Thursday, November 1, 2012

Voice Lesson: So Much to do; so Little Time

Today I am attending my second session with my voice teacher who will attempt to steer me in the right direction so that neither I nor my misguided conductor will regret that I said "yes" to doing the Alto solo mentioned in my previous posting.  Yes, I know this blog is called Choral Confessions but my having to sing these few solo notes have bumped the entire choral section off of my radar screen.    Really, am I going to be able to enjoy this concert at all? 

Now I have not taken a voice lesson in a long time and I was a bit nervous about my first lesson but my knowledgeable teacher just had me dive right in and began to offer advice.  "Why are you punching every note?  How do I answer that?  I am not normally an aggressive person but apparently when I sing I turn into a prize fighter?  This does not make for a very nice sound and is not like Maureen Forrester at all. Who knew?  All I have to do is stop punching the notes.  As for not liking the way my phrases end she has this to offer.  "how do you stop your sound? "  "I don't know" is not the right answer.  The correct answer to this is "by inhaling."  So she advised me to simply inhale when I want the sound to stop.  That is all fine and good but it also happend that I am not breathing from the right place, so inhaling and exhaling have to be re-learned. (Oh is that all?)  Then there is the recitative that has a note I don't so much hit as 'scoop up.'  So she tried to teach me to put down my scoop and go on the attack.  Actually this had been frustrating me before I ever got to my lesson and her advice was clear and rather easy to follow.  I was saying the initial consonant on the preceding note and then the vowel on the right note which made for the Scoop Sound.   So after she pruned at me for 29 minutes the last minute managed to get a fairly acceptable sound out of me.   I am hoping that this week I will be able to remember at least one of these things without her having to remind me.  I can choose from the following:

1.  Don't breathe the way I normally breathe.

2.  Refrain from punching; try bow across a cello image instead.

3.  Inhale when I wish to stop sound.

4.  Leave scoop at home.

When rehearsing at home I find I can get an acceptable sound about 40% of the time.  I don't think I will be lucky enough to have one of these times occur at the concert  when I will have to throw up, I mean, throw my nervous tension into this mixture.  Today I will probably get an additional 4 bad habits to break and the  Concert is only one month from today!