se tu m’ami, se tu sospiri.

I feel like it’s been a million years since my last voice lesson and frankly, I am thrilled beyond belief that I finally got back to them on Wednesday night! :D

I could definitely tell that I’d not been keeping on top of my vocal exercising and proper vocal technique because everything has felt strange, vocally, for the past week or so, and getting in to actually sing a proper Italian arietta and do proper vocal warm-ups really felt weird and like I had to force my voice out! However, because GG is awesome, she seems to always be able to find the thing that will “trick” my voice into doing things the right way – this time it was changing the consonant from an “F” to a “V” in my warm-ups. Somehow that made a HUGE difference as soon as I implemented it!

There was actually a lot of good that came out of that lesson but I can’t remember all of it – usually I take notes, but I relied on my new little voice recorder deal this time and it malfunctioned somehow so I didn’t get ANY of what I thought I recorded, which is funny because as soon as I turned the thing on I started to freeze up and freak out and I stopped being able to sing properly.

GG told me a story about how important it actually is to record and listen to our voices played back at us so that we can be objective about whether or not we’re performing our vocal technique properly. I mean, obviously you can often tell just by the way the sound feels in your head, but by listening to what your voice sounds like played back at you it’s sometimes easier to identify that something is off and then take the steps to correct it. It’s interesting, I’d never thought of it that way – mostly I saw listening to my own voice played back at me as the height of vanity, I’m not going to lie!

I’ve been recorded before (both just my voice and also videotaped) and only manage to watch or listen to those recordings about once through, stopping periodically to get up and run away (literally) because listening to myself gives me the heebie-jeebies. And then never again. I just can’t do it after forcing myself through it once. I remember PC telling me that one of the songs he and I recorded together was the #1 most-played track on his iPod/iTunes and I just sort of…shuddered. But I suppose I have to get over my revulsion if I’m ever going to improve?

In other news, rehearsals have still been going well. I have an audition on Sunday that I’m a little hesitant to talk about, and a couple other projects that I’m looking at beginning in the next couple of weeks, hopefully! :D /deliberately vague

are singing auditions scary?

Apparently this is one of the top search terms that brings people to my blog!*

Well, hello, fellow singing-auditioners, who may or may not have singing anxiety!

Of course singing auditons are scary! Auditioning for anything is at least a little bit scary, right? It’s that thrill of adrenaline that gives us the extra push when we need to really sell that song. ALL the auditions are scary, at least a little bit. I think we can all agree on that, right? Good scary, maybe, but still scary!

Some people, though (myself included!), get very panicky and afraid when it comes to singing for an audition. (Or, y’know, just getting up and singing in front of people in general.) I am the type that gets sick to her stomach just thinking about singing auditions! In me, that sort of anxiety always manifests as an inability to catch my breath which is probably one of the worst feelings for someone who is attempting to sing! My voice comes out all thready and unsupported and weak and generally exactly the opposite of how I want it to sound. It’s paralyzing in so many ways.

I can’t tell you how much having a vocal coach has helped with this. Learning proper breathing techinques helps massively with learning how not to panic when you sing. There are lots of mental AND physical reasons for this gaspy, unable-to-catch-your-breath feeling, and learning how to breathe properly and focus on the correct things keeps me from panicking, since I have so many other things to think about.

If you don’t have a singing coach and/or can’t get one for whatever reason, there are many helpful videos on YouTube to get you started, at least!

It won’t let me embed this, so here’s a link!

As in most physical exercises, it really is best to have a one-on-one teacher, because they can correct you if you’re not quite doing things properly and they’re more able to help you figure out what works best for you as a singer!

So singing auditions are scary, and they’ll probably always be a little scary. But I promise they aren’t petrifying forever! ♥

For those of you that are blessed enough not to have singing anxiety…what are you sitting here reading this for? You should be out sharing your gift with the world!

* In case you were wondering, the others are: “no-one out-crazies Ophelia!”, various lyrics from “Batti batti,” and “courtesy is a lady’s armor.” That sums this blog up nicely, I think!

lascerò straziarmi il crine

I am told that the recital went well last night. Since I spent the car ride drive home sobbing uncontrollably you might not want to ask me for my objective opinion.

To-do!
Organize the tags on actingingenue
Organize the tags & categories on theactingingenue
Organize my music
Call JRP back to make sure they forward me the info about Saturday
Organize audition paperwork: headshots, resume
Make hair appointment?
(Research (other) voice lessons
Order the music I’ve been meaning to)
Research more casting agencies etc.

as our days pass in the emptiness away.

Today I worked on
The Willow Song
Batti, Batti
Thank Goodness, from Wicked

Today was another three-steps-backwards day. I don’t know what my issue is lately; I always have a problem getting myself out of my head while I sing but last week and this week have been exceptionally bad. I don’t know if it’s that I just feel like I’ll never really get any better so why bother, but when I’m in my lesson I’m trying so hard and nothing sounds right!

It’s all the same things: “stop forcing vibrato, stop trying to sing from your throat, sing up and outwards, sing like a laser beam” (haha), “pull it to the front of your head, you have to place EVERY NOTE the way you place high notes.” These are all things I can conceptualize in my brain, all things that make perfect sense to me and should be able to be translated to my physicality. But nooooo. I know the way I place notes is a habit, but I don’t know how to break it and MP just says “do it,” like it’s that easy.

I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to do! I don’t know how to fix it and my recital is on the twenty-second and who knows if I’ll be able to sing anything then! Argh!

whatever you wish for, you keep.

In not surprising news, the audition didn’t go as well as I had hoped it might. It was, essentially, a cattle-call and I barely even got looked at among the 200+ people at the audition. I got plenty of good advice from cast members when I went to the parks about continuing workshops and auditions, but that doesn’t exactly help me at the moment. Right now, I have my hopes set on an attractions job so that I’m there to audition again.

I seriously don’t want to talk to anyone about it, least of all the million people I work with that found out about the audition and told me, “you’re going to be SO PERFECT, they will love you!” repeatedly over the last couple of weeks. I’ve barely managed a “oh, well, I don’t know yet!” when they ask me, thinking at least I have an interview for a different job at the Disney parks coming up soon (hopefully).

B’s family helped me keep my mind off everything while I was down there; they too said “oh you’re so PERFECT, you will be wonderful, they will love you!” and were horrified when I didn’t get even a real audition. Thankfully, B and I were so busy the rest of the time that I was down there that I didn’t get much of a chance to mourn. I was too excited about seeing her for the third time in six years or something silly like that!

I’ve burst into tears twice today after talking to people, though I’ve at least managed to get away from them before I start crying. Because now that I’m home and mostly rested, it’s become real to me.

And again I come back to: am I even really cut out for this? This is the reality of show-business, isn’t it? Cattle calls and not even really being told why I’m not being cast, being in a room with two hundred other girls belting as high as they can and realizing there’s nothing that I have that they don’t. I can’t go around crying for days after every audition. Why do I even think this is a good idea for me?

>to fix, to hide, to move, to battle… to see what the trouble is.

>I am almost hesitant to write right now because I didn’t do very well at rehearsal tonight and I am very down on myself for it. So fair warning, this might be a very gloomy entry.

(I know, I know: bad dress rehearsal, good show. But all I can think right now is that I wish we had a rehearsal tomorrow night!)

I am messing up so badly with my ah-ah-ah~!s on almost every turn, and I don’t know why! I honestly never really had a problem during rehearsal unless no-one ever corrected me before and I’m way more tone-deaf than I thought I was. (I suppose that’s possible, though I’m fairly certain I’m tone deaf anyway and oh lord why did I ever think that singing in front of people was a good idea?) I’m honestly kicking myself for messing up so badly and am considering having one of our ensemble sprites (we have a five-person ensemble that are dressed as woodsprites; they are uniformly amazing) to sing my part for me instead.

I was originally fairly pleased to get this role simply because I don’t think I’d ever done a part that was mainly singing or mainly depended upon my singing voice. I’ve always been a better actress than I was a singer, and I’m not even saying I’m all that great of an actress. (Why do I want to do this with my life again?)

In any case, I was always “the girl that can act, oh and if she needs to sing she can do that too” and not “the girl with the great voice.” I’ve had multiple friends with legitimately fantastic voices and I’ve always felt I’ve had to work a lot harder to even sound pleasant at all. (Which has always been upsetting to me; if I could have any one innate talent it would be to have a lovely singing voice.) Recently, with MP’s help, I’ve been gaining more confidence when it comes to singing, but obviously it’s possibly false and not actually earned confidence.

I need to stop that now. I can go on thinking that but writing it down is probably a bad idea.

On the brighter side, our Baker’s Wife told me about an audition that’s coming up that sounds interesting. (The next show the company I’m doing Into the Woods with is doing is Guys and Dolls, which – frankly, I would love to play Sarah Brown but it’s not going to happen.) I’ve had my eye on a couple of others, so hopefully I won’t have too much downtime after this show is over.

>"stop being such a coward."

>I’m starting to think maybe I should just write this stuff down in a paper journal because I can perhaps be a bit more long-winded and honest with myself there. It’s easier to scribble words down on a piece of paper than look at them in black and white on a computer screen. Or something.

Yesterday’s rehearsal was disastrous, for me. In general, it went well (the first act, especially). But my singing was terrible, basically through the whole thing. We started off working on “Our Little World” and I sounded awful and had issues with things I’ve never had issues with before (the aah-aah-aahs in the beginning and middle?! seriously??) and then C got all huffy with me (like, “what is your problem today!”) and it threw me off for the rest of the rehearsal, it seemed like. I couldn’t get any of the aah-aah-aahs for the rest of the run, for some reason. I might be (probably am!) getting sick, but that’s no excuse for getting shaken once during a rehearsal and then letting it affect the rest of my performance. What is wrong with me indeed.

Part of that might be the fact that I spent the night before with PC and L recording “Ridin’ Solo” with L on ukelele and both of us on vocals (and then making PC record the ~*~soulful piano version~*~ of the same after L went home, which was both legitimately awesome and incredibly hilarious, especially him spelling out “S-O-L-O” during the bridge).

Listening to my voice played back at me like that always unnerves me – I’ve only done it once before but last time it made me feel awful. This time it wasn’t as bad because it was both me and L and we were basically goofing off and not taking it too seriously. It came out pretty cute and he might be able to make something good out of the raw materials we recorded with him. (It sounds awesome with the accordion synths.)

After that PC and I talked about lots of things but eventually came around to the fact that the reason I don’t sound like I want to sound when I sing is because I’m afraid of it, that I’m afraid of “owning it,” is the way he put it. (Especially anything even the slightest bit outside my (teeny tiny) comfort zone.) And he’s right, I want to sing it “right” and “well,” but I don’t put any heart into it. I thought that I had started to get over that but I guess not, because clearly I was still feeling the effects of being shaken like that the next day, with C setting me off again.

I made mention of this, obliquely, earlier in this journal saying “why can’t I act when I sing?” I’m not having too much of an issue with it for Into the Woods because most of my acting while I’m singing consists of “blank and happy” or “blank and kind of crazy” anyway. But singing with MP on arias and such, it’s too hard for me to get past the I HAVE TO DO THIS PROPERLY fears and instincts to even try to emote. And that’s what it is, it’s fear: down at the base of the thing, it is fear.

I was going to go on about the fact that I am awful and shouldn’t try but that is not productive at all so I won’t.

>la tua povera Zerlina

>on the 4th I worked on
V’Adoro Pupille
Batti, Batti O Bel Masetto

Blah, I forgot to write in here this week. I’ve been sleeping most of the week because I feel awful, but I should have written anyway.

I definitely felt rusty getting back to singing lessons after two weeks away. (Frankly, I did not keep on top of it while I was away, so it’s not that surprising.) I relapsed back into the old way of making faces at myself and nervous-fidgeting when I wasn’t doing things properly. Batti, Batti felt okay but V’Adoro Pupille didn’t feel that great in parts. Plus, I didn’t work on ornamentation at all (for V’Adoro Pupille) because it is so incredibly frightening to me.

As for rehearsals, they are going okay. I just need to learn the words to “Our Little World” and I should be fine because I’m really not having that much of an issue with the music. It’s just remembering where the words go, and in what order. And trusting my instincts.