Role models

Singer imitates her role models

Can role models help us to realise our dreams?

We all have big and small dreams. A trip to New Zealand, learning to sing, standing on a big stage one day, studying after all... The list is long. But we mostly only dream, and push the fulfilment of these dreams far away from us.

What can help us and encourage us to actively work towards realising our dreams? Role models play a central role, especially at a young age: someone with whom one identifies, whom one imitates or tries to imitate.

Role models live an ideal for us to strive for. They can bring meaning into life and counteract a feeling of inner emptiness. In difficult times, they can give us support and orientation.

I believe that someone becoming a role model is not a conscious decision, at least at first. It is a process that, in the best case, enables us to actually realise our dreams or come as close to them as possible.

If I have to name my musical idols, it's not so easy for me. The Beatles were one of them at a very early stage. Especially their album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When I was 4 or 5 years old, my father bought a Japanese tape recorder.
He needed it for his theatre performances, but at home he regularly used it to play the Beatles and this very album. I remember that as soon as I heard the Beatles, I took over the living room dancing wildly.

The East German record company AMIGA brought out its own jazz series at that time. So along with the Beatles, jazz also became my musical companion in my childhood and youth. One singer in particular impressed and touched me: Billie Holiday. Brecht and Weil also exerted a great fascination on me at that time. Later I sang everything that was on the hit parades of the 80s. There were times when I grabbed everything that somehow looked like a Microphone and sang the songs I liked. Preferably in front of the big mirror in the bathroom, that sounded even better.

When I was in my early 20s and regularly performed on stage with a big jazz band, I was sure of my talent, but I was also aware that talent alone would not help me in the long run. And that's when my parents came into play ...

I grew up, as they say, in an artist's household. For me, it was quite normal that my parents worked as artists. They were known and respected in their professions and earned enough to give us a good and secure life as a family.

Of course, my parents' professions meant that other artists came and went in our house: Writers, painters, sculptors, dancers, actors and many more. So even as a child, I was witness to stimulating conversations, great parties and everything that we think of today as a "bohemian lifestyle".

But: my parents also had a strict work ethic. Every day my mother trained her body to meet the demands of being a ballet dancer. Back pain, injuries, marital crisis? It didn't matter. Early to training and in the evening to the performance. Often from Monday to Sunday. Then there were the matinees and tours.

Even as a child, I was taught how important it is to have a technique that I can recall well in order to be able to meet the demands of the audience and the demands on myself, even in stressful or difficult situations. I probably unconsciously had my parents' example in mind when I decided to take singing lessons to further develop my vocal potential and raise it to a new level.

When I started teaching, I was studying theatre studies and modern German literature. Even then, music was an important part of my life and although I finished my studies, it was ultimately music and singing that became my profession.
Today I pass on my experience and knowledge to all those who, like me back then, are looking for a way to improve their vocal skills. One of the questions I ask my students in the rehearsal lesson is: What are your musical idols, which songs do you spontaneously sing along with when you hear them?

Not everyone has a clear answer to this. And that is not necessary. It is often enough to think about: Why do I want to take lessons? Are there artists who particularly occupy or touch me? How do I feel when I sing? What has changed after I have sung?

Singing has always made me happy. Although I was also ambitious, there was never any compulsion behind it, but simply a lot of joy. There were songs that I listened to and sang over and over again because I wanted to know: How does it work, what are my idols doing, what do I have to do to sound like them? My experience with it was: You keep doing it until you get it right. Then it becomes good, it becomes your own language.

Even today as a vocal coach, it is important to me never to let vocal technique become an end in itself, but to use it as a proven means to enable students to express themselves musically the way they want to: with their own and distinctive emotional expression.

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