Sunday, August 8, 2010

Matching It Up

Every week I take Alex to a swimming class. The pool is indoors at a nearby school. It's echoing and chaotic. I sit sweating in the stands, taking advantage of the enforced sitting time to read my music.

I want to learn as much of the music I'm working on as I can while I'm NOT in a lesson, so that during the lesson we can focus on singing. I had been having trouble matching the words with the notes for El Majo Discreto so finally I read along while listening on YouTube. Then today during the swimming lesson I tapped out the rhythm and (very quietly) chanted the words, over and over. I realized after listening on YouTube that the triplets were mixing me up. Once again my lack of musical background is getting in the way. I sort of figured out and sort of remembered that the triplet has to fit in the space like a regular note (sorry to the musically knowledgeable, I know there are real terms for all this). Basically, what it boils down to is, I had been giving them too much time and then getting all off beat. So I adjusted how I'd been thinking about the syllables that are attached to those notes and suddenly it all made sense. I can now match the words with the music.

My teacher will be away this coming week so I'll have plenty of time to learn as much of that piece as I can, along with another one she suggested I learn called Songs As Mother Sang Them. Or Songs My Mother Taught Me. I've seen both titles. So in order not to confuse myself with the words, but to help me learn the melody (since my iPhone suddenly refused to record any more voice memos after the warmup of my last lesson, and I'm trying not to take that personally) I've been listening to this one. I'm learning it in English so I'll eventually match up the words to the melody by reading along. I don't always have the luxury of having the music in front of me, or of being able to sing along, or pause and repeat, so I do what I can.

Today I had some time home alone (a rarity!) so I recorded myself singing Lascia Ch'io Pianga to see how I looked and sounded. How I looked was, I had my eyes closed too much and how I sounded was, I still need to work on the legato, but I was able to get my voice on top of the air for most of it. So while the video came out ok, I'm not going to post it because I know I can do better. Legato, legato, legato. Next time I'll swan my arm back and forth as a reminder. Won't that look lovely. Hopefully I won't also sound like a swan.

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