Today I had master class for my voice lessons. This is a monthly event where we prepare a solo to preform for our fellow students and teachers. Singing in front of a crowd has always been difficult for me. Acting and performing the song is easy its just trusting my voice that’s hard. One of the many weird things about singing is that you don’t hear your voice accurately. What I mean by that is when I hear myself sing I am having an entirely different experience then the audience. Something that sounds over-the-top to me, even shouting, sounds great to them. Something that seems big to me, may need more emphasis to them. Its almost as if you have 2 different voices- one the voice I hear, and one the voice everyone else hears.
In my lessons I often have to trust my teacher that my voice sounds good. In my ear it sounds screeching or off but in her ear it is great. Today at master class I sang “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray. For the first 2 verses I did pretty good (in fact my teacher said it was the best belt sound she’d heard in me). Unfortunately once the chorus came I hit a high note weird and had a hard time fighting my way out of that bad voice moment. It was especially frustrating because I had done it right in practice just hours before.
By the end of the song I was feeling deflated and discouraged, almost wishing I could walk away for the feedback. Amazingly enough the good job I had done for the first half of the song got very high praise and the weak 2nd half a few minor critiques. They even said if I hadn’t made it such a big deal in my facial expression they would not have noticed most of the mistakes. My teachers were especially pleased with my performance and said I told the story well, and some of the best mix/belt I’ve ever sang- even with the mistakes.
This scenario at master class is exactly why I am still taking voice lessons. When I sing I want to be perfect. I want to be a skilled singer more than almost anything else in the world. It satisfies a longing in my heart placed there when I was just a girl. Naturally wanting to be perfect I notice each flaw in the performance. Does the audience notice- no, unless I make them notice by my facial expressions? Even more, my actual voice sounds better to the audience then it does in my ear. Isn’t that strange?
I wonder how many times I criticize myself for something others find beautiful? I’m not sure I want to know the answer. I have always been pretty open in complementing myself and have a high self esteem; however, with the singing, my voice actually sounds different to my ear. In a way I have to throw out my ears and listen with other ears- not an easy task. Once I am hearing myself through their ears then I will hear the beauty of my voice in a new way. I’ve gotten better at this over the years but still have a long way to go.
I wonder how many other parts of my life I am hearing the wrong voice? I hear the squeaky nervous girl. Everyone else hear’s the belty/mix girl with a lot of spunk? Is there beauty within me that I don’t notice but others would applaud? Hmmmm. Makes you wonder?
This is kind of a rambling post. Hope it makes sense.
By the way….exciting news! I bought a piano! It is a Samick SSP10 Digital Piano. It is very well made, looks gorgeous in my room and is drooling in anticipation for its inaugural jam session. I love singing with my friends, and I hope the piano will make my apartment even more of a gathering place. It will certainly help with my voice because I can at least plunk out most songs. It’s awesome! You should all come and sing/play with me!
I am going to continue working on Good Morning Baltimore and eventually I will post my performance online. It will be awesome. Tracy Turnblat never sounded so good!