Tuesday, July 3, 2012

There's A Fine Line Between Confidence and Arrogance, Or Tell Me I'm Pretty, Dammit!

Lately, I've been looking through ads on Craigslist, hoping possibly to find work or gigs or what have you. I found one that was what I can best describe as a troupe of musicians that travel hither, thither, and yon performing popular music covers. It seemed like a potentially lucrative deal, so I responded and tried to get into it.

With less than a week's notice, they expected me to memorize three songs of their choosing and one of my own, get them performance ready, and film myself performing them.

Is it just me, or does that seem like a rather unreasonable request?

At any rate, I gave it the old college try. I was, to say the least, disheartened. I only really knew one of the pieces to begin with, and the others were a hot mess.

And that's not even counting the song I chose for myself.

You know those people on YouTube that take videos of themselves in which they are singing their hearts out and they think they are just rockin' socks, when in truth they just come across as pathetic? That was how that aria seemed to me.I went to record an aria I have sung *dozens* of times. And I'm here to tell ya, it was not so sexy.

Truth be told, I was appalled. I have never been so embarrassed, so demoralized, so utterly depressed in regard to my musical ability *in my life*. I couldn't help but think that I had been fooling myself, that everyone who ever told me "oh, you have such a pretty voice" was only saying it to placate my ego.
The cake was a lie, y'all.
After a good night's sleep and no small amount of tears, I thought about it rationally. I realized how much of an effect practicing really can have. And I have NOT been practicing. I have been lax in a HUGE way. There are times when I go entire days without even talking, much less singing at all.

It was quite the wake-up call. Since I plan to audition for the Dallas Opera later this month, I will have to start practicing regularly. Since I'm not in school anymore or taking lessons, I will have to be in charge of taking myself to task. I will have no one to blame but myself if I don't, so it is down to me to handle business.

I think, as a means of accountability, I may start taking videos and posting them on YouTube. I may not be where I want to be just yet, but I have to get it together, and I think that may be a good way of keeping myself on track.

What's the take-away? PRACTICE. Sing at least a little every day. And make the practice mean something. Don't just sing "because you're s'posed to." Yeah, warm-ups and vocalises aren't exactly the same as singing Puccini, but they help you do the Puccini justice. Sing because you love it and you want to be good at it.
Now, excuse me. I have to go practice.

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