CCM Opera alumna Catherine Martin talks her experince in the HGO Studio
I had my first voice lesson when I was a senior in high school getting ready for auditions for Texas All-State Choir. The auditions were and are taken very seriously in Texas with 4 rounds of auditions. My teacher told me he wanted to check my breathing and made me lie on the floor for the entire lesson with a book on my stomach. Needless to say I thought the whole voice lesson thing was a waist of time and money.
I then went to college at The University of North Texas and began having voice lessons that quickly changed my opinion of the whole voice lesson idea I had. It quickly became one of the things I looked forward to each week. After my undergrad I went to Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and worked with another teacher that really gave me tools to enhance my voice and become more comfortable as an artist. I will never forget the teachers that have spent so much time and energy into helping me achieve what I have.
One of the greatest things about being in the HGO (Houston Grand Opera) studio, among many, is the fact that we have an amazing teacher to work with. Dr. King has taken over right were I left off with my last teacher at CCM and I feel I have grown exponentially as a singer. There is no easy way or easy fix to learn how to sing. It takes time, patience, dedication and a teacher that will invest in you and believe in your talent. We, the studio members, are lucky enough to have a company back us up along with a teacher who cares about us and keeps us vocally healthy. As singers you are asked to sing roles that are not always what you may think you will sing. In Elixir, for example, I never thought I would have to learn that opera because there wasn’t a mezzo role….but when I received a call from the Studio Director about an opportunity to sing main stage it didn’t take me long to say yes. The role was out of my comfort zone because of the high tessitura but I worked through it, with Dr. King and others, and learned how to sing it. Sometimes we grow the most when faced with a challenge that we were at first not ready for but in the end conquered.
Special thanks to Dr. King for the one of my favorite hours of the week!