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

 

Weekly Nugget: How to study a dramatic part  

Dear beautiful singer,
the most important thing: You need time to delve into the score and let it sink into your system.
The first step young dramatic singers is to work in the complete technical control of your voice and body.
Second step is to explore the music and orchestration and to sing in this way that you are not carried away by this huge incredible orchestral sound. Your voice has always to soar over the orchestra effortlessly. You need a lot of physical stamina and concentration to sing this dramatic repertoire.
Last week a soprano studied with me the role of Lady Macbeth Verdi.  Having sung this role myself in many performances I know how demanding this role is in any aspect. The singer has to sing coloratura, whispering sounds etc.
When Lady Macbeth enters the stage with „Vieni affretta” and the Cabaletta, you as the singer have to establish your character.
Like in all dramatic repertoire, to be able to sing all the notes is just the beginning of the journey into the wonderful working process of making a role yours. Out of my career and experience with this heavy repertoire, I would, at least, suggest to plan at least 6 month for learning a dramatic role.
How to cope with a last minute offer?
I know that singers sometimes get the offer last minute. This is a difficult situation.
My suggestion:
See your voice teacher and a coach you trust and ask if you could manage to learn this part in a couple of weeks.  A better choice for all the  weeks you are not in a contract, instead of getting frustrated sit down and learn Opera roles of your vocal fach.
Enjoy the music 🎶.
Your long term goal with every dramatic part should be that you sing it near-perfectly  and know the music like your heartbeat. Reason: Then you have no fear concerning wether you can come through the performance.
Another long term goal is to develop a strong personality on stage. Then you are expressive and and and….
I always emphasize that it is essential to have enough experience before tackling those big dramatic roles and to have a voice teacher and music coach working with you who you are nurture from.
With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

Opening night for my new website

Dear beautiful singers,

I know exactly how alone you sometimes feel when you have a special voice and the desire to have that voice trained into an opera or concert voice, and how desperate you are to find teachers or a place where you can be seen and heard. A place where you can technically develop your voice and also work on repertoire and roles with professionals who have brought them to the opera stage themselves. In recent months I have been brainstorming with my team of pianists from the Zurich Opera House.

The master classes and workshops at the International Institute Stimmkunst have been tailored even more specifically to your needs and stage of development, so that everyone, from beginners to professional singers, can develop their own potential with our know-how and help.

I am pleased to announce that you can now access this information on my NEW website: www.stimmkunst.ch. Here you can also subscribe to my FREE Weekly Nuggets, where you can get an insight into the world of opera from my 30 years of stage experience and teaching. You also find it on the stimmkunst-page on Facebook.

Cordially, in bocca al lupo!

Vera Wenkert

 

Cantabile

The experience of the Masterclass last week which I have given in Dublin has shown me that today’s young singers are eager to find on one hand the efficiency in their singing on the other hand they are looking for ways to build up a daily routine requiring discipline,training and building up stanima. On top of all this I recommend seriously that a young singer should search for a teacher and coach who has a deep contribution to the music and operatic scene, with knowledge, patience and understanding for the growing process of a young singer and can nurture them.
One of the main concerns of young singers is not only to train the voice but also the musicianship.For example , find the right style for every composer you sing, this means work with the music and explore it, if you do what the composer has written, the style comes through. It is easy and hard at the same time just to do this. But coraggio !!!!
Wishing you a wonderful working day.

Vera Wenkert

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

How to take care of your voice in a coaching session

It might be a demanding task for young singers to get through a coaching session with a pianist whilst keeping the voice unstrained.
Number One definitely is to keep in mind that it is your responsibility to take care of your voice.

I know from my own experience as a freshman in the opera and theater business how intimidating it can be when one is confronted with professional opera pianists. As a matter of fact, coaches are so delighted to help us singers on our way to conquer the role or just to learn an aria! Most pianists in Opera Houses know a lot about the music and what would be the most wonderful sound of this particular word or phrase etc. They are full of ideas and advice regarding the musical phrasing, tempo etc, and it is more or less easy for the singer to take the advice and perform with it.

Often coaches want to help to correct an unpolished sound or other sound issues. Most of the time this is problematic because they are not voice teachers. They have good ears and intentions, but when they give sound or vocal corrections (I want to emphasize here) it is essential that you as a singer translate it in the vocal technique you have and then try to correct it in the session. If you feel that you unfortunately cannot solve it in this coaching session, be so kind to yourself and stand up for yourself. Also in this way you can respect the time of the pianist and tell him or her that you want to take the time to solve it by yourself or with your voice teacher. Especially young dramatic voices have to take good care of themselves. (Of course there are also coaches who have the knowledge of the voice to work on it a little, but they are not easy to find.)

Again there is nobody else responsible for your voice then the singer himself.

Sometimes it is not easy to stand up for oneself, to take this huge responsibility and to maybe confess things like:
“This does not feel right for me or makes my voice tired.”
“This coaching is too much for me on top of my rehearsal schedules and performance schedules which are very tight at the moment.”

💡If you do not feel well, mark in a coaching session, speak the lines in rhythm etc 💡

AFFIRMATION: I take responsibility for my voice in every coaching session, in every rehearsal and in every performance.

Good luck! Rise and Shine!

Vera Wenkert

How to work with a conductor

For young singers it might be challenging to work through the first orchestra rehearsal process with the assistant conductor and the principle conductor of the opera.

💡Here is the good news: There are so many supportive hints by the composer in the opera score,

When you follow the advice given by the composer, and your vocal technique is healthy and brilliant, you feel the ground beat in your body, then magic can happen between the orchestra and you! The conductor will guide you with love for the music and passion for the art.

Make sure you are able to sing at the orchestra rehearsal with full voice. Sometimes if the schedule is tight, you can discuss with the conductor to mark one rehearsal, especially when you have to sing a heavy big part or leading role. Later on in your career when you are a more experienced artist you might be able to weave your own interpretation ideas with the composers ideas, too.

Always remember that to be an opera singer does not mean to shine through your ego, it means to serve the music with your unique beautiful soul and artistry. I remember in most of my big dramatic roles I was feeling so comfy in this sound bubble created by these wonderful instruments around me, that I was totally absorbed in this music and character I was singing. Then Opera is in this moment is a better world because of this incredible music.

🌟My advice is: Fall in love with the music (not only with your melody) then most conductors will be by your side🌟

You will find more details about the good spirit we have to nurture and shout out in the opera and music business in my e book: “Methode Stimmkunst.” You can order it through my website: www.stimmkunst.ch

To your greatness
Vera Wenkert

Care of Knowledge to be a Shining Opera Singer

Out of my experience as a dramatic soprano, having sung more than 30 major roles on various opera stages, it is my passion to give my knowledge and skills to young artists and aspiring talents.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Since 2012 I have been conducting Opera Workshops and Masterclass courses with talented young opera artists and voice students. In these workshops and courses participants hone their performance skills in recitative, auditions and role preparation.

Every fact of a singer’s career is addressed by me and my professional team of opera accompanists and art song coaches from Opera House Zürich.

I help with audition preparation, dramatic interpretation, musicianship, acting skills, healthy vocal technique plus how to overcome stage anxiety.

In private lessons, I offer the healthy vocal technique based on the Swedish-Italian School of Singing, the technique that Kirsten Flagstadt and Birgit Nilsson sang with.

In private coachings I work out with you individually how to find your unique path in the music world and in the Opera business.

*For further information about the upcoming Masterclasses and Workshops in 2019 please visit my website: www.stimmkunst.ch*

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

Diction in Opera

For many singers it is a challenge to learn and sing contemporary music or even music of composers, who nowadays are not “contemporary” anymore i.e A. Berg and A. Schoenberg. Instead of being overwhelmed by the first look of the score, take it as an interesting walk into a foreign landscape and be curious.
Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck” for example has clear patterns to follow, which you have to do to make it work for you. In “Wozzeck” the Singer has to find an honest way of expressing all of the music, plus diction in this very demanding opera. Every diction and declamation has to be articulated on the airflow and routed in a good support system. There is no character in the opera who does not get out of ones depth. The instructions of Berg are crystal clear and the singer has to follow them.

My advice is: read the whole opera. Then in an opera like “Wozzeck” first speak the text until the text and the proper articulation is your first nature. Second, learn the music and sing the text in a bel canto way, phrasing and articulating the words. This is an important step so that the voice finds, what I call the “HEALTHY SINGING PATH”.
Afterwards work phrase by phrase the words and music together which will bring you to the next step of expressing the emotion in the music.

I want to emphasize here that out of my experience, the healthiest way for every study period is to first work the basics of your role and then later carefully look at what are the emotions of the character so you can dive deeper and deeper into them.

💡ATTENTION: Do not take emotional risks in these kind of operas. If you are not yet able to handle them with your vocal technique and musicality, find a way which fits you now in this moment of your development or career.

AFFIRMATION: I take the time and spirit to explore difficult music.

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

Working with the airflow

I remember when I worked with a dramatic soprano on Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung. (In my opinion to sing this Brünnhilde is the most challenging of the three Brünnhildes.)
We worked the whole part and I cannot emphasise enough that to get through this big emotional and technically demanding role, the singer has to know crystal clear what to do technically. I tried to convince her that she just has to think of the pitch and to trust that the airflow does the work with the open throat, that the fexible support system is working and supporting the vocal production. 👍 She is a very fine singer, but when nerves or a little stage fright comes in, anxiety habits sneak in and she locks the ribcage and stops the breathflow. So, in our lessons we worked a lot with exercises to free the diaphragm and to unlock the jaw. As a result she finally she got rid of the increasing subglottal pressure and her big beautiful sound came effortlessly out of her mouth. It was pure joy to hear her Brünnhilde ❤️
A word of advice from my experience on stage: Never give 100% of your voice. Sing with 80% only. Then you will sail safer through your entire career.

AFFIRMATION: Healthy singing is singing on the airflow and not trying to make a big sound with muscle strength.

All the best,
Vera Wenkert

How to find the right voice teacher for you

The right voice teacher is a person who can build up not only a healthy vocal technique with you, but empowers you to fully express your vocal gifts. So, how do find out if this particular teacher is the right one for you?
In my opinion it makes no sense just to book an expensive audition lesson with a possible future voice teacher because the teacher must see you in the working process first, and you yourself must get a good sense of how the teacher’s approach towards your voice is. This is the reason why I always schedule an hour of real work with a possible singer. Sometimes professionals come to me and they want to do a Fachwechsel (voice change) and in this case it is essential that the singer takes his or her time to work with the teacher and trust in the process with the teacher. Again, there is no magic pill in the singing universe.

In my long stage career and out of my extensive teaching experience I can say that if you are a different vocal Fach than what you previously thought, then your current teacher with good ears and knowledge will hear it and guide you through the process.You might be super lucky if the teacher also is a wonderful musician, a healthy personality and a generous character. I have had wonderful teachers and mentors like Friedrich Gürtler and David L. Jones, and until today I know if I need any advice I can contact them. I feel so grateful for these Mentors 💕

How do you recognize a healthy character in the teaching community?
– Teacher nurtures your unique talent
– They give you explanations and healthy vocal exercises for your voice
– Empowers you to become independent
– Is honest with you and can give you heartfelt compliments for the progress you achieve
– Is not moody/arrogant
– A healthy teacher nurtures you and does not feel the need to make himself big and important on the back of the student
– Has good ears and knows the music repertoire
– Treats the student with respect and attentiveness

These are only a few aspects but there are of course many more.

AFFIRMATION: In my life I find the right voice teacher who is attentive, kind and appreciates me. I enter a field of Life responding to me.

Best Wishes,
Vera Wenkert

Create a Culture of Mastership

Sometimes singers come to me and they are in a super doubtful state of mind about themselves. Often there has been an influence from outside either positive or negative. I am always wondering why young singers or young professionals give their power away so easily and let somebody judge them even when they may not know this person, or this person is just an acquaintance. Again I want to emphasize, you must take 100% responsibility for yourself.

As an artist you have to be a powerful human being, grounded in yourself, but with room for your inner vulnerability and imperfections. This will help you grow step by step on your way to the profession and then of course in the profession.

Affirmation: I hold my inner compass⭐️

Safe travels in the Universe of wonderful music and art 💖

Vera Wenkert

Break through your inner barriers

Dear beautiful Singers,

Sometimes a singer comes to his or her voice lesson with me with a vocal issue to solve. This could be a technical problem in the development of the voice or inner personal growth work. First of all you have to give yourself the allowance to be seen and let your light and talent shine bright. Of course there are all the technical skills to learn and the professional craft tools, but there is also the self esteem that you must gently build up to create a wonderful singing life.
I am a strong believer that the more you connect with your deeper artistic self the easier it will get for you to make steps on you path in the singing profession. You cannot control all opinions of others or private things showing up in your life nor should you not and cannot control other people, but you can take good care of yourself. You can nourish your beautiful being and artistic soul and this a very powerful way to build up your self esteem and the underlying sense of who you are.

Affirmantion: Today I give myself the allowance to shine as a radiant singer 💕

With appreciation
Vera

Step Into Your Unique Talent

As singers we have to overcome the barriers which block us from our successes. In my Masterclass and Audition Workshops I always recognise that the singer standing before me is yearning for something that can only be created through his or her voice and presentation. As a Singer we not only want to express ourselves but we also have a longing that our artistic gifts will impact others.
A powerful approach to waking up as an artist is to have excellent Vocal technique and music skills. Then together we can work on your authenticity, confidence and your gift of the interpretation of the arias. We do this together in a way that is well received and valued.
In this quick music world it is important to strengthen your inner self and your talents at the same time. Set yourself the goal to be a wonderful shining singer and artist and take this into auditions and performances.

I am passionate about my work to take you step by step through the growing process to become a Radiant Singer.

Have a gorgeous day!
Vera Wenkert

Last Saturday I worked with my Singers

Last Saturday I worked with my Singers in an Acting Class on different Opera Monologues. It is a real task for Singers of all stages to keep the artistic energy flowing in a big Monologue. During our intensive work on the Marschallin Monolog from Der Rosenkavalier and the Prayer of Marie from Wozzeck. I pointed out more than once that you are the powerful creator of the Scene.
GIVE YOURSELF THE PERMISSION TO BE THE CHARACTER!!!! Then we can work, develop and polish it.

It is my passion to guide you through the process with all my stage experience and knowledge of vocal technique and music. I am super proud of all the Singers who have the courage to develop their talents with intensive work and dedication to rising with their wings. Bravo!! You are taking the responsibility for sculpturing your talent.

To be an Artist means also to work on our talent, our strong and weak points every single day.

🌟More in my Weekly Nugget next week:
“Step into your unique talent.”

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

Power Practice

Dear Singers, last week I prepared 8 international singers for either upcoming engagements at opera houses or upcoming auditions.
I cannot emphazises enough that you have to be fully prepared to nail an audition. This means have your arias super polished and ready and have a sort of love affair with your music you want to present. It takes much more then just to sing the arias properly. That means : Know the situation the operacharacter is in
Know the relationships of the operacharacter
Etc.etc.
Commit to yourself to put your practice first to gain your empowerment.
You are welcome to find more practical precious advices in my e book and on my website www.stimmkunst.ch
With appreciation
Vera

Activate the seeds of your potential

The Singers in my Auditioning Masterclass have shown again, that we all have to focus on the process to bring out our deeper potential as a singer and musician and then we can fully express our music soul and vocal gift. We want to create and manifest our unique individual artistic soul.
This also means to release inner barriers which are blocking our development.
Healthy and artistic singing is rooted in the trust of flow. Flow in many ways: Sing on the airflow, let your voice float not be pushed by willpower, trust in your music sense etc. etc.
I am delighted to guide you through this process with my work. And I am delighted to give you a glimpse in the professional topics with my weekly nuggets.
With appreciation
Vera

Death of beloved Mentor

This week one of my beloved mentors and friends since my early study days has passed away.
Dr. Leo Haffner
There is so much gratitude in my heart towards you, Leo, being in my life. There are not enough words to express my gratitude for your wonderful footprints on my lifepath, for our fundamental talks about music and life, for your guidance during my freelanced work for you at the Austrian Broadcasting and Television Corporation during my singing studys.
I remember all the wonderful literature features with artists and authors I was able to do for the ORF.
You were a shiny light for me when I came to Austria. I embrace you and I wish you angels blessings and rest in peace.
At this very moment I feel so profound in my heart that it is a treasure of destiny and life to find friends and mentors who are so close in our lifes and give us so much loveable support and input and warmth.

Thank you for ever and ever
Vera Wenkert

How much are you enjoying your rehearsal practice?

Yesterday a very gifted Wagnerian Soprano worked with me and we made the summer self study plan together. Guess what: My advice is : You can do this! You are almost there! Have fun on this way. The life of an operasinger is to study hours alone in a practice room, no matter if you have an engagement or not at the moment. Enjoy the music adventure wonderland! So what can you do today?
Wishing you a glorious study day
Vera

Celebration

Dear beautiful Singers, summervacations are around the corner. This means you have worked and achieved a lot the last season. So hold in one second and be proud of yourself. Often in our lifes we have to go for progress and not perfection.
You are doing great allow yourself a couple of days as a break and then we move on with fresh energy. 💞 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

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

Performance Opportunities

It is very important for young singers to find opportunities to perform in front of an audience.
Young singers need the experience of stage circumstances and of ensemble singing and be a singer and actor same time.
There is a proverb: No master falls from the sky
This is so true.
We all need practice, practice to learn and to become matured artists and singers.
My advice: Find performance opportunities in churches, old people’s home, hotels, etc.
In my Institute I give the singers the opportunity twice a year to be part of a staged operaconcert with a conductor and pianist from the Operahouse Zürich.
This is always a wonderful event, where singers in different stages of their development can sing in public and improve.
So I want to encourage you all find your performance opportunities. Go for it.🎶🎶🎶
Happy sunny weekend to you
Vera

Singing Wagnerian Repertoire

This week I worked with a young dramatic soprano who is preparing her first Sieglinde for stage rehearsals. It is an extraordinarily beautiful role and music. I have sung it so often on stage and I just love and adore the music and the role. The love duet is just very moving and needs a lot of colour and body and tone. In all Wagnerian singing are a lot of technical demands! As a Wagnerian singer you usually have the weight and heaviness in the middle of your voice but due to the emotions of the respective characters the singer has to sing a wide range of tessitura. Singing the very top notes can be a challenge when you have sung dramatic and weighty in the middle range. For example, when I sang Siegfried Brünnhilde on stage, the best approach for me was to take it more lyrical. Siegfried Brünnhilde’s tessitura is high. It is different with Götterdämmerung Brünnhilde. The role is lower and more dramatic and reflects the whole development in the Ring Cycle…
In Wagnerian Singing it is essential that the singer has an excellent breathing concept and that he or she has a chrystal- clear concept of the role in mind.
One challenge is the diction in Wagnerian music:
Of course, one has to understand every word but it has to be DICTION IN A HEALTHY SINGING PROCESS AND VOCAL PRODUCTION.
I stressed this with capital letters because when professional singers come to me to get their part ready to perform I have nearby always to correct their diction approach. The voice still needs to travel on the airflow and the consonants should not stop the airflow. I remember, when I worked my Elsa, Senta, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde etc. with Richard Trimborn, one of the old school and competent coaches from Munich State Opera house, he was emphasizing all the time, that you have to sing R. Wagner’s music with naturalness and beauty and there exist a lot of dynamics. PIANO!
Richard Trimborn was just a very competent rock in the music world of R. Strauss and R. Wagner.
Thank you Richard that I can pass your precious music advices to the singers in my studio.
Fazit: Sing Wagnerian music with a wide range of dynamics.
With love for the art and for every artist
Vera

Coping with External Interferences

In a singers life sometimes external obstacles which are beyond our control interfere with our rehearsal routine or even our performance.
Panic!!!!
Dear Singer, Panic is not our good friend.
My suggestion is. First of all breath and take an inner distance to the cause of the interference.
Second try to refocus your attention on you and your singing.
Still annoyed and distracted?
Embrace and accept the obstacle. This approach will give you back your energy.
Third you might be able to change the interference….
You find more informations for a singers life in my e book. Here is the link www stimmkunst.ch/community
Flourishingly yours
Vera

Singer’s Wisdom

Weekly Nugget: Singers’ Wisdom So many voice students and singers have asked me to write a book about Methode StimmKunst©. I am delighted and super proud that now the e-book “Methode StimmKunst© – Advice from Vera Wenkert” is available: Join me on http://WWW.STIMMKUNST.CH/COMMUNITY/ and download the free e-book until May 14th 2018. This book is the precious seed of my future printed book. I have decided to give the e-book as a gift to you, beautiful singer, for 2 reasons: First of all: Support is crucial for success in an artist’s life. So, take it as an enchanted help! Second: My life path and music path have taught me to truly see my value and I like to put value into the world and to help artists to blossom and to find their way to grow. I cordially invite you to join the StimmKunst community.
With all my love💕for the art Vera

Rehabilitation of the Voice

Hello dear beautiful Singers,
sometimes a Singer enters my Studio and is in vocal difficulties.
I understand that it is a scary situation for the Singer.
My approach is to find out what the cause of this condition is.
There can be severe: Overuse of the voice!
For example, too much singing, not using a healthy vocal technique, singing in a wrong vocal fach, singing on an infection…
It can be the result of hormone change, e.g. Menopause
It can be psychological causes.
Very seldom the root is a serious physiological cause.
Then I work together with a very good team of laryngologists and a clinic.
But the number one in this state of a singers voice and mind is:
KEEP CALM
BE OPEN MINDED TO THE CAMINO OF REHABILITATION
There will be no magic pill. When you allow yourself to take the patience and caring for yourself with an excellent voice teacher and the team it might need, in most cases you will recover. CORRAGIO!
Take care and trust also in this time your inner voice.
With appreciaton
Yours
Vera

Celebrate your success

Super proud of the Singers final concert of my Masterclass”SING AS A RADIANT SINGER”
I am touched that participants of the Masterclass shined in a concert in a variety of melodies and I feel so blessed that beginners of a vocal study process, semi-professionals and the professional singers were eager and determined to sing, share and shine in a concert together. BRAVI TUTTI for your dedication towards your goals: making music and sing from your hearts: I wish Anna Maske, Charlotte Whittle, Bader Hamwi, Geraldine Gamenisch, Lisa Dunk, Michael König, Nina Hreus,Olivia Betschart, Carole Simons, Louise Martyn, Dearbhla Collins, and all the young singers out there a wonderful path to fulfilling your dreams. Today I suggest take some time to celebrate yourself. A big thank you goes to Martin
With appreciation
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

Voice Teacher

As a singer it is crucial that you find an excellent teacher. No matter, wether you are a vocal student or a professional singer, you need a voice teacher who offers you solid technical results. The teacher should also be passionate about teaching and you should feel that you can trust him or her. It is hrh obligation of a voice teacher to guide you as an individual singer with your own vocal needs.
You are part of the process and if you have found a teacher who has a very good ear and offers solid technical results for your vocal need, trust and work day by day and you will make progress.

With appreciation
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

Daily Voice Care

As a Singer you have to take conscious care of your voice.
Normally, the voice serves us automatically and we do not even think about this beautiful habit of speaking or singing, but if we have chosen to work with our voice professionally, we have to develop consciousness in dealing with this very special and personal instrument to keep it healthy.
In a series of weekly nuggets you will find some good suggestions.
You are invited heartly to join me the next couple of weeks to find out more about DAILY VOICE CARE.
First, the vocal cords work better if they are hydrated. Especially, in winter time in heated rooms they need moisture and therefore you have to drink a lot. Of course, not a lot of alcohol because this dries the vocal cords and the voice gets tired easily.

With appreciation
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

Cantabile

The experience of the Masterclass last week which I have given in Dublin has shown me that today’s young singers are eager to find on one hand the efficiency in their singing on the other hand they are looking for ways to build up a daily routine requiring discipline,training and building up stanima. On top of all this I recommend seriously that a young singer should search for a teacher and coach who has a deep contribution to the music and operatic scene, with knowledge, patience and understanding for the growing process of a young singer and can nurture them.
One of the main concerns of young singers is not only to train the voice but also the musicianship.For example , find the right style for every composer you sing, this means work with the music and explore it, if you do what the composer has written, the style comes through. It is easy and hard at the same time just to do this. But Coraggio !!!!
Wishing you a wonderful working day 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

What matters in learning new repertoire

As a singer we are obliged to have respect for every detail and nuance in the music.We need time and experience and healthy good advisers and teachers to grow as a singer and musician. Nothing in life can develop under pressure and therefore I try to create a friendly and nurturing enviroment for the singers , so that the talent can blossom in inner peace
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

Singing Treasures

Nowadays, more then ever, the singer has to have a refined concept for a success singing path: Of course a solid healthy vocal technique but to catch the interest of managers or casting directors in operahouses the singer has to blossom into a fine unique artist; that means to portray in any singing piece taste and musicianship. A performer serving the composers art and shaping and sculptering his or her aria or artsong out of this desire is one of the privilege and duty. Then miracles can happen, the singers individual artistry melts with the composition. I remember when I studied Isolde, every day I could not wait to dig into the harmonies to understand R. Wagners intention between the colours of the orchestra and the Isolde melody lines. I studied on top of my role also the Orchestra partitura. I suggest this for every main role. Have a glimpse into the full orchestration, find your leading instruments, listen to the colours. As singers, we are part of the orchestra.
More next Friday.
Wishing you an exciting journey into your special music land.
Vera