ICVT 2017 International Congress of Voice Teachers , Stockholm
4th of August 2017, 10.30 a.m. Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Lilla Salen
Vocal e-learning – an interactive demonstration on the use of a Video-Blog
Blogs create a network within peer groups; making research, presentation, documentation and communication for students, teachers and supervisors, easy and quickly accessible. The Video-Blog is an interactive tool for independent learning, researching and reflecting. We learn how to use, upload and publish videos.
Hans-Jürg Rickenbacher performed as lyric tenor all over Europe, North- and South-America. He is Professor at the University of Lucerne and president of EVTA.CH, the Swiss section of the European Voice Teachers Association.
Wir saßen so traulich beisammen
Im kühlen Erlendach,
Wir schauten so traulich zusammen
Hinab in den rieselnden Bach.
Der Mond war auch gekommen,
Die Sternlein hinterdrein,
Und schauten so traulich zusammen
In den silbernen Spiegel hinein.
We sat so comfortably together
Under the cool roof of alders,
We gazed so quietly together
Down into the murmuring brook.
The moon was already out,
The stars after her,
And we gazed so quietly together
In the silver mirror there.
from: Schubert Die schöne Müllerin Nr. 10 Tränenregen
DEMO: Schubert Tränenregen (Video recording with iPhone and tripod)
The first verse of the wonderful melancholy song Tränenregen (Rain of tears) is a turning point within the song cycle and shows an interesting aspect of vocal teaching: the mirror.
The couple looks into the river, reflecting their faces and, the sky with moon and stars behind them. So they see three different levels: each other’s faces, the river and world under water, and in the background the sky with moon and stars – present, future and past!
In vocal teaching it would be absolutely fantastic to have a mirror that shows us present, future and past – maybe this will be invented one day but for now, the fact is that singers need three mirrors:
1. the real mirror showing head, body, reflecting what I am doing: no sound but realtime and simple: the present
2. the vocal teacher coaching the singer’s voice with response, ideas and imagination: personal, close in time but not realtime, he has to interrupt the singer for corrections and you need an appointment, the teacher is absent during practice and rehearsals: the future
3. the video catching everything, yet merciless and quite difficult in capturing feelings, moods, the atmosphere etc. or did you ever enjoy an Opera Video like a real performance?: but nevertheless very useful but always delayed in time and not interactive – the past
You achieve best results with a combination of all these three mirrors: the reflector, the coach and the camera can be a dream team, when the singer uses them with skill.
None of them are new or unknown to you. Mirror and video are mostly easy to handle and today every smartphone is able to film in HD quality:
The easiest way to share videos today is Youtube. You don’t want to pass memory sticks, burn DVDs or mail tiny extracts in low quality. I tried other platforms but Youtube is the fastest and easiest way. It is free and you pay with your personal data for the giant. Google collects everything but many of you may already have a Google account with gMail, Google Maps, Earth and so on. With the same login you can create your own Youtube channel. If you are not familiar with this, ask one of your students. It is easier than opening a new Mail account:
DEMO: upload Video from iPhone with adaptor to HDMI
It is important that you name your video, choose quality and put at minimum not listed so that the world cannot google your videos or private mode, if you like it for only one person’s or a community’s access with password.
In time of open source, MOOCs (massive open online classes) and the very competitive performances of major universities worldwide you can permit to share your videos within your class. Of course you need the student’s permission but usually they have much more than a non listed singing video in the net and they can learn how to improve their performances with a video blog. Some of my students in Lucerne mentioned that they prefer the videos of their colleagues, and find that they can learn more from them, whilst others go back in time and analyze their own progress. Even parents or friends can have access to this blog, which is perfectly ok. Our training is to perform for an audience and the workshop should be open like that of a dancer’s training, the actor’s rehearsal etc.
The video once uploaded can only be shared by forwarding the link, or you can go one step further and open a Video-Blog.
DEMO: share a video by forwarding a Youtube-Link
Any current Blog software is welcome, here my examples with WordPress:
DEMO: embed a Youtube Videolink in a WordPress Blog
As a singer I am still dreaming to have Harry Potters “extendable ears” one day, enabling me to hear exactly how my voice sounds in the hall in realtime during my singing at the position of the audience. It will take either magic or much more developing in audio monitor-systems until we get there.
Meanwhile the three mirrors are great tools but only tools which never replace your personal performance, your commitment and emotions.
Use these mirrors but keep it simple and with Maya Angelous words I would like to conclude:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”