Necessary GaGa Mentor, Masterclass comes to American Idol

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CLEVELAND – How do you feel about getting a little psycho? 

Summary of this nasty, insatiable spectacle that continues to define and transcend into the timeless:

  • Give them a little Edith Piaf. Fabulous. If you have not watched Inception’s Marion Cotillard joie de vivre; visceral interpretation of La Vie en Rose, you’re probably not reading this to begin with…
  • There’s nothing wrong with Ginger Rogers.
  • Elvis was moving his hips.
  • Little known fact: GaGa’s mentor used to tie her wrists together during scales, arpeggios, runs, warmups etc .

I remember my tutor, Howard Spindler at the Eastman School of Music and alumni of Oberlin College (another school I originally auditioned with), used to make me cut my nails if I came to sessions unprepared. It was like nails (pun intended) on a chalkboard for him:

Click. Click. Slide. C-LICK.

Not conducive to flying fingers. Other tactics Spindler would use with me was putting a ruler or piece of paper in front of the sheet music when I began to rely too heavily on the notes and not the story, the pathos/ethos/logos of Bartók, Chopin, Rachmaninoff (damn his gargantuan hands!), Mozart, Beethoven, Shostakovich or Schumann’s Stories for Children.

But perhaps my favorite of his methods: literally slapping my wrists from underneath if I began to push them downward (which leads to carpal tunnel), as if I’d touched boiling, lava-hot magma: Reflex. Get your wrists (or in little monster’s case: Paws) up!!!!


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