to scrutinize and express some tiny grain of meaning in the text, who homes in pitilessly on glints of fake feeling. A mixture of therapist, teacher, impresario, and pianist-for-hire..." 
(Uh-huh...sounds familiar.)
"What separates the [songs] that interest him from those that don’t is not style, but a nugget of emotional intensity. 'A song is the closest thing I know in waking life to dreaming,' he says. 'It’s a coded version of reality. It’s not like playing a scene from Chekhov, where you’re trying to look like you’re having a tea party or a nervous breakdown. Instead, you’re enacting a coded, ritualized version of that moment, and somehow everyone in the hall is dreaming along with you.'"
(Hmm. Hadn't thought of it that way.)
 “'When I roll onstage, I am the song’s messenger,' he says. 'Maybe some other guy can play it better than I can, but I was given the message, and I have to deliver it.'”
(This one's  MOS DEFinitely going up on the bulletin board.)
"In concert, Blier’s emotional curiosity emerges as good humor and tenderness, but it can startle singers, says Sasha Cooke. 'People open up when they’re around him,' she says. 'You enter the room and all of a sudden everything feels very intimate. But some people don’t want to be figured out.'” 
(Do I want to be figured out??) 
 "Vulnerability and determination are the performing artist’s two contradictory but equally essential tools..."
(Those two specifically? Well, I certainly feel vulnerable enough and will even 80 times so when I brace myself and post that first song in a few weeks. Determination? Against my better judgement, perhaps, yes.)

And, on that note, the basement recording session is set for this Friday at 7PM. AUUUGGGHHHHH!!!!

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