Some of our episodes talk about a conductor’s journey as a musician, or their philosophical understanding of the nature of choral music. Some episodes are pure toolkits: here’s what you need to solve your problems. This episode has the rare distinction of being both. Dr. Kronauer and Ryan cover the “hows” of directing teenage male voices, as well as the “whys” behind them. You’re going to want to listen to this one twice.
Highlight to Tweet: “Living rigidly is not the game. The game is finding elasticity.” – Steven Kronauer
- Try thinking less in terms of “blend,” and more in terms of “agreement.”
- For the teenage male singer, it’s important to reassure them that change is a part of life. Whatever they are working with (or through) will be fine.
- When dealing with limited range, you need to offer patience and guidance. Provide a model. Avoiding “compensation,” or reaching for a pitch. (“that giraffe thing” – Ryan Guth)
- Posture and alignment are always important, but especially so for teenage boys.
- Accept and love this period of life where you’re going through change!
- Falsetto is huge. HUGE.
- Sing into a straw in a cup of water, so that the sound is focused at the front of the bubbles. It helps practice constant airflow.
- Hum with the tongue between the lips, concentrating on the vibration of the vocal folds while letting go of tensions.
- “You learn to sing by singing.”
- Place your singers according to what will be healthy for them.
DR. STEVEN KRONAUER, a highly experienced voice teacher, tenor, and conductor, is the conductor of Los Angeles Children’s Chorus’ Young Men’s Ensemble, comprised of young men with changing voices.
After completing two Master’s degrees at the University of Michigan, one in Voice Performance and the other in Choral Conducting, Dr. Kronauer began his professional career in the chorus of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany, as its youngest member ever. During his ten-year engagement, he had the privilege of meeting and studying with many noted singers of the highest echelon, including world famous Verdi tenor Dennis O’Neill and Wagnerian baritone Donald MacIntyre. Dr. Kronauer was employed as a soloist with the Bavarian State Opera for television broadcasts, CD recordings, and live radio performances, appearing with Renee Fleming, Kurt Moll, and many others, in secondary tenor roles. Dr. Kronauer performed the role of Smy in a world premiere of the German opera Peter Pan, by Willfried Hiller, directed by the world famous stage director August Everding. This performance was recorded at the Prinz-Regenten Theatre in Munich, Germany, and distributed by Deutche Gramaphone.
Dr. Kronauer has studied oratorio with the finest of the field, including Ernst Haefliger and Peter Schreier, in Germany (while being a guest observer as a conductor at the Deutche Stats Oper in Berlin, Germany). He also studied with tenor John McCollum in the United States. Since then, he established a career in Europe singing oratorio under such noted conductors as Karl Anton Richenbacher and Peter Schneider. Additionally, Dr. Kronauer has sung as a soloist at the Cologne Philharmonic, and with the Munich Philharmonic in Germany. He has sung more than 100 performances of Carmina Burana, internationally. Dr. Kronauer’s interest in opera conducting was enhanced upon becoming acquainted with Zubin Mehta and Wolfgang Sawalisch at the Munich Opera. Dr. Kronauer is a soloist with many organizations since his return from Europe, including a frequent guest with the Angeles Chorale and the National Children’s Chorus, here in Los Angeles.
Dr. Kronauer completed his doctorate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in choral conducting and operatic conducting under the direction of Donald Neuen and William Vendice, respectively. He has worked with Donald Neuen as an assistant conductor with the UCLA Chorale and with Maestro Vendice as the assistant conductor of the UCLA Opera. Previously, The University of Michigan offered Dr. Kronauer the opportunity of completing two Masters Degrees in Vocal Performance (under Lorna Haywood and John McCollum) and Choral Conducting (under Theodore Morrison). There, he was the Assistant Conductor for Jerry Blackstone and the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club. He has also led a choral workshop at the University of Munich. Dr. Kronauer’s expertise focused on performance practice of American and British chorale music. While in Munich he formed The Munich Opera Chamber Chorus, which sang some of the great chamber music of the Germanic tradition, including the complete Liebeslieder waltzes.
Dr. Kronauer has taught on the voice faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp and at the University of California, Irvine. He also had the honor of presenting a lecture to the National Association of Teacher’s of Singing on the “Dos and Don’ts of Starting a Singing Career in Germany.” Dr. Kronauer taught for three years as a member of the voice faculty, and the music director of the opera program at California State University, Los Angeles, conducting fully staged performances of Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck and L’incornatione di Poppea, by Monteverdi. Dr. Kronauer was the Acting Chair of the voice department of the University of California, Santa Barbara for two years and the director of opera activities producing. Currently Dr. Kronauer has a busy private voice studio and is on the faculty of California State University, Long Beach at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music teaching voice and German diction.
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