Elisabeth Turchi. Based in Central Pennsylvania, Elisabeth has sung with the Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Delaware, Opera Camerata of Washington D.C., Atlantic Coast Opera Festival, Harrisburg Opera, New Opera Festival of Rome, and Gotham Chamber Opera. Ms. Turchi’s numerous concert engagements include Handel’s Messiah at Massachusetts’ Mechanics Hall and a European tour of Haydn’s Creation. Elisabeth's guest post arose out of a conversation with NY-based vocal coach Jennifer Peterson about maintaining vocal health through a busy rehearsal schedule.
In every singer’s life, there comes a time when we must mark.
Marking is a way of singing quietly during rehearsals in order to
protect one’s voice. Reasons for marking are varied: perhaps you
didn’t get enough sleep, or maybe you didn’t have the opportunity
to warm up sufficiently. But what if you have only one rehearsal
with a pianist for a very important audition? You have just one
chance to prepare your work together, and you’re not up to a full-
voiced session. So, go ahead – mark.
The question is: how do you communicate everything necessary to
a pianist when you mark?
The key to successful marking is to always give your colleagues
what they need to do their job. Whether your colleague is another
singer, a pianist, instrumentalist, or conductor, you must give them
clear cues. They need crisp diction, clean entrances, and clear cut-
offs. Yes, you can sing quietly, and yes, you can drop down the
octave, but the energy level must remain high. Often when singers
mark, they slow the tempo, change the length of notes or rests, and
give very dull interpretations. If your intentions are not clear, your
colleagues will not know what you want from them. Keep your
interpretation alive so they will know when to swell to a forte with
you, diminuendo with you, and breathe with you.
You want to give the best you can. Give them what they need
to do their best as well, and you’re on your way to a successful