Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thomas Hampson MasterClass

So today all of us internet people had the great pleasure of being able to watch the amazing MasterClass Thomas Hampson gave at the Manhattan School of Music this afternoon. This whole idea I think started with the Joyce DiDonato MasterClass streaming, and I’m so glad that other schools are doing the same. Because there wouldn’t be a chance in the world for me to be there to watch those.
I super took this picture from Thomas Hampson's Facebook page
I have a little confession to make just before I start talking about this amazing MasterClass. This was actually the second MasterClass I’ve ever watched, like ever, I’ve never been to one, just watched this one and Joyce’s in the beginning of the year. But I think it’s rather fantastic to say that the only Master Classes I’ve ever watched were given by Joyce DiDonato and Thomas Hampson.
Well, the MasterClass itself was extremely enlightening. This time I didn’t have any of my friends with me since I’m in São Paulo, but my cousin made sure he’d bug me a bit during the MasterClass as I frantically made notes. I made LOADS of notes, which I think is so important for me, especially because I tend to forget stuff very easily.
One thing he taught most of the students was about staying grounded, having your feet firm on the ground, but at the same time be a “butterfly” from your waist up. I loved the way he explified this by not exactly stomping his feet on the floor and telling them to do the same, I did it as well, it does help a lot. And also it’s so enlightening to hear someone really explain how to keep firmly grounded while also free on the upper body part with a single word, balance.
There were some pretty important and food for thoughtish things he said about all sorts of things. Something he said about having a normal life was quite cool, he said that if you want to have a normal life you gotta be a normal person and there’s nothing normal about being a musician.

“If you sing for approval go home, sing for singing. If you set your sail on the winds of approval you will crash in the rocks of depression. ”

That really got me thinking, but I never had that kind of problem since my singing most of the time is so not welcomed in my home, not that my family doesn’t support me, it’s just that the singing annoys them, because I sing a lot. But we really do it for ourselves, maybe to fulfill a need to exteriorize something absolutely non tangible, at least that’s how I feel. I think it's the only thing that can make me completely happy, as a job, I'd be utterly furfiled if I could do this for the rest of my life.
I also really liked the way he said voices are like airplanes, we need a good take off, otherwise the ride will be rocky and difficult, and that’s such a brilliant way to put it!
It’s a short post but I’m kind of tired and my cousin won’t stop bugging me, I’ll probably edit this post with more thoughts on the MasterClass tomorrow. But for now let me leave you guys with something that you could say was one of the pillars of the MasterClass.

“Never let a sound out of your mouth that you don’t want people to hear”

That’s just brilliant; it was an amazing MasterClass, best 3 hours of my week for sure! Peace peeps!


  1. Thanks for the quick review, Bela. I haven't seen it yet, but MSM is going to archive the classes for later viewing. I always think if you can come away from a master class (or a conference) with even just one good idea, then it was successful. It's great too, to hear similar advice and feedback from more than one singer. JDD really wanted her singers grounded (did you see the Sesto one?She got really vivid!)

    And yes, if you are going to attend only a few master classes, you have got some good ones under your belt. This is one of the awesomer things about the internet. Not only seeing live opera performance, and hearing masses of recordings, but getting to SEE these master classes that used to only be available to a select few.

    I think that last quote you gave us is not only good advice for singers, but for people in general, too. If it isn't going to sound good (or be a good thought) keep it to yourself!

    Now I am really looking forward to seeing these myself, and to hearing more of your reactions.

    Thanks again!

    1. Hey Rob! Thanks for reading! Oh thank God they are archiving this, 'cause then I can enrich my notes! These Masterclasses are real gifts, and the ammount of wisdom and information passed on in these are absolutely precious, I feel very lucky! :)
      This masterclass is quite different from Joyce's but it's equally good. :)
      Thanks so much for your regards, love to hear what the readers think!