This week I have continued my FLR work and am pleased with what has come of it. I do not know how much I am necessarily retaining of my reading, I think that aspect of the work manifests itself most during my writing exercises at the end of the week. I do know however, that my listening and vocabulary seem to be becoming strong as the time progresses. With both, I add one unit's worth of exercises per week. While this leads to a smaller vocabulary, I find that the words I do add implant themselves better in my brain with the time allowed to focus specifically on them.
I have decided to focus on small things vocally. By this, I mean that I am taking single exercises and continually doing them until I achieve a desired result and then moving on. Sometimes this only takes a couple of repetitions, other times it takes 5 or 10 minutes worth of work. The benefits of this however are noticeable even the next day. For example, since my lesson three weeks ago I have been working with the [ð] occlusive in my exercise regimen. I perform a 5-note scale beginning with [ð] and moving to [i] ascending to the fifth and then descending back to the root. I tend to struggle with not cracking, or slipping, at around A above middle C. So, I will continue to do this scale starting on the D above middle, refining and honing in on the correct sound and sensation, until the note no longer slips. Upon achieving this I move up by half-steps until about C5, the tenor's high C. I am currently relatively consistent in this exercise on the A now and have moved on to B-flat and B as my main focus.
I have also noticed the importance of rest in the voice building process. On average I vocalize about five days a week. During this time I make progress daily, however my largest progress always comes after those couple of days of rest. I think that this fact proves that training a voice is a muscular activity. When training any muscle, the growth does not come during the exercise itself, but during the rest period when the muscles can rebuild and adapt to the new standards being required of them. This is why and good exercise program should require rest periods. Even in running and other cardiovascular activities, at least one day of rest is prescribed. As the weeks go by, I continue to grow towards my ultimate goal of being the best singer possible. Knowing that this process is a muscular one enables me to find satisfaction in the gradualness, but consistency of growth.
Methodology Minute - Trust Your Intuition
In most areas of intelligence, our intuition leads to more results than anything else. Unfortunately, most of us do not trust our intuition, especially in areas that we do not consider ourselves experts. A quick example: When I speak to my friends in either French or Italian I generally come to a point where I want to say something, but do not necessarily know for certain what the correct word is. During these times, I occasionally have words pop into my head from seemingly out of nowhere. If I am comfortable with the people I am speaking with, I will tentatively try out the word in my head, usually with a positive affirmation of my offering. I always check my thoughts after the fact if I am by myself practicing, but the percentage of time that I am correct is far greater than the times I am wrong.
If we have done enough work in a subject area (in languages this equates to input and building a passive vocabulary) eventually and inevitably this passive knowledge will become active when the opportunity presents itself. My encouragement this week is to trust that little voice in your head. Often it will be correct.