Thursday, April 22, 2010


Singing is such a weird and wonderful thing. My voice can feel Renee Fleming fabulous one day, then it starts to rain or the pollen count goes to hell, and my whole day is wrecked by the heaviness and immobility of my voice. Whatever happens, though, I will always like singing more than say, going to the office. That is a given, I suppose. My work is to try to become a little less volatile and a little more grounded when it comes to my emotional reaction to how the voice is feeling.

On those days when my onset is so easily clean, and all the flexibility is just there, with high Q above L, I'm very pleased with myself, and feel as though I've accomplished so much while practicing. But I have to consciously expend energy on reversing the thoughts that invade my brain on the "other days" of singing-- which, is probably when I get the most done. It always amazed me how I could walk into my voice lessons thinking there was no hope for my voice on any given day, and somehow, with some carefully selected exercises and a little concentration, by the end of the lesson, I felt like a goddess again. So I am trying to figure out how to be good to myself in those practice sessions, to move forward patiently, without a lot of judging.

I continue to torture Joe with my neurosis (he knew what he was getting into, I assure you), by asking him to compare how I sounded one day with how I sounded another. I think he is actually a little bewildered by this question, because as a pianist, it is hard to imagine how one could think they sound so different from one day to the next. Thank god he is patient with me, but the honest answer is always that there is very little difference at all.

Having started to feel like my technical prowess is really coming in for me, factors like red wine the night before, pollen, and dryness are becoming easier to sing through and have a good showing. My most dangerous obstacle is, I have found, lack of SLEEP. Without physical energy, nothing good can come out of my mouth. It is just wasted breath unless I am present in the body and mind and able to think clearly. Which is actually kind of nice to know-- it used to be such a stressful existence when I felt like the slightest thing could ruin my whole throat.

This week and next will be true tests of my stamina: rehearsals, funerals, church, work, I have to fit them all in there somewhere. It always happens, it always turns out okay, and I am so lucky to have things to sing. But it will be my focus this week to be patient with my vocal cords and have realistic expectations for the poor little things. Because, as always, when it rains, it pours.

1 comment:

Jayme said...

I think you should write a book...something like 'Trifles of a neurotic soprano.' You have such a natural and compelling way of showing, well, how human you are! Hope all is well...miss you!