Hi Anna, you are an Opera singer and a singing, diction and also French teacher for children and adults on MyTutorSpeaksFrench, could you tell us about your experience?
Hello, I’m an engineer from the Ecole Centrale, I worked a few years in aerospace engineering, especially for the National Center of Space Studies, and I’ve been an Opera singer for 6,5 years. I did this career change to follow my true vocation and so I’ve been a singing teacher for around 6 years.
Anna, could you explain the content of a singing lesson?
Singing lessons will vary according to the person I am teaching. If they are beginners, which is often the case, I work a lot on breathing. We learn, or more precisely we re-learn, how to breathe. It is something that is usually easy and natural for children but for adults, especially after 30, it can become complicated to return deeper into breathing. Therefore, I do a lot of breathing work. Next, I work on text declamation to teach the student how to place his or her voice just while speaking. I also like to work on interpreting. Naturally we practice singing exercises and we start to explore combining voice and breath. And we sing! In general, I ask the student to bring a song that he or she loves or wants to sing, with the musical score. According to this material I either stick to the student proposal or I will propose something different. It’s true that the first classes focus a lot on breathing: laid down on the floor, seated on a chair, we find the anchor, the grounding and how to connect the entire body. I have knowledge in meditation, guided meditation, hypnosis and also Feldenkrais and Alexander methods, so I will use all these skills and adapt them to the student to reach our goal: the connected breathing.
Anna, you also offer other classes, could you tell more about them?
In relation to the voice, I propose classes of French diction. All the knowledge I have regarding the human body and the vocal placement allows me to precisely guide all the people wishing to reduce their accent while traveling, or for actors, singers, etc.
And, by extension, I also teach French. In this field, it will again depend on the student’s goals. With children or teenagers who are just learning, I will use scholar books which will support my lessons. For adults, according to their expectations, either for work or leisure, we will work together, read and improve their conversation skills according to the themes they are interested in.
Anna, if I’m a total beginner in French, how much time do I need to express myself or read a novel for example?
With regular practice, I would say 1 or 2 lessons per week, and personal practice between the 2 sessions, which consists of reviewing what has been done during the last class. In 3 to 4 months a student can start talking with basic conversation skills. For a short and simple text, it’s almost the same timeline. Within a few months, it’s possible to get a fair understanding. Reading a novel will require more practice. The more a student will read, the sharper his or her understanding will be.
Thank you Anna!