Thursday, November 29, 2012

A New Phase

I have entered a new phase of my vocal journey this month.  I was lucky enough to be able to have two lessons this month as compared to my usual one every other month.  During the course of these two lessons, JRL and I worked on a new aspect of singing technique.  For the past three years, we have focused mostly on developing the chest voice component of my voice.  This was lacking from my singing previously and took some time to develop.  Now, we are working on finding the "thin edge" of the voice.  This is proving to be very challenging for me, though I am finding success and a certain ease in my singing that was not as present before. 

In the past five years or so, I had noticed that I was losing my vocal agility and I could not figure out why.  I found this very frustrating, because I used to pride myself on the ease with which I could handle coloratura passages.  After a couple of weeks of working to find the "thin edge," I sang through "Ev'ry Valley" from Handel's Messiah today with relative ease and at a passable tempo.  The runs felt both clean and under control, not to mention the top notes were easier than they have ever been.  My challenge now lies in this weekend. 

I have two auditions this weekend and these are some of my last auditions of this season.  At this point I have not been terribly pleased with my performances in audition situations this year.  I have been becoming more and more comfortable with each audition and I know that this is a process.  Singing tenor is still new to me, especially in front of people, and the more that I do it the easier it becomes.  I am hoping that some fruit will come from these auditions this weekend. 

My primary goal is to sing well and seek the "thin edge" throughout my two auditions.  My secondary goal is to be offered a position through these auditions.  I am at a difficult point currently in that I am nearing an age where I need to either find work singing, or pursue a secondary plan that is more sustainable than my current day job.  This will inevitably lead to me pursuing a graduate degree if I have to go down this path.  Following a path towards a graduate degree does not necessarily hurt my chances of singing professionally, in fact, it would probably help me a great deal.  The issue I have is that I would rather just get out there and sing rather than go through another two years of academic work.  Prayers are greatly appreciated that my auditions this weekend and throughout this audition season lead to an offer to sing somewhere this summer and begin my career.

German is still coming along at a consistent pace.  I have fallen into a pretty good groove as of late, though I am a little slow on my goal of 4,700 known words by the end of the year.  As we come into December I will need to increase my workload so to reach this level.  4,700 may seem like a random number to want to achieve, however there is a method to this number.  There is a study out of Australia (I believe) that found that in English the amount of words known divided by 1.6 equated to the number of word families known, which is a better measure of fluency than simply words known.  It is generally accepted that one can be quite proficient in a language once they know 3,000 words.  The Australian study points out that this is really 3,000 word families, not words.  Therefore, per the equation, I need to know 4,700 words to know 3,000 word families in English.  While I do not know the specific equation for other languages, I have found this same equation works pretty well for other languages.  If I can reach this number by year's end I will be at a solid intermediate level in the language and be able to have relatively comfortable conversations on a wide variety of topics.

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