Thursday, October 22, 2009

Singing.


Singing is my life. It's always been my life. I can remember being 4 years old and standing on a stool to sing 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' for my grandparents. Every car journey, regardless of distance was spent singing along to cassettes in the back seat with my older sister. There is nothing that I have ever wanted to do more than perform.

When I was in third class, aged 9 years old, I stood up and volunteered for the first time to sing 'Land of the Silver Birch' publicly. (In front of my whole class) I will never forget the feeling that came straight afterwards. That infinitesimal stretch of silence between finishing a song and the applause that follows. It's heart wrenching and terrifying. You wonder why you just did that and if everyone now thinks you're an idiot and if they're going to laugh at your or just stay silent and stare in horror. Thankfully neither of those happened to me at the tender age of nine. In fact, that was the beginning of my school music career. That was when the teachers realised I could sing, and that was the year that I auditioned for the school choir.

For the next three years I relished every second that was spend singing, listening to music, learning about music... My only weak point was practicing my instruments, which I will undoubtedly delve into at another time. On reflection, the fascinating thing was that my family never really knew I felt like this, or that I had "a voice." That changed, I think, when I was in sixth class. I was 12 years old and the teachers put me singing something at the Christmas concert/mass. I think I sang 'Once In Royal David's City.' Afterwards, parents of other children came up to congratulate me and once I managed to reach my mother, she said "You never told us you could sing!" She was a music teacher and my mother so I took that as meaning "OH MY GOD YOU WERE AMAZING. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. YOU ARE THE BEST SINGER IN THE WORLD!!!"

And so I carried that with me into secondary school. Incidentally, I attended the school where my mother was the music teacher. This meant that I happily spent half of my secondary academic years in the music room singing in choirs, playing the 'cello and learning about Vivaldi and Jazz. The school knew me as a singer, because I didn't just restrict my musical activity to the music room, and because I was the music teacher's daughter and that comes with a legacy of its own.

I decided to study Music at university. Actually, I don't remember ever deciding to study music... I always just knew I was going there. That was almost a complete disaster, except that I found my singing teacher. I started to train my voice and appreciate singing classical music and opera as well as popular music and musical theatre.

I've since graduated. And I'm still studying my instrument, my voice with aspirations of being on stage, on TV, in a recording studio, on the radio and far, far more.

Starting to learn to sing properly is simultaneously wonderful and frustrating. It poses many more questions than it answers and every day your voice changes. It's a journey with puzzles and rewards along the way. I'm going to start properly blogging about singing here as often as possible.

It would be fantastic to hear from other singers and music lovers in the comments.

Amy~*~

6 comments:

S.Llewellyn said...

Welcome to the operatic blogosphere! :) Would you like me to post a link on my my blog ( http://portlandopera.org/blog/operaman)?

cyclops25503 said...

Hmm...singing....something I really wish I was good at. :) Back when I was in high school I used to be in choir...especially around Grade 9 and 10 I actually used to be quite a good singer. Gave it up in Grade 12 to concentrate on my studies, and because I just wasn't enjoying it anymore like I used to...and now I'm a terrible singer. :P My singing is what gets me ejected from pubs. :P

Amy Snow said...

Stephen - I've just replied on your operaman blog! :D :D Thank you!

cyclops: It's interesting that you gave up singing to concentrate on your studies and I concentrated on studying singing :P

cyclops25503 said...

Yeah...well I wanted to go to uni the following year....and I figured that concentrating on my studies rather than concentrating on my singing would help me more. ;)

The Roo. said...

i followed the link from your facebook. and although i really can't sing that great, music has also been a huuuge part of my life, through the piano and clarinet.

but i'm really just commenting to say that i really like the way you write- although obviously to you music and singing is your passion, the way words flow as you let them is easy, interesting, and overall an enjoyment to read (does that make sense?)

so thanks (:

Caitie F said...

I miss singing. Like you, it was something I always did. I joined my first choir at age five and was always in something until I got to college.

I was in school choirs, church choirs, and a selective community choir that I was in for five years and got to travel with to Hawaii and Scotland. I sang at the Candlelight Processional (one of the best moments of my life) and in cathedrals and castles in Scotland. I loved every moment of it.

Unfortunately, in college, the choirs had rehearsal while I had classes for my major so I had to stop. I did two semesters of voice lessons, but it got too expensive. I am looking for a choir to join now because I miss it so much. I really think singing isn't somethign you do - it is part of who you are!