Saturday, September 12, 2009

Let's Twist Again... On 2nd Thought, Let's Not

Great voice lesson this morning!

First, of course, she asked me WHY I was trying to sing Gretchen when we hadn't gone over the pronunciation and rhythm and all that. She basically gave me the same lecture/advice as SEY did in the comment here. Patience, patience, patience, layer by layer, one thing at a time and so on. Then we went over the first two pages of music, IPA, pronunciation (yeah of course I was pronouncing a few things WRONG!!) and rhythm, then I sang just those two pages and we worked on that a bit. Oh even before all that... well, AFTER the lecture but BEFORE the singing, we did some warm-ups to work through what she calls "the valley of the shadow of death," those low-ish notes where my voice (and other people's voices too, I imagine) tends to break and crack. Then we were doing things up and down with a glottal stop to prevent me from adding an H to the beginning of the vowels. At one point she stopped me and asked if I realized I was doing a bit of what she called a "washing machine twist." For certain parts of the scale, but not all, apparently I was doing this little sway back and forth as I sang. I'll have to look back at the videos to look for it. So I concentrated on standing still, keeping the breath low, using the low abs and all that, not adding that H to the beginning, up and down and up and down to iron out that break... THEN we worked on Gretchen. Ok that's not true either... she said something about the A vowel being difficult at certain notes, which reminded me that I wanted to ask her about one section of Batti Batti, the "sapro baciar" part, where I have so much trouble with "baciar." At least I thought I did. I think I do. She had me sing it and said it didn't SOUND like I had trouble with it. She said that the CH causes us to close down when we need to be open for the next vowel, the A. She suggested practicing those measures without the CH and then adding it back in. Same old story. So back to Gretchen because AFTER that, we did work on it. My homework for Gretchen is to keep the vowels going to the end of the words. Some of the notes are held for a bit, and I tend to let down as if I've run out of energy. Thinking about it now, I think it's because I'm unsure of the song, so hopefully I'll be able to practice now, along with the cassette recording I made of the lesson, and gain more confidence. My other homework is to read about Faust, to see where Gretchen's lament about losing her lover fits into the story. My teacher said she loves how I can carry the emotion in the music, and it'll be better if I really understand the character and the story beyond, "She's distraught because she lost her lover."

So that's my homework for the week. Oh and to focus on standing STILL. I guess it's back to the mirror for me.

Oh, and she read/watched (and commented on) this. She thought it was great. She knows Alex because she used to each in the Early Childhood department and was his teacher for two years. That's how I met her, and when she switched to teaching voice she recruited me as one of her students. Read about that here.

When I got home, Alex asked me for a blank tape to record some CDs, just because it's fun to play with the boom box, so I gave him an old voice lesson recording. Well, before recording his songs onto it, he listened to the whole thing. I was in the next room and it was strange (and almost creepy, for some reason?) to hear my voice doing scales and what-not from the next room.

I'm so happy to have my voice lessons resume!

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