Middlebury Language Schools

 

Curriculum

The German for Singers and Vocal Coaches program includes two basic components. Together, they provide a context for the musical interpretation of song, and of operatic and oratorio literature.

  • A language component provides three hours of daily formal instruction. The language component carries two credits, with courses offered on several levels. Students will be tested upon arrival and placed into the appropriate section.
  • A performance component carries one unit of credit and includes a daily performance class with a focus on expression through correct diction and vocal/musical style, as well as acting for the operatic stage; weekly private coachings; one public recital; one public performance of the summer's opera project; and an intensive audition training workshop at the end of the program, offered by a German opera agent with years of experience and expertise in the field. Repertoire will include German Lieder, oratorio, and operatic arias for the recital. Students are expected to arrive with a minimum of three songs or arias memorized; additional assignments and work focused on the opera production will be announced during the summer.
Language Component

For the language component, two units of credit are awarded, and the courses are offered on five levels:

GRMN 3105-3106 Elementary German for Singers

Daily activities include three hours of classroom instruction, plus additional work in the language laboratory and the computer center. Emphasis will be placed on the grammatical structures of German, conversational survival skills, diction and pronunciation, as well as music vocabulary.

GRMN 3195-3196 Early Intermediate German for Singers

The successful completion of this course corresponds to the equivalent of second and third semester German. The active use of all major points of basic grammar and vocabulary is stressed in order to bring students to a common working level in the four skills. During the second half, a greater emphasis will be placed on the development of writing skills and reading strategies with appropriate cultural and literary texts. Audio-visual materials supplement the four hours of daily classroom instruction. Listening comprehension and pronunciation practice require the use of the language laboratory.

GRMN 3205-3206 Intermediate German for Singers

Daily activities include two hours of grammar review, conversation, and composition practice to develop the four basic language skills. Pronunciation and diction are an integral part of this course, which also requires some activities in the language laboratory and the computer center.

GRMN 3305-3306 Advanced German for Singers

Advanced Grammar and Communication meets two hours per day to analyze and practice advanced grammatical structures, to provide intensive written and oral language training, to offer insights into the German ways of perception, and to develop communication and reading skills. Some additional work in the language laboratory and computer lab is required.

GRMN 3405-3406 Advanced German for Singers II

Stylistics, Expository Writing, and Communication meets two hours per day and aims at strengthening the student's ability to write and speak German at an advanced level.

Performance Component

The music performance component of the German for Singers and Vocal Coaches Program carries one unit of credit. Participants in the program enroll in one of the following four courses to complement their language component:

GRMN 3104 Diction and Culture for the German Stage

GRMN 3194 Diction and Culture for the German Stage

GRMN 3204 Diction and Culture for the German Stage

GRMN 3304 Diction and Culture for the German Stage

GRMN 3404 Diction and Culture for the German Stage


Guest Residencies

Weekends will have special activities, including guest residencies by prominent figures in the area of German vocal music. The guest Master Class teachers in recent summers have included the following:

Kammersänger Wolfgang Brendel (2013), world-famous as one of the leading Wagner-baritones, Wolfgang Brendel is at home on the world's greatest opera stages—Berlin, Hamburg, Munich (where he became the youngest singer to that date to be named "Kammersänger"), Paris, London, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo…His repertoire extends far beyond the Wagnerian Fach and includes the great baritone roles in operas by Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, or Tchaikovski. Mr. Brendel has been on the voice faculty at the Munich Hochschule für Musik ind Theater for many years, and he also joined Indiana University's prestigious Jacobs School of Music in 2011. He will teach a master class in late July.

Axel Mendrok (2010-2013), former opera singer Axel Mendrok is now one of the two main opera agents at the ZAV Cologne, Germany's state-funded artist agency. He will teach a three-day audition workshop in our program in mid-August.

Dietlind Jacobi (2012-2013), coach Dietlind Jacobi lives in Berlin, Germany, where she works with some of Germany's leading singers on breathing techniques, stress relief methods and medical-vocal best practices. Ms Jacobi will be in residence for two weeks in July and offer individual and group sessions to our singers.

Carol Blaickner-Mayo(2011-2012) is an internationally active voice pedagogue/coach with a studio based in Vienna, Austria.  She has singers performing in most of the major houses of Europe and many of the larger US companies, such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, Metropolitan Opera, Dallas, Seattle, etc.  For over 30 years, Ms. Blaickner-Mayo has helped young semi-professional singers to assimilate their "Vienna" experience in order to develop and perfect their palette of styles.