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Voice Journal Spring 2017 Feb 7-13

Feb 7
Wooohoooo! Abigail says it was the best I've ever sung! She said to sing ugly so I completely relaxed and holy CATS what a difference! It was loads of fun, too. We made a lot of progress. And when I came home, I listened to the lesson again.

Evening--almost forgot to check for Aural Skills homework. Sang ugly on the Soundcloud intervals, and had less trouble than I ever have hitting the notes... although it might have actually gone into ugliness. It wasn't at all smooth like this morning. Of course, I wasn't warmed up either. Did give me another eyebrow headache.

Feb 8
Did some warming up before sight-singing, sang ugly, got a full fifth below my usual bottom C. It was astonishing, and not real musical, sort of a rolling gravel sound, but it was consistent and it had some volume! *blink* No headache today, either.

Listened to the performer at the RSC before I came home, did the review, just have to write it up. Learned about an AMAZING thing called the Harmonizer--he stepped on a pedal and got harmony as he sang!!!! It sounded fantastic!!

Checked out Benny Golson online because I want to go to the master class Friday. Chickened out of writing an email to him but I think I MUST go to the master class. I think this man is important, and I want to see him before he dies. I dunno if I could actually make a connection, but OH how I want to see him. It's really important.

And then checking out his music I was surprised to see singers, so I went to listen to Whisper Not by Anita O'Day, then I moseyed on to Ella, Peggy Lee, and then Cheryl Bentyne. Never heard of her before: instant fan. Evidently she was part of Manhattan Transfer--used to love them--and on her own, she sings alto instead of soprano. ADORE her voice. Want to sing like that!! So then I checked out her other songs. Skylark made me cry. Then I clicked on KD, and after that Linda Ronstadt. Then I had to listen to them all and compare their styles and voices, verse by verse. I adored Linda Ronstadt's version when I first heard it. I adored KD's version when I first heard it. But right now, hands down, Cheryl Bentyne is my favorite.

And yanno what? The other two, there's a lot of air in their voices. I had no idea!

So today in my review of Patz at the RSC, I was constantly saying "enunciation: I can't understand him," and so that was on my mind when I pulled up Anita O'Day for a song I had never heard before. I understood every word. Ella, Peggy, Cheryl, I understood every word (Linda and KD also). And that's how it is with every singer from the Big Band era. I never have to google lyrics to the old standards, because they are all clean and clear. It's not like that with rock or modern pop, and a big part of the discussion of Pumped Up Kicks in Music lit hinges on the fact that you can't understand the words. Here I thought it was just me!

So. What's important to me right now are that clean clear tone--I listened to the recording of my lesson yesterday to hear it--and enunciation. I've had pretty good enunciation in my chest voice (worked on it) but I think I need work in my head voice. Oh, and intonation, all these pros had perfect intonation and they made it sound so effortless! No strain in their voices at all!!! That's where I need to go. I'm headed that way and I need to go there.

Huh. Cheryl Bentyne could be my character. She's got a lifetime of singing on stage behind her. She could have sung Candle on the Water  thousands of times already... and she sings in my range (although I suspect she's like Julie Andrews; I looked up Manhattan Transfer and she was up in the stratosphere... well, stratosphere to me, anyhow). I'll think about that, about a character who's a seasoned pro, completely at home and relaxed in her voice.

Okay. An aging jazz cabaret singer (at the height of her powers!! not fading!!) has to do something with this song. She's rehearsing it tonight. Vowels only, words with a metronome, words faster with a metronome, words with chords (slower), vowels only, words with chords (still slower)... with tongue plastered against teeth. Did you know you can sing that way, and even talk that way, and you don't have to use your tongue for most vowels and consonants?! Of course, enunciation is RIGHT out the window, but it was a very useful exercise! And it made me feel less foolish about not being any good at singing vowels only.

My worst intonation problem is that A in the G chord, "you" in "I'll never let you go."

..... I guess an aging jazz cabaret singer wouldn't blow off warming up. *sheepish look* I was singing ugly so I blew it off because I didn't really care whether I sounded good or not. Seemed to get away with it in half voice, although I did do a minimal warm up after the first time through, just to make sure I was in head voice. But as far as I could tell, when I increased volume on the crescendos, I stayed in tune. Didn't have good breath support tonight so I didn't last as long as I wished, but I did have a lot of volume when I called on it.

Feb 9
Warmed up a little before sight-singing but had very little time before class. Sang badly in class and don't even know why.

Sang all Soundcloud intervals, major, minor, and subdominant; repeated minor and subdominant. At least half an hour of singing. Didn't pay much attention to how I was doing. No headache.

Feb 10
No singing. Went to the Benny Golson Master Class and after hit a practice room for piano practice, but was so tired I ended up coming home and resting the rest of the day.

Feb 11
Did my sight singing today, plus the major and perfect intervals. Wore out early, didn't finish piano. Doing Soundcloud intervals now.

Haven't had much breath support today. Can't get a good breath. Also having trouble hearing, ears ringing really loudly.

Did major, minor, and twice through subdominant. Got a headache each time with the subdominant--test Tuesday and I'm pretty anxious about it. BUT singing ugly gave me the range even without good breath support. Dunno what key we're in but it goes past the first passaggio for me. Maybe I'll figure it out later.

Feb 12
Warming up, Remembering to keep tongue at base of teeth. Getting bad headache anyway. Trying hard to keep the support down low but just can't shake the tension. Drats.

Singing with Helen Reddy, I notice she takes a breath before that A--"I'll never let *breath* you go"--and it surely is easier to sustain the long tones that way! I'm doing my best to be that old jazz cabaret singer. HR also emphasizes "sure" in "as sure as rivers flow." This is a good way to reinforce the lyrics. Serious intonation problems on that A. *sigh* Seem able to hold the long tones with less wobbling, though.

Four times through, good volume if less than stellar steadiness. I have most of the lyrics but it's tentative yet. The headache backed off a lot--kept reminding myself to sing ugly. To me, it FEELS ugly... but Gryph says it sounds good, so I'll keep at it. But for now, I have to do interval practice and sight-singing.

Intervals went better than usual!

Feb 13
Warmed up before sight-singing and interval practice. Just did the minimum today instead of singing through half the chapter. Intonation was shaky and didn't have a lot of breath support. Made sure I was in head voice before I tackled the song. Sang on vowels. Intonation, of course, and breath support. Sang the words, then vowels again. At that point I had to stop and come home. Utterly exhausted today.

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