I am officially no longer a beginner singer, I graduated last night to become an “Intermediate”. To finish we did a lot of improvising, and exercises in pairs with one person droning a constant note and the other person exploring all around it.
It’s been so much fun, and unexpected in it’s side effects. I’m continuing to the next stage which starts in a fortnight. I’m confident in the noises that come from my throat – they may sometimes be ugly, but they are all mine!!!
Last night I hit a note I haven’t hit since I was twelve :-) I must have loosened my larynx! Part of me was sceptical about all the relaxation and drama (last night we went into groups of four and had to say “Yes!” and “No!” at each other across the room) but something is working it’s magic behind the scenes. Two more in this group of six workshops, then if we choose to we can continue to the Intermediate workshops. This is all so not what I was expecting from this…
My voice is looser, my range is greater, and I am so much more relaxed about singing. I can hardly restrain myself in public places if I’ve got a tune in my head. But I do ;-)
I don’t know where to go next with this. I could join a singing group, or a choir or something like that. Or I could stick to personal singing, in my own home, and work on my own songs at the same time. Or I’m sure many other things that I haven’t even thought of yet.
I guess I’ll do the usual – keep my filters open and see what I spot that feeds the goal. I’m in no rush.
Next week we start the second part of the course. It turns out we all can sing almost any note, it just might sound awful to begin with :-)
This week we did some warm-up exercises then made noises at each other in our three “voices” – belly, chest and head. At the end we went from high to low through the whole range of our voices. It was amazing, even if it sounded really weird. Especially the creaks and groans as I went from one to another.
The best part is I don’t care anymore about the quality of the noises – we’re all so relaxed with each other.
I signed up for another 6-week block after half-term. There’s 2 more left of this block too, so that takes me towards the end of March and Easter.
I twigged it was not just about learning to sing this week. It’s about learning to relax and listen to myself – my body, my mind. All the silly noises and play-acting are part of it. Inhibitions disappear when all 15 of you are being seaweed and the teacher is a wave.
Last night we learnt about the three parts of the body our voices come from, and experimented moving between them. Whilst lying on our backs as sea-creatures, obviously.
It’s been three weeks of workshops, so I’m halfway through. The teacher asked who would like to continue for another 6 weeks afterwards – she needs to book the room. So, a chance to evaluate.
It’s really hard to judge progress when the aim of the workshops is to relax. We spend three-quarters of our time doing body exercises and visualisations. I reckon we sing for about 10 minutes in 90. Am I more relaxed after 3 weeks? Yes. Has my singing improved? I have no idea.
This is complicated by the multiple job applications I have in at the moment. I could start a job in a city too far away to get there in only a couple of weeks.
I still want to learn to sing. I don’t know if this is the right way for me to go about it. I see benefits – am I being impatient?
Well I was a little disappointed by the workshop – there really wasn’t very much singing at all. However there was a lot of stretching, noise-making (at one point we were all swinging our hips and trying to be angry with each other whilst making horse noises), breathing and relaxation. I can see what she’s doing, I feel much more confident with the people there, and we all explored a little about relationships with our voices – but I want to sing!
At the end our teacher led us through a dance-chant where we had to copy her voice whilst stepping backwards and forwards into a circle. That was fun, and moving. I haven’t sung in a group like that since school. It reminded me of tribal singing.
I’m much more aware of my body today, and it’s capacity to generate sound. I’m confident about going next week. The people were lovely. Many positives.
I’m impatient, that’s all :-) I guess that demonstrates how much I want to do this thing.
And I’m really excited. It’s a big deal for me, singing. As a child it was one of the ways I got positive attention. Six weeks, one meeting a week, and I have no idea what it involves! It was practically free, so the only thing I am risking is embarrassment.
Finding my voice is back on the agenda. It’s not a technical singing course, but an emotional release singing course :-) so it could be hilarious. I’m pretty excited about it though. I want to sing strongly and well in my own accent – not the fake American one so many seem to use :) a folk-singer has to sound like his folk, no?
I’ve started breathing from my stomach instead of somewhere above my shoulders, and it’s made a difference. I still sound like a ship in the fog, but I’m in tune mostly. Perhaps I’ll try some of the exercises.