A Slap Upside the Head? Yes, please.

Thursday was my coaching with Tregony - which you all heard about. Then Friday came, and it was kind of a rough day. I was so filled with doubts about who I was as a singer, about if I could really achieve all these grand dreams, etc etc. Saturday morning was rough too, especially since my wonderful voice teacher Anne gave me a kind of scolding lecture to ward off potential misconduct. it was weird :P

I told God Friday night that I was trusting Him with my future, and if I wasn't supposed to be doing music, He really oughta let me know!

Saturday evening, I was so stressed out and just "off" trying to get ready to go for the concert, but somehow I pulled myself together in time. And... I don't know... but somehow God was really there for me all night. Waiting in the wings to go on, I practiced my enjoying the moment philosophy, and just invited God to come be my audience.

And it was such a good performance! Probably the best I've ever sung the piece. Marc Denton, who is head of the vocal department at cc#1, said some very complimentary things about what I did, and it was so encouraging.

You know, I may not be the next Broadway diva right now - I still have a lot of vocal problems and acting difficulties I need to work through. But I'm not terrible either. I think... I think I just need to cut out the melodrama, trust God that I'm in the right place for the moment, and keep plugging ahead.

So the next time I regale you with a tale of woe, slap me upside the head and tell me to go practice or something.


Brick Walls

Sorry for the long absence - life got crazy :) But I'm ba-ack!

Today I had the most incredible coaching session with Tregony Shepherd this afternoon. Like, wow. She toured with Les Mis and Phantom, and did Les Mis on Broadway too. Her whole body radiates theater - she moves, speaks, and communicates like a real actress. Which she is, so go figure. I felt her pixie dust flying around the room as she worked.

I was in tears a couple times this afternoon as she transformed the other singers' pieces. We have some great voices at cc#1, but she took a pretty voice and a nice song into either a heart-wrenching drama or a cute, hilarious comedy, depending on the situation.

Honestly, I was so disappointed in how I sang. I feel like my technical abilities/dramatic skills are so much greater when I'm not performing or nervous. Go figure, right? But my future career is supposed to be performing, so it's so frustrating when performing is difficult and not satisfying.

I feel like I have all these emotions and motivations and ideas bouncing in my head that I want to communicate, but there's this brick wall between me and my audience. I can feel the moment in the song when I hit the wall and I just bang against it for the rest of the piece - it's a terrible feeling.

Tregony did help me communicate better, but I still feel frustrated. I don't know what to do except keep practicing, but I'm looking forward to when I'll be able to sing and touch my audience and bring them to tears. Soon, I hope.


Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch...

Open wide - breath in - inhale German.

That's pretty much my life right now: between lieder, my Bastien music, and prepping for my German final/oral final, I feel like I'm living German! Which is probably good - and actually, I should probably find ways to immerse myself even more in the language before I'm dumped in the country and left to fend for myself. I'm doing really well understanding conversations in German, but my vocabulary is so limited that I have a hard time coming up with my own phrases.

I don't know if you can tell from the picture I posted a couple weeks ago, but my hair is ridiculously, abnormally long, and I really need a cut. I'm trying to decide if I want to get highlights (yes, but is really a smart thing to do?), who I want to get my cut from, how much I want to spend, etc etc... I've been polling all my friends for advice, and they're pretty evenly split. I have to get it worked out in the next week or so before things get really tight before I leave :)

Music-wise, I'm currently prepping a Debussy Arabesque and a Rach prelude for my last piano recital, a musical theater piece for a fun workshop/coaching/recital extravangza at CC#1 next week, three pieces for juries at CC#1, three or four lieder for Germany, my Bastien music, "party" songs to bring to Germany, and... *inhale*. Actually I think that's it. I'm crunching right now as far as solidifying the technical elements of all of them, and am about half way memorized. What's kind of aggravating is that my teachers are all pushing me to focus on expression, on what message I want to communicate through my singing/playing. I just want to scream that I have NOTHING to say anymore at this point! I'm just focusing on surviving! I have no deep metaphysical thoughts that are dying to be expressed through music. I guess this is when I manufacture such interesting thinks?

Oh, and then I watched myself in a mirror today while emoting my "Light in the Piazza" song, and I kind of scared myself.... I have huge eyes and very jumpy, very thick eyebrows, and with all the contortions I worked my face into, it was a little creepy. Maybe I should tone down the facial expressions...


On Stars and Dreams

I had a lazy weekend this weekend. I had a lazy weekend last weekend too. I just don't want to work anymore, I don't want to practice, I don't want to prep for Germany... I just want to sleep, or read, or goof off online.

That's bad, huh? :)

I think part of it is because I'm realizing how far away I am from the stars I so fondly call my own. Just like everybody, I have my fair share of big fat dreams that I hope to someday see in reality. But right now, they seem miles and miles away... and I'm despairing of ever getting there.

I'm pretty sure most of it is good old senioritis, and that come next week, I'll be feeling more like my peppy, hardworking self again. Until then... I guess I'll just make sure I pick good books to read?


Crunch Time!

So, I officially leave the country in 5 weeks. Oh. my. goodness.

You wouldn't believe the amount of things I'm going to do between then and now! Just little things, like graduating (+ grad party). Or vocal juries at the community college. And finals. Oh, and buying stage makeup for myself. And learning my opera. And dialogue {in German}.

How exciting! I get all hyper just reading that list. Ok, slightly nervous and stressed too. But mostly excited. I started memorizing my Bastien music today, and read through the dialogue a couple times... maybe I should be further along in the process? I have no clue. It's all firsts for me!

And my German homework is staring at me right now, looking so lonely and neglected that I really should pick it up. So tschüss!


Reflections on Holy Week

It has been a good Lenten season this year - I've been reading through a devotional book about the Liturgical year, and it has brought such a new depth to my understanding of Christ's Passion, and of my own spiritual condition.

On Good Friday, I attended a Stations of the Cross service at my friend's Catholic church, and I so enjoyed it. Lots of time for just sitting and contemplating the cross, backed by beautiful live music.

And now, it is Holy Saturday, and I am quiet. Good Friday was intensely fiery in my heart - lots of deep emotions. But today, a silence is reigning. I am waiting, trusting; practicing not-knowing and yet-believing.

The cross is a deeply wild, incredibly violent demonstration of the fullest love I could ever imagine. Thursday and Friday were heavy days, as I thought about the depth of the pain Jesus experienced for me. Emotional abandonment, physical anguish, mental strain - all at a level I can't begin to fathom. I'm glad I took the time to ponder the cross. Jesus' blood, His intercession on my behalf, the propitiation He became for me... these things show me so much about God and His love for me. I am so joyful to rest in His arms, basking in love.

And today, there is still sorrow in that love. It is a hard love, sometimes. A violent love, a love that seems unfair.

But tomorrow is Easter.

The the resurrection will right every wrong.