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Thread: "Adult" Learner/ Amateur

  1. #1
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    Default "Adult" Learner/ Amateur

    Hi, everyone!

    My name is Joseph! I am an "adult" learner (aged 23) and started to take vocal lessons about a year ago. I am working with a very skilled opera singer and I am extremely intimidated by his repertoire and knowledge of classical pieces!
    (I started off as but a lowly fan of pop music and Broadway -- don't judge me! Hahah.)

    I happened on this forum in hopes of becoming both more learned in the classics via the music community, but also to grow as a performer.

    I am bit musically incompetent, but I've always valued myself as an amateur, in the French sense of the word.

    I'm interested in it all, but have no idea where to start!
    As for composers, I am in love with what I've heard of Chopin and Elgar.
    I also would love to become familiar with Bach, but am so intimidated because I can barely play Prelude No. 1 in C major of his Well-Tempered Clavier.

    Also wanted to know if it's appropriate to post recordings of my voice to get advice (and perhaps some confidence boosting!) from senior members.
    Since I'm no natural at music, I am insecure and overly self-aware when warbling a melody in front anyone or even when I'm alone!

    Diagnosed as a lyric-baritone, I'm currently working through the Italian Arias (Medium-Low Voice), starting with Caro Mio Ben and Amarilli Mia Bella.

    Also note: I'm a broke university student in NYC, so while I do have access to performances and open-mics, they are expensive and riddled with intimidating professionals!


    So, there is my wordy introduction and I hope you all take care of this bumbling amateur!

    Best,
    Joseph

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lunasong's Avatar
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    Joseph,

    Your eagerness to involve yourself in music, even as an amateur, by taking lessons and devoting time to learning technique is admirable. Many amateurs take lessons to better appreciate professional, or really, any performance. Since you are a university student, please check out your fellow university performers in recital and concert. My local university has a student recital every Friday where students of different ability and academic levels perform, about 9 per program. Some are better than others Attend student concert performances. In NYC, not every musician is a high paid professional and I'm sure you can find low-price or even free performance. Does your teacher invite you to attend his performances (maybe give passes?)?

    A couple words about your lessons:
    1. Your teacher would not continue to give you lessons if he did not see promise in you. Private teachers have a choice too. If he did not enjoy his time with you and feel you were making satisfactory progress, he probably by now would have recommended another teacher that "better suited you."
    2. That said, something is wrong if you feel "intimidated by his repertoire and knowledge." Lessons should be a collaboration, a passing of knowledge. Does your teacher know about your feelings of intimidation, not only about him, but performance and your desire to learn more about vocal and other musical repertoire? Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. I assume you are paying him?

    Your teacher can recommend ways to get your feet wet in performance, whether that is joining an amateur choral group, performing in church (you don't have to be a church-goer for this to happen) or including you in a recital of his own students. Thinking of your performance as something you love and want to share with others will help.

    Of course we will listen to your posted performance recording. Keep singing in the shower and we hope to hear from you soon.
    Last edited by Lunasong; Jan-23-2012 at 18:22.

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    thank you so much for the warm welcome, luna!

    I am planning to audition for my school's choir this Saturday with Caro Mio Ben -- I'm so nervous!

    1. Your teacher would not continue to give you lessons if he did not see promise in you. Private teachers have a choice too. If he did not enjoy his time with you and feel you were making satisfactory progress, he probably by now would have recommended another teacher that "better suited you."
    This is true! He says I'm the "gold standard" when saying that singing can be taught to anyone. Hahah. So, I guess I'm worried that maybe I am just a challenge to him -- proof of his technique prowess.
    I've talked with about my fear of inadequacy, but not in length -- I'll try to bring it up next time.

    2. That said, something is wrong if you feel "intimidated by his repertoire and knowledge." Lessons should be a collaboration, a passing of knowledge. Does your teacher know about your feelings of intimidation, not only about him, but performance and your desire to learn more about vocal and other musical repertoire? Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. I assume you are paying him?
    Yes! I am paying him -- a lot actually! Hahaha! I've expressed that I want to increase my repertoire, but perhaps he doesn't think I'm ready to move on?

    The difficulty with this big city is that everyone is just so good! It's so competitive just for amateur and church choirs.

    In NYC, not every musician is a high paid professional and I'm sure you can find low-price or even free performance. Does your teacher invite you to attend his performances (maybe give passes?)?
    I've been to a few of his performances, actually! That were really inspiring. Unfortunately, most of his shows are out-of-state/ out-of-country -- for example, he's going off to Cali for the next few months for a musical.
    As for cheap performance, I'll look more into that -- I'll ask around and start attending more school functions.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    Joseph, of course it is appropriate for you to post any songs/song portions. I think there are many skilled singers/listeners here who can help you without you having to spend a ton on expensive recordiing equipment. I too am a lyric baritone, but age 62, and I have to say that music has enriched my life in ways nothing else could have. I am excited for you! If you are paying a lot for a skilled pro in NYC, it is unsurprising to me that you are intimidated! Would you rather have someone of lesser quality? (Having said that, some skilled singers are NOT good teachers, and some good teachers are not good singers.) Please be patient with yourself and your teacher. There was a gentleman here who sang Scarpia as a young singer, and everything was fine with it ... except the pitch, the rhythm, and everything in between. Amarilli and Caro Mio Ben are absolutely the right songs for you at this stage. Good luck and bocca lupo!

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