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.

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

 

Voice Disorders

Sometimes a singer enters my studio showing signs associated with voice disorders. As a singer we are depending on a perfect voice function. I want to give you some advice to avoid unnecessary vocal problems.

There are phonatory disorders like swelling of the laryngeal tissues etc. and disorders which appear because of inappropriate use of your voice. When you use your voice in an unhealthy way, it can lead to laryngeal problems.
Sometimes a singer suffers from Acute Laryngitis after a cold. As a result, the singer feels major stress, because our life depends so much on our voice. My advice is find an excellent ENT and rest your voice until the reddening and swelling of the vocal chords is gone. I tell my vocal students go on “Silent Diva Days“. Afterwards slowly begin to get your voice back in shape.

There are of course many reasons for a voice disorder, but this has to be discussed in a different context. The voice disorder can sometimes come from too much pushing of the vocal chords during singing, and this is also result of poor vocal technique or singing in the wrong Vocal Fach. The voice sounds pressed then and has often a hissing sound. Sometimes there is an incomplete glottal closure in the Arytenoid region. Also here you will find many more reasons and roots for voice disorders.

So what to do?

First aid is to rest your voice, then find a good and responsible voice teacher who helps you with specific exercises to get back on track.
My second advice is: Do not sing heavy repertoire when your voice is not in good shape. Listen to yourself and do not let yourself become persuaded to sing “just this one time.” You will be in danger if you do so.

AFFIRMATION: I use my voice wisely and economically with a healthy vocal technique.

To your greatness,
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

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.

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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

Working with Jaw Tension

I remember I worked with a professional Mezzosopran on the “Hexe” in Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel” who was having her opening night in less then 5 days. Whilst working on the whole role with her, I realised that her jaw was becoming tighter and tighter as a result of all the quick diction and musical leaps in the part. I know stage directors and conductors often ask for a lot of diction and expression, but you have to know how to do it without straining the vocal chords and without building up too much tension in the whole vocal production and support system.

What to do?

For example, I worked with her the “Hexenbann” without words and let her do the whole magic spell on “ja ja ja”. This exercise frees the jaw. We also did light and easy staccato exercises (tonica, third, quinte, third, tonica) and then legato the same.

We singers always have to remember that the jaw should be just relaxed in an open position, slightly back and in most cases not forward. (Maybe there are anatomical exceptions.) Then the breathing gets deeper into the body naturally and the support system starts to work. When a tight jaw is doing the job it is very difficult to connect the voice to the healthy body support.

With the Mezzosopran the next step was to solve the diction. It is vital that the vowel and the consonants have to be on the airflow. We worked it very slowly with patience and joy and finally the “Hexe” was really magic

💡TIP: From my own experience it is helpful to gently move the jaw up and down to the right and left. If the jaw is too tight, you might have difficulties to do these gentle movements. If so, you can gently and tenderly massage the muscles around your jaw, the muscles under your chin with your thumb and your index finger. ATTENTION: never massage the area directly around the larynx.

AFFIRMATION: I find a solution for all the technical issues I am solving.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

Dear beautiful singers

In my career on stage and in concerts I have sung many Wagnerian roles: Elsa, Elisabeth, Venus, Senta, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, Isolde. Out of these experiences and from the experience I have with my teaching practice in teaching dramatic voices, my number one advice is:

DO NOT RUSH INTO THIS DEMANDING REPERTOIRE AS A YOUNG SINGER

The chief characteristics of Wagnerian music are beautiful long phrases combined with a brilliant, emotional text and a big orchestration underneath the vocal line. This demanding music requires you to have a solid technique. Not only this, but I have learnt from my time on stage that it is a great help to have some stage experience beforehand. Having this, you can float on the music and orchestra and you are able to taste the German diction in this beautiful music, and you can caress the text and music together. There is also the big misunderstanding that Wagnerian music always has to be sung loud. On the contrary, if you study the orchestra part of a Wagnerian opera you will find so many piano markings and other dynamic wishes of Wagner himself. Do not to forget: Richard Wagner loved Bel Canto!

As a result of the intense emotion in Wagnerian repertoire, a singer sometimes starts to push the voice…then you can really harm yourself! Last week, a Wagnerian singer travelled to me to work on Sieglinde. During the lesson I could hear that the coaches at the opera house have put her too much in the “diction mode” in the front of her mouth in the narrative “Der Männer Sippe…” I completely understand why the coaches wanted this crystal clear diction, but it has to be produced in the RIGHT WAY.

So, my suggestion for you Wagnerian singers is: Study your roles early enough, sing it in your voice with the help of your voice teacher and then go into the theater rehearsal process. From my own experience and love affair with Wagner’s music, I can confess that this is the most efficient and joyable way to improve significantly in this repertoire whilst remaining healthy.
This is also how I work with the Wagnerian singers in my studio. If they are vocally well trained and musically ready, they can concentrate on all the other obligations they have in an opera production.

💕Affirmation for the day: I allow myself to grow into my future-self of a radiant Wagnerian singer.💕

With appreciation
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

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

Greetings from Sylt

Hello from my wonderful vacation on Sylt. Even vocal teachers from time to time need vacation and relaxation time. The weekly nugget starting the new season will be available here next friday.
Summergreetings
Vera

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

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

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

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

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

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