Learning & Memorizing
I use about every trick in the book, and some that I've made up, to learn & memorize my music. I had a conversation with a colleague the other day and we discussed how a few of our students don't really seem to learn in between lessons, even if we've given them action steps. It seems like a lot of newer students see their lessons as their time to learn music rather than how to learn technique. I approach every role as if I'm totally new to the process...and I find that especially helpful when revisiting a role. Each time, my flow gets better because I use my prep time to shed any habits that I had built into the role but no longer want.
Here are some of the basic ways I learn roles:
Step 1: Read the score
Step 2: Do my translations.
Step 3: IPA transcription above my lyrics. Yeah, it's messy on the page and I know most of my pronunciation, but I find it really helpful as a reference when I'm working on music and something isn't 'clicking' vocally. Usually if I go back to the pure IPA approach of reading the lyrics, I find the line better. Even when I do an opera in English, I still will write out the IPA of any weird consonant/vowel clusters. I write in any modifications I think are needed. And I won't write it out by word, but by how the line should sound when sung. I have a nasty habit of starting my ending consonants too soon and this helps me.