Lots of stuff in my brain lately.
I had a vocal consultation a few weeks ago with the remarkable Susan Eichhorn Young. I had been having some vocal production issues which my partner characterized as sounding “swallowed”. And if there’s one thing I HATE it’s that type of sound.
I blame this issue on small spaces. Little apartments with little rooms and close neighbors. No one wants their neighbors to hear them singing at home. It’s peace-disturbing. So over time I’ve been closing up my throat to not make a loud noise…and I have a BIG voice. This has all led to my problem. I went to Susan only after some soul-searching about my life’s purpose. About my personal happiness.
Yes, I might’ve been in a better place as a career performer IF I’d moved to one of our nation’s centers of art like Los Angeles or New York City when I was younger. However, I am STILL me. I’m the only me. Yes, I’m fat now. Well… some people get fat! I CAN lose weight but I am fat now. That’s ME now. Fat and 47 years old next October.
I had built a closet for myself made of aged fat. Rephrased, I allowed myself to feel insecure about my abilities ONLY because I’m fat and nearing 50. Do these things affect my talents? No. In fact my voice is more colorful and rich because of my age BUT I wasn’t experiencing that in my little living space.
I then even wrote a response on Susan’s blog about how I was giving up on singing for several ridiculous reasons I enumerated. And I sorta believed the reasons but I wasn’t really convinced but I didn’t know if I cared because I was afraid to care because after because after because.
Then I sang. Walking down the street in Queens on an errand for work I sang a bit of Pretty Women from Sweeney Todd. (Which is apparently the only song I know.)
My own voice surprised me. Such a gorgeous tone. And yes I say so myself and no I am not delusional. Ask around. (Well, about my voice anyway…bitches.)
It was then that I realized the truth of some old chestnut about goals and achievements and stuff.
THE ONLY THING STANDING IN MY WAY IS ME.
I made an appointment and went to see Ms. Eichhorn Young of Herald Square. She showed me where my larynx is! It’s NOT the Adam’s Apple. I didn’t know that.
Here’s how it went.
I sat down in her office in her DELIGHTFUL studio. She encouraged me to record the session, which I did. She asked me how my voice was. I told her it was oddly high pitched today. She explained to me how my larynx seemed to be high and tight, my words not hers. She showed me where it is and how to relax it by breathing. She had me feel its position and movement. We did some breathing exercises to help me connect to my larynx and feel it. Now I can use simple muscle memory to ensure my voice is open and my breaths are full.
We sang some scales and without really warming up I was able to sing a high F with no tension.
Folks, that was 15 minutes after meeting her.
And now here is an important thing to realize and own. If not, one can become unhealthily dependent and clingy and whiny. Everyone needs to “get” this part.
If I wasn’t a good student with my own years of experience and work behind me I may not have understood what she was talking about. I need to own my own worth!
Just as Susan Eichhorn Young is an awesome teacher, I am a remarkable student who also happens to own an awesome set of freakin’ pipes! The more I study the more “stuff” I can draw upon. I take her lessons upon myself and own the responsibility for them but I don’t make HER responsible for my success. Or failure.
One more little thing, damn the neighbors.
On to one other thing on my mind. A screenplay.
I enjoy to do of the writing. I also like to be scared and to laugh. Sean of the Dead is one of my favorite movies. It’s so smart and so funny!
So I thought I’d sit down and write a movie! Why NOT?! I know several screenwriters and they are probably saying “You’re CRAZY! And you ANNOY ME!” That’s fine. Picasso probably hated Sherwin Williams.I got an idea about turning those high school horror movies on their heads. I mean, if kids think high school is a horror at least the rest of their lives is AHEAD of them. Teachers not so much.
I’m in the first birthing stages of a story about a high school staff in the boonies who are set upon by their student body after some deep space occurrence causes changes in the local kids….and maybe rabbits. Probably also rabbits.
The science, though theoretical in the extreme, will be sound-ish. To a point. Certainly no worse than Pontypool!
I have a frustrated gym teacher who coaches the lawnathalon team and an English teacher/Drama Club Director who’s directing a cleaned-up Streetcar Named Desire.
I am going to model the structure after a Japanese film that was so scary I had to watch it in installments. The film is “Infection”.
We’ll see. All I can do it try and THAT is a lot.
What are YOU trying?