What type of clinician would you like SNATS to provide in Spring 2018?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Simple practicing mistakes and how to fix them

When in doubt, re-read your "How to practice" sheet, given to you the first Friday class of the semester. More tips from a pro (a percussionist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra!) on how to practice.

Have fun!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Voice Recital Repertoire


As of this morning, I have only received information from two of you regarding your repertoire for the Studio Voice Recital. As a friendly reminder, what I need from each of you is:

The title of the piece you'd like to sing
The composer and composer's birth and death dates
Your name as you'd like it to appear in the program

If you are not sure what you'd like to sing, send information on the two pieces you are considering, and we'll discuss. If your piece is in a foreign language, send a short translation of it. I may ask you to edit it, but at least this will get us started.

You have until the end of the day. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Hi folks,

You'll notice I changed the times very slightly for your lessons. This was after Dr. Evans clarified the pianist availability matrix he'd to painstakingly created. I hope this doesn't cause the whole house of cards to fall! Please notify me immediately if it does.

Following are lesson times for the semester. If for some reason I have assigned you a time during which you are not available, let me know immediately so I can fix it. 

Your pianist's name is next to your name (CS for Dr. Steele; RB for Richard Byrd), and will join you for the 15 or 30 minutes of your lesson. If you would like your pianist to join you during the first week of classes, please get him the music ASAP. For those with Dr. Steele as your pianist, email him a PDF of your music at steelec@uab.edu. If you have Richard, I'll email you his address. Please send them both your music for your first lesson over the weekend. 

A friendly reminder: never ask your pianist to sight-read a piece during your lesson because you forgot to extend this courtesy. We'll talk more about this in our first studio class, in my office on Friday, September 1 at 12:20. Be certain you have left that time free for class each week, in addition to your lesson.

If you have any questions or concerns at all, please free to email me! See you starting on Monday.

10:10-11 Briana (CS)
11:10-12 Beau (CS)
3:40-4:30 Mallory (CS)

10:20-10:45 Eric (CS)
11:20-11:45 Camilla (RB)
11:50-12:15 Jenn (RB)

10:35-11 Austin (RB)
11:35-12 Peyton (RB)
12:10-1 Grace (CS)
1:10-2 Michael (CS)

10:15 Ashlyn (CS)
12:20-1:10 EVERYONE (Hulsey Recital Hall, Performance Class)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Repertoire assignments

Hi folks,

Following are your repertoire assignments. As always, I welcome requests! Remember, I reserve veto rights, but knowing what interests you helps me choose repertoire that will suit. If you don't like anything I assign, please let me know ASAP and I'll find something else for you. I am never offended if you prefer not to sing something I assign. There is more music out there than any of us will ever have a chance to sing!

Note that underneath your repertoire assignment, I have included a book you should purchase. If you already own it, let me know and we'll find something else for you to buy. It is vital that you own good editions of the music you sing!

Your pianist will be assigned soon, and will be posted here. Instructions will follow.

Have fun! I look forward to hearing your beautiful voices in two weeks. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me.

"Quella fiamma" (Marcello) from 24/26 Italian Arias
"Che faró senza Euridice" (Gluck) from Orfeo ed Euridice
"If Music be the Food of Love" (Purcell)
"Come ready and see me" (Hundley)

Purchase: Italian Arias of the Baroque and Classical Eras, edited by John Glenn Paton

"Vedrai, carino" from Don Giovanni or "Una donna a quindici anni" from Cosí fan tutte (Mozart)
"I attempt from Love's sickness to fly" (Purcell)
"El paño moruno" from Siete Canciones populares Espanõlas (de Falla)
"In dem Schatten meiner Locken" (Wolf)
"Nell" (Fauré)

Purchase: Book of Fauré songs

Bob's aria from The Old Maid and the Thief (Menotti)
Che fiero costume (Legrenzi)
Si trai ceppi from Berenice (Handel)

Purchase: 24/26 Italian Songs and Arias (let's discuss which edition is best!)

Bring your audition repertoire to your first lesson.

Purchase: 26 Italian Songs and Arias, medium high voice, edited by John Glenn Paton

"Honor and Arms" from Samson (Handel)
"Offrande" (Hahn)
"Rolling in foaming billows" from The Creation (Haydn)--you may learn it in German!

We'll discuss your recital and fill in the blanks from there.

Purchase: Handel arias and/or Creation score (Let's talk about editions first)

O del mio amato ben (Donaudy)
Total eclipse from Samson (Handel)
Mai (Hahn)

Purchase: Book of Donaudy songs

"Sento nel core" (Scarlatti)
Musical theatre pieces of your choice

Purchase: 24/26 Italian Songs and Arias (if you haven't already)

Se Florindo e fedele" (Scarlatti)
Musical theatre pieces of your choice

Purchase: 24/26 Italian Songs and Arias (if you haven't already)

"Alma del core" (Caldara)
Musical theatre pieces of your choice

Purchase: 24/26 Italian Songs and Arias (if you haven't already)

"Vaghissima sembianza" (Donaudy)
"Toujours" (Fauré)
"Lay your doubts and fears" from SEMELE (Handel)
"Mein" from DIE SCHOENE MUELLERIN (Schubert)
"Dies Bildnis" from DIE ZAUBERFLOETE (Mozart)

Purchase: Donaudy songs

"Stizzoso, mio stizzoso" from LA SERVA PADRONA (Pergolesi)
"Bel piacere" from AGRIPPINA (Handel)
"Les roses d'Ispahan" (Fauré)
"O wüsst ich doch den Weg zurück" (Brahms)
"I ever am wanting" from SEMELE (Handel)

Purchase: Fauré or Brahms songs

Monday, May 1, 2017

Jury sheets available

Hi folks,

I have your jury sheets, and am happy to go over them with you. Though many of you may already be gone, I am here for the next two weeks. Email me if you'd like to meet: I prefer to talk through them with you rather than just leave them on my bulletin board. Thanks, and happy summer!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Are you gritty?

My latest reading material includes Carol Dweck's "Mindset" and Angela Duckworth's "Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance." I'm most taken by the following equation:

(talent) x (effort) = skill
(skill) x (effort) = achievement

Our society tends to reward talent rather than skill. At the very least, we often describe someone highly skilled as "talented" or "gifted," inadvertently disregarding the many years it takes to refine and develop one's talent. This is not a new viewpoint:

"With everything perfect, we do not ask how it came to be. Instead, we rejoice in the present fact as if it came out of the ground by magic. No one can see in the work of the artist how it has become. That is its advantage. For wherever one can see the act of becoming, one grows somewhat cool."
- Nietzsche

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it is demoralizing. If we are not among those innately "gifted," we feel inferior. Even worse, if we view ourselves as less "talented," we may simply not do the work. Conveniently, that lets us off the hook: since we're not somehow anointed with great talent, what's the point?

Look again at the equation. Talent only factors in once, while effort factors in twice. Yes, to build skill, talent is useful: building skills might come easier to one who's gifted. There is no denying that innate gifts can mean that progress comes faster for some. But note the inverse: talent without effort means skill is lacking, and without skill, there can be no achievement. We can go even further with this equation:

If someone who is half as talented works twice as hard, s/he might get just as far as the gifted person. By the same token, if someone talented works half as hard while someone half as talented works three times as hard...then talent isn't the determining factor at all.

There's no need to tell you the moral of this story. Get into the practice room.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My Fitness Pal

Many of you may remember me talking about MyFitnessPal, my favorite app (until I got my Fitbit, of course). Here's one inspirational story that might turn you into a fan, too:

Daniel's 2 lbs. Per Week

Simple practicing mistakes and how to fix them

When in doubt, re-read your "How to practice" sheet, given to you the first Friday class of the semester.  More tips from a pro (...