Yuri Sabatini Singing Teacher

Yuri Sabatini Singing Teacher
Voice coach in London

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The era of free information

A friend of mine, Steve, has often insisted that I made a video course. This idea always scares me. I know I could share great content, really helpful insights and make a positive contribution to beginners and professional alike... but the camera makes me feel unconfortable, and as I have never done anything like it I've kept finding reasons why not doing it.
Well, I think the problem is over. I have met this guy, Ian, who has done exactly what I would have done if had the drive and the commitment he has. He teaches the same technique that I teach, in much the same way. He must have read the same material that I have read, surely. And his English is better than mine for one sure point!! ;)
Seriously, it's really worth the time to watch his free videos and singing tips.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

How can one avoid nerves before an audition?

How can one avoid nerves before an audition?

That's a question I have been asked many times from my students in my studio... and an issue I myself still have to deal with when going for auditions in London from time to time.

Auditioning for an exam or for a job can bring about most unsettling emotions, so intense as to prevent you from giving your best, spoil your performance or, in the worst scenario - not so uncommon, for some - to completely ruin the outcome.

If when it's time to audition you are having trouble with this queasy feeling, I am sure you will find some help in what follows.

I want you to think about this: if you experience auditioning as one of the most uncomfortable experience you could ever go for, it is to your thinking - your perception - that you need to pay attention to.

The idea of being judged is a most restraining one to focus on before singing, I am sure will agree on this. But let's go a bit deeper in this consideration.

If you think about all the possible criticism and likely unfavorable comments the panel could make, or you start comparing your voice with that of the singer who sung just before you, you immediately put yourself in a rather poor emotional state, one in which you are limited and can only see what can go wrong. In this state, it will be impossible to sing at your best. Actually, it will be impossible to think, act... ultimately live at your best!

Ok, let's not dwell anymore on this emotions.

Keep following me.

In one of my latest posts on my facebook page - Yuri Sabatini Singing Teacher - I suggested that you grasp, and make the most of, any single opportunity to sing in front of an audience, no matter how informal and small the occasion. In fact, the less pretentious the circumstance is, the better!

Why should you be performing as often as you can? Because this is how you know what you can do and what you need to work on.
But there is also a crucial point related to the issue we are tackling here.
In more humble settings you will likely be in your most natural and resourceful state, which means you will live the experience as an easy thing. It will be a worry-free moment in which you will be able do what you like most - singing, hopefully!! - without having to question if you are enough for it and in which you will surely be... amazing!

Event like this will build a positive link in your memory and a powerful belief on which you can ground your self-esteem as a singer. "Singing is fun and I enjoy it", "I like singing and I know I am good at it", "Wow! They were so happy about my singing!": these and many more are likely to be the words which will run through your mind when you think about singing.

As we see, there is a huge difference between the two attitudes one can have when about to sing in front of someone else.

I find that also before a performance one experiences a similar kind of nervousness, but in many cases it is of a more positive type: it is an excitement that soars from within the desire to sing out, to share what you've got with the audience; it originates from the awareness of how well you have done your homework, prepared yourself, rehearsed again and again your part. When you start singing, the tension disappears. All the doubts go out of the window. The inner critic goes to sleep and with him all the fears about something going wrong -like you forgetting the lyrics! -: what remains is you flowing with things, with the scene, with the music.

Do you already see where I am getting at?

I think it's paramount for you to realise that this attitude is the factor that determines the result you have, not the setting in itself. You are always the same, the voice is the same, the technique is the same. It's what you concentrate on that makes the difference!

If you think of performing as a means to do what you like most, forget all about the negative thoughts and stop trying to control the outcome (that's their decision, an external factor, nothing you can or should have control over!), you will put yourself in your best position.

I am sure you have seen and noticed, at auditions, this kind of character: the one who seem to enjoy the whole atmosphere as a fish in his own water, smiling left and right and projecting confidence from every pore of the skin.
What do you think is he/she focusing on? What could the thoughts running through his/her mind be?
There you are! This singer is not bothering with doubts about anything or worries about the results (which are out of his/her powers) and in this way can do what he/she does best.. in the best possible way!! This singer knows what he/she is worth, has prepared for this audition and instead of focusing on people judging him/her, he/she will concentrate on.. singing! Exactly as one would do when performing in any other setting!

So, next time you go for an audition... do yourself this favour: rehearse not only the songs you are going to sing, but take 10 minutes to see yourself being walking in there in your most empowered state, hear and see yourself singing with love, energy, confidence, charm.. to cut it short: hear and see your self singing at your best.
It's really like rehearsing anything else. When you will be there in person, you will step in what you have pre-emptively imagined, envisioned, tried.. to repeat it as you rehearsed it!

I hope this insight of mine will help you.

All the best for your next audition... and for your next performance!

Yuri Sabatini,
Singing Teacher in London

Monday, 13 February 2012

The right approach to teaching and learning?

One of those nights... Went to bed to early I guess, so I happened to wake up and.. started to think! ;)
At times I question myself as a singing teacher. Am I going in the right direction? Is there something I am missing? Something I could improve?
Sure it is. Many. But specifically, couldn't I use, as many others do, personal sensation to explain how singing works?
Don't get me wrong, at times, sporadically, I do. But grounding own's teaching only on these kind of things... No, I don't think I could get down that path, as fascinating as it is.
In my experience, and as far I as know, it's like chasing a shadow, an image reflexed on the surface of the water. As soon as you touch it, it changes, vanishes away.
No. Personal sensations are what they are: personal, they belong to the individual. And, yes, you can be sure that when that note is right you feel something good, but from the moment you translate that you are interpreting it, and more that often one would want, confusing the cause with the result. From the moment you look to reproduce that sensation alone, you forget that to arrive at that sensation you must have put something else into place, or it would have never manifested itself. So you are now in a sort of labirinth, and the more you move around you loose the sense of direction, the sense of reality, of where you came from.
What you do need to know is how you got there and got that feeling. That feeling good sensation, whatever it may be the mental image that comes out of it, comes from something else, from a coordinated use of different parts of your body, and sure as death if you haven't got that coordination right, that feeling will not be there when you need it. SOMETHING has changed. Will you try to reproduce it? It does not appear. What do you do, now?
No, I don't think I will sacrifice my knowlegde of how one's body works in singing, gained with much study, as related to physiology, acoustics, phisics, and... common sense! You don't need to be a specialist, but a general grounding in these disciplines gives you an insight into what goes on when singing, what must be present, what must not be; moreover, it equips you with the ability to pass informations on to the student without having to be mystical or having to create a new terminology, applicable from you only, to what can be expressed in a much more common and accesible fashion.
But there is definitely one thing (amongst things like my piano playing..?) I need to improve: I need to understand that some students can get quite discouraged when continuosly told that the sound is not right... They may not have my standard. And their standard is different because the very level of understanding of their own voice doesn't allow for it to be! It could not be otherwise.. If they knew, they would immediately do something about it.
This unacceptancy is probably excessive for some. But those who understand that is is dictated by a a fair reason, and are willing enough to explore it, those are the ones that make greater progress. For the very reason why that sound is not right causes also troubles when approaching other aspects of singing, for example that difficulty at keeping in pitch in certain areas of the voice; or the slowness to move the voice when singing fast passages; or again the shortage of breath... or the strain in reaching those high notes!!
I need to balance my desire to give them all an quickly with the knowledge that also slowly things can be grasped and improved. After all they are not going to sing for an opening night at the opera house. And even if so, they just want to have fun on the way.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Charity events, a way to feel useful with what I do best!

I am quite pleased to have been asked to sing to quite a few concerts in this period... Just before Christmas, at a private event and for the Italian Club here in North Finchley. Those evening worked out quite well and I have been blessed with a genuinely welcoming audience in both cases.

Soon, I will have the pleasure to sing in recitals all over North and Central London.

Forthcoming charity concerts, for those of you who are following me, are:
the 29th of February at Guy's Hospital,
the 29th of March at Heath Side, Golders Green
the 15th of April at Valerie's, Marsh Lane
the 25th of April for JACS