On performances of young singers

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I often work with young and very young singers, some of them with genuine attitude and powerfully talented. I just teach singing and not music for young age, so the minimum I require is to verify in the first weeks the authentic desire of learning that only can make them be happy in short or less short vocal lessons, without wasting time and parent’s money. When they are very talented they desire to feed that talent with good music and after a little also to give that music to someone in the form of performance. I am not totally against young in performances, broadcastings and competitions, but there are some rules that I find important in all my teaching that should be followed and I see that often are not. All the talented persons I have met of young age showed a double in them: a young person and that talent that when real is out of age. The talent is adult and experimented, not the person who contains that talent. Talent has some necessities that can be very light to the talented and forced requests to the other. I think that nothing is bad if we just don’t hide young singers performances, if we let a space of existence to the characteristics of young persons. In my experience their performances are plenty of fluctuation in the level, in the technique control and in the musical depth. If we want to moderate that before their experienced technique make that fluctuation so little that you don’t really perceive it you will make of them little robot performers and that is what I really can’t bear. I can’t bear to see a little singer having the pressure of making a good performance for a tv public or to make happy people around him and not simply a gentle and respectful way to share and rejoice the music that this little singer desires to give us. Music is giving something to the others in a form correct and acceptable, since when this is possible by the technique level I agree and organize for my students to perform in private or less private or public situations, but always, and I mean always respecting the freedom of being just what they are at that moment, with their qualities and lacks. We are teachers in a path to help them become in the time musicians if they will desire that and if they have the talent to, or simply to enjoy and practice music with correct basis, not teachers who have to show their good teaching by the incredible performances of little robots performers. We have to help them to make and experiment and refine the music they have inside, not to use it for our pleasure or business, and the difference is clear and sometimes very subtle. You will never find before the correct time one of my student required to be “perfect”, they will always have from me the request to have the courage of having the pleasure of performing and the courage of trying what the inside is asking to have music, and after we will discuss and choose what was good, healthy, not too plenty of risk but in their sense of their imagination, of their musical universe, of their musical dream. The level is something that raise all together when it is well conducted, and can be so easy to make one perfect or two perfect songs during one year, but that will not raise the entire level in a balanced and grounded way. I teach to beginners and they have the right to be what they are during the time they get stronger and more solid and stable in their results, and no tv Show or Competition or parent or manger should put the pressure on them of not being enough or to have to do something far from their genuine talent just to make someone happy of them.

The same is to to be said on the vocal performance and the risk of abusing so young instruments: they are growing and they are elastic and not strongly structured instruments. We learn adults not to do everything is possible for our voice to do, we must be much more careful to teach what is healthy and what at a certain age never must be allowed. Sometimes they find by themselves some high tones and too heavy notes that make everybody around them being excited, but in that we have to teach them well what can be done without risking the future of their voice and what will make it age prematurely and ruin it. When they are young they are often less protective toward themselves as adult are and I prefer not to teach what can be dangerous to be sure they will not use when nobody controls or just to be appreciated and loved. But young voice is then another subject.