The Joy of Singing

Dear beautiful singers,
Often singers are interested in voice lessons and they ask me if they can listen to a vocal lesson of a singing student of mine. Principally out of different reasons I do not offer this. To me, a voice lesson is very personal and intensive work. I am setting a high value on mindfulness in my Institute and this setting I want to protect. However I would love to help you and to give you the opportunity to meet me and to sing with me in a sort open “Singing class”. There you will have the opportunity to work with me for 15 min on an aria or art song in a comfortable atmosphere. Then, we can discuss together about what is the best decision for your singing future.

There will be a pianist to accompany you. Please bring two copies of your score with you one for me and one for the pianist. Please write an email on my website to register.

I am looking forward to meeting you!
Vera

Special Announcement!
“Singing class“
7th May 2019 4pm to 6pm
Location: Institute Stimmkunst in Atelier für Kunst und Philosophie
Albisriederstr 164, CH-8003 Zürich
Active participants are possible 8, no passive participation
Price : 35 CHF

Feedback

As a singer we need feedback, but it is difficult to get an objective feedback and to put it in the right context for ourselves.

👌Tip number one is:
Try to get constructive criticism from people who understand the issues and the profession.
For example, your voice teacher has to correct your vocal technique and your pianist has to correct musical nuances. (Please note that a Theater Director or a conductor might not offer you substantial feedback after an audition. His time is limited and his job is just to find a singer for this specific role.)

There are always colleagues who have the tendency to give feedback so…
👌Tip number two is:
Take an inner step back and ask yourself: “What is the underlying motivation why this colleague is commenting on my performance?” A healthy on the spot reaction is to say thank you and a short sentence like “I will think about it“. Please try not to explain yourself. A colleague is a colleague!

It takes time, thought and concentration to give a thoughtful and neutral Feedback. When I was in the first year of my opera career I was young and insecure, and I received contradicting feedback. It took me a while until I understood that they are just opinions, often from people who are in the same boat or have no career, or what I call “pretending to be more then they are.” I remember my first production as a very young Tosca and my Scarpia was the famous Franz Grundheber. I was on one hand so overwhelmed singing an opening night of Tosca with this great singer, and on the other hand I understood very quickly that he was a nobleman only concentrating on his art and singing. Instead of giving his opinion he was in peace and concentration with himself, and I felt then that I have the time, the space and the atmosphere to grow into my interpretation of Tosca. It was a very special opening night for me and one of these rare performances where you feel the God of the Singing Heaven has just put a magic glow on you 🌟
My advice is : Do not give unsolicited criticism and do not listen to unsolicited criticism. You never know in which state of development the singer is or what tasks he or she is facing in the career.

Hopefully you have trustworthy sources in your life, like a mentor, your voice teacher, your number one coach, people who have helped to guide you through the varied up and downs of your singing education and career. You have a bond of trust and honesty created between you and these handful of people, and this is unpayable in the life of a Singer. Until today I am thankful and blessed that I have my mentors David L. Jones, Friedrich Gürtler and Thomas Barthel in my life, with whom I have trustworthy and honest relationships with for decades, and where I get substantial advice. As well, of course, all the wonderful female singers which have influenced my way, like KS Birgit Nilsson, KS Berit Lindholm and Janet Williams. These are only a few to mention here.

In this special Weekly Nugget I also want to give a THANK YOU towards all the brilliant young singers, and also the singers who are already in careers in my studio, for their dedication towards the art. As well as for their substantial honesty in the working process with me and the people around them in this profession. I am grateful for your heartfelt testimonials that are featured on my website now.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

 

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Tosca and Franz Grundheber as Scarpia

Sing with Heart and Soul

Before you start to sing an aria or an art song ask yourself: what do I want to say? What is the character feeling? Singing and music without emotions is like an empty basket.

I have been a member on the board of an examination panel for young professional singers for 10 years. Out of all my experience I love to give you the advice to find the essence and the soul in each phrase you are singing. Every note you sing is important. Ask yourself what is the meaning of this phrase, what are you saying etc. The audience wants to be touched through your singing. This means to bring music to life.

Wishing you the best on your journey!
Vera

Don’t fall into the trap of jealousy and envy!

Last week a singer wrote to me a request to write about jealousy and envy. She has had an outstanding success with a performance, but she was confronted with the behaviour of jealousy. Unfortunatly in every profession we are confronted with these reactions. Of course it especially hurts when you are an artist as you open your heart and soul in a performance. I would love to dedicate this weekly nugget towards all the artists who are exposing themselves with their artistry. Congratulations and appreciate yourself 🌟 Bravo! 🌟

Now there are also times in every artists life where one has to cope with difficulties or what I call “desert periods”. In these periods it might be difficult to say a honest compliment to the success of a collegue. Why is it like this?

Often it is that we emotionally interpret someone else’s success as a judgment against our own lack of success. Sometimes the thoughts of artists go: “When he/she succeeds, it means I have failed.” We interpret it as a reflection on ourselves: “Why do they get to enjoy success? Am I not worthy of the same success? Why do they get to have something that I don’t?”

Many believe that jealousy or envy are emotions that concern other people. In fact, they are all about us. Envy and jealousy come from our insecurities, anxiety, and fears.
When all you do is compare yourself to other people, or at least to the image you have built of them – which is often not based in reality, you can’t focus on being present and making art. To create art requires introspection and self-connection, and when you feel jealous or envious, you are about to loose your true self.

So, what to do if you feel envious?
Ask yourself “WHAT is my jealousy telling me about myself?” Instead of asking the “WHY” questions. You will see what the underlying answers can tell you.

AFFIRMATION: I concentrate on myself with dedication and joy. On my unique artist path I am evolving my unique success 💞

With encouragement
Vera Wenkert

Performance Opportunities

In this weekly nugget I want to encourage young singers and artists to find performance opportunities, where you can see and proof what you already have accomplished and also for the joy of singing..
Use your phantasie for finding or creating a performance possibility.
Maybe you could sing in a church, in an elderly home, in a hospital, in a fancy big hotel etc. or in little productions.
Every young artist needs this route of experience before he or she can shine with selfconfidence on an operastage.
When I was studying with Gloria Davy as a very young singer, she always said no singer stands on a stage over night. She was right.
I seriously suggest first own your confidence young singers and start taking actions on your career dreams. Step by step.
For this reason I offer the young singers two times a year the opportunity to sing and perform in a staged public concert after a 5 day Masterclass, where we work on staging scenes.
It is wonderful to see their growth in the performance situation.
To become an artist needs talent, dedication and discipline and over all love to the art.
Wishing you : Feel inspired every day on your singing journey. Embrace the fact that you are on an exciting way and honor your learning path.
Warmest
Vera

Acknowledgments

We artists are all on a never ending journey to become the true version of ourselves and to develop and come into alignment with the unique inner artist in us.
If you nurture the relationship with yourself, means with your soul, body and artistry and spirit you will build a stable footing into your life as a human being and as an artist.
I am a strong believer that we -especially in the art – learn from so many wonderful sources and human beings. There are the giant composers, the poets, our teachers and mentors, our share of luck and our obstacles to overcome.
Young singers , there will appear a flower bouquet of different experiences on your career path, find two people in your life you can really , really trust ,who honestly believe in you as a human being and artist, who are honest with you in a warm and understanding way and who give you the permission to reveal yourself.
If you already have found them feel the happiness of gratitude.
On this occasion I give a deep heartfelt Thank YOU to David Jones and Friedrich. Thank you for your enthusiasm for me, your knowledge, your work .
Wishing you the best
Vera

My singing and my teaching work is my place of worship!

I feel deeply grateful that I can show through my work as an opera singer and through my individual teaching that every rehearsal and every performance, even every lesson is sharing: giving and taking! The meaningful aspect in singing for me is to connect and move the audience. How can we engage the audience on a deep level? Most important is a solid vocal technique and a refined musicality. And of course to work and sculpture your character you portray before giving it birth on an opera stage. This needs a lot of professional discipline and dedication, but it is a great joy to sculpture an operacharacter.
Yes, I know, how difficult it is in our times of social media and the feeling, one has to be available for the outer world any time, to find the silence and the “room” during each day to dive into the – let it call – solitude hours to be just with oneself and the character or the aria or the art song…
But I promise, if you make the decision to do so on a regular basis, you are nurturing your inner artist! Then you can describe the feelings in the opera characters you interpret.
Yesterday, when I was rehearsing the Immolationscene from Brünnhilde Götterdämmerung I was feeling this deep THANK YOU to my artistic way in my life.
Thank You to all my teachers and to my Mentor. I strongly believe that every young singer and singers in a career need an expert vocal teacher musician and a coach and need one or two persons to trust on the career path.
Warmest
Vera

Good Morning Singers

Today part 3 about auditioning
In the former weekly nuggets I concentrated on how to prepare for an audition and what you need in your presentation folder. Yeah, you’ve got an invitation for an audition or a request to send an audio or video beforehand! Most important is: Send an audio or video only, if it is without any musical faults (what means no rhythm mistakes, all dynamics the composer wanted, no question in vocal technique, etc.). Choose only an aria or artsong that you can manage to sing with ease and effortless. A theatre or an agent is interested to listen to a recording which shows what you can do now. Pieces you are working at and “Fach Changes” you are working at do not belong in the audible equipment of an application. On top of all this you have to take into consideration that people who get your audio or video recording can listen to it often and it will never give the same impression as you would give in a live audition. I remember when I sang for an adviser for singing career years ago in New York, how penetrating he insisted that one should only send super polished audible materials. So, it is worthwhile to work on your presentation until every puzzle is so convincing that all your competitors are left behind and the theatre has no other choice than to take you!
With my appreciation
Vera