Chamber Singers: Putting Musicianship to the Test
As a student (classical vocalist) at New England Conservatory, I treasure the opportunity to be a part of a musical family and community where there seems to be a general understanding that consummate musicianship is more important than talent. Sure, we are all talented at NEC; that’s why we got in here in the first place. However, talent in and of itself is not what being a student at this prestigious institution is about. It is about acquiring the invaluable skills and the discipline necessary to succeed as an artist in contemporary society. Being punctual, having sight-reading skills, aural skills, respect for colleagues and a sense of ensemble –all of these will carry a musician much further than simply being able to sing or play an instrument reasonably well, and as such are crucial to success.
I strongly feel that no aspect of my studies has allowed me to apply good musicianship skills I have begun to acquire more than being a member of the NEC Chamber Singers. I truly feel blessed to be a part of a small ensemble of dedicated and gifted singers, but with this comes responsibility. It requires being on time, because absence or tardiness in such a small group is much more readily noticed. It requires excellent sight-reading ability in order to quickly learn the notes of a lot of music in order to move on to the much more difficult task of interpretation. It requires excellent listening skills, in order to be aware of other voices and create a unified sound as an ensemble. However, most importantly of all, being a Chamber Singer requires maintaining a great deal of respect for your fellow members. All of us could easily stand on our own as soloists, but that is not the point of the group. If anyone tried to make their voice more easily heard than others, they would be undermining the group, plain and simple. It is amazing to have such a great group of humble singers willing to contribute their talent only as is necessary to create a homogenous sound. What a thing to behold.