Monday, 2 May 2011

Confidence is key!

If there is one thing that is becoming abundantly clear to me as I continue on this extraordinary journey, it is that 'confidence is key' to singing well.

The concert with the Stevenage ladies highlighted this perhaps obvious point perfectly when my nervous first half performance gave me 'throat ache' while a more relaxed second half gave no such problems. Recent rehearsals with the choir have added support to this observation when only two second tenors have been present. To all the choir members who have been present at the last two rehearsals, let me say this right now - I really am a lot better at singing than I have probably displayed on these last two occasions, honest! You see, with just the two of us, the 'lack of self-confidence' thing kicks in. "If I mess up now it's going to be obvious" thinks my little head. Thus, I tense up which makes getting to those higher notes virtually impossible. So basically, my own self-doubt ruins everything. The crazy thing is, when there are four or more second tenors there, I don't feel self-conscious, I relax and as a result sing so much better! Daft innit?

My latest singing lesson confirmed it all too. Once again, I arrived feeling a bit nervous. Perhaps taking the absurd step of recording myself singing and listening to my in-tune but somewhat bland sounding voice last week didn't help matters. But my warm-ups this week were rather rubbish, struggling with the lower and higher notes this time. Caroline reckons the earlier morning start (10 am) might have been part of the problem, but maybe I was 'thinking about things too much'. Hmm, probably true. After a few minutes of singing On the Street Where You Live, I began to relax and everything started to come together. The day before when singing at the wedding, I felt pretty relaxed for the whole thing and had no problems at all. So for heavens sake man, RELAX!!!

So I've taken a step back over the last 48 hours and taken a good look at exactly what I've actually achieved since I stepped into Trinity Methodist Church for that first rehearsal with the Choir.
  • gone to a rehearsal with the LMVC and only missed one since.
  • learnt the second tenor parts for about ten songs pretty well.
  • sung IN PUBLIC in a concert to a packed audience at Trinity Methodist Church
  • sung in a small choir for a wedding
Not too bad in a few short weeks really!

Now, that Caroline King woman is a cunning devil you know! Near the end of my lesson on Saturday, Rose, one of Enchanted's singers, and her mother were waiting outside for me to finish. Caroline, to my horror, invited them into the room. "Come in, Alyn is going to sing for you", she said. OMG!?! Obviously, this was not the time to 'bottle out', so I had to go for it. There followed a rather tentative rendition of Nat King Cole's Unforgettable. Well, I got through it, rather like the first song at the recent concert, in something of a blur, but  did it and it was okay-ish! Caroline reckoned I had risen to the occasion and Rose was equally complementary.

On reflection, it was obviously a deliberate move on Caroline's part to get her students used to singing to an audience, however small. If she had told me she was going to do that the night before, I probably wouldn't have slept and she knows it. But with no warning, I just did it. So that's another notable triumph that I really need to give myself a whole lot of credit for!

The bottom line is that I am finding singing really great fun. It has given my whole life a huge emotional boost that I could never have dreamt possible. If I can just help myself to relax into it a bit I will enjoy it even more and, who knows, people might just enjoy listening to me singing too!

Onwards and upwards!


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