Naturally the singer must have a voice, for there is no use trying to cultivate something which does not exist. All artists subscribe to this. They also affirm she should have good looks, a love for music and a musical nature. Let us hear from Mme. Homer on this subject.
“1. Voice, first of all. 2. Intelligence; for intelligence controls, directs, shines through and illumines everything. What can be done without it? 3. Musical nature. 4. Capacity for Work. Without application, the gifts of voice, intelligence and a musical nature will not make an artist. 5. A cheerful optimism, which refuses to yield to discouragement. 6. Patience. It is only with patient striving, doing the daily vocal task, and trying to do it each day a little better than the day before, that anything worth while is accomplished. The student must have unlimited patience to labor and wait for results.”
Mr. Witherspoon states, that students coming to him must possess “Voice, to begin with; youth, good looks, musical intelligence and application. If the candidate possess these requisites, we begin to work.” Anna Case answers the question as to the vital requisites necessary to become a singer: “Brains, Personality, Voice.”
Quotations could be multiplied to prove that all artists fully concur with those already mentioned. There must be a promising voice to cultivate, youth, good looks, (for a public career) and the utmost devotion to work.
All agree there are many other subjects to study besides singing; that alone is far from sufficient. Edward Johnson says: “Singing itself is only a part, perhaps the smaller part of one’s equipment. If opera be the goal, there are languages, acting, make up, impersonation, interpretation, how to walk, all to be added to piano, harmony and languages. The most important of all is a musical education.”
Most of the great singers have emphatically expressed themselves in favor of piano study. Indeed, many were pianists in the beginning, before they began to develop the voice. Among those who had this training are: Galli-Curci, Lehmann, Raisa, D’Alvarez, Barrientos, Braslau, Case. Miss Braslau says: “I am so grateful for my knowledge of the piano and its literature; it is the greatest help to me now. To my thinking all children should have piano lessons; the cost is trifling compared with the benefits they receive. They should be made to study, whether they wish it or not, for they do not know what is best for them.”
Mme. Raisa says: “There are so many sides to the singer’s equipment besides singing itself. The piano is a necessity; the singer is greatly handicapped without a knowledge of that instrument, for it not only provides accompaniment but cultivates musical sense.” “The vocal student should study piano as well as languages,” asserts Mme. Homer; “both are the essentials. Not that she need strive to become a pianist; that would not be possible if she is destined to be a singer. But the more she knows of the piano and its literature, the more this will cultivate her musical sense and develop her taste.”