I have been lucky in my life to have worked with some extraordinary pianists/coaches. In my development as a singer, those pianists have been as important as voice teachers. I’ve often mentioned my first coach, Glenn Parker, who died too early. I learned to be a singer (not just a sound machine) from him. He made me aware of all my resources, which I continue to develop.
Lately, I’ve been under the care of the wonderful Kashu-do Team of Teachers, and our pianists are extraordinary. Philipp Vogler in München/Augsburg has had the most profound impact on my vocal development as a tenor. He knows my voice and helps me stay on track. Even I, who developed a process-oriented system, am not immune to the allure of a quick fix, or something that makes me feel good in the moment. Philipp has been the guardian of my true voice the past couple of years and to great results. Our process continues. I couldn’t recommend him more heartily! If you’re in Bayern, he’s your man!
A big part of the Kashu-do ideology is that we need input from different sources, but that are after the same goal: our truest, most efficient vibration. So the other day in Berlin, I had a coaching with a pianist I often refer to my students: Adelle Eslinger, at Deutsche Oper Berlin. I’ve sat in during her coaching sessions and I knew I was going to get a great coaching. Besides we were colleagues during our masters at the University of Michigan and during those two years she was the pianist I worked with most closely.
What I loved about this coaching was her directness:
“I don’t want to wait until the big note to enjoy your voice”
That was one of the most impactful statements. There were several others. And together those statements worked into a process that was was already on the way. Something whispered to the depths of my being:
Just do it!
At my next practice, I approached the middle range just as fluidly as I approached the top and made sure it was fully supported. The fuzziness in my lower middle range was dealt with and I felt like like I could crescendo or diminuendo on any note, while singing a phrase.
I can imagine many of my readers here thinking that my dear colleague and friend must be a magician! Adelle Eslinger will tell you herself she’s no magician! What she is is a very experienced coach whose worked with top singers for a long time and hears very accurately. Like all the great coaches who have impacted my life, Adelle hears possibilities and tells the unmitigated truth, all the while super-excited by the clear vision that the singer can do better! Yes I can! And I will!
I was able to stay after and observe the coaching of one of my Kashu-do colleagues who was happy to have me there. Working with singers is Adelle Eslinger’s passion. She’s like a child doing her favorite activity! Unlike some self-absorbed coaches who think they know everything, her directness was never aggressive. It was knowledge, it was factual, it was truth. She figuratively placed a mirror before us and it was up to us whether we faced ourselves and dealt with it. I felt empowered to be great! My colleague also loved the coaching and told me later in private:
She’s a keeper!
So if you’re in Berlin, avail yourself of this extraordinary coach! I already knew she was. But it was profound having the experience myself. She is also one of the finest human beings I know!
© 19 February 2019