“As it turns out, there is merit to the Chinese proverb ‘I hear, and I forget; I see, and I remember.”

Researchers at the University of Iowa have found that when it comes to memory, we are incapable of remembering things we have heard nearly as well as things we have seen. While research like this has long been confirming this premise, research presented by James Bigelo, a graduate student at the University of Iowa, and Amy Poremba, associate professor in the UI Department of Psychology and corresponding author on the paper, offer some very interesting data that could prove…

With twenty first century eyes, most musicians view the Italian opera composer as a towering intellect of unparalleled genius. With such a reputation, it is easy to forget how much Verdi suffered in his early year. His sufferings were not necessarily physical. Instead, it was his work that suffered. The strains he suffered under the censors, altercations with his fellow colleagues and musicians, helped him develop quite a reputation later in his life. But the problems he faced had been created by years of opera tradition and common practice:

At the beginning of his career scarcely any consideration was given…

When an actress or actor is preparing a role, sung or not, she or he may be tempted to forgo any type of research. In the amount of time from when they are handed a script, they must learn the lines, learn the pronunciation if the role is not in their vernacular, learn the pitches and rhythms accurately, incorporate the musical markings of the composer and the conductor, and then memorize it all. …

If you have ever had a hope for anything in this life, you’ve likely also felt fear. Fear of failure. Fear of ridicule. Fear of being a target. Fear of success, even. If if you’ve ever felt your steps falter on the way to an audition, an interview, or even on your way to perform your civic duty, fear is likely to blame. Fear can stop you from taking the actions necessary to achieve success.

Some folks are pro at yeeting fears into the next millennium, while others could use a few tips. You’d be shocked by how much your…

Part 2 of 3

Stanislavski’s and Rumyantsev’s Stanislavski on Opera is a valuable resource for singers seeking more information on the dynamics of the Stanislavski System. The book chronicles the part of his life where Stanislavski began an opera studio, in part to prove to himself and others that excellent acting can be achieved in the operatic form. The author details many examples of how Stanislavski’s music students were taught to think about the text and music, and the results of their working with him.

Rumyantsev recalls a time when he witnessed Stanislavski working with a student on her ballad…

Konstantin Stanislavski, was a great theater actor and director, and the creator of the “Stanislavski System.” He gained his international fame and historical prestige on the stage in theater for his development of the Stanislavski’s System. The system was a method of training to mobilize the actor’s conscious thought and will in order to activate other, less-controllable psychological processes–such as emotional experience and subconscious behavior–sympathetically and indirectly.

Stanislavski was developing a system of teaching based on the way he himself had been taught. They seem to have been founded on principles he learned from his music teacher. While he was…

“Could the Governess be the villain?” I remember how these words brought a smile to my face during my first semester of my final degree. I was learning two roles simultaneously due to a rash of role vacancies in the undergraduate fall opera that year. Owing to my familiarity with Benjamin Britten’s “Turn of the Screw,” (Mrs. Grose had been the second role of my operatic career) I happily but nervously agreed to take on the role of The Governess.

Ask any singer who has studied with any teacher or been part of any musical group for any length of time and they will tell you… there are rules. Loose rules. Strict rules. Rules that only apply to one director or to a specific style of music. Some are great rules. Some are absolutely terrible.

In honor of those teachers, directors, and colleagues who endured, made, and broke these and many more rules, I present 10 Simple Zen Rules As Illustrated By Comments Made By Teachers.

  1. Focus on one thing at a time.
    “Don’t worry about the words right now. Sing…

If you asked me today who I am, I would tell you I am Doctor Kathryn Parsley, and I have a DMA in Vocal Performance in Opera. However, looking at where my musical life began might have given you a very different projection of my future.

I was a high school student who loved to sing and auditioned for choir and the musicals every year. …

Kathryn Parsley

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