This week has been the most exhausting week of my college career thus far. So far, I’ve been handling my first 18 credit semester pretty well; all I can do is take it one day at a time. However, yesterday I woke up with no energy to make it through the day, on top of that, Fridays are my busiest day by far. At the end of my four classes yesterday I went to my voice lesson of the week, where I learned some very valuable things that may help us all.
Shout out to my cat for being today’s model.
I’ve been taking private voice lessons for about 4 years now. Even if you are not trying to make a career out of singing, voice lessons are a good way to learn about yourself and have fun. Even professional actors with thriving careers still get vocal coaching, there is always something to learn.
To those of you who aren’t singers, it may surprise you to learn that singing requires your entire body. Likewise, whatever state your body is in will affect how you sing. So you can imagine that at the end of an exhausting week, I wouldn’t have much energy left within me to belt out some show tunes. Of course my voice teacher recognized this right away, and luckily she knew just how to use my exhaustion as a learning experience.
I like to push myself in all areas of my life. This is a big no, no when it comes to singing. That is a sure way to damage your voice. Actually, I suppose that can go for many things… During my voice lesson I really took the time to slow down and listen to my voice. Was it damaged? Was it dry? Was it just tired? Then I realized that I hadn’t been listening to my voice at all recently (I mean, this this is supposed to be my money-maker!). I guess being aware of my voice is one good thing that came from being tired.
-Being tired can force you to listen to yourself. How are you doing?
Well, I thought I sounded awful. But at least I stopped to listen. However, I couldn’t find the energy within me to produce the sound I knew I could. So, my voice instructor told me to understate everything I sang. You know, not everything can a huge Broadway-belt moment. It just can’t. That’s where a lot of the story in every song is: in the quiet moments.
-There is good in the quiet moments. We need quiet to process our thoughts.
So I sang through a song. If you really want to know, it was “Fly, Fly Away” from Catch Me If You Can. I sang it horribly, of course. I didn’t really sound like myself. I knew this sound wasn’t anything I could present to the faculty at the end of the term. I didn’t sweat it though, and I certainly didn’t push myself to sound better.
-You can’t produce your best work when you’re tired, so don’t put that pressure of yourself.
I’ve never had any belt training. (You know, that big Broadway sound? I have no idea how people do that…) So I asked my teacher how on earth singers achieve that. With some technical work, I was soon belting out a wave of sound that I had never experienced before! I got shivers, like I just had a huge breakthrough in my education.
-Just because you’re tired doesn’t mean you’re useless.
The most amazing thing I learned was that you can still learn when you’re tired. It’s just a matter of learning how to learn when you’re tired. Because, let’s face it: we are going to be tired for most of the time we’re in college. Let’s not let that time go to waste. 🙂