In honor of April Fool’s, we took the time this month to interview one of our most successful students–Molly W’s dog, Fen. Some of you who’ve taken lessons at the Orange studio (along with some veteran Glee students) have gotten a chance to meet Fen, but what you may not know is that he’s quite the musician himself.
MM: How did you get started with music, and how long have you been doing it?
FW: I grew up in a very musical pack that, of course, includes Molly. Her students are always out in the studio. Sometimes I get to sit in on the lessons, because I’m a great encourager and love to listen to people sing. Lessons are scary, but I help students if they’re nervous. Really I’m an enormous benefit to the school, but I still don’t even have a bio on the site.
MM: Do you share your musical skills with family, friends, or your community? How?
FW: My other pack member, Liam, sings and plays guitar, but he’s yet to ask me to do a duet. I think he’s afraid I’ll steal the show. I don’t play any instruments (opposable thumbs…sigh), but I have a pretty strong voice that really turns heads when I sing the songs of my ancestors. Have you heard them? There’s one about the mailman, and being let out, and another about being let in. It’s in the folk tradition, so I make up my own verses, not that anyone cares about my songwriting abilities. My whole pack gets jealous of my singing voice and tries to get me to stop the second I start. Like I said, I just don’t get any respect, none at all.
MM: What makes you keep up your practice, and what are your goals?
FW: I don’t even practice for too long, probably five minutes at a time, but at least 6 times a day. Teachers always talk about practice being more about the focus then the length, and boy do I stay focused. I am a good boy after all. I even practice at night while they’re trying to sleep. You’d think my pack would be proud of my commitment, but no. They don’t get my art and tell me to be quiet.
MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?
FW: Technique has never been much of a struggle for me. I have excellent breath control and a surprisingly strong head voice. Molly took my dog whimper and now uses it as an exercise with her students. Very few of her singers know that I came up with that one. It’s fantastic for getting rid of breathiness. I yawned once during a lesson, and now teachers use yawns to help students lift their soft palate. They forget to credit me with that one, too. And don’t even get me started on vocal fry! We dogs were accessing our vocal fry growling long before humans could even speak.
MM: What advice would you give to other students just starting out?
FW: Let your voice be heard. Sometimes people will tell you to stop barking, but don’t let them silence you. Someone needs to protect the house and keep the mailman away.