Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two (aghrivaine) wrote,
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two

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I started my voice class a few weeks ago. It's fascinating; the first class was jammed to the rafter, not enough seats for everyone. Each week there are fewer and fewer students. It's three hours once a week, and the teacher is a cracking good opera singer herself. We'll have to perform at least four songs throughout the semester - one selected from a couple of folk songs (I chose Greensleeves) and the others of our own choosing. One of them has to be a classical piece in another language, so of course I want to do Nessun Dorma. When I suggested this the teacher said, "Oh no. Oh NO. No no no, definitely not. You'll hurt yourself." This, of course, makes me all the more determined to do it. Maybe I'm not going to soar to the heights of Mario there (of course I'm not, or I'd have a different job...) but c'mon, I can do it!

Each week we spend most of the time watching other students perform, and listening to the teacher give advice on how to improve. Some people get up and sound good, and after a few pointers, sound even better. It's almost like she's got shills in the class; she'll say, "relax your jaw, open, think out and down!" and suddenly they improve remarkably. Others are... challenged by pitch, shall we say. Then again, last night a woman sang a song so sweetly and so heart-felt, that she had to stop because she got so choked up; and most of the class was weepy right along with her. It was extraordinary, even at professional performances I've rarely seen that kind of raw, powerful feeling. Everyone was blown away, and even the teacher threatened to steal the song, which was "Tell Him Anything" from "The Slipper and the Rose", an old Richard Chamberlain movie. When it was my turn to sing,I felt quite self-conscious after doing Greensleeves, because unlike every single other singer, no one applauded. Couldn't have been that bad, right? And yet... Still, there are times when, singing my heart out in the car, I feel like I'm doing something right, and then others when I'm completely befuddled by trying to keep so many things straight at the same time. It's l ike starting all over again in Aikido, or something - having to learn things that seem simple, but taken in combination and done correct become incredibly complex. Especially youtubing and watching other vocalists.. I just know I'm not doing it right. But the cat doesn't seem to mind one or the other, when I sing "Alas my cat you do my wrong when you sit upon my head at night.." to the tune of "Greensleeves".

The class lets out quite late at night, and I enjoy riding nephandi's old Vespa home. Particularly now, as the honeysuckles are just about in full bloom, and my route home takes me down Pacific Ave and past many gardens. With the helmet's visor open, I can smell everything along the way. In some of my old neighborhoods, that might have been quite a curse, but here it's a blessing.

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