Friday, 7 October 2011

Rubber bands and wobble boards

Okay, I will put an end to the suspense straight away. I’m sure you are just itching to know exactly how a long, brightly coloured rubber band fits in to a singing lesson are you not? Well, during Wednesday evening’s warm up Caroline produced the aforementioned item and yes, it is rubber, long and rather like a scarf actually – only made of rubber!?! 

The idea apparently, is that you stand on one end with your heel while holding the other end and as you sing a scale you stretch the band as you ascend, reaching maximum extension as you reach the highest note. Does it work? Well, I found that the very act of pulling the band distracted me somewhat from the actual singing, so I'm not sure it achieved much. But maybe I need to give it a few more goes before dismissing it as complete tosh! I can see the logic behind it and maybe with a bit of persistence it might produce something. The wobble board though definitely works. In fact I have a similar device myself, purchased a year or two ago to help strengthen the muscles surrounding my highly dodgy knee joints. So I’ve had a practice singing while standing on that recently and I think the annoying leg twitch may soon be a thing of the past. Hoorah!

I’m happy to report that Wednesday’s lesson did shed some light on the annoying mucous problem. For the third lesson in succession, my performance has been hampered somewhat by mucous making my voice sound croaky and rattly which isn’t at all pleasant. Caroline stopped me at one point and asked me to sing in’ lah-lah’s’ rather than words and lo and behold, as if by magic, the croaks disappeared and a tone reminiscent of that stand-out lesson of a few weeks ago, re-emerged.

So maybe I haven’t got a mucous problem at all. Perhaps all I need to do is sing properly! Sounds a bit stupid when I put it like that, but it probably is as simple as that. Over the next week or so, I’m just going to try singing ’lah-lah’ to my songs and practice ‘opening out’ the voice. Once that becomes a habit I’ll have it cracked I reckon. It is just so easy to slip back into the old habit of singing with that feeble ’throaty’ voice that is so naff. So while Wednesday’s lesson was all a bit messy, it was perhaps the most revealing and might just prove extremely valuable in the long term.

Thursday night’s LMVC rehearsal was again an improvement on the previous week. Some of the required pieces for the LOROS concert are coming together (about time!), but some are turning into a bit of a nightmare. Love is like a Red, Red, Rose is a song that I simply don’t like. Sorry, there is no use skirting round the fact, but I just don’t. Then there is Nobody Knows the Trouble I See. Oh dear! Nobody knows the trouble I have with this bloody song, that’s for sure! It’s beginning to make Is this the Way to Amarillo? seem like a personal favourite! But, as my beloved employers Balfour Beatty might say, if you’re going to be a member of a choir, you’ve got to be a ‘team player’. There will inevitably be songs I will love and some that I don’t, but that is just the way it goes I guess.

There was one hilarious moment during Thursday’s rehearsal. I think it was during one of the above two pieces, probably the latter, when I got it horribly wrong, Peter Bateman got it horribly wrong and we both looked at each other with that look of complete despair. I cracked up and just couldn’t stop laughing! I thought Chris might make me go and sit on the 'naughty step' at one point, but I was reprieved. I console myself with the thought that at the De Montfort Hall there will be such a large massed choir that any gaffes will be suitably disguised. Let’s hope so eh?

Onwards and upwards then? Tonight, my lovely wife Ruth and I will have a run through some songs in preparation for Saturday morning's rehearsal of the Caroline Sharpe Singers. The rehearsal will be rapidly followed by a trip to Long Eaton with Chris Hill and Mike Godwin to discuss arrangements for the male voice choir gig there in January, such are my new found responsibilities on t'committee!
Keep y’all posted.

Cheers for now,

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