The craft of singing

I’m restoring my iphone right now and realizing how dependent many of my morning activities are on my phone and my computer.  If I want to practice singing, the music is on both the iphone and the computer.  If I want to check the weather, it’s there too.  I even have a  series of yoga class podcasts I practice with most mornings.  I am used to immediate gratification.   When I was in my twenties I remember people always saying that ours was the instant gratification generation.  They were certainly right but I don’t think they ever imagined what was to come. 

Singing is very low tech.  You breathe, open your mouth and sustain your speech.  Singing is sustained speech.  Singing is to speaking like poetry is to writing. There is a craft to every art form, singing is no exception.     I am still working on the craft of singing.  I have a lesson every other week and practice my songs when I can.  I also work on memorizing the lyrics. 

 The best way I’ve learned to memorize lyrics is to take a pen to paper and simply write out the words to the song ten times.  The first few times I have to look at the lyric.  After two or three passes, I start to remember parts of the lyrics and have to look back at what I’ve written  to catch a few phrases or  specific words.  Dena De Rose suggested this exercise and suggested you vary the way you write out the lyrics some of the times.  You might write  in large print, in small print, in cursive and in  caps,  in circles, slanting upward, slanting downward and into the margins of the page.  It all has an effect on the way you memorize things.  After writing out the song five or six times,  underline the words that have images attached to them or impact you in some way. In this way not only are you memorizing the song but you are becoming intimately familiar with the story of the song.

Peter Maleitzke recently taught me another way to memorize the lyrics to a song.  You start at the end of the song and memorize the last line and work backwards.  I’ve tried that and it works pretty well too.

Well my phone is restoring, I’m here restoring my self in this moment by quietly sitting and writing this post.  Now it’s on to the dishes.  Sure wish I could find a way to have the iphone or the pc take care of those for me each morning!

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