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Subject: Please read this: Dreams of Asian singer Weijie if he should go into opera
From: Weijie Chen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Weijie Chen <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 28 Feb 2003 11:29:36 -0500

text/plain (104 lines)

Dear friends out there,
    Now I have a really bad news to announce. It seems as though I have
lost in contact with my international teacher. He was supposed to come back
to S'pore at 15Feb 2003. The reply that his mailbox was sold came to me as
a great shock. There wasn't any way I can contact him since I don't have
his home address of Australia. I was hoping in my heart that something had
happened and he would call me back. But then again, it might seem almost
impossible that there was going to be any hope... . If he doesn't come
back, it would be almost a 0% chance that I am able to develop the
knowledge and expose of opera performances right here in Singapore.
Afterall opera in S'pore isn't that great especially with those "small"
singer-teachers from China who tried to cheat their ways through to earn
money from local students cos they know they are going to suffer if they
were to compete with those international singers.

Regarding about myself, I do admit that I have a great passion in singing.
Though I have never really sung or exposed to opera, I like to look at
stuff related to voice and singing. What I meant is that it's my interest
in the voice that makes me want to find out more about performing arts
(like choral,acappella groups,broadway and other forms of vocal arts) in
singing. Well I do like to read a lot of information about singing aspects
of the voice. However what I find out that it's pretty useless by just
saying out the words about on how to sing. Singing is about experimental
not following words of singing. Afterall there are thousands of singing
teachers who could have several thousands of singing methods out there.

What makes a good teacher is that he is able to understand all the aspects
(eg.psychological, anthropology and structure of humans)of the singing
students. That will in turn bring out the best possible development of the
students' voice to their fullest potential. Of course he must guide the
student with a really good listening ear in order to correct his mistakes
in singing. He must be sensitive and tactful to the students' feelings in
correcting their mistakes so as not to dampen the confidence of young
singers in singing. If he is not careful, he could end up making the
students even more frustrated and not believing in their voices any more.
Of teaching students to play any instruments in making music, teaching the
voice is being the most difficult of them all. Becos a voice teacher might
end up destroying the instrument of a singer if he is not careful and u can
never replace that instrument becos that is the only precious instrument. U
can't change a voice like a new piano. Also u can't possibly open up the
student's body the way like other music instruments.

If one day should I decide to make singing as a career, I would most
probably go to western countries to study singing. Most good voice teachers
are found in the West(Italy) although there are a few good singing teachers
in Asia. Afterall the Westerns are experts in exploring and teaching the
voice for decades. The fact that music composers in the West are remembered
is becos they really know how to bring out the kind of music in the period
they were living. Of course another reason could be that in the past, those
lyricists in Asia are remembered by the Asians rather than the Asian music
composers. Well if I really manage to get a vocal scholarship/bursary on
studying in one of those really good music conservatories in the West, then
I would put my main focus on singing. Likely the good music conversatory
where I would be studying is an expertise in training and producing
exceptional singers who sing really well.

And I would slowly have to start with those small roles in the opera
houses. Afterall the voice needs to be developed into singing those large
roles in the future. U can't possibly just jump your way into singing roles
which are far too difficult for u to handle. Choosing the right repertory
is also important cos that will greatly affect the development of the
voice. That's why u need a good singing teacher who really knows your voice
and not those famous singers who absolutely know nothing about teaching a
good voice. Ultimately becoming an international singer would be my goal.
That would tell me how good I am in singing compared to others. However the
other important factor in becoming an international singer is that I want
Asians to believe that Asian can too become like good singers in the West.
I would also like to expand my repertory to singing leider(I think singers
really ought to touch on leider cos music composers such as Mozart who
wrote such stuff deserves recognition on this area),broadway,spirituals and
other areas of vocal art music. Naturally I won't forget in selecting those
leider/opera/modern music written by good Asian composers (eg.Chen Yi who
was once the Residence composer of the vocal ensemble Chanticleer in USA
and our own local famous music composer Mr Leong Yoon Pin).

If possible, I would also like to take up a degree in understanding and
teaching singing cos I know it's not easy in teaching voice students to
sing. Many voice teachers just apply what were taught to them without
realising that the methods used on them might not work on the students.

Once I gained enough experience in how to teach the voice in singing, then
I can go back to Singapore to teach our own Singaporeans the true meaning
and way to sing. Developing our own Singaporeans into international singers
would be then be such a great achievement for me. And there would be
exchange singing programmes between Singapore and the western countries to
help singing students develop the kind of exposure they need in the careers
of singing. This is what I see in the future if I become a professional

Having said all these, I really wondered how I am going to achieve it
especially now that my international teacher might not be be coming back to
Singapore. The possibility of becoming an professional singer seemed to be
almost 0% for me. I mean who is going to believe in a young Asian singer
with no qualifications in music and no recommendation of a good singing
teacher??? Just with his great passion in singing, would music
conservatories with the expertise in training voices really give a vocal
scholarship/bursary to him??? It's kind of hard. Should I continue chasing
this dream although my heart is still deciding??? What do u think??? In the
meanwhile, I have decided to learn by myself to improve my singing. Of
course I won't be so stupid to start with nothing. The combination of good
points in the different techniques taught by the choral conductors and my
voice teacher would be the stuff I would be working.

>From Weijie

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