Join me and Áine for a magical Christmas concert!
I haven’t been for a singing lesson/done anything singy in… nearly three months. Since the 10th December 2009. I haven’t had a singing lesson since last year. Ohhhh let me explain.
On the 22nd November, I was involved in a recital. It was a selection of my singing teacher’s favourite students for friends and family. I, of course, was delighted to have the chance to sing! However, my singing teacher loaded an aria on me that I didn’t think I was ready for. So for a few weeks, my self-imposed singing routine was regimented. I didn’t eat dairy, I warmed up, breaked, rehearsed and was paranoid about not exerting my voice. By the time the concert came, I was ready to take a break from singing. I pulled off the aria and it was all fine and dandy on that front, thank God.
Now, let me just underline that I understand that practice has to be done every day. I understand that if I were a professional opera singer, or any kind of singer really, I would have to be strict in my routine. I suppose my problem is that I didn’t feel ready for that aria. There was a B in it that, despite being able to sing, wasn’t audience-ready in my opinion.
(After this I did an audition for a musical theatre college in London, but that was a bit of a lark really!)
After a conversation with a friend the other night about her observations in a singing competition, I’ve come to a realisation. She, wonderfully insightful person that she is, said that she noticed the following:
In a performance it’s not about having the biggest aria. It’s about singing the song that you have to its best. To your own best. It’s not about who sings the highest note, it’s about the musicality and performance of a song you’re completely comfortable with.
Maybe it sounds obvious. But then again, it probably depends on what you’ve learned. In the shows and competition I’ve done, it’s always been about singing something new and scary and daunting. This. Makes. No. Sense.
Case and point: my falling out after the November concert. It just completely turned me off for a while. It made singing unenjoyable and ultimately, I still wasn’t comfortable singing that aria in front of a load of people. It came at a weird time too, where I knew I needed to switch singing teacher. I’m still searching for a new one. It’s frustrating. I think I’m actually desperate.
But this new revelation has totally changed my view of competitions/performances. Amazing.
The audition went quite well really! Much better than I expected! I was expecting to mess up my monologues and get really flustered and rush through them. But I managed to say them in a way that was beyond my expectations of myself. I think they found my Irishy one funny, which is good. They didn’t really laugh very much, though.
My songs went quite well, even though I thoroughly messed up one part of “Let Me Be Your Wings. I missed an entry and screwed up a syncopated but. But whatever. I feel like I dealt with it well, which is a good sign of a performer.
The pianist is like the musical director on “Wicked” in the West End, so I nearly had a conniption because one of my songs was “Defying Gravity.” God, it was such a good feeling to sing it with him. I was so elated and enjoyed it so much. UNFORTUNATELY, he didn’t follow me at all and took it much too fast, which didn’t give me enough time to change register a few times. But I did my best and he should have been following my lead.
The workshop was NOT SCARY!! Christ, I’ve had Drama classes more scary than that!! It was a short physical warm up with spine rolls and rhythmic movement followed by a 3 minute improvisation. I *love* improv. So… well, that was awesome? The girl I was doing it with ended it after about 1 minute though. Idiot.
Meeting up with everyone was just wonderful. My flight was delayed and thus I was 1.5hrs late to meet everyone but I got to see them for a while and we went to the Science Museum. (fun) Once the younger people went home, myself, Chloé, Neil and James S went to a quiet pub near King’s Cross for a few drinks and a loong chat. It was just thoroughly enjoyable. I had a pint of water and two bottles of J2O. Lots of fluid. Neil had come all the way down from Scotland just to hang out! How great!!!
I stayed with Chloé on Sunday night. I had never met her before. I am besotted. I think she’s amazing! I’m utterly astounded by how wonderful she is. She’s so kind and funny and fun and just so nice? And she has amazing taste in MUSIC and obviously BOOKS and she’s so TIDY and ARTISTIC and she’s FRENCH and I don’t know. I’m just marvelling at the fact that I never knew her before, I suppose. Like definitely I wish everyone had a Chloé. She made me feel so at home in her little bedroom!!
After the audition I went home with my friend James and we had dinner out and I stayed at his place in Windsor. That was nice. We watched YouTube videos for a while and in the morning I made him breakfast with food i’d brought from here. He put me in a taxi and everything.
Jaysus lads. People. Humans. They’re just awesome. I love them!!
This a photo of me singing at the opera show two weeks ago! 🙂 The thumbnail above is a photo of the whole cast!
I sang in an opera concert on the 22nd November in a lovely converted church in north Cork. It was a really pleasant evening and the audience seemed to really enjoy it. I was even given a gorgeous bunch on yellow roses afterwards! It was great! The run up to it was quite stressful, though. There were a lot of duets and the pianist came over from the Netherlands to accompany us, so we had to fit in rehearsals in with him. He was wonderful though! It’s a great feeling to sing with an excellent accompanist!
Once the concert was over I started rehearsing properly for an Audition I have coming up in the Royal Academy of Music, London on the 7th December. It’s for musical theatre, not opera, though. HA! It’s something different, anyway. A challenge! So I’ve been studying three songs on my own and two monologues with a teacher. So far it’s been a really positive experience. I didn’t get too many opportunities to act during my time at college. Apparently I have natural comic timing! Who’d have thought it 😛
Apart from that, I’ve been taken on in a Gaelscoil in Cork, teaching music to second years for the year. (A gaelscoil is a school where Irish is spoken all the time. Everything is taught through Irish.) So for example, today I was explaining was syncopation is in Irish to a group of 14 year olds. I’ve only been there a week but I’m enjoying it already. All of the students play at least one instrument and the can all sing. They all play the tin whistle too! So I’ve arranged about six Christmas carols on the tin whistle for them and organized some Christmas songs for them to sing too. (HARMONY!!) Obviously the problem here would be that I don’t speak fluent Irish. But do you think i’d let that stop me? BAH!
I’ve also been singing in churches a lot recently. Two funerals this week. Funerals are so sad. And I’m still teaching beginner piano two evenings a week. I should also mention the Feischmann choir concert next Thursday for which I have been attenting rehearsals. We’ll be singing Vaughan Williams’ Serenade (absolutely stunning) as well as Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and Zadok the Priest and some other fun bits and pieces. We’re singing with the Cork Symphony Orchestra and Julian Lloyd Webber is playing ELGAR’S CELLO CONCERTO!!
So, you see, I haven’t forgotten about blogging about singing! I’ve just been too busy actually SINGING to blog! Above picture depicts my crazy busy head.
Listen to Williams’ Serenade.