Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thank you, Ms. Millo, I needed that

Please read her delicious post, and embrace your fabulous, larger than life, opera-singing bad self.

Here it is!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Frieeeeday

Well, campers, it's a hot one. I wore a very inappropriate dress to work today, because I walk, people, and I have to be able to not die in 103 degree weather. But no one really sees me, so it doesn't matter.

In other riveting news of my life (chuckle), I have a coaching today and I'm quite excited. I love coachings because I feel like it's a chance to really work through your issues with a piece without the pressure of it being perfect. I try to be as prepared as possible, obviously, but the premise is that these are works in progress not yet set in a performance-ready groove. They're supposed to still be very malleable. Having only just arrived at the conclusion that perhaps I don't suck as much as I always thought I did, I am noticing there is so much power in humble confidence. The humility part, of course coming from the knowledge that the more you know about singing, the more you realize you don't know. The confidence part coming from the hard work I have put in and the fact that I am willing to sacrifice and give of myself to be really good at something.

How often do you meet a performer in whom both of those qualities can coexist? It is rather rare.

The problem is that singing is something that is very difficult to ever feel sure of. You can know that the note has usually come out in the past, but you cannot KNOW that it is going to the next time you have to sing it. So it is not confidence in singing, really, that we can ever have, because our cords are fragile, temperamental little things that do weird stuff. It's confidence in ourselves we have to work to cultivate. It's so cliche-ish I almost hate writing it, and because it doesn't help to tell a person with no real inner-navigator to be confident in themselves. It is impossible to accomplish, and it's a phrase too cavalierly thrown around.

For the singer, the humble confidence comes from knowing we have prepared and done our work, and have put every ounce of ourselves (in the truest sense of the word "self") into what we are doing, and after that we are able to just let it go, and be okay with what comes out. It's the ability to get out of the way of the music and say, it's really not about me. I am here in service of something a lot more important than my voice and my career.

Sometimes it is a bit staggering to think that we are singing things that have stood the test of thousands of performances and hundreds of years. It kind of puts it all in perspective. I'm just one more soprano learning another revered work of the the canon, and in the words of holy writ: there is nothing new under the sun.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Reasons why today is a great day:

1. Gigs. Apparently, and presumably, I am not going to starve this year. YAY!

2. Cooking dinner for the first time in weeks! YAY! Oh how I've missed it.

3. I just discovered there is a really good blog that will help me keep a close eye on everything Kate Middleton wears.

4. Taught a great lesson to a wonderful student who is such an inspiration to me.

5. Practicing: it's going better than I thought it would this time of the month if you know what I mean. I don't feel like I am dragging a wagon of boulders up a hill while trying to phonate and that is a good thing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday: Truth

You must read this blog post.

Wednesday: Olivia Moment

This shoot is ridic. And as the Brits would say: get a load of those pins! Some mid-week style inspiration!


I just got back from an extended weekend of family fun at the beach. I laughed the whole time. Like real laughter. The kind where you can't breathe.

It was in the midst of one of these bouts that I realized I couldn't remember how long it had been since I'd laughed like that. In school I was the girl who laughed at everything-- all the jokes the boys made, even the dumb ones. I was a giggle-box, and I think it probably drove everyone nuts. Laughing was a really big part of my day. I also had buck teeth and thick glasses, and child-bearing hips, even at that tender age, so you can imagine. It's a wonder I could muster a snicker. Now I seem to have learned not to be such an annoying little girl. Which actually might not be as great of an accomplishment as it sounds! I still have issues with lots of things about looks, but back then, I have to admit, I looked way worse. But I don't remember even really caring so much--it barely bothered me back then that I wasn't that pretty. Now I am a disaster if I forget to put on mascara one morning. Maybe it was all the laughing that kept me from worrying about things that just don't matter.

How healing it is to be around people who can make you laugh, just ordering breakfast, sitting on the beach, doing whatever. To get that much laughing in is like the best treat in the world.

And coming home was tough, but I suddenly have all this motivation and I don't exactly know where it came from! I am preparing for coachings, auditions, performances with renewed vigor. Oh, and I am very tan. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I am still mentally in another time zone, and that alarm clock is not my friend. Morning came early this time, for realz.

Tomorrow night, I'm singing a wedding. Every singer's favorite summer past-time. Mostly because it is soo lovely and fun to sing Ave Maria, and Panis Angelicus, and The Lord's Prayer, and all the cheesy delights of yore. I simply love singing them, because they are ALWAYS a hit. Even if you sing it badly, everyone loves it! Hell, I love it! Say what you want, but those guys knew how to write for the voice. So many of the anthems I come across as a church soloist make it painfully clear that lots of composers just didn't put in the time to figure out how singing actually works, and more specifically, how each voice type works in different parts of their range. Sadly, a piece having been published, by no means denotes it's effectiveness. And people, you can think the lyrics match the sermon all you want, but if it doesn't WORK, then, no one will be moved by the words you were so anxious to have sung.

After singing the wedding, I'm going to the beach. Which is as it should be.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I am back from vacation and ohhh boyyy what a time we had. And now here I am, trying to get my singing voice back in order. I had a lesson scheduled for tonight, but my poor teacher is feeling under the weather, so I will have to be my own teacher for tonight. It's not a bad thing, but I always like to have a lesson right after vacations from singing, just to start me back in the right direction.

So, I think I'll try recording myself and listening to do a bit of self-correcting.

I find that my middle always suffers a bit after breaks, so I must get back on the wagon and work at it again.

In other news, I've come back from Vegas with some fabulous costume's the one thing show girls and opera singers have in common!

Saturday, July 09, 2011


I am about to get started teaching in about a half an hour, but I thought I'd sit down and write about how awesome life can be sometimes. :) First: the farmer's market this morning was wonderful! I got another watermelon. I'm going to go ahead and admit I'm totally obsessed...I could eat watermelon all day long.

This week has been such a wonderful smorgasbord of fun outings with friends, and it is starting to feel like this is my favorite summer ever. It sounds silly for a grown up like me to say, but I feel really lucky.

Another super plus amazing THANK YOU UNIVERSE is that, just as I am starting to worry I will have no opera to sing this year, I am asked to be part of a concert with some arias and scenes, with really fab singers. The ultimate pay off for me in singing opera, teaching, church jobs, regular jobs, anything...are those times when you get to be with people who are special, talented, motivated, hard-working, and give you opportunities to learn from them while you work together. I mean, it's downright inspiring! I would rather have that any day of the week than money, although, once in a while a girl does have to pay for rent, and well...dresses. Thank goodness I have a day job for that!

I think my idea about the bottom line (for singing gigs, at least) is maybe a bit different than some. Money, great to have. But I'm not starving, I buy the occaisional pair of shoes! The music is the bottom line.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


It was one of those mornings you wake and realize you are officially old. I mean, if I had two rather innocuous vodka sodas with lime and wake up with a headache...sigh...apparently I have some work to do. Or else, I am just not bouncing back the way I once did. I warmed up this morning and I can still sing fine, though...weird that my voice is more resilient than the rest of myself.

At any rate, I have had a little help from friends motivating myself to get some rep together for a recital. It's a good thing.

Because I have all these dresses I need to get some mileage out of.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


I am having a hell of a time being unmotivated this week. What with the Fourth of July and all, it's really been a fabulous, relaxing time to cook, go to work, and only practice when I have to. It's actually sounds kind of nutty, but I feel like I'm on vacation when I don't have to be anywhere at night after work. If that's how you feel too, you might just be a professional musician.

Having that extra day yesterday was amazing. I made marinara sauce, bread, yogurt, and painted my nails this truly invigorating shade of hot pink that happens to look hot with my tan.

Yes, I have a tan. Joe and I took a mini vacay this weekend, in search of an outdoor pool. We found one at a hotel where we could use points and a get a free night! It was lovely. And I saw The Hangover 2, which, frankly, was underwhelming.

It is these stretches, a couple weeks at a time, when I enjoy being able to forget that I am a singer. Except that I never really do.