Tuesday, September 16, 2008

feelings, consistency, and being just downright scared

My mind is a veritable war zone while preparing for a show...sometimes I don't sleep well, I spend copious amounts of time trying to make sure that my notes are fail proof: totally "in my voice," with NO chance of vocal drama, and sometimes I totally freak out. I guess I'm really just trying to protect myself from the vulnerability that IS singing virtuosic repertoire in front of lots of people. The scariest of which are, of course, your own colleagues. You know, the other people on stage with you-- the ones who also sing and have very distinct opinions about singing.

I forgot how completely terrifying it can be.

In school, we had a kind of built in camaraderie that made us support each other, at least to our faces :), who knows what they were all saying behind our backs. But that feedback was so important-- hearing someone SAY something about what you had just sung, was at least for me, very comforting. And I'm noticing that often, professionally, in the big wide world, singing opera is our job, and we're simply expected to DO it. You may or may not get any feedback. No one feels the need to tell you how fabulous you are. Maybe you're not particularly fabulous. Or maybe you are, but after all, you're getting paid to be fabulous just like everyone else, so it's kind of just what everyone needs you to do. Or your feedback gets to everyone BUT you, which is often the case.

After each rehearsal and performance, I almost always have a very strong feeling about how I sounded. It was either really good, really whatever, or really bad. It's different every time. It FEELS different every time. And one thing is for sure: I ALWAYS wish I had done something or other a little bit better.

In the last production, there were moments I was convinced were kind of vocally embarrassing, based on my own inside-the-head-commentary and am neurotic enough want to know if I was right...but you can't go around asking people: "how was that? how did that note sound to you? was I in tune?" It's a recipe for disaster, and everyone would be super annoyed. It's called confidence, Jessica. And you need to get some. :)

Well, I did eventually get some unsolicited feedback, and it seems that most of us are a lot more consistent than we THINK we are. That is, to others people, not inside my own head, I sound pretty much the same all the time, and my feelings are rarely reliable-- I guess that whole technique thing is worth all the money I spent on it after all.

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