I ran across this video of Alyssa Rossi, probably the best young vocalist I have ever heard. I know nothing about her, but she is incredible. After hearing this rendition of “O Holy Night”, and wiping the tears from my face, I started looking into her life. Not only is she a great singer, but she has an incredible story. She is blind and has the most precious heart, humble, clearly not a “diva” like many young aspiring singers today.

Then I researched a little more, and found out that not only is she a singer, but a runner as well. She has that “I will not give up” attitude, a much-needed trait if she is to succeed as a singer. Many young people do not have this and when times get tough, they quit. Not Alyssa!

Here is a link to a newspaper article about her running teamwork.

Vocal technique alone does not make a performer. I have met many young singers who have a lot of natural talent but do not have the character in order to follow through and succeed. I can tell very early if a student is going to make it as a performer. Obviously the level of success depends on many factors, some of it involves circumstances beyond anyone’s control. But if certain traits are not there, they will not make it past a small solo in school chorus.

One trait successful singers must have is a teachable spirit. Those who think they already know everything are the worst to work with. They will not improve because they do not listen to their instructor. It is a form of rebellion and I see it often, unfortunately. Students like this do not even make it into my intermediate groups because they rebel against even the simplest of demands, like being on time, wearing the correct costume, etc.

Another issue a student of the performing arts must have is an ability to take criticism without getting discouraged. Singers who thank me when I point out a technique that will help them improve show promise. They listen carefully and apply what they learn.

Thirdly, and certainly not the only other ingredient to success, is their passion for music. If they do not love music, they will not practice. I was first a piano and bassoon player, yet when I was sent to the practice room in college, I would find myself practicing singing. This is when I knew I needed to major in vocal music. You have got to love it in order to work on a song, practicing it over and over again. People who do not like repetition will probably not make it in music.

Going back to this beautiful young lady Alyssa, my heart is warmed by her zest for life, music and ministry. She studies worship music at Vanguard University and I wish her well.

Ann Paris

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