Monday, January 12, 2009

Singing for my supper

So I went to the choir audition on Saturday, but unfortunately I don't sight-read well enough for that particular choir.  For you non-music people, sight reading is the art of singing by reading the notes on the page, rather than by simply repeating what you hear (like when you sing along with the radio).  Really, it's the art of playing any instrument by reading the notes on the page, but most people who play an instrument can sight-read, at least for their own instrument.  It generally only poses a problem for singers.  Especially sopranos like me, since sopranos almost always (if not always) sing the melody, which is very easy to learn by ear.  So anyway, there's your music lesson for the day - back to the audition.  The choir director did tell me that while I don't sight-read well enough for that particular choir, he suggested some other choirs that work on the music more before performing it, making sight reading much less important.  He also repeatedly complimented my "beautiful voice," which was really nice to hear.  Not that other people haven't complimented my voice in recent years, but it's different coming from a fellow musician.  At least, for me it is.  There was a time when it didn't matter who complimented me, I figured most people listen to enough music to know what sounds good and what doesn't.  But, things changed.

I guess it's story time.  I usually brush off what happened in college, I don't much like to talk about it, but this choir audition has brought back a bit of my confidence so I guess it's time to air my grievances.  See...when I was in college (2001-2005) I started out as a music major.  Not just a music major, a vocal performance major.  So what happened?  Well, at my school, all performance majors had to get approval from the music faculty to advance to the 300 level of lessons.  So at the end of your sophomore year, you did a performance in front of the music faculty and they'd vote on whether you had achieved a certain level of quality.  For vocalists, "quality" means things like tone, ability to stay on key, expressiveness, and range, among other things.  Well, for whatever reason in that combination of factors, I wasn't approved for the 300 level.  So, that sort of broke my spirit.  I didn't want to be a music major at all if I wasn't a performance major, so I switched to sociology simply because I really enjoyed the intro class I had just taken and the professor told me at the end of the class that I should change majors because I apparently had a talent for the subject and I shouldn't waste it.  He was half-joking, but I recalled what he said when I was trying to figure out what major to switch to and I decided that was as good a reason as any (it turns out I loved sociology and learned many fascinating things, so it was a good choice).  I didn't even try to get a music minor, even though I only needed 2 more classes to complete it.  I stuck with my art minor (with a focus in photography) and haven't taken another music class since.  In my senior year some friends convinced me to do "Pacific Idol," which was my school's version of American Idol.  I made it to the top 10 and did a lovely, rather sexy performance of Fiona Apple's Criminal.  I didn't win, but I didn't really care since I was just doing it for fun at that point.  By then I was happy I'd made it to the top 10.

Ever since my Pacific Idol performance, the closest I've gotten to performing is the occasional karaoke night.  I'm really not sure what is driving me to rejoin a choir now.  I say it's because I miss the simple pleasure of singing for others, but maybe it's more than that.  Maybe I need the validation.  Maybe I need to reconnect with that hopeful little college freshman (and sophomore) who thought if she was just determined enough, the world of music would lay itself at her feet and she'd be famous.  Or maybe I need to reconnect even farther back, to the little girl "performing" out in her cousin's yard, using a tall, flowered weed as a microphone.  I don't know.  All I know is that I feel the need to sing again.

So, anyway.  I'm going to try out for one of the other choirs in the area.  Apparently there's one really close to where I live.  I checked out the website and it says that sight-reading helps but isn't necessary.  So I emailed them and scheduled a brief audition before their rehearsal next Monday.  We'll see how it goes.  I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, before I go, I have to link to this post by Jenn.  Just doing my part to save the environment.  Check it out!
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kate said...

Good for you for getting back to something you love! Break a leg, or whatever is the correct expression for singers :)

Jenn said...

Hey that is great Bridgete! It is always nice to hear that what you are doing, even if its just because you love it and feel good about your own abilities, is well received by others too. I applaud you for having the courage to get back out there and give it a shot! It reminds me a lot of the writer's world where they all tell you up front to expect to be rejected 99% of the time but that it is really the 1% that counts anyway. Keep plugging away at your auditions and you will find a choir you fit in with perfectly. Oh & when you do you better let me know about your performances so we can come and hold up your sign :)

Thanks for linking back to the Seed blog too, I definitely appreciate the link love!

KC McAuley said...

You know I'm proud of you for a lot of things. But I wanted you to know how proud I am of you stepping out and returning to something you love, something that brings you joy. I know I left my passion behind because of criticism, fear, no time, a hundred different reasons, and it is only now that I have found the courage to do, to try and to fail if necessary, to bring my creative self alive again. Good for you. I love you!

Bridgete said...

Kate: Yes, it is "break a leg." Thanks!

Jenn: I will definitely let you know when the performances are so you can come hold up my sign! =)

And Mom...I love you too!