Magic Moments in Teaching or It’s a Wonderful Life

Kathleen H. Arecchi Music, Theatre, and Dance

Kathleen Arrechi
Kathleen Arrechi

I am so very lucky. As a studio teacher of singing, primarily classical and musical theatre techniques and repertory, I work one-on-one with my students, fourteen to sixteen in most semesters. Together we set semester goals in vocal technique and artistry and then identify the repertory that will enhance the achievement of those goals. In the weekly lessons we focus on basic elements: breathing for singing, pronouncing Italian and German texts correctly, analyzing the poetry in a song, discussing the dramatic situation for an opera aria or a song from a musical. In any given week for the students there will be moments of joy as well as moments of frustration that may verge on tears. They want to succeed so badly and to develop their voices faster.

The magic in lessons comes unexpectedly. It’s the spark of awareness, the glint in the eyes of a singer who has just succeeded in performing an extremely difficult passage in the music. It’s the broad smile of achievement when a singer says, “That was good!” It’s the goose bumps that come when the singer and the pianist are so “in sync” in performance that gorgeous music has been created. All that’s left to say is, “WOW!”

Often after they’ve graduated, alums send emails to share their current singing experiences, sometimes with questions on singing problems they can’t solve with their own students. They may ask for repertory recommendations, or, as one alum did recently, send a brief sound file of an aria cadenza to ask for feedback on some newly discovered vocal technique.

Could I possibly ask for more as a teacher? I have many magic moments in weekly lessons, and these are regularly spiced up by communication with alumni.

Every day “at work” is full of wonderful music and the joy of guiding young singers to the glory of it all. It’s a wonderful life!