So perhaps the title is dramatic, but it accurately describes my feelings after my recent lesson with Ms. Horne. After my difficult year last year with my voice I had only recently been regaining my confidence, when it was completely stripped. I don’t feel the need to go into the specifics of the lesson, more than to say I couldn’t give her the right sound nor enough of it to please her. She is an easily frustrated woman, and rather tactless. All in all after a bout of sadness, (and some chocolate chip cookies) my pride took over and I felt a powerful drive to prove her wrong. I guess the majority of my frustration in the lesson was my inability to please. Marilyn likes a very forward sharp sound. Her methods involve stuffing it in your nose and then raising your soft palate. I could do neither, at least no at the same time.
(I write this second portion several days later than the first)
Sometimes a slap in the face is the requisite motivation to invoke change. Tom always liks to quote that “fear and guilt are the best motivators” as demeaning as they may be. (Tom isn’t a proponent of either but rather finds the statistic fascinating.) I guess Marilyn sort of freaked me out. She said quite frankly that I had little chance of a career in either singing or teaching if I didn’t get my act together and “Learn how to sing.” As a result I have demanded much more from my practices this week. I have focused on having resonance on every note, of being supported on every note, and making sure my diction is clear. I thought I actually made a few break throughs, and that was confirmed in my coaching on Thursday when Mr. Bandy said, “Wow. Your sound is so great today. You really sound l ike you could project over an orchestra throughout. What are you doing so differently.”
So, maybe Ms. Horne’s harshness was just what I needed to take the next step in my vocal studies. I guess sometimes sheering is vital to freeing us of our old tattered wool and letting us grow it back anew: clean and strong!