Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mid October

I am nearing the end of my intensive time with French and can say that I am very happy with where I am.  I am understanding the vast majority of what I read now and will try and do a reading test from a newspaper before the year is over.  My listening is still a bit behind everything else, especially when listening to the radio, however I have begun to work intensively on my reading and listening abilities so hopefully they will both come up in level before the end of the year.

To increase my levels in those two areas I have begun to use LingQ almost exclusively. I even upgraded from the free version so that I could use the program more effectively.  I have to admit that I find it to be very helpful.  I love the concept of extensive/intensive listening and reading, but it is very difficult to read when having to flip back and forth from a book to a dictionary.  LingQ eliminates this by having a pop-up dictionary always present.  I have talked about LingQ before so I do not want to spend much time here on it except to tell you all to try it out.  As much as I liked the idea of using it for free, I do not feel that one gets the full benefit of the program until you upgrade to a pay version (and come on, it is only ten dollars a month!).

I am currently on the train on the way home from NYC, where I had a lesson with JRL.  Today's lesson was a very frustrating one for both of us I am sure.  Lessons like the one I had today are huge tests of courage and perseverance.  I have gone through a range of emotions in the six and a half hours since my lesson and have landed on a huge desire to get into a practice room and work.  It may be perseverance, or it may be ego, however I cannot have another lesson go by like this one did.  So I will spend the next month fixing my issues and come back better than I was today.

The largest frustration to me is that I spent the last two months working very hard and came in today feeling pretty good about myself.  Unfortunately during those two months I seemed to have regressed on a certain bad habit that I honestly was not paying as much attention to in the time between lessons as I was other technical things.  It would appear that I overdid to the point of misunderstanding a certain idea I was given last time and now I must go back and fix those issues which were not plaguing me at my lesson but came back with a vengeance today.  If this teaches one anything, it should be that we must always be vigilant!  Complacency can only lead to disaster.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

End of September/Beginning of October

It has been a bit since I last wrote here.  Some good things have happened on both the language and singing fronts, as well as some discouraging things.  In my language work I have begun reading Les Fables de la Fontaine which are mostly on my level.  I find that the hard thing with reading is that though I know the words I'm reading, I often miss the actual context of the story.  I figure that this is similar to listening comprehension and the practice will ultimately make things clearer as well as fill in the holes in my vocabulary.  I have unfortunately been rather lax in my other forms of study.  I have recently picked back up on Michel Thomas, but as of yet have not gotten back into my Assimil work in about two weeks.  I have every intention of working on it again tonight though!

In other news, I feel that I am to the point now where I can actually begin to call myself a tenor.  For the last month and a half or so I have been working on the Duke's arias from Rigoletto by Verdi.  These arias have stretched me and almost forced my voice to work in a different way than it has in the past.  In the last couple of days my Bb4 has really come into its own and the B4 is not far behind.  I am looking forward to the few weeks, during which time I am hoping to have a few lessons, some coachings and even participate in a recital (my first as a tenor)!

The only discouraging part of my singing life currently has been this week.  My voice has been feeling different this week and certain things that were relatively secure before are not this week, while other things that were not present before are now starting to present themselves.  I assume that this is just some of the growing pains in the process and am not terribly worried by them though.  I'm hoping to get back into being slightly more regular with my updates here, but with the holidays quickly approaching we'll see what the reality of that is.