Today was my day off from teaching in Stockholm and I intended to do little other than sight-seeing. My host/student, the tenor, Nikola Matisic, had introduced me to Micaela von Gegersfeldt (pronounced like the German equivalent, Jägersfeld), a former ballet and flamenco dancer who developed a system of body work geared specifically for singers. Throughout my career I have worked with experts in Alexander and Feldenkreis Techniques, Pilates and Yoga. All these disciplines have been helpful. However, as I have developed a technical approach that is meant to be as gentle as it is invasive, it has been important to find a fundamental approach, relative to physical and mental fitness and awareness, which supports the balance of the vocal instrument. With Kung Fu/Tai Chi, I have found a proven system that develops the individual’s mind as it does the body. However, a singer needs a level of physical awareness that must be keen but subtle. If Kung Fu/Tai Chi has prepared me for this level of balance, Micaela‘s work has raised my awareness to a very high level, to genuinely feeling the entire body as a singing instrument in a very powerful but fundamentally gentle way. It is one thing to theoretically know this. It is an entirely different thing to experience it, not as a fleeting experience but a lasting state of body and mind that seems as clear as it is enigmatic.
Today we taught a lesson together. It is a very rare and afffirming experience to encounter another person who has developed entirely differently, but whose process fits together entirely and synergically with mine. It was a singular privilege to work so closely with someone I can genuinely call colleague, who so completely inspired my trust in such a short time. It was my privilege to experience this dance. I knew when to take a backseat and let Micaela work and when to bring my own input to the fore, all in the service of the singer. It was as if we had been teaching together for years. Mr. Matisic, a very experienced singer was equally elated with the session.
Micaela’s technique is rooted in a profound knowledge of muscular dynamics, an intimate knowledge of anatomy and a refined sensory awareness of energy flow during the act of performing. She has also had close working relationships with the great singers of Sweden’s exalted operatic tradition.
After leaving accademia, I am very wary of colleagues. It is not easy to win my trust. I do not give it easily. For that reason, I embarked on my quest for my tenor voice without a formal teacher. I trust the ears of a couple of my very advanced students who have pedagogical gifts or highly developed sensory perceptions. Other than they, this is the only person I would trust 100% with my own singing. With her help, my technical approach and indeed my own singing can only get better. I look forward to working closely together with Micaela von Gegersfeldt.
I was also fortunate to have a lovely tour of Stockholm with Micaela as my guide after our wonderful work together this afternoon. The truth is as totally distinguishable from the rest as water from sand to the thirsty traveler. I recommend Micaela highly to my European colleagues as she works a lot in the region and in particular in Sweden and Denmark. It is my hope to be able to introduce her to the New York scene very soon.