This week I get to accompany four talented singers as they complete their RCM vocal exams on Wednesday, and then their end of the year recital on Thursday. The exams are for Grades 3, 4, 6, and 7, and repertoire ranges from Handel to Mendelssohn to Sondheim.
In an exam, the difficulty lies in being relaxed enough to deliver a great performance, while having the poise to incorporate all the details learned in lesson and reinforced through practice. Consistent practice, that is, not cramming at the last minute. Sports commentators often talk about being “in the zone” (wherever that is), meaning that an athlete is totally focused and ready to perform. That’s when all the sweat and blood in the gym is paid off by that one move that beats the defender or saves a goal. The same goes for music (yes, I’ve seen people practice until they bleed…although I don’t recommend it) in that you only get one kick at the can, one chance to prove all that you’ve learned. And if you don’t prove it, your audience will move on and forget about you. But the most rewarding time is when you know you’ve really sung or played your heart out. That feeling of accomplishment is something you can’t replace.
So hats off to you students, and I pledge to do my part in making you all sound your best!