Busy, Busy, Busy

September 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm (Music, School) (, , )

School has been driving me nuts. It’s only week, what? Three? And I’ve been running around like a decapitated chicken. I’m up to six songs for my voice lessons this semester – minimum requirement for a second semester student: six. I am working on memorizing the four-song cycle Blue Mountain Ballads by Paul Bowles, I have the de Luca song in Italian down pat and am struggling through the two Handel as per usual.

Baroque music is hard, in case you didn’t know. For a look at the second song I am working on, look here:

The soprano doing it is fantastic and I’m a little jealous. Ah well, someday!

As she ought to, Dr. D’s coming down hard on my bad habits. I have several years of bad singing habits deeply ingrained into both brain and muscle memory, cemented by two voice teachers. I was taught by a tenor for a while, which apparently was the worst idea ever because the way their voices and bodies work to produce sound are so vastly different from all voice types that having them teach is just bad all around. A lot of it is breath management and breathing, with which I can legitimately argue that it’s not going to improve until I move somewhere where I won’t be exposed to allergens 100% of the time. More importantly, though, is convincing my brain that no, I am not, in fact, a heavy voice type, therefore I have absolutely no reason to be pushing as hard as I do.

Out, not in.  And turning off my brain for half of what I am doing would also be brilliant because I tend to overthink what I do. As Dr. D says, I work too hard and being a lyric soprano I should not be working hard at all because it’s equivalent to erecting giant barriers to work around. It can also damage the vocal cords in the long run; I’ve had a few close calls before and have no interest in repeating that experience or winding up like either Karita Mattila or Natalie Dessay, who both required surgery to reverse the damage done.

I’m also struggling a lot with piano; I am simply not very good at it and I’m absolutely terrified I won’t do well in this class, thereby ruining my GPA and dashing all hopes of transferring wherever I want to. I haven’t had the chance to talk to Dr. D about transferring and recommendations and such yet because she’s been just as ridiculously busy as ever, but I have an appointment with a guidance counselor for next Tuesday. Here’s hoping it’ll go well.

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A Job Well Done

September 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm (School) (, , , )

Or not, which is more accurately the case. I had my first voice lesson for this semester. I walked into Dr. D’s office at nine o’clock sharp. She’s a dog lover. She has pictures of her now deceased lab and her current dog all over the place. When she asked me how my summer was, I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “It sucked, to be honest.”

It’s not exactly common to be that blunt here in the US. Mostly, we are taught to say “It was fine” and leave it be. I don’t believe in lying. I was being honest. The summer, for most part, did suck.

“Why was your summer so bad?” she asked.

I’d intended to just mention my root canal. But out popped “I had to put my dog down.” I immediately started welling up when Dr. D said she was so sorry, that she knew how much it hurts to lose a pet. I felt like an idiot. I didn’t want to say it, I don’t want to make my voice teacher aware of how emotionally unstable I was. I also don’t think I have ever been this lucky with an instructor. She didn’t try and coddle me, but she told me how sorry she was while I grabbed a tissue and wiped furiously at my eyes. I think performance and the ability to perform are intrinsically linked to your emotional well-being. This whole summer, I’ve felt like the music in me died, because I was sick in the heart and body. I’m getting better again, but it’s still difficult to do it.

I came out the lesson with no less than three songs to work on until next week.

“Ombra Cara” by Handel

“Heavenly Grass” by Paul Bowles (Part 1 of the Blue Mountain Ballads; apparently I am to learn the other three at some point soon, too.)

And I cannot, for the life of me, find a good rendition of Bononcini’s “Non posso disperar.” This is going to be interesting.

During chorus, Dr. D moved some new girl next to me after she admitted that she was completely lost. Why Dr. D did this is beyond me. She must think I read music and follow along better than I actually do. What happened to the girl the music teachers used to roll their eyes at because she couldn’t do anything worth jack?

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Life Goes On

July 15, 2009 at 7:16 am (Fun, Life, Music) (, , , , , , )

Since I am in England and this is where I can get all my health care, I decided to do the full shebang. I went in for a refill appointment last Thursday and am now all stocked up on the various medications I was running low on. Yesterday, I had a dental appointment since it has been over a year. One small cavity and a cleaning – I get the cavity taken care of next Tuesday.

The technician doing the cleaning was a lovely, bouncy young lady, maybe five or six years older than myself. Her office was covered in music paraphernalia, including an ukulele on the wall, various pictures of Elvis, some certificates of competitions she’d entered and several decorative guitar statues. Our shared love for music made for a good time.

When it was time for my cleaning, she handed me her iPod and told me to pick what kind of music we’d listen to. Navigating an iPod Touch was a little confusing at first, but I managed after a while and then settled for Lady GaGa telling her that she amused me. The technician laughed and said, considering I was majoring in classical music, that was a strange choice. “Yes, but she’s so absolutely batshit crazy that you can’t help but sort of like her. Besides, she actually has TALENT.”

We proceeded with the cleaning, all the while talking about Lady GaGa. At one point I stated I hoped her second album wouldn’t be about fame again, because it just gets tacky after a while.

“I heard she’s gone bankrupt, like, four times now!” the technician exclaimed. “How does that even work? I mean, seriously. She’s making a lot of money.”

“In that case, I suggest a cover of ‘Gold Digger’ for her new album.”

She laughed. It was probably my wittiest moment in weeks.

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Under The Weather

June 5, 2009 at 3:46 pm (Life) (, , )

In which I start planning and brainstorming the construction of a truly epic ark. For those of you who do not live in Maryland, it has been raining incessantly since yesterday afternoon and throughout the week, the rain only let up on occasion. My aunt’s plants are drowning. There have been repeated flash flood warnings for the area. It is a sad state of affairs.

However, when the flooding does occur, I WILL BE SAFE IN MY GREAT BIG BOAT.

Or something to that extent.

The situation with Class Voice has improved significantly. I no longer sit next to Ms. Tonedeaf, but instead next to T, the other Jewish girl. She is full of snark and win. We’ve been getting on very well. I have settled on which two songs to perform for the Class Voice finals (Brams’ “Sonntag,” which forces me to work on the lower end of my register because we all know how much easier it is for me to play around on the higher end, and presumably “Vaga Luna” by Bellini, depending on how badly I hate myself.) Dr. D has been kind enough to inform me I’ve been steadily unlearning one of my bad habits – pushing air out – and that pleases me a great deal. It’s a habit I presumably learned while I was still a semi-functioning autodidact and then when I had a male voice teacher.

Singing’s easier these days. It feels like less work, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. On some level, though, it scares me. It shouldn’t be this easy, some part of me tells me. I’m most afraid of that fear creating a new thing for me to work on. So I will try not to tense up, think too much and just work on posture and breath control. ONE DAY, MY FRIENDS.

So. Life has been okay, for most part, if you ignore my incessant whining. Less than a month until I can go home!

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This Tornado Loves You

May 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm (Music) (, , , )

I love this.

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Rushed Update

May 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm (Life) (, , , , , )

I wanted to post this on Tuesday, but then YouTube was doing site maintenance.

Wednesday, I met up with CollegeBookworm and we walked around downtown DC for a while. We’d actually planned on visiting the National Portrait Gallery, but then opted to walk around. We ate at Chipotle, had Starbucks, hung out at the Navy Memorial, chatted for hours. Then I went back home.

Thursday: Math final in the morning, followed by the English final. English grade is up (A) and so is Chorus (A), Math is not up yet, nor is Psychology or Music Theory or Lab or my Jury grade. Started packing for trip home.

I am leaving for Germany, so I’m sorry about whacky time zones and my correspondences potentially being out of the loop. I might do a jet-lagged Vlog with my kid sister tomorrow.

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I Don’t Caaaaaaaare

May 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm (Art, Fun, News) (, , , )

What you say about Disney. I AM FUCKING PSYCHED FOR THIS MOVIE. I have a long-standing love affair with animated movies like this, and that’s not going to change.

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The Final Countdown

May 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm (School) (, , , )

Photo 76

I have jury tomorrow. That just about sums up how I feel about this.

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People Got A Lotta Nerve

April 29, 2009 at 11:57 pm (Music) (, , , , )

No words needed, I think. This is for all those idiots who think snuggling with various wild animals is a good idea.

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Depeche Mode

April 26, 2009 at 9:47 pm (Music, News) (, , )

I remember watching this while it was broadcasted, live, in the summer of 06. It was beautiful, brilliant and awe-inspiring. The video is horribly out of sync, but who cares!

I feel like a bad fan for not realizing they had a new album, Sounds of the Universe (released this month). But the following factoid made me smile! They have a song called “Jezebel” on said album.

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