Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Channeling Eliza Bennett

"My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me..."

So says Elizabeth Bennett, in Jane Austen's famous book Pride and Prejudice. And so I must have been channeling Elizabeth Bennett yesterday at my voice lesson.

Let me clarify. I was in no way and have never ever felt intimidated by or because of a voice lesson. However, as usual, my own gremliny brain was playing tricks on me.

The Opera Project's next concert is at the end of September. Last week the director sent the email out asking if we're interested, what we'd like to sing, and when and where the rehearsals are. I replied immediately because of course I am always interested. Then a few days later the official press release came out about the event, and my name wasn't listed. Now, this has happened before, and a text message and email straightened out the mix-up. So I inquired if I was on the roster since my name wasn't listed, and I was told that they didn't know yet. So of course those gremlins took the opportunity to slip into the crack that opened in my confidence. Remember them?

Then at my voice lesson I learned that they were thinking of having the less experienced singers perform in daytime performances until they felt confident enough to sing alongside some of the really experienced, wildly-talented singers that always steal the show in the evening performances... that it can be intimidating to have to sing before/after some of them. The singers themselves are the sweetest, most loving and giving people ever - they do not contribute personally in any way, shape or form to any of this intimidation. It's all internal. I've posted about this only about a thousand times before... So anyway I also learned that they haven't totally decided who'll be singing at the upcoming concert, and that it's at a new venue so they want to impress the people so they'll invite us back. Makes sense to me. So I got to thinking, I can't go and sabotage myself by letting those "I'm not good enough" gremlins get back in my head. So I let loose and let go. After each song my teacher said that it was the best she'd ever heard me sing, and maybe a little adversity was what I needed to get it all out. Y'see, for a lot of my life I have been not quite good enough. I've gotten small parts in the high school plays, but never a lead. I auditioned for the special chorus, was made an alternate but ended up performing with them at all but 1 performance. I auditioned for the town's competitive baton twirling team in the 7th grade, was made an alternate and put onto a "junior" squad for a year. It's the story of my performing life. Almost good enough, but not quite. And each episode left me with that feeling of, "I know I can do better!" So when I heard about this potential afternoon "squad" my courage rose and I showed my teacher what I can really do. So here's hoping that I can show the director the same thing at the rehearsal, which in a way is I guess like another audition. However, I refuse to think of it as an audition because that imbues it with pressure that shouldn't exist. I'm already in the group. It's time for me to show them what I can really do. I will, of course, report back.

Thrifty, Nifty, Beethoven's Wig

Y'all know how much we love Beethoven's Wig around here. A lot. So of course we're excited to report that they're coming out with a new CD next month! Finally!!! Perhaps Alex and I will pull our acting, directing and editing skills out of the closet for a few new videos. Meanwhile, until then, go and enter this contest at Thrifty Nifty Mommy, to win your own brand-spanking-new copy of the CD.

Friday, August 5, 2011

If I Can Trill It, It Will Come

I’ve been bad bad bad about posting here. But I’m back!!! My voice lessons have been going swimmingly. We started Voi che sapete a few weeks ago. It was sort of a relief to learn a song that I already know the melody of. Also we’ve been working on different kinds of exercises. My teacher had me lip trilling up pretty high... then she pointed out that if I can trill it, I can sing it. And wouldn’t ya know, that knocked down some sort of psychological block - maybe one of those pesky gremlins- and there I was, ringing out these gorgeous high notes. Like, higher than I ever imagined I’d be able to hit. All this music, this voice, has been inside me all this time, and finally with the help of my teacher I am finding it and letting it out. She keeps giving me pep talks about what a gorgeous instrument I have, and how great I sound and all that. She tells me enough, I’m almost starting to believe her. Almost.

If I can figure out how to chop out a piece of the recording, I’ll post a section of the lesson where I’m singing these crazy notes. Meanwhile, I'll be singing along to all these high arias I used to think were out of my reach. Queen of the Night? Never say never!