From the interview I learned how it is that someone is able to balance performing and teaching. Being that Ms. Robin Leigh Massie is such an amazing teacher, it was shocking to me to learn that she never actually wanted to teach and that performing had been her only calling. It was not until she started studying vocal pedagogy that she wanted to start learning about the voice and communicating what she had learned to others.
Since I want to pursue both performing and teaching, it was interesting to me to learn what goes on behind the scenes in both teaching and performing. For instance, I learned what planning vocal lessons for students entails, as well as the fact that you must be there for your student as an emotional support as well. The teacher needs to not only help the student to grow because that is what is expected, but instead because the students themselves want to do well; it is all a balancing act, but self-motivation is the leading factor in producing a great vocalist, or even musician in general. Also, she explained that even when giving feedback to our students we must be careful in choosing our words. We always want to help the student improve, but we also do not ever want to discourage that student from that same progress.
It was also interesting to me to understand how it was living as a married couple who are both performers. It is nice to think that you will be able to support each other, and fly to see each other’s performances; however being performers really hinders the time spent with the significant other. For instance, there are many trips even aside from performing duties that one must attend, leaving their significant other behind. This could put a major strain on any relationship, not just marriage. Therefore, just like with any issue we are facing, communication is key.
Also, I was interested to learn how someone who is actually part of the opera world viewed opera today. In my last blog I spoke about opera presumably as a “dying” art form. I also spoke about new composers such as Nico Muhly and his new “technological” opera making its first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera this season.
With New York City Opera closing, it is evident that the classical world today does not have the same support as it did in the past. However, when speaking to Ms. Robin Leigh Massie, she did not believe that opera was dying at all. She spoke about different performances she’s seen, even of older operas such as Le Nozze di Figaro being performed with a new twist. These composers and directors are trying to find a new voice for the art in order to appeal to more people. Therefore, it may seem as if it is “dying”, however it is just changing.
Lastly, everyone will have their opinions on just about everything we do, and in order to keep a sane mind and status we must remember that we are here and doing what we do because we love it. No matter what our reasons for the study may be, all musicians can relate to each other in the sense that we all have a love for the art that connects us at the core.