Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Faith: The Most Necessary Virtue!

I have made some good progress this month, both with my German and with my singing.  In German I am at approximately 1750 words known on LingQ and I have noticed that I am beginning to be able to follow some of the dialogue on the radio station I listen to, Radio Horeb.  There is still a lot that I miss, however I am still encouraged by the process that I am making.  I have about twenty days left with my Michel Thomas program and then I will be coming back to Assimil to finish that.  This being said, it is apparent to me that I am going to be hitting a few milestones in the next month.  My plans for the next two weeks is to start using my German more in certain areas of my life.  Primarily, I am going to start praying my Rosary in German at least three days a week.  I find that this has been very helpful for me in the past, as I can grow from the Rosary into personal prayers and really force the activation of a lot of the vocabulary I know.  I am one-third of the way through my German year and find myself at a very good place.

Vocally things have been a roller coaster ride of sorts.  A few weeks back I had a minor vocal crisis where I began to show the signs of a hole in my passaggio.  Luckily, after a brief correspondence with JRL, I have patched up that problem and moved on to considerably more exciting things.  Specifically, this week I have consistently sang my exercises up to a high C (and occasionally a C#), and today I was able to sing the C with vibrato.  To my mind, this means that I am starting to coordinate the note well enough that it is beginning to release.  I routinely practice at my former college, Roberts Wesleyan, which happens to be where both of my future sisters-in-law go to school currently.  I was informed by one of the sisters that I have a bit of a fan base among her fellow classmates.  One even went so far as to figure out the note that I "always crack on," which was a Bb4 for those who are interested.  While this is amusing, it also gave me great motivation to get past that Bb4, which I can say I have done now.  Instead I crack on the B4 or C5 now!

I am quite humbled by having a "fanclub" at my former school.  It is quite a different scene than when I was going to school here from 2003-2007.  At that time, the majority of the department was confused as to why I was a performance major.  Now the current student population thinks that I am an advanced singer.  This goes to a larger point that I was discussing with my language partner, Ernest, yesterday.  I have known from the time I became a voice major that I was going to be a singer, and a successful one at that.  Despite the dissensions from everyone from classmates to family to professionals, I am nearing the point of my process where I am going to begin my career.  If you have faith in your own path you will always achieve your goals.  The process may take you through deserts and mountains, however you will always come out on the other side if you maintain your faith.  As a Christian, I have put my life's path into God's hands and am confident that, while it may not happen in the timeline of my choosing, everything I have asked of God for my life will occur as it is supposed to.  Regardless of whether you are Christian or not, faith is one of the most important character traits we possess.  Believe and know that your aspirations will always happen as long as you continue to persevere faithfully.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Language Leap!

I am a little over a quarter of the way through my German year and I have made a considerable leap in my ability to express myself in the last couple of weeks.  I had a similar thing occur in French last year, where all of sudden the language began to flow from me with a lot less hindrance.  There are obviously still holes in my vocabulary, however I have discovered that I can now carry on conversations beyond mere greetings and niceties.  I'm not exactly sure what the turning point was for me and I wish I had kept a better catalog of hours spent working in the language so that I could possibly start to formulate a theory on the relationship between time and achievement.  My estimate is about five hours of Michel Thomas, eight hours of Assimil and 10 hours on LingQ.  So that is really only about 23 hours, not including time spent talking to myself and others, time spent watching movies and listening to the radio.  Truthfully though, this is a very small amount of time and I wish I had more time to devote to learning the language.  If I could devote this much time into my week instead of over the last three and a half months I can only imagine how strong my German would be come December 31, 2012!  Unfortunately I do not have four hours a day to devote to language learning so I have to do the best I can with the time I have.  I imagine that I will be able to add German to my list of spoken languages by August; then I would like to amp up my workload to really achieve fluency by the end of the year.

I have been having some struggles lately with my voice.  These challenges are things of my own doing, but they are very annoying nonetheless.  It is especially frustrating because I had such a great lesson a couple of months ago and I feel like I have done the two steps forward, one step back thing in the last couple of weeks.  I am beginning to pull myself out of these issues, but it appears that it is going to take me longer to recover from than it did to fall into.  There are some positives though, I still have built my strength up some as I am now able to sing a fairly consistent A4 ever without warming up (I don't do this often).  Overall it is important to continue to look at the positive movements that are happening and use those to get through the troublesome times.