Joyce is truly a masterful and generous teacher. But she is also a performer, even when she teaches, knowing what she owes the audience.. She is always entertaining and deeply engaged, keen on making her students understand that a classical singer’s work is an art, not a show. She wants them to go deeper, get more involved with and conscious of their own process. The best thing she said, and there were many great one-liners, was, “The sound is not for you, it’s for us. What you get is the sensation of creating it.” This resonated with me – I often tell my students: “You are not the emotion, you are the carrier of it.” In other words, Joyce sees the danger of the singer listening to him or herself – and falling in love with their own sound. Dangerous. Unless you are, say, Leontyne Price.
Joyce was very, very tough on those kids. Damn. The benefit of the class might not hit the singers for a long time, perhaps not in years. They all struggled greatly to understand what she was getting at but she was lightyears ahead of them while they were locked in their (bad) habits. Still, there was progress. A new awareness was instilled in them, an awareness of their current limitations (very humbling). Whatever they had thought they were until this point, they had to accept that they were not. I know the feeling, I have lived through it, and it hurts. What’s more, she made teams ee that they ought to aim for something else altogether. She did not let them get away with any tricks. She is a very demanding purist, but in her own way, very caring and generous. She is another one of those who :cracked the code. It’s always a privilege to see her, be it singing or teaching.