Just had my second session with Debbie the Speech Therapist.
It was eerily like a singing lesson - lots of very careful exercises and technical feedback. And yet not like a singing lesson for there was no getting out of an aria or lieder and having a jolly good bash at it. So much like musical foreplay, really.
However, Debbie is very pleased with me (yay!) and has even said I have some ‘ring’ back on the top notes.
She also tells me I have 'excellent intuitive placement' of the top notes.
Okay, so it is nice to be told how come I can blast away up there so easily by someone who Knows Stuff About Stuff.
But it sort of demystifies my top range somewhat for me (I just usually call it "my happy place" and am Grateful), which takes a little of the fun out of it. I actually read an article in the waiting room about teaching singers based on how they view their voice - and I soooo fall into the "mystical thing apart from me" category. And me with several science majors in my degree. Tsk.
I now have another month before I see her again, which is also a good sign - I get an uninterrupted run at doing some proper vocal work, which I have missed intensely, much to my surprise.
So another four weeks of running down to the basement, now with extra added exercises, including one she calls the “sad little puppy” – you do sounds like a puppy whimpering.
Bizarre it may all sound – but it is working.
And this is a new shift in voice therapy, just in the last 5 years – before this it would have been rest and surgery, so thank goodness it is 2007.
The BIG NEWS is that at the end she got me to do ‘Amazing Grace’ on an “oo” vowel.
And I managed to do a whole verse without a crack or break anywhere.
There’s still a little bit of breathiness here and there in my range – but godsdammit, it was a vocalise and therefore it counts as singing and therefore I SANG A SONG.
I'm allowed to do this now twice a day, so I am racking my brains for folksongs that have a similar shape melody to Amazing Grace - quite smooth and not too percussive or demanding.
Like 'The Water is Wide or "The Last rose of Summer" or "Danny Boy" or maybe even (gleep) the odd Xmas carol, if I want to risk having the wretched thing circling round my head for days on end.