“In teaching I advise two pupils sharing the hour, for while one is singing the other can rest the voice and observe what is being taught. It is too fatiguing to a young voice to expect it to work a full half hour without rest.
“I was teaching in my Paris studio for a number of months after the war started, before coming to America. It is my intention, in future, to divide my time between New York and Paris. I like teaching in the French capital for the reason I can bring out my pupils in opera there. I am also pleased to teach in my own land, for the pleasant connections I have made here, and for the fresh, young American voices which come to me to be trained.”
“What is Vocal Mastery? There are so many kinds! Every great artist has his own peculiar manner of accomplishing results—his own vocal mastery. Patti had one kind, Maurel another, Lehmann still another. Caruso also may be considered to have his own vocal mastery, inasmuch as he commands a vocal technic which enables him to interpret any role that lies within his power and range. The greatest singer of to-day, Shalyapin, has also his individual vocal mastery, closely resembling the sort that enabled Maurel to run such a gamut of emotions with such astonishing command and resource.
“In fine, as every great artist is different from his compeers, there can be no fixed and fast standard of vocal mastery, except the mastery of doing a great thing convincingly.”
The student, seeking light on the many problems of vocal technic, the training for concert and opera, how to get started in the profession, and kindred subjects of vital importance, has doubtless found, in the foregoing talks a rich fund of help and suggestion. It is from such high sources that a few words of personal experience and advice, have often proved to be to the young singer a beacon light, showing what to avoid and what to follow. It were well to gather up these strands of suggestion from great artists and weave them into a strong bulwark of precept and example, so that the student may be kept within the narrow path of sound doctrine and high endeavor.
At the very outset, two points must be borne in mind:
1. Each and every voice and mentality is individual.
2. The artist has become a law unto himself; it is not possible for him to make rules for others.
First, as to difference in voices. When it is considered that the human instrument, unlike any fabricated by the hand of man, is a purely personal instrument, subject to endless variation through variety in formation of mouth and throat cavities, also physical conditions of the anatomy, it is no cause for wonder that the human instrument should differ in each individual. Then think of all sorts and conditions of mentality, environment, ambitions and ideals. It is a self evident fact that the vocal instrument must be a part of each person, of whom there are “no two alike.”