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I've been having some trouble with my Plenty Good Room solo. My voice breaks sometimes while singing a verse that is in a somewhat high range for me. Even when it doesn't break, I feel like I'm working really hard to support each phrase. My stomach muscles are really taut, for example. As a result, I've become a little gun-shy about the solo, because I'm not sure what's going to happen when I open my mouth.

I noticed on Saturday afternoon after our performance that my throat was feeling somewhat closed and my neck muscles were feeling tight. This will definitely cause problems. I need to get more of a yawning feeling. I also need to get a bigger breath before each phrase, perhaps.

In return for the use of our rehearsal space, we did two services this morning, one at 9:30 am and the other at 11am. In the first service, my voice broke twice during my solo. However, my director said that it was the best she'd ever heard me. I was going to mention to her that I was feeling somewhat uneasy about my solo, but I didn't want to give her anything more to worry about, especially since we had another service to do. I was feeling a bit more relaxed during the next service, and was able to do an ok job on my solo. No voice breaks, although I could feel a bit of unevenness while singing the problem phrase.

I guess I have been feeling (along with everything else) a bit under pressure, especially because the big concerts are coming up. People are relying on me to hold down my part, and I don't want to disappoint anyone. Actually, I had a dream about this on Friday night. Our French guests from Albi were here and we were having a soiree. There is usually a lot of singing at such events. When Assou-Lézert performs Plenty Good Room, the solo is usually performed by a small group. In the dream, the small group was singing. I was feeling uneasy so I left the room. I don't remember the rest of the details, but I know that they would like to do the solo in the joint concert.

Also, my voice is just feeling worn out lately. We have been singing a lot over the past few days. In fact, before Saturday's performance, we had a very long warmup, going through a few of the pieces in their entirety multiple times, singing them a bit faster and louder than usual. After the second service today, some other members of the group commented that their voices were feeling worn out as well.

While visiting firecat and her OH last night, I mentioned the problems I was having with the solo. She asked me if I was still taking voice lessons. (I used to while living in LA; my voice teacher is the director of Angel City Chorale.) I haven't had any voice lessons since moving back to the SF bay area ten years ago. I've thought about taking voice lessons again, but I don't think I can fit it in with everything else that's going on right now. But perhaps I need to start taking voice lessons again since I have all of these solos now. (If I were to do that, I might have to drop piano lessons, because I don't think I have time for both, especially when it comes to practice time. I used to practice singing about a hour a day, and I'm up to about two hours a day of piano. Plus I still need to reserve time for exercise, learning French, looking for work, reviewing math/CS stuff, etc.)

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
firecat
May. 23rd, 2005 06:04 am (UTC)
I wonder if you might benefit from having only 2 or 3 voice lessons specifically focused on how to loosen up nervousness; that way you wouldn't have to give up other stuff for as long.

It was good to see you yesterday!
gregbo
May. 23rd, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
Maybe. I think I may have picked up some bad vocal habits since last taking voice lessons that might take some time to undo. When I first started studying with Sue (the Angel City Chorale director), one of the first things she worked on was getting me to keep my tongue forward. She thought that was more the cause of my voice breaking than anything else. There was actually a lot of basic stuff we worked on.

I may have to give up piano lessons (or something else) anyway. I think I have too much on my plate again. For example, while doing some programming last night as part of interview prep, I realized that I still think in Perl when I write C code. Aside from that, there are some aspects of the C language I've forgotten since I haven't programmed in it on a day-to-day basis in about five years.

firecat
May. 23rd, 2005 10:11 pm (UTC)
I always have too much on my plate but I hate giving any of it up because it's all so interesting...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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