Tomorrow is my Junior Voice Recital.
Interesting fact: The modern usage of “recital” was coined by Franz Liszt’s publisher, Frederick Beale.
The relationship between a performer and her accompanist, and between a performer and her instructor, is very special. Voice performers are temperamental. We have good and bad days, and during a rehearsal our mien can change in a matter of seconds. Performers need coddling, but we also need to be shoved out of the nest. Performers are the worst kind of diva: we need everything our way. Not in life, per se, just in singing. I know that I’m not a diva in life, but if I have to sing somewhere, I need my water to be room temperature, I need the air conditioning on otherwise I’ll get too hot, I need to have a little time to warm up (usually about 20 minutes), and I need my accompanist to be wonderful. Thankfully, my accompanist for my recital is wonderful.
Singers will also be divas outside of our lessons. But if you think about it, we have the right to be. Our bodies are our instruments; if anything bad happens to our bodies, it throws everything off in our voices. I have many times told my friends to keep away from me if they’re sick. I can take no chances. I don’t eat certain foods if I’ll be singing later that day, I make sure to get at least eight hours of rest/sleep the night before, I keep very hydrated, and the list goes on. There are tricks that we use to keep our voices on point, and rules we know not to break.
Because we’re all such divas, we need accompanists and instructors who can handle that. My voice professor is like a mother to her students. She lets us whine to her, but she’s stern when we need to step up. She pushes us to our best and she reassures us when we can’t reach it yet.
An accompanist needs to be someone you trust. When giving a voice recital, oftentimes it’s just the performer and the accompanist on stage, and I need to know my accompanist has my back in case things go wrong. And I do. Thankfully, my accompanist is a dear woman who knows what she’s doing and knows how to placate my erratic pre-recital jitters. She’s a constant river of encouragement, but she calls me out when I’m doing a half-hearted job during a rehearsal. She knows how I need to sound and what I need to do to get there. And she’s an extremely talented pianist.
My voice professor and my accompanist know a side of me not many people see. The side of me that faces performance anxiety, that hates her voice one day and loves it the next, that can be calmed by a granola bar and a mug of tea. They’re very special people in my life, and I’m glad to do this recital with them.