Voice Exam Done!

In a few weeks I will get an email saying that I’m a good singer, for a pre-teen with three years of lessons.

Not bad for a 43-year-old with three-and-a-half years. (The first 40 years were spent developing bad habits which had to be undone.)

Yes, I’m glad I did it. It forced me to work harder. I improved more during the last two months than the year before. My voice teacher recommended three very different songs. The more styles you do, the better you are at all.

Next year it’s back to low-stress, fun repertoire, hopefully including a ballad (which isn’t represented at all in the exams, nor in my teacher’s repertoire), and another exam the year after that, whichever grade my teacher recommends. It’s not a race.

Next fall I want to sing for the B-Guild. ‘B’ as in the town name, since for variety and quality of telling and coaching it’s the ‘A’ guild. Four of the members are well-known nationally. I expect they’ll say I should keep practicing, but I’m not ready to sing at First Friday. I’m an established, solid teller, and they’ll hold me to close to that for singing. If I were a new performer, they’d give me two points to work on, maybe ask that I keep at it and bring it back to the guild in a few months, then get me on stage. The only way to learn is by doing.

Ballads are a bit different, since they’re often done without accompaniment. Just a pitch at the start. I’m used to anchoring my pitch to the piano. Even when it’s not playing my line, I hear how my voice sounds against it. The first time she dropped the melody line I felt something was off, but soldiered on. She asked me if I realized what she’d changed. She understands how big each step is when it looms in front of you, even if it’s one she mastered years ago. Now when she makes a mistake (she’s playing and listening at the same time), it doesn’t throw me.

I’ve already done some online searching for a good ballad book and emailed a guild-friend for recommendations for the first book on my ballad shelf. It’s an interest, not an obsession. I want to be true to the tradition, but there’s no need to be an expert.

Next on my project and deadline list:

– Press releases, abt 150 words, for Tea and Tales. Today.

– Storytelling. Continue to keep Inn of the Stolen Moon in repertoire. Polish and time Knitting story. Reprep (last done 2007) Sing Song of Old Man Kangaroo.

– Bills. Also sign up for e-delivery of the last few. Canada Post’s employees are going to have an even smaller pie to fight the company for after this strike.

– Shorthand. Continue my own training. I’m 1/3 of the way through the first book, at 65wpm. One book says that’s a good speed for the end of the book, another says I should keep pushing a bit each chapter to hit 85 by the end. Also continue putting quasi-polished dictation files online for others’ use.

– Fanfiction. Bring all of SL:AS up to current standards. Put online. Repeat with the rest of the series.

– Knitting. Pretty pink shawl, hope to give it to voice teacher this summer. Socks with the green/orange yarn. Socks with the brown yarn. Will probably include hours of pattern searching. I should just cast on with any pattern that interests me, so I have a pair on the needles when traveling. That doesn’t mean I can’t search for a pattern for the brown yarn.

– Knitting Masters. BM wants to do it with me in the fall, but last week she auditioned for and was offered a part for October, so maybe I won’t wait for her.

– Blog Series. I’ve started one or two series, including a review of Python programming books, that I should finish.

First, though, is getting the day started. It’s already 10:30 and I’m still in my PJs. A friend is performing at Fairy Fest this afternoon, so a group of us are going.


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