These first four weeks have been amazing so far and have really progressed my learning, getting me even more hyped for what’s to come! The biggest milestone for me in these last few weeks has been attending my first private singing lesson! As I am writing this, I have just come back from my second voice lesson. Like I said in my previous post, I sing a lot on my own time and it’s one of my big hobbies, but I’ve never taken a class. My singing teacher is my mentor and it’s been amazing working with her so far. I meet with her once a week and then I practice regularly throughout the week before meeting with her again. It’s really great to have someone completely focused on you and your needs, always being there as a supporter and as a challenger.
Angie Sawyer, my teacher and mentor, actually runs her own music studio (as well as private lessons) with two other teachers, called Angelic Voices. The program that they run is geared towards very young children using the MUSIKGARTEN curriculum.
Angie started taking voice lessons when she was only 10 years old, and her passion really started to develop. She took lessons all the way until her early 30’s, and she still does the odd coaching here and there! She has studied theatre at Red Deer College and has training in the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as Musical Theatre. After college, she pursued her passion in musical theatre and moved here, to the West Coast, where she has been performing. Now she focuses less on performing and more on teaching, which is another passion of hers. She’s been teaching music to children for over 10 years now!
Overall, Angie has had very good experiences with all the training she’s done! Of course, she has had to work very hard for all she’s achieved and it definitely got hard at times. Committing to it was pretty difficult, as it’s always intimidating to choose a path for your own life, but she loved what she was doing too much to let go of it. She was also lucky to have incredibly supportive peers and instructors! The people who you keep close are the ones who keep you going, so you’ve got to associate with people who will have a positive effect on your life.
Through two lessons alone I have already learned so much, from actual singing technique to insight and wisdom! In our first lesson, we already addressed the importance of communication in relationships, whatever that may be. In our mentorship relationship, communication is key to having a good experience. As a singing teacher, she obviously communicates to me what I can do to improve and what she thinks about my progress, but I’ve got to make sure I communicate with her too. It is only a half an hour class, but I have to let her know how I’m feeling about a certain song, where I see myself going, or anything else I think she should know. She is going to be my mentor for the next four months, and my singing teacher even beyond that, so the foundation for our relationship has to be built upon good communication. She has told me that if I really apply myself, practice regularly and work hard, success is sure to come my way! She’s also talked about the importance of being okay with stepping out of my comfort zone, which is also something we focus on in Leadership. She told me it’s okay to shoot for something I may think is out of reach, because I won’t know unless I try. It’s really interesting to see how these skills show up in various parts of our lives.
In terms of my own development as a mentor, we haven’t really delved deep into that topic. Right now, she is just focusing on making sure I am developing as a student and gain the skill I am setting out for. However, she has talked to me about how her passion for teaching developed and how I can harbour that passion if that’s what I’m looking for. It’s all about being confident enough in yourself and your expertise enough to communicate them to another person. You have to loosen the reigns on yourself a bit and really focus on the other person, which is challenging but necessary.
With the two lessons I’ve had so far, I’ve learned a vast range of things. We’ve gone through different warmups that focus on articulation, breathing with the diaphragm, vowel sounds, and smoothness. I can now do these on my own time to warm up before I start singing. She has given me tips on how to make sure I am using my diaphragm effectively (which is a key to singing), how to reach higher notes by dropping your jaw, and how to learn melodies quickly. At the first lesson, she gave me a song to work on called Unexpected Song from the musical Song & Dance. It’s a beautiful song, but pretty challenging! It’s definitely going to help me in a lot of aspects! It will challenge my range (which I have learned is about 2 octaves), help me avoid sliding to high notes, and help me make my voice smoother. At the lesson I just came back to, she was impressed with my progress with the song and said we’ll continue working on it for a while until I’ve got it down pact! I’ve loved the experience of getting a song, working on it on my own time and going from there. It’s definitely something new for me and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
As for my progress with the in-depth project away from the singing lessons, I’ve gotten a few things going! As of yet, I have not posted a cover video on my Youtube channel, but hopefully that will change in the near future! What I have been doing is getting things ready, applying the skills I’ve learned, and basically just gaining momentum. It’s harder than I thought to wrack up the confidence to post a video of yourself singing on the internet where anyone can see it! I may or may not make them unlisted, so only through the links on my blog posts can you watch them, but we’ll see. I really do want to to step out of my comfort zone in this aspect as well, and being okay with putting myself out there!
I have been getting things ready for the videos, though! I’ve been collecting songs that I may want to cover, which you can view as a Youtube playlist here. I’ve already learned the chords to a lot of these songs, so its just a matter of filming now! I’ve also rewritten the lyrics to a popular song, Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift, which changed the context to make it about mental illness. I love the melody of that song and saw the potential in the lyrics to be made about a deeper concept than an ex-boyfriend, so I went ahead and rewrote the lyrics! I will be covering that on my ukulele with my sister! I have a plan to have a lot of people to feature on my channel, from my sisters to my peers like Anika and James! That’s something that really excites me. I’ve got my camera ready with an empty SD card, all I’ve gotta do is film!
It amazes me to see how much progress I’ve made in just four weeks, and I know the upcoming ones will be just as eventful!