15 July 2016

A Lover and his Lass: Rehearsal Diaries

By Rachel Bird – Samling Academy participant.

The Samling Academy summer concerts are now less than a week away and I couldn’t be more excited. After many months of rehearsals, it’s wonderful to see how well the performances are coming together. As one of the younger members of the group, taking part has been a fantastic opportunity for me and as always, I cannot wait to perform our newest concert – A Lover and his Lass.

I joined Samling Academy in 2015 and since then I have learned so much about how to give a successful performance. I didn’t think it was possible to progress so quickly in such a short space of time. Throughout the various masterclasses, lessons and rehearsals I have been taught that performing a song isn’t just about singing it – it’s about connecting to the emotion portrayed by the text of the song and capturing and performing it in a way the audience can understand and enjoy.

During rehearsals I get to watch this approach in action. I have had fantastic opportunities to watch other members practice and, in turn, listened to the feedback they have been given to apply it to my own performance. As well as this, our director, Miranda Wright, involves other members of the group to help and support each other to discover different approaches to a piece and see a performance transform in less than 20 minutes.

Since I first became involved with Samling Academy, I have not only made new friends, but become closer with ones I already had. The masterclasses are always a relaxed environment and singing techniques are often taught in a fun and engaging way. A range of creative singing techniques has allowed me to improve my pieces whilst simultaneously having a good time and forming closer bonds with friends. For example, one technique we tried was singing with your tongue stuck out. This allows you to have a more open space for the voice when singing, and the funny facial expressions I pulled while trying this technique has helped me feel more comfortable with the other members of Samling, allowing a closeness to form between the group. Samling has become a family both inside and outside of singing and it’s safe to say some of my closest friendships have arisen through the Academy.

As a sixth form student, I still have to maintain my school work whilst keeping up my singing. Luckily, I have been able apply the skills I have learned at Samling to my A Level Music pieces, performing two songs I did at Samling Academy for my performance exam. Additionally, learning new repertoire is a pleasant escape from essays, coursework and a strict academic environment.

I’m looking forward to seeing the final product of what I know will be a wonderful week of singing. I cannot wait to discover what opportunities there will be over the next year with Samling and I am very thankful to be involved with such an excellent organisation.