[Barbara Streisand’s] early voice training amounted to one lesson with a voice teacher. At that session Ms. Streisand sang “A Sleepin’ Bee,” the Harold Arlen song that she performed in her first television appearance, on “The Jack Paar Show” in 1961, just before turning 19.
During the lesson Ms. Streisand got as far as the first line: “When a bee lies sleepin’ in the palm of your hand.” The teacher stopped her. “She said, ‘No, no, you have to say bee-e-e-,’ ” Ms. Streisand recounted, prolonging the word and singing it with a rounded, quasi-operatic tone. “I thought that was unnatural so I told her, ‘No, I have to sing the word as an extension of my speaking.’ ” On her own, over a career of nearly 50 years, Ms. Streisand figured out just about everything there is to know about singing.
Source: Anthony Tommasini, “Streisand’s Fine Instrument and Classic Instinct”, The New York Times, 24 September 2009.
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