Interview with Eliana, vocalist and teacher

About the Author: Stefan Joubert

Stefan Joubert is the director of the Paris Music Institute. He is passionate about music education for adults and believes that it is never too late to start learning a musical instrument.

Stefan Joubert: Hello Eliana. Tell me about yourself and how you became interested in singing.

Eliana: I come from a musical family. My father is a classical guitarist, my mother a salsa and bolero singer, and my grandmother an opera singer. At home there was always music and parties were enlivened by live music. It came very naturally.

Stefan Joubert: I see!

Stefan Joubert: When did you start singing? At what age?

Eliana: I started singing in a choir when I was 10 and started taking singing lessons when I was 12.

Stefan Joubert: How did you experience the first years of the course? Was it a struggle at first or did it always come naturally to you?

Eliana: It was a bit complicated because there are teachers who can be very strict. The atmosphere can become heavy and the process stressful, but I quickly found teachers who made me fall in love with singing and vocal technique.

Stefan Joubert: Wonderful!

Stefan Joubert: At Paris Music Institute, we mainly offer singing lessons for adult beginners. What do you do to encourage adults who are really afraid to sing and who had bad experiences in their youth?

Eliana: We must always remember that singing is, above all, a pleasure. You sing to have fun and to enjoy the music. I think in general I have a rather playful approach. You use technique as a means and not as an end. The aim is to enjoy.

Stefan Joubert: What kind of techniques do you use to help adults learn singing properly?

Eliana: To sing, you have to be relaxed. We always start with a physical warm-up where we get to know our instrument: the entire human body.

Stefan Joubert: And what does a typical lesson look like?

Eliana: We do breathing exercises to 'build up' the diaphragm and to gain endurance. Then we do exercises to relax the upper body and jaw, and to gain flexibility in the larynx. Then we warm up vocally and finally we sing!

Stefan Joubert: Can anyone learn to sing? I constantly get enquiries from students who tell me... they don't know if they can ever sing.

Eliana: Yes! Everyone can learn how to sing! It's just that some people will take longer than others to learn, but everyone can sing!

Stefan Joubert: Do you think technology will destroy voice training? I'm thinking of the case where technology can change the pitch of the voice and adapt it to someone else's voice and where stars can sing regardless of the pitch of the voice, etc.

Stefan Joubert: Perhaps using artificial intelligence....

Eliana: I don't think it will destroy the learning of the voice. At the end of the day, singing is an artistic expression, so there will always be room for creation.

Stefan Joubert: How do you help students to improve their intonation?

Eliana: By using exercises involving listening skills accompanied by the piano.

Stefan Joubert: How do you help students overcome stage fright or performance anxiety?

Eliana: With breathing and relaxation exercises. Small exercises that can be done in 2 minutes and that refocus the breath in the belly.

Stefan Joubert: What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful singer, and how do you help your students to develop these qualities?

Eliana : Vocal confidence is very important. It allows the singer to detach from the technique and move towards a beautiful interpretation. However, to achieve this, one must be consistent and repeat the same exercises over and over again! This is what we do in class.

Stefan Joubert: How do you help students develop and maintain good vocal health and prevent vocal strain or injury?

Eliana : The most important thing is to understand that the warm-up is the most important part of the singer's routine. Then there are always little tips to follow, like drinking a lot of water, sleeping well, not shouting, etc.

Stefan Joubert: Do you often perform in public? Where can we see your live performances?

Eliana : Yes! I often sing at Sunset Sunside on Rue des Lombards. Otherwise, I perform a little bit everywhere. The next big concert will take place on June 22nd at Sunset Sunside with a tribute project to Michel Legrand's 'Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.' With the same project, we have a residency in November-December at Théâtre de La Croisée des Chemins. I usually share everything on my Instagram account @elibarretoll.

Stefan Joubert: Thank you very much for your time, Eliana, and for sharing these tips with our readers.

About Eliana

Eliana has been immersed in music from a young age thanks to her father, who is a musician. At the age of 8, she joined a theater group and had her first experiences on stage as an actress. Later, she pursued training in musical theater. Today, she continues her music education in Paris while studying Hispanic-American literature at Sorbonne, using this cultural richness to inspire her compositions.

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