Slower is Faster


Evan Bortnick 

Gesangsunterricht Wiesbaden

Funny thing about time. It is relative. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to ‘get it together’ as a performer and as a singer as fast as possible. My time-frame for preparing a role, for example, was 2 days to 3 weeks, TOPS. Slower seemed like a waste of time. My wise, experienced mentors and teachers smiled affectionately and rolled their eyes. A few even tried to convince me of the wisdom of taking time to get the role ‘into my voice’. Predictably, I would have none of it. Later in my thirties, I gave myself 6 weeks to 3 months to prepare a role and ‘get it into the voice’. Logically, you would think that, as an older performer, my skills and speed of learning would be faster. NOT AT ALL!!! Why?

The knowing smiles and eye-rolling of my teachers pointed to a profound truth which took me a while to learn; Sometimes Slower IS Faster! I remember a story one of those experienced teachers told me; Sir Rudoph Bing wanted the great Richard Tucker to sing Radames. Every season Bing asked Tucker if the role was prepared and when it could be scheduled. This went on for 5 YEARS! Tucker took 5 years to get this role ‘into his voice’! It should be clear by now that this is not merely a question of learning the notes or getting them memorized. What happens during this process is different from singer to singer. The commonality has to do with making complex muscular, musical and psychological processes into what FEEL like instincts. I’m not sure who originally said: “If it ain’t easy, it ain’t right”, but it definitely has a place here. The “Instinctual” happens without ‘thought’. That doesn’t mean that we CANNOT think about it. I does mean that we CAN do it WITHOUT ‘thinking’ about it. This has profound applications for ‘getting it into the voice’. The last thing the public wants to hear is a singer who is over-involved with ‘thinking’, with technique or with the mechanics of singing. That’s not what it’s about. So in singing well, in speaking well, in running well….it seems to me here and now that in (almost) every complex endeavor that requires fine, spontaneous muscular adjustments, where learning is concerned; SLOWER IS FASTER!

The thought for this blog came during a recent lesson with a student in which she was obviously in a hurry to ‘get’ something. I caught myself rolling my eyes and smiling affectionately. Funny thing about time.

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 Art, Audition, Authenticity, Class, Communication, Congruence, Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Transparency, Fitness, Inner Game, Intelligence, Lessons, Mental Training, Music, Pedagogy, Performance, Performance Training, Presence, Public Speaking, Self Expression, Singing, Speaking, Teaching, Voice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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