QUESTION 01 | 08
Depuis quand développez-vous une passion pour la musique et plus particulièrement pour votre instrument de prédilection ?
Kasia — I first developed a passion for music when I was approximately 8 years old and we were introduced to the recorder in school. I went home and learned all of the songs in the book we were given and when the teacher saw me playing, she suggested I take clarinet classes. I then went on to earn a scholarship in clarinet in high school. When I was 15, my father bought me a guitar and I began to write songs. I had been singing before for myself, but now I was writing and singing my own songs, I wanted to sing them to others so I began taking singing lessons. My real passion for singing developed through singing my own songs from around age 15 and wanting to be able to express myself in the best way possible.
QUESTION 02 | 08
Quelle musique pouvez-vous écouter en boucle avec toujours le même plaisir (et sans devenir dingue) ?
Kasia — I could and indeed have listened to Ella Fitzgerald's swing songs on loop many many times. She is my favourite artist and I love the way she combines technical skill with a passion and evident joy in her music and singing. Her solos are so long and complex and there are so many details even in the way that she sings melodies that it takes listening to them many many times to learn them!
QUESTION 03 | 08
Parlez-nous du cours le plus difficile ou étonnant que vous avez pu donner !
Kasia — The most difficult classes are with students who say that they want to improve their singing, but they have a lot of resistance to the process of change as they have a lot of anxiety and lack of confidence in themselves in general as people and find it very hard to go out of their comfort zones. They want to change but stay the same at the same time as they don't want to go through uncomfortable feelings or feeling like they have to risk anything.
I had one student like this a few years ago who I will always remember. He sang very quietly with a lot of strain and tension and he always seemed very uncomfortable in the lesson.He said that he wanted to sing with a bigger and clear voice with more projection and be able to sing high notes so for a few lessons, I taught him exercises for help him with this. There would be a change while we were doing the exercise but when he went back to singing his songs normally with words, his voice would go back to being quiet and strained. I pride myself on making big changes for students within a class and for them to be singing their songs with a noticeable and often big improvement by the end. I was teaching methods which I had seen working very very well with other students but it seemed no matter what we did or if we managed to change something, this student's voice was determined to go back to the way it was to begin with.
This was a breakthrough in my teaching because I realised that he was going back to what he knew because that was his comfort zone! He said that he wanted to sing with a projected, clear voice, but actually he felt safe and comfortable to stay very quiet. I realised this was similar to a person's body language when they are crossing their legs and sitting in a position that makes them very small, as opposed to people who sit with open legs, and an open chest, taking up lots of space. I wanted to help this person and give him the changes that he was paying me for. So after I realised this, I gave him some exercises and instructions for a specific way of singing that forced him to sing with a big voice. The result was that suddenly this magnificent, projected, clear voice came, hitting the high notes but I could feel that the student was very uncomfortable. Unfortunately though sometimes we need push students to do something they are uncomfortable with in order for them to progress and I really find that one of the skills of being a good teacher is knowing when to push students and by how much.
QUESTION 04 | 08
D'après vous, quel est l'instrument le plus compliqué à maîtriser et pourquoi ?
Kasia — After learning many instruments (clarinet, saxophone, guitar, and piano), I find that the voice is the hardest instrument to master. With other instruments, you have a visual cue outside of yourself that can give you clear objectives to work towards. With singing, everything is happening internally. There are so many parts of you that co-ordinate together and therefore so many things reasons why you're not achieving the sound you want…but as a singer, especially as a beginner, the only feedback you have is that it may not sound good or feel right. You can't adjust your finger a little to the left like you can on the piano. Many of us have so many habitual co-ordinations in our body that we cannot even feel what we are doing for ourselves. Therefore, the singer is faced with a situation where they want to make changes that they can neither see or feel clearly.
QUESTION 05 | 08
Quelles sont, pour vous, les clés de la réussite ?
Kasia — The sole key to success is to never give up! Nearly all stories of people who have achieved great things include involves working consistently over long periods of time on their goals even when things seem impossible, especially after failure and rejection. There are many stories of people not being the most talented to start with but succeeding through passion and dedication. They say that an overnight success takes 10 years!
QUESTION 06 | 08
Citez 3 musiciens avec lesquels vous rêveriez de faire un boeuf dans un bar à 2 h du mat et dites-nous pourquoi.
Kasia — Ella Fitzgerald because she not only has amazing soloist capabilities but there are also recordings of her singing solos live and having so much fun, like a child playing with the other musicians.
Regina Spektor because she is an amazing piano player, singer and songwriter. She is very creative with her music; unique in many different styles. I think she would be amazingly fun to have a jam with, thinking of unusual things to try.
For the third person, I would choose any musician from the Beuna Vista Social Club. I love the rhythmic intricacies of South American, particularly Cuban, music. They have such a skill for combining different rhythmic patterns with their percussion, melodic instruments and voices. This would add such a different element to the jam and take it to new, creative and fun directions.
QUESTION 07 | 08
Une anecdote à raconter en rapport avec votre métier ou votre scolarité.
Kasia — As a huge fan of Ella Fitzgerald, I started going to some jazz jams where musicians would all do solos and, occasionally, I would see a vocalist doing solos. At that time, I also loved the film Pitch Perfect where singers had voice battles.
When I first started going to the jazz jams, I would just do the melody of the song, like most singers did and not do a solo. However, I started playing around at home with some scatting, trying to learn Ella's solos. One day, I went to the jam and there was a trumpet player on the stage. He came up to me while the piano player was doing his solo and said "we'll do a battle!". I started to protest, telling him I wasn't ready, but he didn't listen. I reluctantly agreed to do the battle. I didn't know what I was doing, I have no idea if it sounded good or not, but I had soooo much fun, it was exciting and fulfilling. I felt like I had finally done something that I had been dreaming of for a very long time.
I use this story sometimes with students to exemplify a few things: if you wait until you are ready, you will never be ready; you get better at doing things by doing them; and that the most important thing about music is to enjoy what you are doing. Progress comes once you step out of your comfort zone. It didn't matter if I was magnificent at scatting when I did my first battle, what matters is that I did it. Once the first one is done, it's easier to do the second, and you'll find yourself getting better every time.
QUESTION 08 | 08
Quel est votre petite touche qui fait de vous un Superprof adoré par tous ses élèves ?
Kasia — It took me a long time, a lot of lessons and trying a lot of different things before I could finally sing what and how I wanted. I really understand that it can be a very anxious experience and that people can lack confidence. I don't act like I'm someone who is higher than the students I teach, rather someone who understands their situation and has been in it and is further down the road and wants to help them. I think I am someone who students can feel comfortable with and while progress is, of course, the aim, the more comfortable they feel, the faster they will make progress. I understand what it's like to be really nervous singing in front of someone when you don't sound good and I make the lessons fun and friendly while teaching the most effective techniques.