I have decided this year to go down to one post per month here. This way, my posts should be of a little more substance. This post is going to be my year in review post, with a brief update on this year, as well.
This past year has been one of great growth vocally. I have become completely comfortable in the tenor tessitura, although the high notes do still give me some trouble in performance, due to nerves. I have built a reliable Ab and A natural in the last year, and I am working currently on solidifying my Bb and working towards the B natural. Every day I feel things becoming more and more comfortable and I am beginning to identify with my tenor voice. The fruits of this year have represented themselves through my first contracted role, a comprimario role which I will be singing in March with Rochester Lyric Opera.
This summer I will be moving out of the Rochester area in search of more opportunities for both me and my wife. In preparation for this move, I will be planning and performing a recital in the late spring or early summer. I have not yet decided what the repertoire will be, but I am leaning towards a mixed program of predominantly French and German repertoire, with some Italian thrown in to pay tribute to the area of Rochester I live in, which is practically all Italian.
My year of German was ultimately a success, too. I did not get to the level that I was hoping to in the language, but I do feel comfortable in basic day-to-day conversation and feel that I would be able to get around the country were I to go there tomorrow.
This was my first language I had studied without any prior knowledge, and I feel that my method worked very well. I have found that it is difficult for me to keep up my studies as consistently as is necessary to really achieve fluency in a year. This is in part due to my schedule and the fact that most of my studying was happening while I was at work between the hours of three and five in the morning. A number of times, it was too difficult to stay awake while studying at this time of day, and this ultimately led me to days and weeks where I would not study. I also found that I do not need to invest in the products I was investing in to learn a language. I am convinced that I can achieve my desired level in a language simply by using LingQ and speaking with anyone I come across who happens to speak my target language. This combination of input and output simultaneously has been extremely useful to me and I believe this is how I will approach the rest of my language studies.
This year, my mission is to reactivate and improve my Spanish language skills. I studied Spanish for three years in high school and was fairly comfortable speaking with my friend from the Dominican my first years of college. I have since not really used the language much. While my Spanish is still passable because of my Italian and English, I would like to become more comfortable in the language so that I may use it to my advantage in the day job market.
My goal for this year is to learn 8,000 words of Spanish on LingQ and reach a high-intermediate level in the language. In following the 1.6 ratio I have discussed before, this would translate to about 5,000 word families known. In order to give a better idea of this level, the average native English speaker knows approximately 17,000 word families; so this will get me about a third of the way to native fluency, and should make me very comfortable in the language, assuming I speak as much as I should with friends and at meetups, etc.
This is going to be a very challenging year for me, but I look forward to it. I anticipate a lot of growth this year, both in my language abilities and in my singing and performing.