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.

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

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

Appreciation of your Performances

Dear Young Singers,

I love to encourage you to train your authentic confidence and to worship your singing also when it comes to opportunities where you are engaged for little concerts or other events to sing. You may want to express your creativity and show your artistry. You want to perform and sing, but this is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that you have something special and valuable to offer with YOUR SINGING and you have to start to train to make your living out of this wonderful passion and talent.

A young singer asked me if I can write a Weekly Nugget about the topic that also Vocal students are entitled to an Honorar (Fee) when they perform. My answer is: YES! In my opinion you beautiful young singers should ask for a Performance honorar even when it is just a small appreciation honorar. I know from my own experience when I was a young singer that people think you just sing for a marriage etc. and that you do it for free. I did it for free until life showed me that I am responsible for my livelihood and that I have to cultivate a living where I can nurture myself, my art and be a partner in growth – oriented relationships. (As an artist you also have to pay your rent and food etc.)

Your Singing is a Profession.

You are studying hours and hours in a practice room, you spend money on vocal training and coachings with pianists. So take the secret key and empower yourself next time when you get a performance request. From your inner place of self love and appreciation of your unique talent say: “Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I would love to perform for you. My Honorar is….”

Of course there might be occasions where you do not want to take an Honorar, but then make this decision with clearity in your heart and mind. This decision then comes from an inner commitment to respect yourself and not from weakness.

AFFIRMATION: I encourage myself to take my engagements out of an inner place of alignment with my values and respect to the Performance offer.

To encourage you, you see me as Tosca singing Vissi d‘Arte 💞

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

Cool down after a Performance

Out of my long stage experience I want to encourage you young singers to install the habit of cooling down the voice after a performance. Like in the sports world, singers also use muscles to sing. In my opinion it is not only important to exercise the voice everyday but also to cool it down after a long performance or recital.

You can use the “u“ vowel to do so only in the middle register of your voice. For example you start with quinte third tonica or you go down a five tone scale. When you sing it softly abd with your support, the vocal chords return to freedom. It just takes 5-10 minutes to do so, but the benefit is a healthy relaxation of the voice. Remember treat your voice like your best friend and acknowledge and take care of its needs.

There is another benefit of this procedure: You will build up a sensitive relationship with your voice, knowing if you have sung in the right way through your performance.
The voice will show you afterwards, if it is too tired, you definitely pushed too much, gave too much volume etc. There can be several reasons for this, but now you know you have to find out. Knowing how to keep your voice healthy and fresh is crucially important for a singers life and career.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

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

Immersion into the World of Opera

Weekly Nugget: Immersion into the world of opera
I strongly recommend that singers study at least the piano reduction of the opera they sing, it would be even better to read the full orchsterscore, so that you understand the relation in dynamics and colour and phrasing of your music and aria and the orchestra.
One way to get an easy approach into this studyconcept is: Go to your musiclibrary in your town and find an orchestrascore of an opera, sit at home in a cosy chair and listen to this opera with your orchestrascore in your hand. I call it singer in wonderland of music…
I promise you, you will have a remarkable time in this special “wonderland”.
I have a couple of singers who work their stageroles with me like this and they have an extrodinary great time in the orchestrarehearsals and in their performances.
So I invite you to start this journey today.
With appreciation and have a lot of fun
Vera

Daily Voice Cart Part 3: Preparing an Operapart

I work with high level performing artists , with whom I make an extramindful preparation plan.
This means, we work the part mindful and when the time allows gently in the voice. For example pushing your voice in dramatic sound to fullfill the requests of dramatic sound is a completly wrong path and the risk is there of falling into bad habits of tension and other compensations that will be difficult to unlearn. In my opinion and according to my results in my own professional life and in the performance life of my artists it is a healthier way first to show the singer the special kind of self-awareness, so that he or she feels that every operasound has to be sung without strain in the voice. The singer needs patience to go through this process then he or she will get the way of steady progress. Once the singer has digest the healthy route to sing it is easy to put the dramatic into the piece. I remember when I sang Butterfly I started 3 months before the rehearsal time at the opera house started to sing it into my voice and to learn everything around the character etc. Then, when stagerehearsals start, I felt so easy in the part that I could fully concentrate on the character and staging.
Your body sensations and your mind and your emotions work together and all three are wired into voice. To understand this and to stay attentive to the process of feeling the voice is effortless singing is the important thing for keeping your voice healthy.
In my everyday teaching I see that it takes the crystal clear intention of the singer to trust in this profound work process. Singers who get involved in my special well-foundet way of working, which I have created, experience fullfilment and success in their performamces.
The magic pill you cannot find in a quick way , the magic pill lies in trust that your day by day self work will bring the result and hopefully with the help of a trustful voice teacher you will learn in a profound training or retraining to understand your individual vocal production.
Merry Christmas and a blessed time for you and your loved ones . Toi toi toi for all my wonderful singers, who have concerts and performances coming up the next 2 weeks. Next weekly Nugget comes 2018.
You are also welcome to find out more about Methode Stimmkunst 2018
With appreciation and warmest wishes
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

Stagecraft Masterclass

Good morning singers!

I am giving a Stagecraft Masterclass this weekend, and I would love to give some input into how to make a role yours. Of course, you have to know the music and you have to be able to sing it beautifully with your unique voice,
but this is not enough for giving the role birth on stage in rehearsals, and later in performances. So let us dive deeper in the process…

…You have to know all details about your character as if it was a real person. Find out the age of the character, the surrounding and social status it lives in, the relationships to the other characters in the opera, the state of mind, which scenery, when you sing the aria or duet etc.
You become an interesting working partner for the stage director when you have done this thoughtful work before you meet him/her. They will give to you their ideas and then you can work with these on a serious empowered basis. (These are only the basic things to take into consideration . There are many other things to conquer)
I remember when I was preparing my debut Lady Macbeth (Verdi), I was so thrilled by the idea to not just portray her as cold and power greedy, that I translated every word and searched for the deeper meaning therefore finding a more versatile character who I could give life to on stage.

Wishing you joy with your unique approach!
With appreciation,
Vera

Caught a cold!

A singer with cold symptoms is very very unhappy …
Especially before an upcoming performance.
Here are emergency tips. Yeah!
If you feel you get a cold take lots of vitamine C
during the whole day and Zinc. A good thing is also to start with an immunebooster like Echinacea. Gargle with salty water and drink a lot of warm tea or ginger water. If you feel you are really down with an infection ,rest your body and most important rest the voice ! .Do not go to the piano every half hour and check if the voice is still there .. I know this is crucial – just to accept the cold. When I was singinc Sieglinde Walküre , I got a cold but instead of freaking out, because I love this role soooo much , I told myself meditate , send positive vibes to your body Vera and take immunebooster. Guess what in 4 days the worst was over and I could sing the Walküre performance.
The secret to get better quickly is to relax and trust nature and the body that it is already on the way to healing.
I urge you not to force the voice to sing pitches, which it does not want to do at the moment.You can damage the voice by doing this. The less you use your voice the quicker it recovers and the tissues around it. It is better to cancel a performance then to sing on a throatinfection. You only have one voice and it is serving you every day ; so treat yourself and your voice with respect and appreciation ; the same as you would treat a.good friend, when he or she is ill. And as you know in a week the cold is mostly over. Good news. Have a wonderful day Vera