Thursday, August 26, 2010

Life 101

“There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” - Nelson Mandela

I don't know exactly what this means for me but they are words that I can't quite shake. I've been thinking a lot lately about risk and letting go and saying yes and trust and perception of self and limitations and fear. They are concepts/words that have shown up time and again in my life but I happen to be in a place now where they are SCREAMING at me. How will I respond to them?

Friday, August 6, 2010


Clearly, I've got voice on my mind these days and if you're not already tired of me talking about it then keep reading. All others, don't say I didn't warn you. I've been studying privately with a lovely woman/teacher since March, increased my reading on the topic & online research, watched more live performances, and a few weeks ago I began an 8-week workshop. It's funny, with each new step toward the thing I love, I am petrified (literally shaking) but right afterwards, something good happens. It feels like the universe is rewarding my efforts, letting me know that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing. It's a little crazy. And a little mysterious. And I like it.

The "good happenings" that I'm speaking of aren't major things like Broadway offers or the sudden disappearance of those extra pounds I've been wanting to loose rather they are most often vocal improvements that I didn't expect at all or at least not so soon. I am singing almost daily so I'm putting in the work and incremental improvements are to be expected. But these reward moments are often LEAPS or at least that's how they feel to me so it's really exciting!

After a kind of disappointing performance in my last class (mostly because I misunderstood an assignment & then felt unprepared) I made an extra strong commitment to my work/song for this week. On my way home from a long day at the office, I was lamenting my tiredness and couldn't wait to go home and do, well, nothing. Ah, doesn't that sound perfect? But I really needed to sing today so I turned off the radio after reminding myself of my own commitment, pulled out my pitch pipe (yes, I carry it around) and started warming up. My range felt bigger today which isn't something that I've been trying for at all. My upper register was opening up with ease and then a miraculous thing happened. By the time I got home I seemed to be belting (or maybe mixing- I'm still a little fuzzy on the difference sometimes) up to an E! I was barely getting a C# out before, why was this happening? What had I done differently? How can I be sure to recreate this next time? So many questions were flying through my mind. I decided to forget dissecting it and just experience it. I ran into my apartment, pulled out my music and keyboard and had a fantastic practice session. It was SO fun! It's definitely not lovely up there but it will be. And my iffy belting Cs were totally solid! My song for this week felt better than it has yet and some of the questionable notes were totally working themselves out. I was (am) so excited!

In my classical training, belting was unbelieveably discouraged and so I never did it but musical theatre was always my love so it was all confusing to me. When I made the decision to start studying again, I also made the choice to sing what I want! And I am. And it's great. I could say I wish I had started earlier in my life but what would be the point? Today, I belted an E and that's never happened before and I can't explain it or tell you that it will happen again tomorrow. I'm just celebrating this mystery today.