Voice class

This just in: I have a light lyric soprano voice. Along the lines of what Kathleen Battle might have sounded like as a beginner.

Since last week I have been practicing yawn space using my best Alexander Technique to “not do” that thing with my throat when I sing, as well as moving my voice from bright to dark. I found that Amazing Grace using that “boo voice” did wonders to keep things dark.

The song for this week was Edelweiss, one I have always loved, and, well, I don’t know what to say. I sounded like a whole different person this week.

I’m still not sure of what use a light lyric soprano voice is, but at least I can sing in the shower without my voice cracking now.


Voice class

Major break through today. I’ve been struggling since class started with a tight, forced, frequently breaking sound. Today VT- (voice teacher) asked me to sit down and slump, then sing. Eureka! For the first time I experienced what happens when I relax my throat.

String quartet

Mozart K458
Borodin Quart No. 2 in D (which seemed like it was mostly in A?)

It’s been a few months since we played. We chose the Mozart as a “warm-up”, and finished the last movement after, oh, a little more than an hour, I think. We even did the math and played the lovely Adagio, full of 32nd notes , triplets,  dotted rhythms, and bizarre rest patterns.  The fugal development in the last movement was especially fun.

I had my doubts about Borodin, but thought it came off remarkably well. It’s always nerve-wracking when the first bar of the first movement is annotated “Solo”. That also took awhile, as there was lots of regrouping to work out unexpected rhythms and interdigitations. Didn’t do the whole last movement, as after 2 1/2 hours fingers were raw and shoulders were aching.

This is a really congenial group. Nothing to prepare, as we just read something new each time. Reasonably consistent ability, excellent counting all around, and no one gets exercised if someone needs an extra pass (or two) to get their part to work out. And we don’t really have to stop that often, as all of us are usually able to come back in based on what we hear around us when we get completely derailed.

Looking forward to next month.


Yes, I’m back. Coming back. Slowly.

Fri – 32 min
Sat – 40 min
Sun – off
Mon – 40 min
Tue – 45 min

I plan to stick at 45 min with 1 or 2 days off this week, then add a second daily session next week, beginning with 10 minutes and building up to 45 in 5 minute increments. Right now I’m not practicing music so much as practicing playing, checking in with my body nearly continuously, keeping all excess tension at bay. I have to say, that part of things is going exceptionally well; the long break seemed to give me time to incorporate those physical habits I worked so hard to develop last year.

I must be channeling Emily’s muse, because I found I am already following her prescription for coming back after a break. My scale of choice is E Major, and I am alternating playing pieces I worked on 2 or 3 years ago with things I might like to play this year. I’m working on the old pieces in short bits as she describes, but just hopscotching around the new ones, testing out the complications without actually doing any work.

The most important things at this stage of “recovery” are to maintain my excitement at playing again, build up my finger and thumb calluses, and not aggravate any of my old overuse injuries. There’s plenty of time for “work” later this year.

Some things I’ve done this week:

  • Lee #1 and 2 (old) and #13 (new)
  • Bach 2nd suite Prelude and Courante (old) and 3d suite Prelude (new)
  • Piatti book 1 D and A etudes and book 2 E and c etudes (new)
  • Cello 1 part in Bach, Klengel, and Goltermann cello quartets (new)

MMTA 2008 – Tuesday

Today I attended:

Introduction to The Perfect Wrong Note
Exploring the Perfect Wrong Note
The Un-Master Class (R)

William Westney
Author of
The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self

Vocal Explorations: The Good, the Bad, and the “Other”
Dr. Clifton Ware

Tracking Self-Employment Income/Expenses for Income Tax Purposes
Janice Narlock

MMTA 2008 – Monday

My sessions today:

Incorporating Elements of Movement and Theatre in the Training of Young Singers
Vicki Fingalson

Voice Master Class
Audrey Stottler

Altered States of Consciousness and Optimal Musical Experiences
Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada

SAA 2008 – Monday

Today there was one last session (I did the two-hour one) and the closing ceremony.

Music Theory in the String Studio
Katherine J. Wood