What’s it like at a Melofonetica Italian Coaching Masterclass?
So far, we’ve trained over 150 singers and accompanists on our courses, with many coming back more than once. But what typically happens at one of our coaching masterclasses and how do participants benefit? Read on for a sneak peek…
An introduction to the Melofonetica Method
Our masterclass days are small group sessions led by Melofonetica Founder, Matteo Dalle Fratte. They are designed to give singers and accompanists a good grasp of the key principles of the Melofonetica Method and first-hand experience of how it improves sung Italian. The first hour of the day is an introductory session where Matteo discusses the research behind the method and the science i.e., the key phonetic characteristics of the sung Italian language. He discusses what the key findings mean in terms of correct diction, expression, breath support and voice projection in a performance space, and the important things to keep in mind when performing Italian repertoire.
With the theory summarised, practice is key for the rest of the day! A group vocalising session helps participants to warm up and experience the key principles of the method with their own voices, practising sung Italian sounds, words and phrases with Matteo’s guidance.
After a quick coffee break, the intensive one-to-one coaching sessions begin, where each singer works with Matteo on any Italian piece of their choice while the rest of the group observes. Each session is tailored to the level and needs of each singer, and aims to improve the singer’s diction, expression and performance skills.
There is also a focus on how effective use of the text enhances the relationship between singer and accompanist, and the elements of diction that accompanists need to be listening out for. This applies equally to orchestral accompaniment, with a recent participant commenting, “The input I received on my aria really helped me understand not only more about the Italian, but what to think about when performing with an orchestra as well. I now understand a lot more about what a conductor would require from me”. At many of our masterclasses, we are also lucky to have input from conductor and coach Peter Ford who shares valuable guidance in this area.
As the one-to-one sessions are packed with tips and advice, singers are able to record their session to take away and use again after the day. There’s no need for singers to know their pieces off-copy, as the sessions are an opportunity to work closely with the score and make appropriate notes. We also provide a repertoire list ahead of the day, so that all participants can bring other scores to follow and make notes on.
Matteo comments, “We find that participants benefit equally from listening to others being coached, and each one-to-one session demonstrates different aspects of sung Italian diction and expression, in a wide range of repertoire and voice types”.
We find that participants benefit equally from listening to others being coached, and each one-to-one session demonstrates different aspects of sung Italian diction and expression, in a wide range of repertoire and voice types.
After lunch, there’s an interesting guided listening where we listen to performances by well-known singers and some of the great recordings. The session helps participants identify and discuss different aspects of sung Italian diction and how performers express the text and character. Then it’s back to more vocalising to try out different aspects of diction before the one-to-one coaching sessions resume.
Putting it all together
Towards the end of the day, there’s an opportunity for Q&A, followed by a final sing-through of each full piece to put the day’s learning into practice. Everyone leaves energised, inspired and with new practical tools to apply to all Italian repertoire. We’re proud that feedback is always extremely positive, with singers often commenting on how much they have increased their confidence and learnt about sung Italian in just one day (read feedback from previous participants here). Matteo comments, “It’s great to meet singers of all ages and backgrounds who would like to make an improvement to their sung Italian, and these masterclass days are always packed full of learning but fun, friendly and supportive”.