It's been awhile
Well, I've been slacking on actually writing in my blog about my progress. So, here's a sum up of the last week or so of what's been going on vocally with me.
De Que Me Sirve
I'm still struggling with a full on vocal engagement. I'm still finding it with drawn out notes and using "Ah" vowels, but creating it throughout a piece stands as a huge roadblock. Other road blocks include the dynamic use of my lower breath in conjunction with my upward chest space. I have been focusing on creating that stabilizing space in my upper chest and a forward sound in an upper "dome", but disregarding my gut. To practice this, I have been imagining that to create the sound as I am singing that I have to hold up the ceiling and floor, thus making me push my energy up and down. It's been quite a struggle.
With I Attempt, like the others, I am still searching for the sliding spectrum that will connect my voice into one coherent instrument--instead of a choppy stop 'n go machine. I've gone as far as pretending I'm drunk to get the desired effect--I have a hard time cognitively slurring words together or delaying consonants. I think theatrical and journalistic speaking have made me focus on those hard and crisp consonants. But I think the Spanish piece, "De Que Me Sirve," I will get a better feel for this. The composer doesn't let you sit on words very long and creating a coherent lyric depends on the ability to slur them together. Those dotted eighths and sixteenths are killing me.
Oh, I forgot--beyond all of this I need to start making these pieces make sense and dramatic. There's definitely a dam lodged between my brain when trying to apply what I've been practicing and learned about the vocal process and conveying the feeling of a piece. I seem to still be at a point when I can only do one or the other.
I really want to do the Spanish piece, but I'm worried that I won't get it prepared in time. It is definitely one of the most challenging pieces I've tried. I also need to practice my Castillian. When I practice the piece, it seems I tend to lisp more and more on consonants that I shouldn't. Z's and D's John--Z's and D's.
"I Attempt" is coming through now that I'm finding a better flow to my voice and I am more at the performance frame of mind with this piece. I am disappointed and frustrated with "Fair House" because of my studio showing and just general practice observations. It was the piece I had a breakthrough with finding my true vibrato and the stability to belt that high A flat at the end. Now I find myself struggling through the pessagio, even to the point that I feel like I'm yelling on pitch. I must have changed the way in which I support and push through phrases--I feel light-headed after practicing. Maybe it's a good thing in that I'm using muscles and abilities that don't get used much--but the sound to me sure doesn't say it. Especially with this piece, when I think about connecting the notes or slurring, I begin to modify immediately. That's a problem I've dealt with forever. When in doubt, my head thinks I should modify--That's how professional singers sound, right? Speaking of which, E's are coming around and I don't have to think about not modifying them as much, but other vowels which I haven't are starting to slip when I don't pay attention.
I'm still confused and trying to keep my mouth shut when singing. Making the cognitive correlation that the wider my mouth is doesn't help loudness still creates tension in my head. I feel that I muddy up songs when I think "don't open too wide..." and then I forget to use my lips and tongue to enunciate the words.
It's a delicate dance this singing is methinks...