Monday, June 13, 2011


Just when you thought you'd heard everything -- I just read on an online forum for singers that some people take asprin before performances in order to thin their blood and allow them to access their high notes more easily. I'd always heard taking blood thinners at a time when you intend to sing was a bad idea, that is, unless you were really in the mood to deal with a broken blood vessel in your vocal cords.

No matter how solid I feel my technique is becoming, there is always that set of circumstances/hormones that makes it feel like I'll never be able to get my voice to go up the way it needs to. Lots of warming up is required, and slowly, and softly, and lots and lots of lip trills. Those are the days I would be tempted to try a quick fix like the asprin idea...but is probably also the time when it would be the worst time to do it, since it's any kind of pushing the voice that can cause damage.

For some reason, I seem to have embarked upon a season of singing very high. At least I feel like my new arias have notes that I had not made a habit of singing in public for a few years. I always had them in there, but I'd been singing the lyric soprano rep that really tops out at around a high B. Now, I'm adding in a few other things that could be considered just slightly more on the coloratura side, to show a bit more range. Although I am not and probably never will step fully onto that other greener side of the pasture. I'm very much happy and fine with that, to be honest.

The true challenge of singing, besides the actual singing part, is trying to figure out what really shows you off to greatest advantage. What you sing just as well or better than anyone else, and what your look and timbre can support. Yes, we all sing things because we can, but I am starting to think that the window of roles for which I am really perfect is not as large as what everyone's teacher would have them believe.

When someone says to me: "You should just go get some Kiri te Kanawa recordings-- I think that you can probably sing anything she sings," don't get me wrong I am flattered. Actually, I might even go out and pop a bottle of Veuve in celebration, sitting out on the park bench in front of that person's apartment building. But I know better than that. I know that that is just too easy an answer. I actually paid a coach good money who said that to me.

What in the heck was I thinking?

Then we start to really think about things logically.

1. How high and with what level of facility can I sing confidently?

2. How much cut and strength do I have in my middle voice?

3. What is my timbre? Bright, dark, Italian, German?

4. How loud am I? How big an orchestra can I sing over without doing myself a harm?

5. How tall am I?

6. Am I thin? (ummmm, I hate that question)

7. As myself, speaking from what I feel about myself as a person, am I a damsel in distress, a coquette, or a strong-willed type? Do I lean more toward a demeanor of elegance or that of fun?

See, I told you. It's a pretty complex matrix. I feel like I need to get a flow chart going or something.

And now, I'm getting stressed. I think I'll go to yoga.

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