By Shelby Olson
Photo courtesy of Ariana Andretta (from left, Prof. Piccardi and A. Andretta)
Spring 2017 Alum Ariana Andretta reflects on her experience during the Private Voice Coach course.
FUA’s department of dramatic and performing arts offers the Private Voice Coach course, which focuses on helping students achieve their personal goals as a singer and performer. To help students fully benefit from the course, each session is tailored to make sure student progress and needs are met. The lessons focus on main objectives such as music theory, artistic performances, critique, and musical culture and musicianship. Throughout the course, students are given assignments to develop knowledge in music as a field and specific pieces and authors introduced by the subject. Furthermore, performance practice is implemented on a regular basis.
Former student Ariana Andretta had the opportunity to take the course in Spring 2017, and performed at the FUA Career Program graduation ceremony at the end of the semester. During the spring edition, students focused on the Italian aria and how to sing in accordance to this specific style. Breathing controls and techniques were used to help each student reach a certain point while singing.
Ariana brought experience in both the Italian language and a musical theatre background, as Theatre Arts is one of her majors. With the help of her strong base of vocal technique, Ariana approached the new course material by taking into account the importance of practicing as much as possible. Throughout the course, Ariana was taught to understand a linguistic and cultural context of what she sang and shared, “The ability to comprehend the meaning behind a piece of music makes the emotion translate better when singing.”
Ariana described performing at the graduation ceremony as a great opportunity for her to open up and experience performing in a more intimate formal setting considering she was used to performing on a stage. For preparation on the day of the event, Ariana ran through the song before the ceremony and trusted what she learned in both class and during her own practice to deliver a strong performance.
When asked to share some of her personal reflections on the overall experience, she said, “I need to express my gratitude for Prof. Susanna Piccardi because she taught me so much...She walks you through your progress at a pace makes you feel comfortable, but somehow pushes you to improve at the same time.” Ariana encourages anybody taking the course to practice breathing exercises on their own and to find ease because studying abroad is supposed to be both an academic and enjoyable journey. When Ariana signed up for the class, dance was her strong suit but if it were not for studying abroad, she probably would not have become familiarized with the Italian aria. “From humming my songs on walks around Florence to practicing in such a beautiful space that is the Verdi Room at the FUA campus campus in Corso Tintori, the experience is something I will hold close to my heart for a long time.”
Future editions of the course at FUA can be consulted at the academic schedule of courses.