Monday, October 5, 2009

Here We Go

It's Monday, right? Because for some reason I feel like it's Tuesday and I've waited too long to post about Saturday's voice lesson. Not that there's a time limit or something. I mean, it's my blog. I can post whatever, whenever. In fact I'm humming that Shakira song now just because I typed those words, and now you are too. Although truth be told, I much prefer this version. Uh, you have to watch the first one to get the second one. Maybe.

Wow this post has gone in a direction I never imagined. Love that.

Right. So. Saturday morning's voice lesson. Not the best lesson I've ever had. It's all me, of course. I couldn't connect with my breath. I wasn't grounded. I couldn't get grounded. I was distracted. I couldn't focus. I was singing from my throat a lot instead of from deep down. My teacher tried all sorts of things, and eventually she had me stand in the yoga tree pose and it helped. AND it made me laugh, which is interesting considering I was singing Gretchen. But still. My brain was going off in all these different directions - Mostly stuff with Alex, stuff going on at school with him, and his music class situation STILL not being figured out. The latest is that they're going to check the ages of the 2 kids enrolled in the class a step below his, to see if they can combine the classes. Then I wonder, what time? My voice lesson is 10:15 - 11:00 to overlap with the original schedule of his 10:15-11:15 class. What if they decide to combine the classes and hold it at 9? As if that matters. I'd figure it out. I'd bring Alex to his lesson, Husband would come pick him up at the end and I'd stay for voice. I actually just came up with that solution as I typed it. But either way, nothing has been decided. So that was all swirling around, plus... plus... did I ever mention that my lesson and Alex's class are held at a satellite location of the main campus? So it's in a Catholic grammar school. All of last year I had my lesson while looking at a poster of Jesus with his arms around two young people, one girl and one boy, and there was some caption about making choices. As in, don't do it. You'd think I'd remember the caption after all those weeks, but it's the picture that sticks in my mind. So this year my lesson is in a different room. This week they must have had some sort of religious definition assignment. These little posters were taped to the board, each with a word and its definition, in different handwriting and colors. The one right in front of me had the word "gentile" in a Hebrew type of font. The definition was "The word Jewish people use for people who are not Jewish." Now, I happen to be Jewish. I'm not religious, but it's my culture. The food, the way of thinking, all of that. And seeing that poster with the style of lettering and the wording of the definition bothered me. Not because some student came up with it, but because they're teaching this separateness. We're all here in the United States. It's weird to think in this sort of "us" and "them" way. So that was also sort of nagging at me. Sort of. It actually bothered me much later in the day as I thought about what kind of prejudices are taught or passed along in private schools. Or in public schools, I guess. Plus, since I work on an English test that's taken by people all over the world, I am constantly trained on and tuned in to cultural sensitivity. My first thought, actually, was, "That'll never get past Fairness," which is a department that reviews everything that is seen by people outside the organization where I work. The thought was a reflex, but it planted the seed. So anyway, I wasn't happy with myself and my lack of connection to myself. But I soldiered on and did my best, plus as usual she taught me new vocal exercises to practice over the week. So it's never a total wash. She also gave me the music for Art is Calling to Me, but made me promise not to SING it. So all I'm doing is memorizing the words. And I'll try to do a little yoga in the morning before class, if possible. I just have to put everything out of my mind for that hour and focus on ME. Ah the guilt associated with that, I can't even begin to go into it.

Then the next day I had another one of Those Conversations with my mother. I'm 42 years old and I still want my mother to be proud of me. She seems to be sort of mad at me for informing her that Alex is on the autism spectrum, if that makes sense. But whatever... I was telling her about the music I'm learning and asked if I could sing for her. She said ok. So I sang Gretchen. Or, I should say, I tried to. Got through the first line before she said, "So HOW OFTEN do you go?" I answered and continued, and asked her if she understands the German. She said of course not, and that she can't understand when they sing in English. So I continued. She cut me off again with a sort of loud, "Well, okay..." like she wanted to end the conversation, so I stopped. And she said, "Sounds like you have a bit of trouble there with the high notes." Thanks Mom, yes, I know. It's 10am and I'm sitting cross-legged on the couch without having warmed up at all. I asked her if she ever thought I'd one day be able to sing like this. She paused, then said, "I never thought about it." Thanks Mom. And then, hastily, "But, uh, you have a very nice voice." Thanks Mom. I could see the director's note in the script: (backpedal, try to make up for it, pretend to like it...) I mean, seriously, except for the one note in "ach, zein kuss" I thought I sounded pretty ok. So why the heck am I looking for approval from my mom? Then my dad got on the phone and said that I could come to Florida ANY TIME to sing for him. Yeah, well I haven't forgotten his, "Are you trying to break a glass? Heh heh heh," comment from last time. Last time... didn't I vow not to sing for them again? What was I thinking?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not just you. Parents can be very, very odd about their child's singing. Even if their "child" is now middle-aged. Mine veers between telling her friends how great my singing is, and warning me that show business is evil and I should stay far away from it. It doesn't matter than I assure her that I am keeping my day job, thank you. It's old tapes in her head.