I’ve been experimenting with my voice recently. My singing voice, that is. It all started when I got talked into participating in a “Singing Solo” workshop as a spin-off to SoulSong — the community choir I joined last year.
I don’t have aspirations to sing solo. For one thing, no matter what anyone says, I don’t think my voice is interesting enough to be worth listening to on its own. It’s not that I can’t sing… I just don’t think my voice is anything special. (Others may howl right about now, because I’ve received some quite lovely compliments recently, but this is how I feel.)
But that’s not my main point. Aside from the fact my solo singing voice is merely what I’d call competent, I don’t get nearly as much pleasure from singing on my own as I do from singing in harmony with others.
Our Singing Solo workshop was held on Sunday last. I enjoyed it — even though I worried myself stupid over what song I was going to sing to the other five participants. Requested to sing an “extroverted show tune” (so not my thing), I ultimately decided upon “Don’t cry for me, Argentina” from Evita. This is a song I know fairly well, and I figured it had enough challenges in it for me to push myself a bit.
So I sang it. Don’t think I embarrassed myself. And then had it workshopped for about 20 minutes in front of the others. It was nerve-wracking, although not as traumatic as I thought it might have been. The main thing we worked on was pushing my top note without lapsing into my head voice. Commitment and faith. Yeah, hmm.
Anyway, I survived it. The others said nice things, and then it was their turn. (I went first.)
But the biggest highlight of my day, I believe, was towards mid-afternoon when in a break I trotted out the other song I’d been considering for the workshop — Jewel’s Foolish Games. It’s a gorgeous ballad, with lots of variation and places where you can let your voice soar.
Turns out one of my singing buddies, who is a whiz with harmonies, also knows the song really well and we sang it together.
I sang the melody, she the harmony, and even I could tell it sounded good. No matter what we sing together, our voices seem to blend really well and the whole is significantly greater than the sum of the parts.
This is WHY I sing — to risk repeating all the points I made in my post from last October (I’ll take a harmony with my wine). Whether using voice or musical instruments, there’s an amazing connectivity (connectedness?) that develops between people making music together.
As I mentioned in that earlier post, there are a few of us who still gather to sing small group harmonies. It’s my favourite singing thing — a small group of three or four voices singing a two or three (or four) part harmony. I love being the only one singing my part, hearing my voice blend and weave with the voices of others. I love the challenge of holding a part on my own too.
The solo thing? Not so much. I’m glad I did the solo workshop, and I’m not ruling out another one sometime, but I’ll get a far greater thrill from hanging out with the SoulSongsters and singing with them, rather than at them.
Can anyone else relate to this?