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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Dear students:

Break a leg tonight! I'm so looking forward to you sharing your talents.

I also wish you a beautiful performance tomorrow at Southside. I wish I could be there, but will be out of town. Bravi tutti for taking the initiative for doing this benefit concert.

I'm proud of every one of you.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Voice Studio Recital tomorrow


Following are some thoughts regarding tomorrow's recital. Most of this is common sense and much of it is repeated information for many of you, but please review it to refresh your memory.

Call time is 7pm; the recital is at 7:30. I know it's listed as 7pm in your syllabus: I left it that way on purpose because many of you were rolling in at the last minute in years past. Please do my blood pressure a favor and be here at call time. Come find me and let me know you are here; if I'm not in the recital hall by then (which is unlikely), I'll be in my office.

Recital Guidelines

Hair out of eyes: check that you don’t have “swing” it after bowing
Check undergarments for full coverage and lack of lines, both front and back
Skirt length no higher than knees
No funky tights or stockings! Keep it simple
Closed-toed shoes are best unless your skirt is long
Pantsuits are fine, especially if you’re singing a “trouser” role
Do a cleavage check: can you bow without feeling like you have to cover your chest?
Wear enough makeup so that you don’t look washed out under stage lights
Heels shouldn’t be so high that you have to lock your knees to stay upright

Jacket is usually recommended: tie is optional
If you do wear a tie, long ties tend to look better than bow ties: they provide a better "line"
If you can, wear a shirt with a collar size one size bigger than usual for comfort
Be sure your shoes are shined and your socks are not visible

Be sure clothes are pressed
SMILE and acknowledge the audience both entering and exiting
Bow and look pleased no matter how it goes: be gracious
Acknowledge your pianist with a smile, nod or gesture
DO NOT TALK backstage: don’t even whisper. Focus your energy
Don’t let the door slam when you go backstage
Be sure everyone in your group is there before first person enters
Enjoy yourself and be supportive of your colleagues!

In this case, dress rehearsal doesn’t mean you have to wear what you plan to wear for the recital, unless you’d like to try it out. It is, however, recommended that you wear the shoes you plan to wear so you get used to walking and singing in them.

We will do our best to end class on time. Be efficient and ready to go so we stay on track.

Be in the building at least a half-hour before the performance. FIND YOUR TEACHER to let him/her know that you are here. DO NOT MAKE US FIND YOU. Come find us!

Opera Workshop rehearsal


MUCH better work this week! Keep it up, and integrate any corrections you've been given. One area of improvement I would like to see: lateness has become a problem. No more rolling in 5-8 minutes late, or coming in on time but then taking 5 minutes of rehearsal to find music stands or anything else you need. Be ready to BEGIN at the appointed time. You were all great at this early in the semester: let's regain that professionalism and maintain it.

Staging rehearsals begin today. To be ready on time, anyone called for that day should meet me at my office at 3:25 to help bring props to the recital hall. Your props will be YOUR responsibility each rehearsal day, and they will be stored in my office for security reasons. Being on time to help set the stage, arrange your props, etc. will be part of your assignment each time we work on your scene.

Have your scores with you, but be memorized enough that they are not by any means a crutch. As always, have a pencil so you can mark your blocking in the score.

Looking forward to getting these scenes on their feet!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Character sheets due today at 3:30

I'm having a great time reading those that have already been submitted. Clearly, several of you have had fun completing these, and that's what it's all about! Looking forward to reading the rest, as well.

Here's an example that really cracked me up (plus, it's right on the money):

1.     Name: Count Almaviva.
2.     Age: Mid-late twenties.
3.     Where do you live? Seville, Spain.
4.     Who are the important/influential members of your family? My wife Rosina and I are Count and Countess; I am governor of Andalusia.
5.     Whom do you love? My wife Rosina (not so much as you would know, from my love of women in general).
6.     What are you afraid of? Jealousy; shame.
7.     What are the defining circumstances of your life? My appointment as Count and the winning of Rosina’s hand.
8.     What makes you happy/angry/sad? I’m happy when I get my way. I’m not happy when I don’t and others do.
9.     What emotion do you feel most often? Arousal.
10. Who or what is the “emotional center” of your life? Rosina is the emotional center. Other women are the physical center.
11. What drives you? My immense sex drive.
12. Describe the room in which you spend most of your time. Other women’s bedrooms.
13. What events shaped your life? Which one most profoundly shaped your life? My winning of Rosina from Bartolo.
14. How concerned are you about your weight, hair, clothing, etc.? Very. Got to keep up appearances for the ladies.
15. Where do you sleep? Anywhere I wish. With whom/alone? Whichever lucky girl I fancy that evening.
16. What do you want more than anything? Satisfaction.
17. Have you ever been betrayed? By whom? I’ve accused many people of it, but no.
18. Have you ever betrayed anyone? It’s not betrayal when I do it.
19. What do you feel guilty about? My extracurricular activities, but only when caught.
20. What do you regret? See previous.
21. Who is your best friend? Figaro, until he tried to marry the fine piece I’m trying to get with. Makes a man feel like reinstating le droit du seigneur.
22. Who is your enemy? Formerly Bartolo, currently Figaro. Basically anyone who stands between me and my nookie.
23. Describe your parents. Lovely people; very wealthy; afforded me everything to get to where I am today.
24. Do you have any children? If so, describe them. I’m sure I do. They remind me of their mothers. I’m sure Rosina and I will bear totally non-bastard children together in the future.
25. What was your greatest loss? That time I didn’t get what I wanted. I was so embarrassed.
26. Of what are you the most proud? My wealth, my status, my elegant bearing, and my skirt-lifting abilities.
27. What important thing(s) have you not yet revealed about yourself? My true love for my wife, despite my inability to keep my pants on.

Recital canceled tonight

Dear students,

Due to severe weather predictions, tonight's recital by UAB Professors Paul Mosteller, baritone, and Yakov Kasman, piano, has been postponed until Monday, March 7. Please spread the word and put the new date in your calendars! 

There is likely to be another dress rehearsal/run-through for those of you who cannot attend March 7 and who did not attend last night's dress rehearsal. Being present at one of these will be required if you cannot be at the recital. I will keep you posted as I learn of these opportunities.

If you cannot attend the March 7 at 7pm recital for any reason, let me know NOW. 


Required events


I'm receiving notice that some of you are not able to attend Dr. Mosteller's recital tonight. It appears that there was some confusion, as the syllabus stated the recital was at 12:20, not 7pm. That copy and paste error has been remedied on the online syllabus. My apologies.

With even one more day's notice, many of you would have been able to attend the dress rehearsal yesterday. Now, I'm willing to take responsibility for a typo, but posters advertising the recital have been around the building for weeks. It has been announced in performance class. The only recitals that happen at 12:20 are Student Recitals on Wednesdays during Convocation time.

Here's how you can help. Look at your syllabus, and note times in your calendars now. If something looks amiss, mention it. You have many classes with due dates, I'm sure: papers, required events, travel. Put everything in your calendar of choice during the first week of class, and you'll find you can plan your life with less of a fire drill mentality.

I've offered it before and I'll offer again: if you need help planning your semester, I'm happy to meet with you. I've helped one student set up a Google calendar. There are many other options, including paper ones. Find one that works for you.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Opera this week


The schedule is changed slightly, due to props availability. We will begin staging on THURSDAY. This gives us the chance to review music once more. By this time, there should be NO MUSICAL MISTAKES WHATSOEVER.

Following is the schedule:


3:30-4 "Hm! Hm! Hm!" FLUTE scene, final musical rehearsal. Musically rock solid. If you're having rhythm problems, fix them before tomorrow. Work out the rhythm without pitches, then add the melody.

4-4:30 BASTIEN final musical rehearsal. We'll decide how much of the scene to do. Start from the beginning; be as solid as possible.


4:35-5 "Cinque...dieci" final musical rehearsal

5-5:15 "Voi che sapete...etc." FIGARO final rehearsal: we'll focus on recitative

3:30-3:50 Stage "Signor!...Crudel! Perche finora" FIGARO
3:50-4:15 Stage "Via resti servita" FIGARO
4:15-4:35 Stage "Alles fühlt der Liebe" FLUTE
4:40-5 Stage "Aprite" FIGARO
5-5:15 Stage "Papageno, Papagena" FLUTE

Tuesday, 3/1 NO REHEARSAL (choir tour)

Required attendance

Friendly reminder: Dr. Mosteller's recital in the Alys Stephens Center on Tuesday at 7pm is REQUIRED. If you cannot attend for any reason, I need to know ahead of time.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Performance Class on Friday

No, I will not be there. Yes, we are still having class. If you aren't at NATS or excused by me, be there! Dr. Mosteller will be taking attendance. Support your classmates! Watch and learn!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Opera schedule this week: LAST MINUTE CHANGE

Cindy's son is sick: please note the changes I've made to today's schedule. Some of you scheduled for Thursday are now singing TODAY! Thursday's schedule is also adjusted.

Character sketches are due one week from today. Click here for the link to the sheet: it is also under "Syllabi and Handouts" on the right side of the blog. Copy/save and complete it, using the score as your guide. There are many answers to character questions that are included in the (complete) opera score/libretto; if the information is nowhere to be found, you are then encouraged to invent your answers if you can back them up. Do one character sketch per role: if you are singing in three scenes, you must complete three sheets. To receive credit, email them to me no later than 3:30 pm on Tuesday, 2/23.

Following is the schedule for the remaining musical rehearsals this week and next. You'll note that we'll finish musical rehearsals on the 23rd, slightly later than planned. This is due to the slow pace of musical preparation. Do what you must to get where you need to be by then!

Staging rehearsals must be memorized. You will be allowed to carry your score only to make notes; you'll then be expected to put down the music and go for it.

Tuesday 2/16
3:30-4 finish "Hm! Hm! Hm!" quintet: (FLUTE)
4-4:30 "Via resti servita" (FIGARO)
4:35-4:45 "Signor!...Crudel, perche finora" (FIGARO)
4:45-5 "Alles fühlt der Liebe" (FLUTE)
5-5:15 "Aprite, presto aprite" (FIGARO)

Thursday 2/18
3:30-3:45 "Du feines Täubchen" (FLUTE)
3:45-4:25 "Cinque...dieci...se a caso" (FIGARO)
4:30-4:45 "Papageno, Papagena" (FLUTE)
4:45-5:15 "Voi che sapete...etc" (FIGARO): we'll focus on recitative

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Required recital attendance

Friendly reminder: tomorrow's recital with Tony Offerle and Kevin Sharpe is at 3pm in Hulsey Recital Hall. Don't miss it: this recital promises to be a real joy with two great artists and fabulous repertoire. Plus, they are two great guys! See you there.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Scoping with Dr. McHugh


Scoping with Dr. McHugh is at the Kirklin Clinic. The maps and parking information were emailed to you some time ago. His office is on the first floor: the easiest entrance if you're parking on the street is by the fountain. If you park in the garage, you'll need to go across the breezeway to the clinic on the 2nd floor, then take the escalator or elevator down to the first floor. When in doubt, ask for help at the information desk.

Please be on time! He is being very generous by offering to do this for you.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Asking for help

Dear students,

Today, a student told me that the reason he's having trouble learning music is that he simply doesn't know how: he has never taken piano, was not enrolled in Fundamentals of Music Theory, and has been relying on YouTube. I felt for him; I'd had no idea this was his predicament.

All music students are in different stages of musical development. Please remember that there is never any shame in asking for help, and no need to feel embarrassed if you DO need help. We as your professors also won't be effective if we don't know what you need or what is difficult for you. We want to assist you in your growth: it's why we are here.

Please, please, please ask if you need something or if you are struggling. We were all beginners once, and we all have different challenges. What is easy for one person might be very difficult for someone else. Reach out to your professors, reach out to your friends. Learning how to be a musician is a communal experience...or at least can be. I believe that it's always easier if you don't try to do it in a vacuum.

I know my colleagues won't mind me saying that we're here for you. And we care!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Opera this week


3:30-4 FLUTE Du feines Täubchen (in English): Michael, Ashley, Hunter
4-4:30 Bastien and Bastienne (in English): finish scene...be able to sing any of it!
4:35-5:15 FLUTE "Hm! Hm! Hm!" all

I've said before and I'll say it again: rehearsal is NOT for banging notes. Learn them before you come, and don't waste anyone else's time. This week, anyone who is unprepared will be sent away and the weekly grade will reflect your preparation.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Opera preparation


I feel like I'm repeating myself here, but it seems necessary.

If you are not note-perfect in your coaching session, your final grade will suffer. Sessions with me and Dr. Steele are NOT for teaching notes; they are for making music and building ensemble. This is why you are only called a few minutes per week: the understanding is that you are using the time you are NOT called to learn your music.

Remember also that each time you are unprepared, you pull down those who are prepared. You are not only wasting my time, you are wasting theirs. Get together BEFORE you are called to rehearsal to get solid on your notes.

Thoughts on that, as well: working together before working with me shouldn't mean that your friends teach you the notes. You do that yourself before meeting with anyone else. Please do not expect someone else to pull you along out of the goodness of his or her heart. That's neither kind nor fair. I know you are all good, caring people, so bear in mind that your actions affect others.

Several of you are already teetering on the B range for the semester, and it's only the fourth week of class. This is based on your [lack of] preparation. There is no "extra credit" or "making it up later." Be sure your grade doesn't fall lower by continuing to hold up the process.

Those of you who have been prepared have been told; those of you who have not been prepared have been warned, in some cases repeatedly. You know who you are; fix it if you must.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Field trip to the gym

As some of you have requested, this week we'll make a field trip to the gym. I'll be there on Saturday at 12:30 if you'd like to join me. No harm, no foul if you can't: just come if you want. I can get you started, show you around, etc. We may also do another time later this month.

Final performance class

We will all meet together in HRH today. If Mr. Byrd or Dr. Mosteller is playing for you in lieu of Dr. Steele, be sure they have your music!...