Thursday, October 04, 2012

learning how to be an alto (again)

I have joined a choir. It's a group of people who work for the City where I work, plus a few friends. The choir started a year ago, and I wanted to join, but I was too afraid. Then I reminded myself how it took me three years to get the courage to go to a Shoreline Writers' meeting, and how positive that was once I finally went. So I decided not to waste any more time.

I had to audition, but it was easy. I sang Happy Birthday, then held a note while someone else sang other notes with me not losing track of my note, then the leader, Cecile, told me I was "trainable," and I can join the choir. Hooray!

I joined the low alto group. It's a fun group of women. Coincidentally, three of us are named Susan. Two are Susan Elizabeth. One is Elizabeth. That is more than weird, and I like it. We meet once a week to learn and practice for 2 hours. I record most of our sessions and listen to them through the week, and peck out our alto parts on the keyboard in our basement and practise singing them. It sounds like when Alex was learning to play the alto saxophone: All by itself, what I sing doesn't sound like a song. It's so full of pauses and starts and stops with silent gaps, and the notes are un-melodic, but put it together with the other parts and it's quite lovely. Well, potentially quite lovely. Right now it sounds like the back half of a barn. MOOOO! Hee-Hawwww! Squawk!

Which brings me to self-doubt. How dare I presume to try to sing with these good singers who sing well? (I have not sung outside of home and at church on Sunday since I was about 18 years old.) Are my notes sour? Am I sliding into the beginning of my part until I hear the others singing around me? Am I singing something totally different and nobody is telling me? Does my breath smell? Do I have body odor? How's my driving? Does this dress make me look fat? Ahem.

When I listen to my recordings of our practices, I can hear the odd sour notes in our section. But the voice doesn't sound like my voice. When I can hear my voice I think it's okay. And I know that I'm not really supposed to hear my voice. I'm supposed to blend with the other voices in my section and in the rest of the choir. So as long as I am actually singing, and I don't hear HEE HAWW! MOOO! Squawww-awwwk, that things are going well. Getting better at singing will require getting better at listening so I can hear everyone, singing all the parts and know that the part I am singing fits well.

Our teacher, Cecile, is lovely. She is dynamic and encouraging and gives us lots of exercises and direction and she is working with what she has in her choir group to tweak the arrangements to be fun and challenging and not sound like the back of a barn so much. We have a good mix of voices, I think, including one teenage daughter and a 10 year old girl who just joined with her mom, which is very cool. She can be in our section, even if her name is not Susan.

Our first performance will be on December 2. Just a little less than 2 months away. I have some work to do, partly on my singing, partly on my confidence level. I can do it. I'm glad I did not wait any longer to show up and give it a try.

question: what's new for you?

mompoet - HEEE HAWWW!

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