Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coughing Through the Oldies

Welcome to the sick house. Luckily it's not the kind of virus you can catch from reading a blog. We have all had some version of "what's going around." Had to skip my voice lesson this week, not because of my chronic coughing-up-a-lung cough, but because the evening before I was up at 3am with Alex and his over 103.1 degree fever. I say "over" because I took it with an ear thermometer, and that thing registers us as having body temps of 95 when we're healthy... so who knows what his temp actually was? He's doing much better now except for his coughing-up-a-lung cough that seems to be much worse for him than it is for me. My poor little future opera-singer baseball-player astronaut.

I've been going back on my own and revisiting many of the songs I learned with my previous teacher, to try and apply all I've learned since then. It's interesting because my body falls into the same old habit of how I sang those songs when I learned them, even though I know proper technique and what I need to do to make them ring out on top of the air. So then I go back and do them without consonants, and note by note, to make sure each and every note is getting on top of the air. And then still, when I try to sing it, I sometimes slip back into bad habits here and there. Mostly at the beginning or end of a phrase. Like it takes me a few notes to get up to where I want to be, and then I let down early. So I then go back and force myself to pay extra attention, over and over, so I can relearn the songs the correct way. Maybe one day (when I'm home alone) I'll record myself singing one of them. I really want to retry Gretchen am Spinnrade. Of course I have no idea how to pronounce most of the words, which sort of puts a damper on learning it... But I'll get it.

At my previous lesson I started learning "The Sun Whose Rays are all Ablaze" from the Mikado. Gilbert & Sullivan!! Learning it for real!! How fun!! Here's a sample so you can hear how it sounds.

As we were going over it, the next student was out in the foyer and heard me. She commented on how much I've improved since she last heard me sing. People keep saying that - I know it's a compliment and I do take it as such, and thank them graciously, because I truly am thankful, but it does sort of make me feel embarrassed at how bad I must have been before, for so many people to comment on how much I've improved. I know they don't mean that either, but it does cross my mind. And while it does make me wish I had started studying voice years ago, I'm also so very grateful for having started when I did. And I can never express how thankful I am for Alex's early childhood music teacher for putting me on that path.

1 comment:

Incalescent said...

I love the sun whose rays! I sang it a couple of years ago, though at the time I had a teacher who didn't realise that my voice was developing into a mezzo and not a soprano so it probably didn't sound so great =P
Anyway, I'm glad you're enjoying it, it really is lush.

As for Gretchen am Spinnrade, I'm not German expert but I could try and give you some pointers.

"ei" such as "mein" in the first line is pronounced like "I" as in "eye".
"ie" as in "sie" is "ee"
"S" sounds should be more of a "z".
"w" is more of a "v"
"v" is like an "f".
"ch" is either "sh" or "hck" depending on the dialect I believe, though for singing I personally prefer the softer "sh", but I'd ask your teacher for that one.
"ä" is "ay" as in "hay"
"ü" is "oo"

I think that's most of the things you'll need for this particular song, and I apologise if what I've written is what you already know or even slightly wrong, I'm still a student myself ^^;