I am practising my singing most days. It’s taking ages just to learn the rudiments of these songs I’m preparing to perform, first in music groups and then for my Diploma.

I should be practising for an hour each day. That’s easier said than done but I am now making it a priority and now that I can make a reasonable fist of singing the four or five I’ve put together so far, it’s more pleasure than duty.I still have to choose and learn four or five for my complete 35 minute Diploma recital.

I have had a cold recently, but I still practised. I recovered and could work on going up to top C every day as my teacher has instructed. This is to give me confidence in my voice. It’s funny, you see, how I can reach top C fairly easily in lessons when I can see neither a stave nor a keyboard to tell me where I am in the tessitura. But as soon as I see those leger lines written above the stave, I panic and think that I can’t possibly get up that high. In fact, I have annotated my copy of Carmina Burana, which we’re currently practising in choir, with “This is NOT high for you, Gita” above the top B. Who am I kidding? It IS high,  but I should be able to do it reasonably well.

I recovered from my cold but my voice has turned in the last couple of days into a disturbingly squeaky cross between Minnie Mouse and adolescent boy. I feel absolutely fine and I can only ascribe this to a stress-related condition. My theory is that your stress comes out somehow. It might be in nervous tics, or obsessively picking our eyebrows or split ends; it could be self-harm or a very short fuse leading to an explosion of bad temper. Some people have migraines; some people have panic attacks. My stress comes out in not being able to control the sound that emanates from my vocal folds. Stress ruins the very thing I love doing most. Think about that.

It used always to be like this when the Boywonder had exams orwhen he was doing bêtises at school. And now I think it’s partly due to the stress of the extension and financing it; the BYMT campaign and the fact that I have a singing lesson tomorrow and I strenuously want it to go better than my last lesson when, obviously having a bad day, my teacher gave me short shrift. I don’t like short shrift.

So here is a picture of what I have to do for practice. The scores are on the piano, where I bash out the notes; you can see that there is an accompaniment on my laptop and I listen to it on my headphones, and sing along. After a while, I just sing solo without the backing track, and check my notes or tricky bits at the piano.

None of this is a substitute for a good lesson though. I hope it goes well for me tomorrow.