Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A stage presence made for radio

While practicing my instrument today, I decided to record my work. I wanted to hear what I sounded like, as I hadn't really done that in a long time. Typically I prepare myself for disappointment after listening to recordings. Music takes place in time, and moments are gone as quickly as they happen, which is true for the brilliantly executed phrase as well as the splatsplatsplat of the mistake. Recording, however, allows you to revisit these moments and assess just how brilliant the execution of that phrase really was or how egregious the error. Usually the errors which slip my mind are brought to the forefront on recordings, and the sound that I made isn't the sound that I thought I was making.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find that while my performance of the first page of the concerto (one that I should have learned several years ago, by the way) wasn't great, and there were plenty of slips and blips, it sounded...like music. My sound on the double bass is warm, somewhat dark, not so ping-y, and surprisingly consistent. It sounds like my singing voice in some ways...my voice is darker these days, sits comfortably in the middle to lower range of female singing.

Playing the double bass is not something that came naturally for me. I'm not a very physically adept person, and much of my time practicing is spent directing my stubborn body to perform that which my mind already understands. I have occasionally thought that when it was "pick up a strange instrument that no one else plays" day in high school orchestra, that I should have played the horn instead. But we already had horn players. REALLY good ones.

Singing, by contrast, comes very easily to me. I have perfect pitch and a strong music theory background that I picked up early. Unfortunately, I also have a stage presence made for radio. I didn't grow into myself as a singer until much too late in life, and really, does the world really need more professional singers?

Switching gears on the music topic, my primary musical function has been that of a teacher. And I wish to dispel the myth for all you parents who read this that musical involvement requires talent and that only a few people can be involved. Yes, I have seen and worked with plenty of talented students. I have also worked with even more students who did not seem to be musically "gifted" but decided that they liked it and wanted to participate.

But then, kids are less self-conscious when they're little. And even as they grow up, if taught properly, they don't care so much that they're not the best, as long as they're involved.

It's all you grownups! How many times have you said "Oh, I can't sing, I'm not good at it, I'm embarrassed" because you're not a trained musician? If you can sing a song and the melody is recognizable, you can sing, and you can learn to sing better.

Please, encourage your children to sing.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Perfect pitch?...awesome. I feel like I'm one that doesn't have a huge musical talent(many others have more natural talent than I), but I loved it and worked at it.