Why am I sharing?
I am sure some people think I am mad writing this blog about my Germanic discoveries… That’s fine, but I have sometimes wondered about why I do it too. I do it because I think it’s important to go against the grain of what is seen as ‘normal’. For example, when first arriving in Germany I happily passed on contacts of coaches and teachers to fellow singers, and I still do, and I intend to continue doing so. At the time some of the people would say it was strange as lots of people keep contacts to themselves. Perhaps I’m fatalistic about it, but I really, really, don’t think me keeping my contacts to myself is going to help me! Like I posted previously about feeling guilty, I would feel guilty keeping everything to myself.
There is a fine line between sharing too much and sharing too little. If someone is actually using you, be wise to it and don’t give just because you want someone to like you. Also don’t presume that everyone sees you without guile and as genuine as you know you are and want to be. Even writing this blog essentially puts me at the whim of all those who read it. I focus on the pros of how many positive comments and how many people have said how useful it has been to them. The pros outweigh my worries of being misconstrued and being taken negatively.
My last bit of advice, that I received from a fellow singer who came to Germany to do an audition tour, comes from the lovely bass Peter Hamon. He has given us a handy list of hints and tips to those thinking of an audition tour. I think they are relevant to those at music college level as well as opera studio and house auditions:
“1. I think the most important thing is to prepare as much as possible before you leave. Resumes, photos, letters to theaters and agents, contacts, setting up auditions, coachings and contacts.
2. Buy train travel in bulk because it gets so expensive. Buy a group of tickets that you can use over several months etc.
3. Be smart about the auditions you choose to do because it can be a racket. Don’t take one audition in Munich for an agent. Have a few auditions lined up to make the trip worthwhile.
4. Research each house’s season and the people in charge so you are prepared. Be smart about what you sing for each house but do not confuse them by singing vastly differing arias.
5. Send thank you notes/emails once auditions are complete.”
My favourite one of these is Number 4. That’s probably because I love researching (weird, I know) but I really do think it makes a difference. If you can sing something that you know is in the repertoire of a house and your voice is right for it, it means the panel can imagine you on their stage in that role. If your party piece is Zerbinetta’s brilliant coloratura monologue, but the house hasn’t put on an Ariadne auf Naxos for ten years, then it’s not much use singing it.
Now for a hiatus…
I am afraid to say that I am going to put a pause on sharing and blogging for now. I have accepted a place at a fantastic music college, the Hanns Eisler, here in Berlin, and am going to descend into a little mink hole for a while and focus. I have loved blogging, and I hope it has remotely helped or been interesting to young singing professionals, specifically regarding Germany. Thank you to all the lovely people who’ve encouraged me and thank you for reading!
Maybe I’ll be back blogging again in two years….!