Take The Class

Liz Sumner Goals, Learning, Life Dreams, Music Leave a Comment

I first heard about the master class called FabriJazz as an announcement at a concert last summer. I had just had the fabulous opportunity to sing with a large jazz orchestra and was high on the experience. The announced class was to take place at the end of August and there was still time to enroll. I remember thinking, “A class to learn to sing? I don’t think I need this.” I didn’t give it serious thought.

During the week of the class there was student performances each night. I stopped by to hear them one evening and was warmly welcomed by Marco, the director who had given me the great solo a few weeks before. He introduced me to Isabella, the vocal instructor. She was very personable and spoke excellent English. I also met a couple of the voice students who sounded great. One of them did some hot improvisation in a completely unselfconscious way. I was impressed. It started to cross my mind that doing the course would have been fun.

I met Isabella and the singers again at the Christmas concert and we sang together. I made up my mind at that point that I would take the 2018 course. I said I wanted to learn to scat but my main reason for going was to build my connection to this community. I wanted to be a part of it.

Nothing much happened, jazz-wise, between Christmas and the summer. I registered for the course. My buddy, Jan, did too, which was cool, so we could make the drive together and hang out. I was looking forward to it, but I didn’t really know what to expect.

Before going I set some goals: I wanted get as much out of it as possible. I didn’t want to be afraid to do something I wasn’t already good at. And I didn’t want to let my shyness (especially speaking Italian) limit me.  I succeeded and then some.

It was so much more powerful than I had imagined. Isabella is an excellent teacher– all of the instructors were expert, warm, and made you want to reach for a higher level. I learned fascinating theoretical structure and then practical advice for how to use it, with lots of experiential opportunity to put it into practice.

I didn’t know how much there was to learn. I didn’t know how hungry I was to go deeper into this material. I didn’t know how excited I’d become. Total immersion into something you care about with others who feel as you do is exhilarating. I was expecting a nice drink from a garden hose and got a fire hose instead. I will never be the same.

Has it crossed your mind to explore some additional training, but you’re on the fence because you don’t really NEED it or it may not be relevant to your work? Go for it. Take the class. You won’t regret it.

Learning more by putting yourself in expert hands is exponentially powerful. Self-study has its place but I have tended to rely on it too much. Investing in my own coach has made me a better one. Investing in improvisational training has made me a wildly inspired singer and I can’t wait to see what develops.

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