Singer shows that where there’s a will, there’s a way
THOSE WHO WISH TO SING, ALWAYS FIND A SONG
Jeannette Lovetri is one of the most highly regarded and recognised vocal experts in the world and she’ll be coming to Toowoomba again this January.
During the 2019 Mcgregor Music Retreat, USQ will play host to the amazing Jeannette, who will present a nine–day professional development course for singing teachers and singers, using her trademarked Somatic Voicework.
Her life’s story stands as testament to what can be achieved with the right sort of support, a deep–held belief in yourself, and an overwhelming love for singing.
At the urging of her first singing teacher, Jeannette bought a Joan Sutherland recording —Coloratura Spectacular.
“I fell in love. I didn’t know human beings could sing that way. I played it over and over and dreamed that, some day, I might be able to sing like that,” Jeannette said.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Jeannette was cast as the lead in stage productions of The Music Man and Show Boat.
“Show Boat was a great success and gave me a chance to further develop my skills,” Jeannette said.
At the time, she had just been accepted to the Manhattan School of Music but didn’t receive a lot of support from her parents, who didn’t see why she should attend college — especially for music.
But, despite this, she was allowed to attend college as a voice major while working three jobs to help pay for the expenses.
Jeannette’s first voice teacher at college had been a Wagnerian soprano and terrified her.
“She made it very clear during my first lesson that I wasn’t much to work with and that I had many ‘bad habits’ she would fix,” Jeannette said, adding that she gradually became more stressed as the months wore on.
“That spring, I began to feel like I was choking while singing. It got so bad, I couldn’t sing without crying — I would sit at the piano to practice, and cry.”
Her father put an end to her formal education after that, not wanting to pay for tuition if Jeannette was going to be reduced to tears.
However, Jeannette knew she needed more training, so set out to look for a new singing teacher.
She found a lovely, supportive lady who praised her talents at every lesson.
“But I didn’t think that was helpful; I had no delusions about not needing further work, so after a while, I stopped seeing her.”
Next, Jeannette found another Wagnerian soprano (with a massive reputation) to teach her.
“Like the other soprano, this one equally had no use for my voice,” Jeannette said.
She then made up her mind to find someone with valid information to share.
In 1977 she first had the thought that scientists should do research on different styles of singing, to find out how they worked.
“I could not possibly have known then that the following year I would encounter something that would bring that idea to life in big, bold colours.”
In 1978 she attended a symposium at Juilliard School of Music in New York.
“I was really clueless in terms of what was being presented by the scientists, but I knew in the core of my soul that I had ‘come home’ to what I had always been seeking in terms of vocal
Sing in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and the music you want to express.” — JEANNETTE LOVETRI
knowledge. The symposium changed my life,” she said.
Jeannette believes her younger self would be amazed at herself today.
“All these years later, I look back and I am amazed that I didn’t give up. I have worked with Broadway performers since 1980 — many leads in all sorts of shows — and I have worked with many multi award–winning artists in my studio, keeping their voices in shape (and some for more than 30 years),” she said.
She also takes students referred to her by medical doctors and speech pathologists, to help them back to vocal health.
She has worked as a vocal consultant with (among many famous names) actor Daniel Radcliffe, Grammy Award winner Adele, and multiple Grammy Award nominee, Björk.
Jeanette started teaching students in 2002 at the request of the former Dean of a well–respected conservatory in the USA and said the course materials she developed there became the basis for the Lovetri Institute for Somatic Voicework that will be offered at USQ.
Jeannette explained her motivation for founding her institute was born from a frustration with the training she’d had when she was young.
“I was distrustful of some of the early methods of vocal training, because they advocated strange manoeuvres and produced unpleasant sounds,” she said.
“I couldn’t find training courses that combined all the things I had come to regard as necessary in one place, so I set about to create it myself.”
She described her method as producing an authentic, free expression in singing, and allowing singers to develop control over their sound and their art.
“In contrast to some other methods, we discourage deliberate movements of any of the structures within the throat. Everything is about natural vocal production that leads to enhanced skill, vocal health, and stamina,” she said.
Next year, Jeannette will be assisted by Dr Melissa Forbes, a senior lecturer in contemporary singing music at USQ, and trained in Somatic Voicework.
Dr Forbes first met Jeannette in 2009 and said she was struck by Jeannette’s presence and deep understanding of the function of the singing voice.
“I was so fascinated by her approach, I applied for and received a Churchill Fellowship to complete her course in the USA in 2011. The Lovetri Institute had such a profound impact on my understanding of the singing voice, I felt compelled to run the program here at USQ for local and interstate singing teachers,” Dr Forbes said.
Dr Forbes believes the upcoming Mcgregor institute is an incredible opportunity for locals to learn from one of the world’s best.
To the students of Mcgregor, Jeannette shared these words of wisdom:
“Sing in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and the music you want to express.
“Understand that your voice and body will serve you well for all the years of your life, if you respect them both.
“Trust your own instincts but listen to others who are experienced and have useful advice to offer you on your journey.”
The Lovetri Institute had such a profound impact on my understanding of the singing voice.”
— DR MELISSA FORBES