Saturday, November 05, 2011

2 year tune-up

Today I had my first voice lesson in about 2 years.

It was great.

I walked into a building that I have passed countless times and took an elevator up to the 6th floor, where I waited, listening to a busty soprano singing some flouncy French song. Afterward, I heard them discuss her evening, which entailed family visiting from Colorado, and her visiting briefly, then "shutting up" so she could perform the next day. S. came out and greeted me warmly, ushered me into her studio, and began putting my mind at ease. She seemed like a normal, likeable human being with little trace of diva and large amounts of efficiency. I liked her immediately. Her office was filled with light from the outside - a welcome change from the dark corridor I had been sitting in. There were also some pictures of "old masters" who, I wonder if I looked closer, would be singers I knew. This woman has sung at the Met...I'm sure she knows many folks who I could only dream of meeting.

She talked a bit about breath, before we even got started, letting me know that she really nit-picks this aspect of singing, because it is the most important. I heartily agreed, letting her know that I know I need help in this department because of the recent pregnancies. We got to work with some onset, then vowel exercises.

Once she had me singing, she let me know that I was not singing with the full voice on the breath in my middle-low register. Hallelujah! Exactly what I had been wanting to hear! I mean, not great, but at least I have someone who can help me fix it. She told me to just let it out, and let it sit, fully-supported, where it was. (her words: Don't cover down there). Immediately, the sound escaped and felt so much better. We worked this for a while, and it just kept feeling better. The sound is different than I am used to, as is the sensation, but she said it now sounds like I am one person singing a song all the way through.

One revelation was that I have been simultaneously over-opening through my whole middle voice while not letting the natural chest voice in. Once I let the colors be there and didn't manipulate the placement of sound, it was so much easier to sing! She told me, for my voice, it is best to sing in a small, narrow space for every note on the staff, then slowly open as it gets higher than that. It is a bigger sound than I am used to, but much more natural than what I had been trying to do.

I'm probably not writing this out well, but physically, it made so much sense to me. I am very excited about this teacher, and will probably continue taking with her in the future. She was very complimentary, telling me I had a "lot of talent" and that my voice would "be able to do quite a few things" once the technique was solid. She told me that I was "not at all behind the eight ball" as I was afraid I was, since I have not really been able to consistently sing over the last 5 years. We have to work a lot of language and some technique, but she was pleased with what I was doing through the lesson.

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