Secret how to rise and shine👑

Dear beautiful young singers,

CONGRATULATIONS

Your semester at your music academy or theatre season is coming to an end. You made it! You should be proud of all your achievements. Bravo 👏 At this point you may be thinking about what is the absolute best thing you can do for your next step towards a singing career, to be ready to audition in autumn and shine in your future engagements at the Opera House? After your big year I recommend resting for a week or ten days to prepare your arias, your mindset and nerves etc. Once these pillars are in place you will be fresh and full of excitement for your next step!

I also want to encourage each of you to find an instructor with whom you feel easy in communication with and accepted by him/her. Someone who can healthily guide you.
I remember when I was a vocal student that it took me a while to sort through all the various options out there to find the right instructors and courses that would provide me with support for me and my special needs.

Inhale, exhale….🧘🏻‍♀️

Ask yourself very honestly:
Do I need a couple of individual lessons?
Do I want to take part in a summer workshop or masterclass?
Do I feel good in a public masterclass or in a closed one?

Please take time to reflect on these topics to help guide you with your next steps.
YOU are the captain of your singing path.
🌟🌟🌟
I love seeing my students grow in the singing lessons & masterclasses that I give. I give masterclasses & workshops not open to the public because I am a strong believer that it is easier to solve certain topics in a protected environment. If you are curious to see how I work, take a look at my website to see what is going on in my studio:

www.stimmkunst.ch

🌟🌟🌟

QUESTION TIME
I have been writing my weekly nuggets now for two years. I started doing these because I wanted to give you all a gift, show my passion for singing and helping young singers. I hope you enjoy my nuggets and take whatever it is that you need from them. So today is our anniversary together! 🥳

For our special “weekly nugget” anniversary, I would like to do a question time for you all today. So if you have any questions regarding singing or performance issues you might be having, feel free to comment on here or send me pm today. I would love to hear from you!

Best wishes from my heart,
Vera

*Photo with Charlotte Whittle and Aaron Sands rehearsing Die Walküre. Here we are talking about how colleagues can support each other’s singing whilst on stage together.

“Sing Fresh and Focused”

Dear beautiful Singers,

Many of you have asked me what my daily routine looks like that has kept my voice so fresh and young even after my long stage career in the heavy dramatic Fach. So I write some aspects down for you:

1) Every morning instead of connecting with the world outside I first connect with myself within. My routine is a 15 min meditation, which I’ve been doing for years and years. It is my routine to connect with my inner self. I find peace and concentration doing so. (It is so important for a singer that you are able to concentrate.)

2) For 25 years I have been vocalising my voice in a very healthy and smooth way. I do this in the morning for 25 min and then I work on repertoire. Again it is also a wonderful tool to stay in good vocal shape by having a routine in warming up the voice.

3) I have a very healthy food plan, which is also vital!

In the afternoon I teach vocal technique as well as coaching singers in my mentorship program at my Institut Stimmkunst. I have choosen a joyful and nurturing life, where I am able to nurture with wisdom and passion not only in my life, but lives of so many professional singers and voice students.

Sometimes professional singers are entering my studio when they have free time between engagements to study a part or to take care of their voices after singing a heavy part. This is sometimes a difficult time for you singers. I want to encourage you to focus on what you have already achieved in your singing career.
In times which were demanding in my singing career on stage, for example singing Elizabeth and Venus in the same Tannhäuser production, I was so grateful that I have had the honor and the opportunity to fulfill my life dream day by day: TO BE ON STAGE AND SINGING.

My advice is to train your voice, your body, your mind and soul. You are the leader of your Kingdom or Queendom.

Wishing you all the Best
Vera
Dramatic soprano and Voice Teacher
Institut Stimmkunst/Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch

 

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

Performing the right roles at the right time

What does this mean for us singers?

Firstly it means that you have to connect with your inner truth. Do you have solid and secure vocal technique, musicality, plus the inner soul strength to sing this offered role? You must not just be brilliant in the famous aria, but in the entire role.

You will also encounter certain expectations from the Director, from the Conductor, from the Agent etc. and it might be possible that there is a difference between their expectations and your inner truth about the role. This is a situation which you will find on a regular basis in the Opera business. Here is an invaluable guideline for you to know, understand and follow – especially if you choose to build up a long-term singing career:

1) Consult your vocal teacher and an opera coach you trust. Discuss and sing the part through with them. 
2) Listen carefully to this tiny loving inner artist voice of yours. Is it shouting out with joy and enthusiasm or is it gently warning you? 
3) Become clear with what you need to be able to do to sing this role – is it a possibility to sing this role or to confess it is too early in your career? Schedule an appointment with your Director and discuss briefly and thoughtfully your point of view. 
4) Remember as a singer you are a one person company and it is your obligation to take care of you and your instrument. You only have one voice in life!
5) Yes it takes self-esteem and courage to handle these situations by taking the responsibility for ourselves, but you do not want to be everybody’s “darling” – you want to be a singer who knows their craft, their possibility, and is known as a great, reliable and professional artist.

(Of course there are shorter, cosier ways on this path, but in the long run they will not pay off.)

With quality in singing, reliability in the rehearsal and performance process, professional behavior and with healthy self-assessment, you will build up a professional reputation.

Fingers crossed for your next engagements!

Warmly, 
Vera Wenkert

Cheery News for a Singers Life

As long as you are certain you want to have a career as a singer my advice is: GO FOR IT!
Get in touch with your dreams and take steps now to build a profession as a singer.

I have some steps you can take, starting right now…

1). Do your very best to learn a healthy vocal technique with a responsible voice teacher.
I myself teach the Swedish-Italian School of Singing, which I have learned from David L. Jones, Birgit Nilsson, Berit Lindholm and Gloria Davy. With this technique I have sung and still sing so many dramatic repertoire.

2). Learn the Musicianship.

3). Are you attending every training opportunity? i.e coachings, Masterclasses, little performance opportunities etc.

4). Be honest with yourself. Do you feel you get the right education which you need with your instructors? If you feel you are not making progress you might take into consideration to find an instructor who might be addressing your special needs. As a singer you have to stand up for yourself in any aspect .

I will never forget what a World Famous Singer told me once. He was one of my Tannhäuser and I was Elisabeth:
“Vera, it is also a talent of a singer to find the right teachers and people to learn with.”

THIS is what I wish you young singers to search and to find 🌟

To your greatness
Vera

Career Challenge

From time to time it is important for a singer to write down her or his goal. Is there a specific role you want to sing? Is there a specific Opera House you one day want to sing? Is there something you want to stop doing? What do you want to have in the future ? I want to encourage you to write it down. When we commit to write our goals down they tend to become more “real“ for us.

Second step could be to imagine that you have achieved your goals. I did this when I was a young and studying. My daily mantra was: “I am singing Elsa, Elisabeth, Sieglinde and Isolde on stage.” At this time I was a beginner, but I believed in my talent , I worked hard and was completely dedicated to my voice and music. It was a huge part of my every day existence that I stayed focused on doing my work and being hours in a practice room and making the choices that would make my mantra reality. As a result, I have been fortunate to sing all this wonderful Wagnerian female characters on stage!

So, what are your goals as a singer?
Dig into your next step. Write down your plan and keep focused. Also, find teachers and coaches who care about you and keep you on a realistic track.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

How to Work with Stage Directors

A young singer feels like a champion when she or he has got the first desired engagement at the Opera House. Bravo 👏

On top of all musical work, the collaboration with the stage director begins. Under the guidance of the stage director you go through the whole process of how to build and portray your opera character on stage.

Out of my long career experience I love to give you some advice so that you step out of the former role of a student into the shoes of a professional singer…

… It is very wise that you have a vocal and dramatic approach to your role before entering the theater rehearsal process. I always found it fascinating to dive into the life of my opera characters. I remember, when I sang my first Fidelio Leonore I was so prepared vocally and musically that I could sing this very demanding part with pure controlled lines like strings in the orchestra. This is how you have to sing it because it is a very technically demanding role vocally. (Leonora’s character is extreme as she would do nearly everything to find and rescue her husband.)

It is a demanding task in a singers life to build up the psychological, vocal and body stamina to serve the music and portray the character. Most of the time stage directors are open towards thoughtful ideas a singer brings to a rehearsal process. There might be times when it opens a discussion and you have to compromise with the stage directors idea. Sometimes stage directors have their own concept in mind how it has to be and they want to have the staging exactly as they think. Out of my experience even if you have then to do like they insist you do, you also have the freedom to fill your character with your emotions and thoughts.

👍Again my advice is be prepared and be faithful with the character you sing and perform.

There might be also situations where you feel inside yourself a chrystal clear NO to an order or idea of a stage direct, for example a nude scene. There are opera characters where this request can be asked of you. A wise approach is to ask for a couple of hours to think about it. If you feel deep in your heart you do not want to do this, I want to encourage you to be honest with yourself and empower yourself to say NO in a kind and strong way full of self-esteem and acknowledgement for your inner boundaries. The cost might be that you then loose this engagement. However, my opinion is that in the long run you can only make a satisfying career if you live in your wisdom for yourself, your brilliance and your boundaries. If you have no problem to be nude on stage then just do it, but even then I want to encourage you to keep your dignity and privacy before and after your nude scene, then you will impress the conductor and the stage director.

🌟AFFIRMATION: I am mindful in preparing my roles and faithful towards my characters🌟

If you are looking for support in becoming ready for stage you are welcome to visit my website: www.stimmkunst.ch

Vera Wenkert

The Right Voice Teacher for me

Often young Singers come in my studio after years of studies. Some are super prepared for the exciting and demanding profession of an operasinger others need still a lot of work.
These experiences and my knowledge of the profession ( I have sung over 30 dramatic roles on different operastages, festivals and concerthalls) inspiries me to write my advice today:
Young singer or singing students you have to find ” your ” voice teacher!
What does this mean in reality:
This teacher must have the ability to pass to you a healthy vocal technique in a way that.you understand it and that you feel, you are making vocal progress.
This also means you should not feel hoarse after lessons!
Your voice teacher should have real interest in your development and most important he or she should have enough time to teach you.
In my opinion it makes no sense to study with a famous singer, who is still in a career, because he or she will not have enough time for teaching and nurturing your freshman career.
I am a strong believer in the fact that you when it comes to day x – YEAH- you have to know how to sing with your voice and to know how to make music and to be able to stand on your own feet.
This is the number one priority.
No one cares wether you have learned with a famous singer or at an institute or with a private teacher.
It counts what you can do and how you sing.
My number one advice is find a teacher , with whom you get at least regular vocal lessons and who has the time and spirit to nurture you individual and who offers a
healthy vocal technique.
When it is your desire to start an operacareer it is very helpful, that your teacher has been on stage too. This is not a must but it gives you also input from reality.
There is one big advice I want to tell you closing this precious weekly nugget. Take your responsibility young beautiful singers. This starts with finding the right vocal teacher for you. All of you have a unique voice and a unique path in life and profession and this means only you can feel and decide who is a good voice teacher for you and where you are in best hands for yourself.
With appreciation
Vera

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

Mindset Discipline Goal Setting

These are topics we singers have to work on constantly . Autumn is an awesome time to do it because auditions coming up, the Theaterseason has just started etc..
Today I want to lead you to ask yourself a couple of questions that will empower you to find your individual way towards reaching your singing goals:
1st: Is your audition repertoire vocally and musically ready to present with shine?
2nd: What do you really want to achieve with your singing?
3rd: Are you doing the things you can do to achieve the most out of the opportunity you have?

MINDSET
Your mindset is really important when it comes to your singing success. Believing that you can be a good singer and performer, that there are opportunities, where you can sing either for money or just for the fun of making music is very important. You have to believe it first before it can happen that you are shining as a singer otherwise you can find yourself talking yourself down and distracted by doubts and negativity.
First you have to decide that you are going to work with determination towards your goals that goes hand in hand with being grateful for the people and things you already have in your life and the things you already have achieved.
Ask yourself the question: Why do you want to have this singing career?

DISCIPLINE
Very important in a singers life is discipline. Yeah! You calmly have to work towards your goals every single day with dedication, which means to work on your vocal technique and on your music. Keep going and that is how you make progress. I promise you will love it, when you be in the music every day and find the phrasing, solve vocal challenges of the aria or part etc.
Grab your pen and notebook and write down what is in your individual power to get your mindset and discipline in place to work towards your singing goals. Every career path starts with a clear mindset and discipline!
Wishing you a wonderful journey into your special Musicland today
Vera

Take responsibility

A teacher in a singers life is a guide to learn the craft of singing, of making music, of stage craft etc., but the singer has to do the work. To be an artist means also to take responsibility for your development. This means study, study, just simply do the work and stop finding excuses. If you want to have a career in music, you have to become like a searcher for the phrasing in the music, the building of the character and the owner of a healthy vocal technique. Good and responsible teachers can help you with knowledge and empathie, but in the end, you’re either the kind of person who can take the responsibility and work ambitious towards your dream or you’re not.
Until today after having sung 30 dramatic roles on operastages I am thankful and respectful towards all my teachers on my career path. I mention only a few here: a heartful ThankYou to David Jones and to my Music Mentor since beginning of my studies Friedrich.
So embrace your individual power.
So dive into the music studies and be active
Have a wonderful sunday
Vera

Shine up and Sing

Today is the public concert of my Dublin Masterclass.
I’ m so excited to help the young artists to start their career during the next months.
The results of the Masterclass inspired me to remind you beautiful singers despite all work you have to do and all the intense studies and devotion it takes to be an artist, allow yourself to glow in the brightest light from your heart.If you like you are invited to join my weekly nugget to guide you with uplifting and substancial messages on your way. 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

Great Auditions

This time of the year is audition time. Yeah, superb! You made it until here. So let’s see, if everything you need is on the peak:

Number one: Your beautiful voice is a free voice with the help of a good vocal technique. The effortless flow of sound, vocal freedom is a satisfying experience for any audition panel.

Number two: Perform with unfettered musicality.

Number three: Is your confidence and self esteem so solid, that you feel secure in yourself in any aspect and that you communicate the joy of being a singer and performer to the panel?

Number four: Your Italian diction sounds Italian and your German diction sounds German… You have translated the text by yourself and not only with a given translater….
Feel inspired by this 1st part of the checking list of ” Sing and Shine”.
You are in a working progress and go for it. Next week here on my Stimmkunst page you will find part two on GREAT AUDITIONS. For masterclasses, voice lessons, career coaching and auditions workshops have a glimpse on my website stimmkunst.ch.

With appreciation
Warmest
Vera