No art, no he-art

“The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.”

-Michelle Obama

Sometimes people ask why you buy books,  handicrafts, materials for scrapbook and painting, watch a play, a concert.  I wonder why people have to look for special reasons. I do acknowledge that there are more important things in this world but I don’t think that it’s a waste of money nor waste of time  to be involved in these art forms. I think art is an investment. Most of the time, we think art in terms of its cultural value. But art has a personal value and has a long term-effect to an individual (whether you are a sender or receiver of art). In the same way how food nourishes our bodies, art nourishes our senses. I am not saying spend more on movies and concerts and spend less on food and clothing. I am not saying go and watch an indie film. I am not saying buy a book even if you’re broke or start collecting comics and paintings. Engage in an art that is accessible and palatable to you. It may be a visit to a museum, studying make-up or reading a graphic novel.

Art is not for the middle-class, for the élite or educated. Some people are willing to spend for liquor and buffet meal but find it expensive to buy a book. Some people buy the latest gadgets but question you why you buy a ticket for a live performance. It’s strange because these are equally unnecessary for survival yet we find a high calorie dinner and an extra cellphone more acceptably rewarding.

So why is it not a waste of money and time?

Art is an experience
Experience may seem ephemeral but experiences cannot be taken away or stolen. An experience is personal, priceless and unique. You cannot copy experiences and you cannot borrow senses. Hence, a friend who shares you how convincing the movie is, how amazing the concert is,  is different from a friend who shares another apple to you.  What you notice a lot in a live performance, or what you see in a mural is not always the same with others.

wicked stage
Wicked Stage

Art makes us human
We are way beyond our biological functions. We are the only creatures that can appreciate design, craft, and showmanship. We sense. We feel. We favor certain sounds and colors. We critique. I guess we should practice what is innately unique in human nature. Let’s find beauty in shapes and sizes, find satisfaction in sounds, sights arrangement, and rhythm. Everyone has an inner artist.

found this painting on SM North
found this painting on SM North

Art gives us another way of looking at things
An example of this would be a bed scene or an adult scene. These are scenes that some people are not comfortable to watch and talk about. You try to close your eyes watching a nude scene because you think you’re not supposed to see it. I just watched Cock of Redturnip Theater and the adult scenes were very intimate. What’s interesting is that the actors are fully clothed and barely too close to each other.

cock

Art mirrors feelings, aspirations, and reality
As the common definition of art in textbooks, “Art is an imitation of life.” A piece of art is one interpretation of real objects, people, life events. He might be a designer, playwright, poet, makeup artist or a graphic artist. Sometimes, I watch a film, I discover not only new ideas, but new feelings, new dreams or maybe they are just suppressed thoughts that are overshadowed by daily routine. When you listen to music, or read a short story, you think there is a medium that identifies your emotions or represents your thoughts.

Art when done with good taste, it adds depth to humanity
I don’t want to sound too serious nor do I want to sound like an activist but sometimes art gives inspiration. A novel can call for a revolution. Paintings teach history and religion. Spoken word poetry (I’m such a big fan) makes beautiful life stories.

Art is a product of hard work, great minds, and talent
This explains why a piece of art is pricey. Every product of art has to go through a creative process and every artist deserves a talent fee. By supporting what they do, you are continuing the  legacy of a special breed of human race who are passionate in what they do.

 

My voice is always under construction

20130828_140159Included in my bucket list for this year is to enroll in Philippine Opera Company. I took voice lessons last July.  See I told you, there is power in making a bucket list.   I wanted to sing opera. Because I did not have much background in classical singing, I thought learning  from an institution for opera would be a good idea. Here are some of  little things I learn in voice lessons that have practical value.

It’s so difficult to breathe

Breathing is what we do most but it’s not an activity that all of us have mastered. When you are learning how to sing properly, that’s the only time you become conscious on how you breathe. It is difficult for me to learn how and when to breathe but it’s easy for me to learn how to stop breathing. I just look at the person I don’t like then I stop breathing (LoL)

Walking helps you relaxed while singing

If you are too tense in singing like me, you should walk, and do some movements to distract you from thinking too much on how to produce the right sound.

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There is an inner ear

I knew I had an inner voice, inner self, inner goddess but that was the first time I heard I had an inner ear. Sometimes when you try to listen on how you sound, you think that it does not sound  good enough but it can be your inner ear discouraging you. Hence, if you want to learn how you sound, you really have to have someone who can listen to your voice.

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There are so many things that happen in your mouth and in your body when you sing.

Who says singing is easy? It is not as easy as it sounds.

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Grunting is positive

It gives you support in singing

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Be grounded.

By pointing your fingers down while singing, it reminds you to use your entire body and to get some support.

Music knows no age. 

Jackie Evancho and Charlotte Church makes me feel embarrassed because I am only learning how to sing opera in my adulthood. But according to my voice teacher, it’s not recommendable to let kids sing classical or make them sound like Sarah Brightman. It can destroy your voice later in life. Anyway, my teacher is three years younger than me. Sometimes you learn more from those who are younger than you (#truestory) It’s never too late to learn something new.

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Your voice is unique.

opera1We often think that imitating your favorite singer’s voice is a measurement of a great voice. While I was rehearsing some classical songs, I listened and watched performances in Youtube and I ended up frustrated. I just couldn’t sound like one of them. I had a thin voice and it was different from how my teacher sounded. She had a thick and rich voice while mine was small. But she said the thinness of my voice is a distinctive quality of my voice. I have to love my voice and accept all its flaws and learn its advantages. By imitating, my voice sounded unnatural. By being true to my voice, I felt lighter and at ease.

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Note:  All photos are taken in Philippine Opera Company

Opera Haus 3657 Bautista St.

Singing in the street is fun

People think I’m crazy because they see me talking to myself, smiling and singing alone, comfortable in my own world. I tend to hop a little when I walk in the busy streets of Metro Manila. I sometimes catch a stranger’s attention. Do you know how? It’s either I tripped up stairs, slipped on the escalator. But on some occasions, I sing out loud while walking in the streets which I am really unaware of. When someone turns his back to see me, that’s when I begin to feel that my mouth is moving and releasing a big note.  Then, I come back to my senses and pretend that it’s not embarrassing at all. It happened when I was walking through  Ayala underpass. An NGO representative approached me and said, “Ma’am I believe you are singing.”

Sometimes, I’m lost in my own world. I create a moment on the streets as if I am in MTV.  And I get inspiration from my favorite music videos which center on a girl singing in the middle of the streets.

Who Says by Selena Gomez

This video has a lot of cute stuff, very sassy. I love the scene when Selena  with her long gown, runs along the streets barefoot. I hope a lot of young girls will listen to this song because  it has a good message.

Quotable Quote:

I’m no beauty queen, I’m just beautiful me
You got every right to a beautiful life, come on

Put your hearts up by Ariana Grande

This is a feel good video with simple choreography and bright colors. I like how it looks like a musical movie scene or a Disney film.

It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork

I wish I could find a clearer a copy of this music video.  This is another music video that looks like it’s part of  musical film. But unlike Put your hearts up, this song sounds more like Broadway

Gravity by Sara Barilles

I also like melancholic songs (You see, I’m  crazy and bipolar. I like extremely sad and extremely happy songs.) What makes this music video unique is its cosmic theme which is very creatively done.

Who You Are by Jessie J

This is one of my favorite songs. I want to imitate what Jessie J did,  singing in the corner of the train station.  Of all the videos I mentioned here, this one is close to reality. When you sing  your heart out in a public place, the crowd don’t join you in singing. They  just stare  at you or ignore. I love this song (so redundant, am I?) I listen to this song when I want to reflect on what am I doing to myself (naks!)

Quotable Quote:

Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay.