Since last post, I’ve had two singing lessons where I have made lots of progress, attended songwriting workshops, and recorded the main melody and ukulele accompaniment for an upcoming cover even though I wasn’t able to post one in February.
On Sunday the 19th, we finished up with “When We Were Young” and to give me a sort of assessment as to where I was at we did a full recording of the song. It wasn’t incredibly formal, as normally she plays piano for all the songs but this time just put on the karaoke track (which took us by surprise at the bridge haha) so she could actually watch me sing. She wanted to observe where my hands move, when I close my eyes, and just how I carry myself. This is what the first run through sounded like before we tweaked specific parts:
I was pretty happy with how I sounded, and she was really proud of me! It’s nice to have actual recordings of myself, as in the future it will be easy to look back and measure my progress/improvement. We’ve started a new song called “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” by Ella Eyre, a song of my choice! She told me to come to the next lesson with my own song choice as well as lyrics printed out since she can learn the piano part very easily, so we jumped right into it. It’s incredibly interesting to see how she can give me feedback barely three lines into the song, and it already becomes better! Also, side note, next week I’ll be extending my lessons to an hour long instead of half an hour!
These past two Wednesdays, there have been songwriting workshops being held after school with a musical specialist Daniel Maté. We are incredibly lucky to have him at our school, after the theatre department got a grant for him to come to the school on various times after school mainly for musical theatre, but he wanted to start these “Songwriting Circles” as well. We have amazing conversations within our little group about how and why music makes us feel a certain way, the difference between type and genre, why songs are written, etc. They are very open discussions and make everyone feel included. Next week, we have to show up ready to write with a song title, type, genres that could fit, imagined potential structure, and some musical/lyrical ideas that immediately come to mind. These have been an incredibly fun and education part of my week, and I’m thankful I’m able to attend them. Mr Trovato has excused me from choir so I may go to them, as I’ve talked to him about my music goals (IDS next year) and he supports me!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a cover up for February,. This month has been beyond crazy, but with spring break coming up I’ll be able to do more in March. My goal was to have five by the end of In-Depth, and I’m confident I can still meet that goal. I already recorded the base track for “Brand New Key,” all I have to do now is ‘produce’ it by adding extra instrument tracks and maybe some harmonies. It should be easy enough to get two done by the end of March! Perhaps the next one will even be an original…
The interesting thing about having a mentor in singing is that it requires a great amount of listening on both ends of this relationship, I have to listen very carefully to her examples to try replicate them (as well as add my own implementations for added creativity), while at the same time she must listen to how my voice works, what it’s strengths/weaknesses are, and what areas should be worked on further. Making inquiries and asking questions has always been a part of this dynamic, but I made special note of it this time around.
As I have stated before, my mentor and I’s values align quite well. We work off each other and both see singing as an art that takes careful thought as much as practice. I ask a lot of questions throughout every lesson – whether they be very rudimentary, clarifying “shooting” questions like “How long have you been singing? Can you play that again?” or higher level “fishing” questions like “Where do I draw the line between personal pizzazz and going by the book? What can I do to make practice more valuable?” – and she answers them with pleasure. She asks me questions too about what I prefer and my personal artistic decisions. I learn a lot from how she views singing, and what she believes to be the best practice. I am excited to keep learning alongside her, and repeating the inquiry process time and time again.