I think it’s important to take a step back from the informative side and just explain why we take on this journey to become a classical singer.
I remember when I first realised I could sing classically; I’d started singing lessons with a new teacher who was based at my first high school and she had me sing scales. I just kept going higher and higher until she stopped and left the room, she returned 5 minutes later with the Head of Music and his colleague and said, “Listen to this!” It was such a buzz being paraded around in this way, but even better that all this fuss was coming from me doing something that felt very natural. It didn’t stop there either, like pretty much every student at a music conservatoire, I was very much a big fish in a small pond. I won prizes in local music festivals, sang solos for local choral societies and made a name for myself at school for my musical ability. In short, my singing ensured I was praised by many and in turn it made me feel great.
So this is why we sing; it feels so good!
Of course, as you get further in your field, the hard work really begins… All those big fish jump from their ponds into the Sea and find themselves swimming in a “school” of fish all trying to keep up with each other. Yes, it’s hard but it’s bloody exciting! And there are bigger oceans to jump into and bigger fish to fry (not sure how many fish puns I can get away with) and the only thing that can get you there is hard work.
And so, we get our kicks from this hard work and where we once got praised for singing Ave Maria in the school hall we start to fist pump when we’ve finally mastered a legato line after months of hammering it in the practise room. Ultimately, crossing that bridge from being the girl with the lovely voice to being an intelligent, accomplished singer is a journey I’m absolutely loving. Yes there are lows but the highs far outweigh them, especially if you view every difficult technique challenge as an exciting hill to climb.
At this point in my degree, some people are starting to express that they may not want to be singers in the future and I fully respect that. I know I had a wobble a couple of years ago when I’d convinced myself I’d never be good enough, but I changed my mind when singing just clicked back into place for me and I realised Trinity Laban was going to require more work than my little pond had!
When I first visited Trinity Laban on an Open Day, Linda Hirst, Head of the Vocal Department, said to us all, “You shouldn’t consider applying for a place on this program, unless singing is all you can think of doing and you eat, sleep and breathe it”
It’s so true! I came out of a particularly good singing lesson today, having sang my pieces for the upcoming Carmina Burana, I started to talk to Alison and my lesson buddy(we go to each other’s lessons to help coach each other and help each other practise), Mariona about what I thought could go wrong and how I was worried I wouldn’t be any good, that I had no dress to wear, that my Stetit was too staccato when I was told to “stop it!” They gave me lots of lovely reasons to enjoy the concert and convinced me to act the Diva for that hour… I have to admit that I can’t wait! I am so in love with singing and just look forward to the opportunity to perform!