Saturday, December 03, 2005

Another take on how to learn a song or aria

Here is another approach on the process of learning a song, by Daniel Yurgaitis, Director of Theatre at Northern State University.

To paraphrase:

  1. Select a song
  2. Complete a music, lyric, and character analysis
  3. Learn the melody
  4. Make the song your own
  5. Begin memorization
  6. Take the song into your body
  7. Refine the song

What I like about this method is the emphasis on physicalization as an element of learning, the early emphasis on memorization and understanding the song at the identity level.

Contrast this process with the Gwendolyn Koldofsky method:
  1. Read the poetry or a translation of the poetry
  2. Learn the pronounciation of the poem in the original language
  3. In the original language, read the poem aloud
  4. Read the poem in the rhythm of the vocal line
  5. At the piano, play the vocal line in the RH and the bass line of the piano in the LH
  6. Learn the song

The Koldofsky method emphasizes a text-centered approach to the first stages of learning that pays big dividends once you follow the steps and learn the song. The Yurgaitis method seems to emphasize the latter steps of learning, specifically learning how get the song both under your skin and into your body as preparation for an eventual performance.

These two approaches complement each other well and are useful to both singers and pianists learning music, whether in opera, art song, or musical theater idioms.

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