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.

Dreams Change

Your dreams change as you grow old.

You probably realize that when you are already done with college or have been working about two to three years like me.

I was reminded of my childhood dream when the buzz of Ms. Saigon audition was spreading all over the news and social media. God knows, I’ve been wanting to be in Ms. Saigon and be Ms. Saigon. After having performance-related subjects in college, theater workshops, meeting theater artists, auditions, and snippets of theater performance, my theater dream blossomed and blossomed until it shrank ironically. I got to know myself. I discovered my strengths and bitterly accepted my weaknesses.

I questioned if it was a dream worth fighting for. I can deliver a line, fill the stage with the decibel of my voice. But I don’t have outstanding looks that can compensate my mediocre talent. I can sing the right notes, but not stellar enough for a country that has a lot of singing talents planted everywhere like coconut trees. And as I met a lot of people who were also into musical theater, I found out that there were a lot of girls who sounded like Lea Salonga. They didn’t intentionally imitate Lea but her voice and her songs had become the template, the way Whitney became the standard for pop singers. And did I mention to you that I have two left feet? I have poor body coordination. I’m not a dancer. Not only that, there are so many things in theater that I don’t think I can handle such as the pressure on stage, the number of  thank-you auditions,  to open yourself more to rejection, correction, intimidating personalities. Sometimes, it’s only beautiful when it’s a dream. Sometimes it’s enchanting when these things only happen in your head. Having said all of this, I knew I had my limitation. And if you want to survive in this competitive industry, you have to be versatile. Apparently, I’m not.

I thought of this while I was controlling my left leg from moving during our rehearsal for a play. I just realize that this is not something I can claim as my own. Don’t get me wrong. I still like theater but it is now just a dream I dreamed. I kept the lyrics of “I still believe” in my music sheet folder and decided not to go to Opera House for auditions.

It’s not that I’m frustrated. I’m just enlightened? Reality pinched me in a harmless way. Perhaps what I want in life is to shine, to be at my best. And theater is not exactly the place I can say I belong. Everyday, life gives me more questions. Where do I belong? What other dreams are there for me? Can I create another dream? Is it too late?

I find comfort from this quote of C.S. Lewis.

dreams change