Brag Post!

Enoggera Eisteddfod

Well done to the students who entered the Enoggera Eisteddfod – everyone sang very well and there were some standout performances from Felix and Amber, who came first in two or more of the sections entered, plus a great effort from Charlie, who came first in one of the sections, and Will, who came second. Huzzah!

This Eisteddfod is a great opportunity to engage students in performance in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. One of the interesting outcomes from the performances was that those who perform least have the hardest time of it – they are the students who are most nervous and who are most likely to make errors in their songs, such as forgetting words, or starting on the wrong note. It’s really important to get out there and perform as much as possible, so that these little slips are less likely to happen. One of the things I always say about singing is that whatever you do, just go out there and have fun on stage. After all, you are singing because you love it and live it.

Remember, parents, your brief is to read the information contained in the Eisteddfod pack, to ensure the proper music is provided and to make arrangements with the accompanists for your child to rehearse. The best results for students come when parents quietly help their children to achieve their best. Sometimes parents have to do the boring stuff, such as sitting in the car waiting for lessons to finish, being Ms or Mr Taxi and Dr Finance. Sometimes it means actively assisting with singing practice, looking over the teacher notes from the week before and being warm and encouraging in praise of their child’s efforts. This is not helicopter parenting, nor is it being Stage Mom. It’s continuing your parenting through a hands-on, involved approach to these extra curricular activities. I might only see little Jack or Jill for 30 minutes a week and it’s vital that more good work be done in my absence, during home time. It’s so great to see the positive outcomes in a child’s performance when this active engagement occurs.

Kiara, Adil and other superstars

Kiara is making great strides in her singing. Here is what her mother wrote to me just a few hours ago:

Kiara had a performance on main stage at The Muster and was in the Gympie Times…She entered the Talent Search and has made it to the Semis, to be held today at 2pm. She is singing 2 of her original songs and Anyway by Martina McBride. Yesterday in the heats 2 judges gave her a perfect score…. (later): Kiara made it to the Finals. Now she is in the running for a $22k prize. Please keep your fingers crossed for her.

We are thrilled that Kiara is singing and competing so well, and we look forward to this most impressive young singer going even further! Kiara has a huge voice, a true torch-singer quality evident in her sound, and we are working on finessing her artistry.

Another superstar in the making is Adil. Currently through to the final round of X-Factor 2012, Adil is just 18, and has been singing for only a year. In that time he has really made impressive strides in his vocal technique. He has a unique, very husky sound to his voice. Initially I worried it was nodules or a bowed vocal fold preventing good adduction, but a scope showed no evidence of any problems at all. Phew! This means Adil’s larynx is healthy and that his husky sound is a personal preference. We’ve been working on a more efficient fold adduction and having some great success, and his voice is gradually becoming stronger, cleaner and freer in tone. We’ve identified some singers with whom he shares a vocal similarity, and Adil is starting to follow advice about pursuing healthy vocal technique, even if it means modifying his sound ever so slightly to include stronger, cleaner tone. It sounds so great when he does, and gives his singing a much more exciting, energised quality. Here is the link to his first televised performance on X-Factor.

Other news

Well, it has been a busy year for Plainsong, and it’s getting even busier. Our Showcase is set for November 11, and there should be many performers, as it will coincide well with AMEB singing exams, which are due to take place at around the same time. 11 of our students have elected to take exams in this session – lots of work for us to get through but I am ever hopeful of a good result for everyone. I am investigating the possibility of opening another afternoon of teaching for 2013, depending on commitments at the university, as demand for times is ever increasing.

AND, drumroll….. AIR-CONDITIONING! Yep, it’s going in next week. Can’t afford it, but we can’t afford not to have it. This should make the studio much more human friendly during the summer months, and will even help in winter when the temperature drops low after dark – the units are reverse-cycle, and can heat as well. We can hardly wait!

More news will be forthcoming as the weeks roll on.

About Jessica

Dr Jessica O'Bryan PhD is an educator, researcher, singer and author. Her next book on Musical Theatre Education and Training will be published in 2020 through Routledge. Her last book was Teaching Singing in the 21st Century (2014, Springer). She lives in Brisbane in a semi-renovated 20s Queenslander home with her husband, Dougal the Groodle, and all the single ladies (Poppy the Groodle, Lucy the Cat, and the chooks).
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