Evan Bortnick   Wiesbaden

Evan Bortnick 

Gesangsunterricht Wiesbaden

It’s a new world. Over the years, I’ve commented on countless posts on Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn and myriad emails. As “Old Age” sets in, numbers of people have advised me to take some of this verbal, pedagogical energy onto a blog. So here it is. I’m looking wildly forward to blogging. I trust it will influence me at least as much as it will influence any blog followers. There’s little as satisfying as organizing thoughts on ‘paper’. Making these thoughts public will be a new experience.

My specialty and my passion have always been connecting worlds, connecting ideas and connecting models. I’ve been fascinated by enough of them over the years. I’ll give you an example. A couple of months ago I had a young, talented, yet very agitated soprano in a voice lesson. She was complaining that her vibrato turned into a rather unstable tremolo when she was nervous, especially in the upper middle of her range. After working through a couple of classic, functional exercises it got a little better, yet it occurred to me that the tremolo wasn’t just of functional, anatomical, habitual origin. Since this was something of a recurring phenomenon for her I thought of Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!” Taking that to heart, I intuitively asked the student if she’d like to try something a little different, a quick ‘acting exercise’. When she said yes I asked her to close her eyes and picture an older female gestalt a distance away from her. I asked her to say silently to this gestalt; “I am now an adult and no longer a child.” Then I asked her to put both her hands on her sternum and while singing the phrase to ever so slightly bow to this female gestalt. The voice soared. Her vibrato was stable in a way she’d never experienced. Her eyes were slightly wet. What happened here?

On the one hand, she executed a classic “Appoggiarsi in Petto” (roughly translated; ‘leaning into the breast’). This allows the back and rear lower ribs to become more active, which lowers the diaphragm. Tracheal pull brings her larynx into a lower, more flexible, position, which allows more strengthening of the partials and a more even flow of breath. At the same time, this is a technique in systems dynamic coaching; speaking unspoken words to an authority figure from the past who is in some way still psychoactive in making her feel small. She later said she spoke those words directly to her mother. I kind of thought that might be who it was, but I considered it better to keep in neutral and let her unconscious supply the belittling figure.

I’ve always suspected that the old Italian “Bel Canto” school has a great deal of implicit emotional wisdom. There are a lot of such techniques which come from the old masters, which are laden with what we now understand as modern psycho-dynamic, emotional intelligence. I’m looking forward to discovering these and much more in my blogs.

Evan Bortnick 

Gesangsunterricht Wiesbaden


About evanb54

I'm a passionate, curious learning junkie--- an X-Opera Singer turned Voice Teacher, Voice Teachers Teacher, NLP Lehrtrainer, Off-Path Coach, Cranio-Sacral worker and a few other even less mainstream things. Everything I've learned or taught revolves around THE VOICE. The Voice as a tool of artistic expression. The Voice as a tool of emotional transparency. The voice as a tool of flexible communication. More information can be found at my Institute Site: The Wiesbaden Academy of the Vocal Muse Gesangsunterricht Wiesbaden, Coaching, Voice Pedagogy
This entry was posted in Archetypes, Authenticity, Breath, Communication, Congruence, Emotional Transparency, Family Constellations, Inner Game, Lessons, Mind-Body, NLP, Opera, Pedagogy, Performance, Self Expression, Singing, Voice and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Beginnings

  1. Al Borrtnick says:

    Evan,, I like the blog comments. There’s a vibrant, insightful voice that emerges from the page, the technical stuff notwithstanding. Happy blogging. Dad

  2. Nick DiToro says:

    This resonated greatly with me, Evan. Thanks!

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