Sunday, February 19, 2012


I've been taking voice lessons for 9 months, I think. I'd like to think I have improved tremendously since the start. I have slowly 'unlearned' bad habits and have started to be more natural as I sing the high notes.

I have performed in front of an audience (office mates) for a few times. They have commented positively. And they encourage me to sing more. Teacher tells me to grab every opportunity to sing for people. Because that's the only way I could learn. Yet I remain shy. I can't 'volunteer' myself to 'entertain.' I still feel unworthy.

I'd like to think that my first pieces are quite challenging - Nella Fantasia, Con Te Partiro, Be My Love, O Sole Mio. But lately, I have been trying to push myself to reach higher and higher notes.

Teacher encourages me (at least I think he does). He tells me that I can actually reach those notes, that it seems to be not outside my range. So he practices me, coaches me on how to properly 'support' the voice as it aims high.

So I have taken to learning Nessun Dorma, Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod) - Bocelli's version. Yet I struggle. So much effort. I fail to reach the notes or sustain them. Pumipiyok ako. Teacher tells me it is only because I don't support properly. And besides, those are really difficult pieces. It takes much to learn to sing properly.

Over supper, my dad commented "Isn't your Teacher pushing you too much? Couldn't he hear you can't reach the notes?" He said it sincerely, with concern. Yet the words stung me. They are still ringing in my ears.

"Dad, I have to. That's the only way I could learn. I need to keep on stretching my limits."

Hijo, pumipiyok ka na. Ouch.

Am I really crazy trying to push myself where I cannot go anymore? Is it trying to squeeze blood from a turnip?

I reason that when I was starting, I was also having difficulty reaching the notes of my first pieces. Yet now, I can confidently sing them. Isn't it really just a matter of time and practice on my part? Or should I really just give up on those and stick to the 'safe songs'?


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous said...

singing is a continuous learning process... never give up... the more you practice the easier it is for you to reach the high notes... just remember to support it well... i've been taking lessons for 8 years (well, on and off) yet still have a lot to learn... and during the times na hindi ako naglelesson, that's when i feel that i can't reach my high notes and the sound is not brilliant...

your photographer friend

Dan said...

Is there really a need to reach high notes? Isn't it much easier to dwell in your range and focus on developing a style? There is so much in a male's voice than hitting the high notes...

By realizing your limits, you find ways to improve yourself.

chink said...

To the striving songbird CC. I am not a musical voice instructor, so maybe it is not within my scope to answer your question. However, based on experience, this is what i can share: When i was young, i really sounded like the castrati when i sang; thus, the high notes were not a problem for me, sustaining them were as i had weak lungs due to asthma. As i grew older, despite retaining the ability to reach high notes, my voice grew deeper (we can't stop intrinsic anatomical developments); so to compensate, i had to develop proper breathing techniques and practice what i have been taught to draw strength from the diaphragm (i am lazy, so when i was younger and i could reach the high notes by using only my vocal cords, i did not use my diaphragm properly). In fact, using the techniques not only made my voice better but also made it resonate more in an assembly. Now that i'm in my 30's (revealing!!!) i have noticed that my voice is not the same anymore. Yes it is still powerful, yes i can still sustain, BUT i can only hit SOME high notes. Amber Riley gave a stunning performance of "I Will Always Love You" in Glee. Years back, i could belch out the 'you's' of the song without a problem. Last week, as i was singing along during the episode, i was found lacking!!! What happened? I think age is catching up, and as the vocal cords are also muscles, they deteriorate. So as much as i would like to support your instructor's encouragement, my suggestion for you would be: find your range and work with that range. Should you perform something higher than your range, prepare for it, but scrutinize yourself if you really will be able to repeatedly hit those crucial notes as those are the highlights of the song. If not, transpose the song to a key that you're comfortable with; or re-interpret the song from its original genre to a more contemporary one. SMASH reinterpreted Carrie Underwood's Crazy Dream in episode 2 and i fell in love with it!!! I did not mind the song in its original version when i bought the CD but the ballad form really caught my attention. So maybe you can own the song if you tailor it to your range and your style; these are just some suggestions on how to shy away from being 'safe'. Lovingly yours, chink :-)

Anonymous said...

for this question, google is your friend :)