Nov 8, 2007

Ugly but useful.

I take voice lessons from a teacher I've had for four years now.

It has been a long, painful road, rediscovering my singing and loving my voice. I had a bad experience in college which left me completely in doubt of my ability and even enjoyment of singing. This teacher that I have now is... what can I say. An amazing teacher. Skilled, capable, and loves singing and performing and helping people to get better, even if they have absolutely no ability to carry a tune. In his mind, singing is a whole package: voice, performance, feeling, execution. He has this theory:

there are two kinds of voices in the world. Oops voices and Ubu voices.

Oops: the One and Only Opulent Sound.

Ubu: Ugly but useful.

He describes it as a continuum; a famous opera star like Placido Domingo or Pavorotti would be close to the Ooops side, and someone like Bernadette Peters would be very much on the Ubu side.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I will never be an opera star, or even a noticeably skilled classical singer. My field is belt, and I do it well. And I love it, and people like to listen to me. It's a different skill set, not one usually appreciated by a college voice teacher, especially if you're trying to get into a classical major.

Anyway, lately we've been singing Christmas songs. It's magical, that music. Hearing it, sitting around at about 7pm after the sky has become black outside. Everyone's faces are lit by the lamp over the piano. Somewhere, a pine-scented candle is burning. The familiarity of carols and other songs: Lo How A Rose E'er blooming. Jesu bamino. Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella.

My sister has a beautiful, sparkling soprano voice. I listen to her sing and a piece of me is jealous and a piece of me isn't.
The largest piece of me just loves to listen to her.


Lucy Stern said...

It sounds like you have a beautiful voice. I like to sing but I realize that I do not have a voice that sticks out in a crowd. I can carry a tune and enjoy singing when I get a chance.

I do have two friends that can't carry a tune, at all. It is hard sitting next to them in RS because we start singing and I have to concentrate hard not to be pulled off by their voices. It is a good thing that the Lord has many talents for us to choose from.

Josh and Jennifer said...

I'm proud of you for sticking with it even after having a bad experience. You've always been very talented in the music area. I really enjoy music but have zero talent. You have been blessed!

Maren said...

I'm glad that you are back to singing. I love to sing, but don't do it well. I would love to take lessons some time.

Thanks for the comment. Yes, photography is a hobby of mine, and my husbands. The pictures on the post you commented on were taken by him. We both have dreams of becoming skilled enough to do something with our photography someday. In the meantime, we love to take pictures and continue to do it.

As for the cards, my current project is this years Christmas cards. I wont be doing much else until they are finished. I hope to get back to making more cards this next year. I took a break, which I needed and enjoyed, but now I am ready to get back to doing it again.

Anonymous said...

I wish you would make a folkie cd with your sis. (too bad "sisters" isn't possible at this moment) and give it to us as a present. I feel a little starved for good folk music sometimes, but I know you would do a very nice job. I'm always sad when I discover a new song that really just floats my boat only to find, after looking up the band to see what other treasures they have, that that was their only good song. Anyway, a little off topic, but it would be nice.