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"You're bad... in the right ways."

... said my voice teacher, Larry.
So I've taken multiple classes with him, and he has barely said anything nice about my singing. And I'm wondering maybe he just does this to pay bills and is disillusioned by his students.

But today, something important happened to me. I had just gone to the gym to swim, had dinner in a wonderful Gluten-Free restaurant called Wild Wood Cafe (really really good) and by the time I got to my singing class, I was just like.. meh. Worn out by the day already.

We went through his warm-ups, and Ponofka, and finally.. we got to some Musical Theatre songs. When we did Oliver's "As Long As He Needs me", he gave me a criticism he already has before: that I needed to breath through each note. Not just the first one. And I've also noticed that at points when I'm singing, I'm somehow boring myself (which is quite a talent on it's own).

So I nodded, and then we restarted, and I sang.. and in my head: "Whoa. What?? Where did that voice come from??" And then as I sang I actually felt the hair in the back of my arms raise... and wow.

I've never made my hair in the back of my arms raise (btw, the Indonesians has a word for that, makes telling stories faster) with my improv, or with my dancing. And I LOVE dancing.

Anyways.. after I finished that Oliver song, I looked at my teacher expectantly. There was silence... then he criticized how I was pronouncing the words.

Hrmpf. There was magic, I felt it. Surely he did? Maybe it's all in my head. Anyways, the bizarre feeling happened a few more times with Les Mis' On My Own and A drop of rain.

I was still contemplating this, even though my teacher hadn't said anything nice... when he said: "You're bad... in the right ways."
Was that a compliment? I looked at him, and was like... "What does that mean?"
Then he was like.. "You have great potential." (The first real praise he's given me.) "You have the right voice for what you're trying to do."
He says I'm a very strong and loud mezzo. And I could be good, but needs training (prob his ;-))
And that I could be a belter, and a classical Mezzo too. Apparently there isn't enough strong Mezzo's in opera.
And in musical theatre, according to him, a lot of the mezzos have tiny voices and want to be Sopranos. (Waitaminute that sounds like me ;-))
He said a lot of the women with my voice ends up in Country music. (??!!)

Anyways, that was a strange conversation.. and the first time after a lot of classes he's finally really praised me. So yay!
But more importantly.. I actually felt magic from singing.. for the first time in my life.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2008 06:28 am (UTC)
Hard to say. You get 20 voice-posts a month with a paid account, no ? Sing for us !

I have gotten that magic feeling on occasion, that feeling you get when something you do don't feel merely adequate, but you have the feeling that you're really genuinely doing something -well-.

I've had it windsurfing, when sometimes, magically, everything fits just -so- the board and sail feels like an extension of your body and you just -fly- across the sea, riding the very edge, because somehow you know exactly where that is, and you're really outside of your skill-envelope, but still it feels like you've always done this.
Jul. 1st, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
I had the same feeling last year...

my harmonica teacher... after a 1/2 year of lessons, told me congratulations, as I had "graduated" from harmonica kinder garden...

at first I was wow I'm getting better... then it's liek WHAT??

some of friends said WHAT?

but i began to understand that no matter how good I get I still have a long ways to go, and LOTS AND LOTS of practice is what I need.

Jul. 1st, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
Re: I had the same feeling last year...
yeah! and in a way it's fun.. that there's still so much to learn :)
Jul. 1st, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)

I think I have a karate teacher who might be similar to your music instructor. He tends to focus on the critique and constructive criticism instead of the praise. In fact, he rarely if ever offers a compliment. (Normally, it immediately followed by criticism.)

However, as time as gone on, I have come to really like his style. His criticism is always accurate, and I know he is really trying to help me improve. Plus, when he does give me a compliment, I know I did something really well and he's not just trying to be nice. (Of course, all the time criticism can be tiring. Luckily, we have other teachers who are freer with their praise. It creates a nice balance.)

If your teacher told you that, I would say you were right there was magic there, and you can trust that you do have a lot of potential.

Congrats, again. I am glad you hit that magic feeling.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)

I'm learning to like his lack of praise.. because I'm so used to people being so effusive and expressive.. that it's interesting to meet someone who's so gruff.

His compliments become far more treasured definitely :)
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
a lot of the women with my voice ends up in Country music

Sing along with them and you'll realize it's true. :)

I am so jealous of you, getting to do some serious singing! What do you mean, btw, with "breath through each note"?
Jul. 2nd, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
It's something I'm still learning.
Like when you take a breath.. and sing a series of words.. generally every word has to be treated like it was the first word you sang after you take a breath.

So like.. it's not flat breath. Each note is alive.

It's hard for me, it takes more air, so I run out of breath faster. But I notice when I don't do it... sometimes I bore myself.. I think because the song isn't alive.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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