I don't really feel stressed about our wedding, even though I probably should by now. But oddly enough, I had two dreams last night about our wedding. In the first one, we didn't have time to rehearse, and I didn't know where to stand on the stage. No big deal. In the second one, we were using a discman to play all of the wedding music and the batteries started dying while everyone walked in. So I started trying to fashion an instrument out of the power chord for the discman (then why did we need batteries?!?) and my phone charger. I was trying to make music out of the buzzing and humming sounds they created when they were fused together. Very strange.
Elsie and I started thrifting again yesterday. I found a few things, my favorite being the sweater.
Thanks for all of the helpful tips on lighting websites! I've been checking out a few of them and have already learned quite a bit. I really appreciate your help!
Thanks for reading.
It's pretty strange that I don't recall ever having an actual hobby outside of music. But I've started a new one! Photography. Of course. It's kind of the default hobby for musicians (somehow, that sounds REALLY offensive, but I don't mean for it to be:) Elsie is needing help with product shots for the store, and I'd really like to learn how to do it. I think it's better if Elsie is able to do more of the styling and posing, while someone else actually takes the pictures and works with the lights. Typically, I think someone would go out and do nature shots for fun for several months/years before trying to tackle studio lighting. I know I'm probably jumping into something a little out of reach, but that's ok. I have lots of time to learn this. I'd love to know if any of you have any good websites to point me to for lighting tips (for beginners). More specifically, two studio lights. Thanks! I'm having a lot of fun with it already.
By the way, a few of you asked what camera I used for those pics of my studio. It was my iPhone. Thanks for reading.
(blog redesign still in progress. thanks for your patience)
I've made a startling discovery about my voice this week.
I've been singing an hour and a half to three hours a day to try to get my voice in shape for the show. Most singers don't have to do this, since they are touring much of the year and are always singing. I very rarely do shows, so it takes a lot of preparation. I am not sure why I never figured this out before, but what I previously mistook for my voice being "tired" was actually just a speed bump in the warming up process. I've discovered that after 30 minutes of singing, my voice will start to sound warmed up. This is actually a false alarm, because about 45-50 minutes after I begin singing, my voice goes through a horrible cracking-squeaky phase. I used to think that this was my voice getting tired. It felt kind of pathetic that I only had a 15-20 minute window of "good" singing time. HOWEVER I've now discovered that this is the cycle my voice goes through. First 30 minutes of singing are terrible. I don't sound like myself. The next 20 minutes are good. I sound more like myself, and my range increases. The next 15-20 are full of cracks and squeaks; full of embarrassing moments. This awkward period is followed by a solid couple of hours of singing.
How did I not discover this before? Simple. I keep my rehearsals short. Usually an hour or so. I would always quit when I thought my voice was getting tired. On days that I had shows, I would avoid talking or singing until I got up on stage- I thought this would guarantee my voice would hold up until the end of the show.
I've also discovered that I NEVER sing sharp. But I almost ALWAYS sing flat. There have been certain songs that I just could not pull up to pitch. No matter what I did, when I listened back, I was flat. The solution? I learned that if I perform the song a half step higher three or four times, when I put it back down into it's proper key it will be in pitch. Yes, I've been learning a lot this week. I am slightly concerned about the fact that I don't really know the long term results/effects of singing for 2-3 hours a day. I'm not sure if I will still be achieving the same results a month from now.
Thanks for reading.
We had our second official rehearsal today with the string ensemble. By the way, we are now up to 18 players! Many of them live out of town and can't come to our rehearsals, but we had about half of the players crammed into one of the rooms in my studio; too many to fit into the picture frame. It's really starting to come together. The funny thing is that up until a couple of weeks ago, I only had ONE lonely cellist in our large ensemble, then suddenly, they started to out number all the other instruments. It's actually lovely. Next week I might make some video clips.
This group is making my dream come true. I remember the moment I realized I needed a larger ensemble. I was watching a performance of Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto at MSU. I believe I blogged about it (let me see if I can find it). Ah yes:
Last night my dad took me to an amazing performance of the Springfield Symphony. They performed a piece by Daniel Godfrey titled "Lightscape", Brahms Symphony #3 and Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto (featuring Di Wu). It was one of the most inspiring nights in a long time. I started dreaming about my album release show at the Gillioz, but with a much bigger scope. All along I've assumed that I'd need at least a string quartet, but after last night, I think I'm gonna have to dream a little bigger. At this point, I'm thinking that to fully do the songs justice, I will need a string ensemble of more like 12-14 players. I'm also rethinking how I'm going to approach the drums. Instead of using a drum kit, I might try to use a concert bass drum, and a small ensemble of percussionists. Why not?
Yes, only a few short months ago this was all just a dream.
I really can't thank everyone enough for being a part of this show. They all show up (on time!) and play their hearts out. I didn't think putting together a group this good was possible in such a short amount of time, with so little to offer. This is a very rare thing that is happening here. Did I mention we have a violinist traveling all the way from Minnesota to play with us?!? Ok, I could gush about this group all day, but I will stop there. Elsie is working on a little blog makeover for me (still in progress). If you are reading this on facebook, you should make the short walk over to my blog. It looks nice over here. Thanks for reading.
Yesterday I started a new discipline that I've been putting off for years. I started attempting to improve on the area that needs the most improvement- singing live. Singing on a recording and singing live are two very different things. Since I'm recording my voice alone in my studio all the time, I am completely at ease when I do it. My voice is relaxed, and I feel like I am in complete control of it. However, when I'm singing live, I feel like I'm treading water. The way I was practicing this was simple, and not that much different from recording. I switched the mic to the one I'd use live, I took off all of the effects, I stood up (so I could play the guitar), and pretended there was an audience. But I noticed something interesting last night. Even the idea of singing live changes the chemistry in my brain, and changes the way my throat operates. I wouldn't say that I get "nervous", but my entire body tries to over-compensate. I try to sing louder, the tone is more forced, and my pitch goes flat. I was still recording all of this, so I could improve on it. The funny thing is, when I was just singing in between run-throughs everything was back to normal. The idea of an audience can change things pretty drastically. It's the same thing every time you point a video camera at someone; their body language changes, their speech changes, the chemistry in their brain changes. The minute you turn the camera off, they go back to normal. It's the idea of an audience that does this. I have about seven weeks to keep practicing. I'm thinking an hour and a half a day should do just fine. Thanks for reading.
A good read:
Thank you Sherri.