I had a great time as a fellowship opera coach at Aspen.
I grew up in small-town Iowa and went to a private music school for undergrad and then, UMKC’s Conservatory of Music and Dance for M.M. Vocal Performance. This was my first year exploring vocal coaching, and auditioning for vocal coaching positions at summer programs. A number of lucky events steered me towards vocal coaching, but that is for another post – the final push for auditioning for Aspen was from Vinson Cole, who has been nothing but kind and supportive to me.
At Aspen, I was totally immersed in the world of opera and vocal coaching. In the last few weeks, my scheduled was often 10am to 10pm (with lunch and dinner breaks, mercifully!), and I loved every minute of it. I did a lot of coaching both group rehearsals for opera scenes, and individual coaching on general repertoire. As a student coach, I had the wonderful opportunity to learn from senior coaches, who would lead the final coachings prior to the performance. I always felt proud of the singers when we were well-prepared when it came time for the senior coach to come in.
It was also quite fun to put the Berlioz together! I and another student were the student coaches for Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict, and we got to coach the roles and covers in addition to helping out as chorus masters!
I spent weeks preparing the French, by reading through the Grubbs and the newer Nedecky book on French diction, and checking every word. Maestro asked me if I was fluent, and complimented me on my french, so I feel content with my preparation!
At the end of the summer, I realized I hadn’t asked for as many lessons as I could – we had the option of getting up to 8 total lessons from senior coaches. So the final week of Aspen, I had FOUR lessons! I wanted to make sure that I had a chance to work with every senior coach, so I did – I asked for lessons with everyone except my senior coach that I had worked with all summer.
I think they went well, although truth be told, since our schedules were so packed, it was hard to find more than one hour a day to practice! If I was lucky, I’d have two hours. I mean, who wouldn’t want to practice here?
So I think my life has come full circle now… I started with piano at a young age, then I studied singing opera, and also taught on the side, and now with vocal coaching, I get to do everything!