Monday, October 26, 2009


I'm waiting to see if you finish that up in your head. Go ahead. I'll wait. You've got time.

OK! Moving on.

Saturday afternoon I had my very first ever private voice lesson. Now it's been years since I deliberately sang in front of an audience and, oh let's say, over 20 years since I deliberately sang in public by myself without singing along with a rekkid1 playing loudly so as to drown out my own voice with someone else's...someone much better at singing than me.

So I was a wee tad nervous.

But! I was smart2. I picked a school with a very casual atmosphere and musical philosophy. They even have a choir for people who think they can't sing. I figured I'd fit right in.

Now normally, to stop feeling so terribly nervous, I take deep breaths. Turns out, singing's kinda conducive to this practice as my first lesson was pretty much all about breathing. Did you know there's a lot more to breathing than just the ins and outs? There is. There's also:

- sit up straight
- but not so straight as to not be relaxed
- and keep your feet relaxed
- but at a 90 degree angle
- drop your jaw
- further
- a lot further
- breathe silently
- look straight ahead
- relax your face
- bring your lower jaw forward

I was so busy paying attention to all those other things, I didn't seem to notice the notes coming out of my mouth or whether I was on pitch. That was probably a good thing.

Speaking of pitch, she did test my range. The last time I had someone test my range, I was 14 and I had a 3-1/2 octave range spanning a high alto to high soprano.

Uhm yeah. About that? I still have a pretty good range - about 3 octaves. But now? Now I'm a bass. In another couple of years I figure I can dress as Bowzer from Sha Na Na3 for Halloween and totally pull it off.

Well...except Bowzer, the last time I checked, didn't have 36DDDD boobs. So maybe Barry White would be a better choice.

Anyway, so yeah! Great time! I'm so excited to go back and practice breathing some more and maybe even learn some songs. I requested folk songs and spirituals. My teacher, when I mentioned spirituals, exclaimed "Oh yes! I can see you singing spirituals!!" I suspect she can hear my bass singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

Until then though, if you hear me chanting "Ming-ng mang-ng ming-ng" or "Fang -ang -ang", don't mind me. I'm just trying to open up my voice for business.

1: For those of you under the age of 30, that would be what came before mp3's, CD's, cassette tapes, and, dare I say it, 8-tracks...which is a whole 'nother story.
2: Mark it down in history.
3: I was going to try to explain Sha Na Na to the young folk but you know what? Just wiki it. I haven't got time to explain history to you.

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