Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dr. Kris Voice Studio: assignments

Following are repertoire assignments for the spring. If you would like to make a request, please email me. Bring one piece to your first lesson of the spring semester, and be sure your pianist has a copy before that lesson. Lesson times will be assigned once I have everyone's schedule: please send that to me ASAP. I currently have only one schedule: please send me yours no later than January 8.We begin lessons on January 11.

Michael: Danza, danza (Durante); Che fiero costume (Legrenzi); Now sleeps the crimson petal (Quilter). Pick one and learn it for the first week of class. We'll choose French and German later!

Kristin: Se come voi (Puccini) and/or O mio babbino caro (learn "Se come voi" first). Pick one and learn it for the first week of class. We'll add more later.

Nole: bring two of your new RVW pieces to the first lesson, memorized. Plan to sing at least three pieces in the first Performance Class at the end of the first week of class. You should own the music to everything you are singing on your recital: make that a priority if you haven't already done so.

Rae: Happiness, Élégie (Massenet), An den Mond (Schubert), Che faro senza Euridice (Gluck), pick one Handel aria. Pick one and learn it for the first week of class. Purchase a mezzo-soprano aria book, preferably "Arias for Mezzo-Soprano" edited by Larsen.

Mallory: Learn "Sento nel core" by Scarlatti, found in 28 Italian Songs and Arias (Schirmer, distributed by Hal Leonard). The best volume for you is Medium Voice: purchase it by January if possible. I believe it's in the library if you cannot buy the music right now.

Madison: Learn "In uomini, in soldati" from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. Don't worry about the Italian right now, but be rock solid musically so we can plug in the text. Buy one soprano aria book of your choice if you can: this one can be found in Arias for Soprano, volume one, edited by Larsen. The library has it, I believe.

Alyse: bring one musical theatre piece of your choice learned and ready to work for your first lesson. Please be sure that you own one of the Italian Songs and Arias books by January: please let me know if you need a recommendation on an edition.

Addie: bring one musical theatre piece of your choice learned and ready to work for your first lesson. Please be sure that you own one of the Italian Songs and Arias books by January: please let me know if you need a recommendation on an edition.

Nicole: bring one musical theatre piece of your choice learned and ready to work for your first lesson. Please be sure that you own one of the Italian Songs and Arias books by January: please let me know if you need a recommendation on an edition.

Ashley: bring one musical theatre piece of your choice learned and ready to work for your first lesson. Please be sure that you own one of the Italian Songs and Arias books by January: please let me know if you need a recommendation on an edition.

Briana: Selve amiche by Caldara (found in Italian Arias of the Baroque and Classical Eras, high voice: I believe the library has it). "Non lo diro col labbro" from Tolomeo by Handel (found in Handel 45 Arias, vol. 2, high voice). Purcell's "Nymphs and Shepherds," found in Purcell 40 songs, volume 1 (International edition, though there are other editions, too). 

Beau: Choose one or two more from Winterreise, and perhaps start one of the Ravel if you feel up to it. This can also wait till later in the semester. Look at "Ho capito" from Mozart's Don Giovanni. Have one of these ready to work in your first lesson, but don't worry about the text; we'll plug that in together.

Selina: Greensleeves, also known as "What child is this," which can be found in Singer's Library of Song, medium voice. "Se nel ben sempre incostante" by Stradella, which can be found in Standard Vocal Literature (mezzo-soprano), edited by Walters (Hal Leonard, publisher). Let me know if you need a copy, which I can send as a PDF for you to print, or I can leave it on my door.

Hunter: Let's talk. I'm not sure yet if I'll have room in the studio for you in the spring, because we have a few incoming music majors who have not yet been assigned studios, and they get first priority. I'll fit you in if I can, though, so let's keep the lines of communication open! I'm thrilled you'll be in Opera Workshop, so that we can continue your development.

As always, if you have problems, questions, or don't like the music I've assigned, just let me know. I'm happy to find other pieces if you're not thrilled with what I've given you. Do not wait until the last minute, though: everyone is still expected to have something prepared for the first lesson.

Happy Holidays, and enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Another reason to have good sleep habits



My students know that I harp on the importance of sleep, and with good reason. There is so much research coming to the fore lately regarding the impact of sleep habits on all of our bodily functions. Some of this research is happening at UAB. This article notes that lack of sleep can impact our weight, which in turn impacts everything else.

Use this holiday break to get into good sleep habits. Many of us feel the need to "catch up" this time of year. Try to get into a healthy pattern that you can maintain throughout the next semester! Your body (and your mind) will thank you.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Jury comments available

Jury comments are available. I'm happy to meet with anyone who wants to see them, but time is limited. Please email me to set up a time if you wish to meet before break. We can also use that time to choose music for the spring. Otherwise, we can do this via email, or I can just assign music without your input. It's totally up to you; I'm happy either way...but I want you to be happy with the repertoire, as well.

Opera Workshop: Spring 2016

Hi folks, 

A student met with me today and wanted me to know that she is interested in being part of our fall production, but won't be able to be in Opera Workshop in the spring. I really appreciated knowing that. As I mentioned, the scenes program is a great chance for me to get to know you, get a sense of what everyone's strengths are, and for you to gain some stage skills before jumping into a full show. That is not to say that anyone must be part of Opera Workshop before auditioning for a production. It also doesn't mean I pre-cast anything. It does, however, help to know who can do what and who is interested and capable before choosing a show. It would be silly for me to choose an opera without knowing if we had the voices or personalities to cast it.

I thought it might bear saying, so that no one feels left out. If you'd like to discuss schedules, your preferences for a show next year, or anything else, feel free to stop by or email me. The door is always open.

Repertoire assignments

Following are repertoire assignments for the spring. If you would like to make a request, please email me. Bring one piece to your first lesson of the spring semester, and be sure your pianist has a copy before that lesson. Lesson times will be assigned once I have everyone's schedule: please send that to me ASAP. I currently have only one schedule: please send me yours no later than January 8.We begin lessons on January 11.


Michael: Danza, danza (Durante); Che fiero costume (Legrenzi); Now sleeps the crimson petal (Quilter). Pick one and learn it for the first week of class. We'll choose French and German later!


Kristin: Se come voi (Puccini) and/or O mio babbino caro (learn "Se come voi" first). Pick one and learn it for the first week of class. We'll add more later.

Nole: bring two of your new RVW pieces to the first lesson, memorized. Plan to sing at least three pieces in the first Performance Class at the end of the first week of class. You should own the music to everything you are singing on your recital: make that a priority if you haven't already done so.

Rae: Happiness, Élégie (Massenet), An den Mond (Schubert), Che faro senza Euridice (Gluck), pick one Handel aria. Pick one and learn it for the first week of class. Purchase a mezzo-soprano aria book, preferably "Arias for Mezzo-Soprano" edited by Larsen.

Mallory: Learn "Sento nel core" by Scarlatti, found in 28 Italian Songs and Arias (Schirmer, distributed by Hal Leonard). The best volume for you is Medium Voice: purchase it by January if possible. I believe it's in the library if you cannot buy the music right now.

Madison: Learn "In uomini, in soldati" from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. Don't worry about the Italian right now, but be rock solid musically so we can plug in the text. Buy one soprano aria book of your choice if you can: this one can be found in Arias for Soprano, volume one, edited by Larsen. The library has it, I believe.

Alyse: bring one musical theatre piece of your choice learned and ready to work for your first lesson. Please be sure that you own one of the Italian Songs and Arias books by January: please let me know if you need a recommendation on an edition.

Addie: bring one musical theatre piece of your choice learned and ready to work for your first lesson. Please be sure that you own one of the Italian Songs and Arias books by January: please let me know if you need a recommendation on an edition.

Nicole: bring one musical theatre piece of your choice learned and ready to work for your first lesson. Please be sure that you own one of the Italian Songs and Arias books by January: please let me know if you need a recommendation on an edition.

Ashley: bring one musical theatre piece of your choice learned and ready to work for your first lesson. Please be sure that you own one of the Italian Songs and Arias books by January: please let me know if you need a recommendation on an edition.

Briana: Selve amiche by Caldara (found in Italian Arias of the Baroque and Classical Eras, high voice: I believe the library has it). "Non lo diro col labbro" from Tolomeo by Handel (found in Handel 45 Arias, vol. 2, high voice). Purcell's "Nymphs and Shepherds," found in Purcell 40 songs, volume 1 (International edition, though there are other editions, too). 

Beau: Choose one or two more from Winterreise, and perhaps start one of the Ravel if you feel up to it. This can also wait till later in the semester. Look at "Ho capito" from Mozart's Don Giovanni. Have one of these ready to work in your first lesson, but don't worry about the text; we'll plug that in together.

Selina: Greensleeves, also known as "What child is this," which can be found in Singer's Library of Song, medium voice. "Se nel ben sempre incostante" by Stradella, which can be found in Standard Vocal Literature (mezzo-soprano), edited by Walters (Hal Leonard, publisher). Let me know if you need a copy, which I can send as a PDF for you to print, or I can leave it on my door.

Hunter: Let's talk. I'm not sure yet if I'll have room in the studio for you in the spring, because we have a few incoming music majors who have not yet been assigned studios, and they get first priority. I'll fit you in if I can, though, so let's keep the lines of communication open! I'm thrilled you'll be in Opera Workshop, so that we can continue your development.

As always, if you have problems, questions, or don't like the music I've assigned, just let me know. I'm happy to find other pieces if you're not thrilled with what I've given you. Do not wait until the last minute, though: everyone is still expected to have something prepared for the first lesson.

Happy Holidays, and enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation!




Monday, December 7, 2015

Upcoming juries

Hi folks,

Just a few reminders regarding juries, especially for those who are new this semester:

  • Bring five copies of your repertoire form to the jury. Be sure all composers are entered and that you have signed the bottom, including your average number of practice hours per week.
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early to your jury. This gives you time to relax, and for us to move along if we happen to be running early or if someone else is running late.
  • Someone will come to get you: please wait outside Hulsey until you are called.
  • Dress nicely: "Sunday best" is always a good rule.
  • Don't expect applause, and don't bow. Do expect us to be writing comments.
  • Enjoy every moment. This is another opportunity to perform. Relish it!
  • Know that we want you to succeed. We are your biggest cheerleaders.
Afterward, send me your spring schedule ASAP. Please also send any requests for lesson times or repertoire you might have. While I reserve "veto rights," I love when students take initiative. I'll post repertoire assignments here by next week, along with the schedule as soon as everyone has sent theirs to me. 

Bring something learned to your first lesson the week for January 11, ready to work. As always, be sure your pianist has the music in advance. S/he has the right to refuse to play for your first lesson if you have not done so!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Spring 2016 Opera Workshop

Hi folks,

A bit more information on Opera Workshop for the spring:

Class meets from TR 3:30-5:15, with a break in the middle of class. We'll only meet for the entire time during the first week or two, while we do some movement exercises, sing for each other, and assign music. After that, you'll only be called when your scene is being worked, which would mean only about 30-60 minutes total per week. We'll meet for the entire class period again as we near the performance date, which is April 14. After the performance, we'll only meet one more time to watch the performance video. It is a one-credit class.

This is a low-stress, low-commitment way to explore performing further, and gets you moving on stage. This really helps me get to know your work before choosing a show for next fall. It also gives you experience preparing a role, even if it's only a partial role.

If you have requests for music you'd like to learn, or shows that you particularly love, please let me know. I love it when students express preferences and take some initiative. Of course, the final decision will rest on my shoulders, as I balance the program and everyone's needs, but I like to honor requests when I can.

If you'd like to register, email me at khw@uab.edu with your B00 number and I'll give instructor permission.

Performance class etiquette

Dear students,

Today during performance class, I saw one person texting, one person with an iPad open (with type pad attached), and one person doing needlepoint...all while classmates were singing. I addressed each of these people individually, but that should not have been necessary. It is very obvious how rude and inappropriate those kinds of behaviors are in class, especially when someone is performing right in front of you.

I know you're stressed. I know everyone needs a safety release, and sometimes doing something else when you're supposed to be paying attention feels relaxing. I get it; I really do. We're all tired. I'm also quite certain that you are all wonderful people, and these actions were not a mark of bad character. You're good human beings. It was just a lapse of judgment.

It bears saying, however, that if you cannot pay attention to live music for 60-90 minutes per week, this is probably not the career and degree path for you. If it doesn't hold your attention for that long, it's never going to work out in the long term. The artistic life is too hard for it to be only sort of interesting for you. Beyond that, you are all students of your craft: either you are doing it, or you are learning by watching others. Not one of you is so good that you can pass up the opportunity to learn from every single person that performed today. How does the person performing breathe, emote, gesture, enunciate, phrase? How well is it working for him or her? You can learn so much from watching.

On a practical level, it's also worth mentioning that, as voice students, the bar is set higher for you than the average concert goer. Whether or not you pursue a career in music, it is you that must educate those who don't know better. Whether it's a well-meaning but clueless relative who doesn't know how to behave at a concert or whether it's someone who just thinks concerts are the equivalent to movies, it's up to you to let folks know that those are breathing human beings up there on stage sweating and working to entertain the audience. Those performers can see when an audience member is doing something other than listening, and it's distracting.

More to the point, if you were to do any of those things in rehearsal with a professional company, one of two things would likely occur: you'd be fired on the spot, or you'd never be re-hired. Better learn that now. Get into good habits now.

I know the inability to pay attention without distraction is a disease in our society. It seems to be everywhere. But that doesn't excuse music students for violating the golden rule. You all know better. 

In the spring semester, anyone in my studio caught using a phone, iPad, or doing anything distracting during class will receive an F for the week. It will be as if you did not attend class, because if you weren't mentally present, YOU DIDN'T.

In the meantime, I look forward to fabulous juries and a wonderfully supportive atmosphere in the spring semester.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Practice is not a piñata

Here is a great article about how PAUSING in the middle of your practice can be the key to
actually making progress in the practice room. He notes that learning occurs in the time between our practice attempts. While it's not clear if there is a "perfect pause length, five seconds seems like a good length to try. And who doesn't have five seconds? It's better than beating your head against the wall (metaphorically, of course).

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 t...