OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We decided, my singing teacher and me, that the imminent upheaval of our house extension, amongst other things, has gone to my throat and it’s causing my squeakiness. If you’ve read yesterday’s post, you’ll know I decided that a couple of days ago, but, having initially dismissed the idea, my teacher was eventually persuaded of its validity. Funny how that happens.

I was worrying about reaching the top notes when rehearsing Carmina Burana in choir tonight. It’s quite a tough sing for 1st sopranos and Mr Orff waits until the end for the part that probably makes the most demands on the voice.

The way our choir goes, the 2nd sopranos are asked to sing the 1st alto line and first sopranos sing the 2nd soprano line for the Blanziflor and Helena piece. A lucky few of us who can aspire to the top notes get to sing the 1st soprano line. Yes. That’s me. Except that sometimes it isn’t me, especially when I’m not super confident.

My teacher decided she’d nip this in the bud. We did some exercises using proper singing technique to go up to top C and top D reasonably comfortably. After that the B I have to sing doesn’t seem anywhere near as hard.

It’s not any special technique to get up there, though. It’s just making sure that the jaw is relaxed and I’m not forcing a loud sound. Envisaging a fluty sound floating up there in the clouds. A raised larynx. Breath support in the right place. Above all, trust.

Good singing technique, in common with all sorts of disciplines is all about the psychology, the attitude. The slightest negative thought, loss of self-confidence, will affect the production of sound. There is the nub. The trust that I can do it. The confidence that I’m good enough. It’s a leap of faith in myself.

The photo up there is of my Carmina Burana score. You can see all the little reminders and encouragements I’m using to try and persuade myself that this top B is all perfectly normal and doable. It’s the opposite of Mozart’s snarky wind-ups to his mate Joseph Leutgeb on the scores of his horn concertos.

I kept all of this in mind at choir tonight and, though my speaking voice resembles that of a frog with laryngitis, I sang well, managed the top notes without scraping or straining. Smiley face.

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