Ich habe eine kleine bisschen Deutsch sprechen.

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I’m so glad we’re taking German language classes while we’re here. Our teacher, Eva, has a Masters in teaching German to foreigners, and the difference in her teaching style compared to that of the other language teachers I’ve had is amazing. She is able to make us understand things despite not actually having the vocabulary to keep up. I’d imagine I’m slightly biased toward this approach, though, since for me this is largely review. Maybe I can harangue Joann into writing a blog about her experience as a nearly-first-time German student.

I’ve started voice lessons and coachings, and am really excited about both. Tracy is our voice teacher, and we spent most of my first lesson discussing the overall plan for the rest of the summer here. I’m looking forward to getting a different perspective on some of the same stuff I’m always working on: evening out my registers, stretching my range, improving my placement and eliminating tension throughout the vocal mechanism. She has an approach that is very much in line with my Alexander Technique study, which is fantastic. She encourages us to get out of our own way as much as possible. We concentrate on a good mental and physical setup for singing, and largely let our bodies guide us from there. She thinks I have a lot more voice lurking, and that I generally have a resonance center that is too low, which makes it hard for me to execute into the top portion of my range. It’s going to be great to work on these things with a lesson every other day. 🙂

Myron Silberstein is our coach, and he is amazing. He’s a composer and piano soloist who also works a lot with vocalists from all over. We worked on one of the pieces we were to have prepared before we arrived, Brahms’ Wie Melodien, and he had some really great ideas about how to shape the piece. We’ve got some amazing repertoire to work on together over the course of this program, and I’m really thrilled to be working with him.

My big challenge right now is going to be Hugo Wolf’s Lied vom Winde, which is a pretty challenging piece. And part of the process of this program is that we can’t go listen to a recording. We didn’t even get the music for a couple of days, but instead began our work on the poetry alone. It really does make some things much, much easier, but is sort of uncomfortable for most of us who usually start with the music and work in the other direction. It’s hard not to cheat, I have to say.

Your picture of the day is my first attempt at a panorama with a phone app I bought. It’s a bit blurry, since I didn’t know how much overlap to allow, but it gives you a sense of the scope of the valley below the Schloss. You can kinda see Graz proper out to the left–we’re going into town Friday, so I’ll have lots of new pictures then.

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