CLA France Blog: Routine Sets In

The second full day introduced a rhythmic sense of regularity.  We know where and when to eat, that coachings begin at 10am, and that French class starts promptly at 10am and 3pm.  We’re also getting to know each other even better and settling into friendships.  I’ve heard many singers express a sense of familiarity that feels much deeper than the two days that we’ve known each other.  I suppose that is a special effect of the close proximity within which we are eating, singing, practicing, and sleeping.

I thought it might be interesting to read exactly what a day in the life of a CLA student looks like.  My day is certainly different than any other student’s schedule. However, I think that it reflects the robust structure of the programs’ classes and also the freedom to explore one’s own interests.

7am-8am - Morning jog with another participant.  Along the way Glenn caught up to us and we enjoyed a conversation.  Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with hand-picked cherries.

8:30am-9:30am - Breakfast with all the other singers and Glenn.  While each of us decide to come downstairs for breakfast at our own leisure, it’s common to see everyone at some point during breakfast time.  I like to come down early for breakfast and linger with coffee and conversation.

9:45am-10:30am - Warm-Up and Practice for the day’s singing.  I like to take this time to warm-up my voice and review notes from the previous day’s coachings.  I review my diction for the pieces that I would like to coach and prepare mentally for the day’s many lessons.  

10:30am-11:00am - Coaching with Glenn lasts half an hour, and I love having my sessions in the morning.  This is a great time to check-in with my voice and work very intentionally on repertoire. Personally, I am working on specifying my vowel sounds and morphing them into the many vowels that populate the French repertoire.

11:15am-12:00pm - Coaching with Hélène lasts forty five minutes, and on days that I do not work with Hélène, I coach with Gaspard.  Hélène primarily speaks French in her coachings, which I find to be an exciting opportunity to practice the language in a very practical setting.  She is very energetic and encourages us to find more musical depth through great attention to detail, especially textual interpretation.

12:00pm-1:00pm - Break until lunch.  Today, I use this time to review the duets that I will sing in rehearsals tonight.  One of them is very tricky, both rhythmically and melodically, so I take the time to review notes by the pool.  

1:00pm-3:00pm - Lunch with all singers and instructors.  This is a great pause in the day’s many activities.  We come together to share a calm meal, and there is wine for those who desire a little extra decompression. We usually finish up by 2:15pm and have some downtime before classes resume. 

3:00pm-3:45pm - Group French Class with Raphael, who brings a great deal of expertise and energy to his class.  We discuss rules of French diction, practice our conversation skills, and read and translate French poems.  

4:30pm-5:00pm - Group French Private with Raphael to speak through assigned music with a great attention to the diction.  We worked through a duet that I am singing from Chabrier’s Le Roi du Malgré, which has lots of difficult text.  

6:00pm-7:00pm - Ensemble Rehearsals take place in the evening with Hélène and Raphael.  These rehearsals have been full of energy this week, as singers bring their preparation together into the same room.  I have enjoyed connecting with my duet partners in these rehearsals.

8:00pm-9:30pm - Dinner with tout le monde!  This is a time filled with chatter, great food, and lots of wine.  Tonight, I enjoyed conversing with Hélène in French about her children and thoughts on music education.  

9:30pm-10:30pm - I took an Evening Walk with a couple other singers. We wandered the roads sharing stories until darkness filled the night.  We were all very ready for bedtime when we returned to the chateau!


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