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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Singing and Living Through the Low Notes

I learned a little something about the vocal bubble I've squeezed myself into over the years during my lesson on Wednesday. It's going to be the one of the non-physical barriers to singing (and maybe living in general) that I need to get over to make any progress.

I've been told by four different voice teachers that I have pure, beautiful tone in the "top" of my voice, and I have used this bit of information to help me persevere in my dream to sing. The only problem is, one's head voice only goes down so far, and especially in commercial (non-classical) music, I am going to have to negotiate these low notes.

The logical part of my brain knows that women sing below middle C. The emotional part of my brain is telling me that I shouldn't. Even though I speak in that range (as most American women do) and don't get called "Sir" (as my mother often does), I have a terrible hesitation and mental block to singing in that range.

The funny thing is, I LOVE to hear female voices that almost sound like baritones in their low range. Actually, that is one of the most prized qualities of Sarah Vaughan's voice, and she is my favorite singer of all time. I also fell in love with Jessica Reedy's husky female voice, and here is a clip of her singing a couple of LOW riffs. (Only 39 sec)

Her voice truly amazes me, and I saw its impact first hand when I watched that show with a group of people who were blown away. But part of me thinks people wouldn't be blown away if those notes came out of someone with my past.

What this all really brings to my attention is the fact that in order to sing, become a Jew, find a partner, or just to live the full life I'm dreaming for myself, I have to stop worrying about how people will react, and just put myself out there. Maybe I'll learn something about negotiating life's low notes and discomfort in general.

On a separate note, I also want to pay some respect to Amy Winehouse, a husky contralto voice that was taken away from us too soon. Here is one of my favorite songs of hers.

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