Singer shows that where there’s a will, there’s a way

THOSE WHO WISH TO SING, AL­WAYS FIND A SONG

Style Magazine - - Contents - BY LEANDRI VAN STADEN

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

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