Thursday, 17 June 2010

Today, it is raining. It has been doing so since before dawn and shows no sign of letting up. The sky is uniformly grey and heavy, and even the birds seem mostly to be hiding under leaves rather than singing. I am with the birds on this one. It is not a day for singing.

However, as with any other job, sometimes you just have to get on and do it whether you feel like it or not. One of the awkward things about singing is that it is glaringly obvious when the "performance energy" is missing. This impacts not only on the audience's experience, but also on the other singers on stage. Watching my colleagues, I respect more and more those who can summon up the right amount of energy *whatever* the circumstances. This does NOT mean a perfect vocal performance - sometimes that really isn't possible - but a basic commitment to the piece as theatre. Such commitment is necessary to be a decent soloist.

So today has been an exercise in raising the requisite energy to perform well in tonight's dress rehearsal. Yesterday unfortunately was our last salsa class - a group of us had managed to convince one of the extras, who is a dance teacher, to show us the basics of the dance, and we had four extremely enjoyable hours getting all the steps wrong and stepping on each others' toes in various rehearsal studios before rehearsals - that was a failsafe way of getting in the right mood! I often whizz around on my bike, appreciating the ride, cycling through nature, in order to whip my mind into shape, but today that really isn't an option. It's a take-the-bus-and-buy-a dratted-umbrella-as-soon-as-possible sort of day. Another tried and tested option for me is ashtanga yoga, but at the moment it's not helping my injured shoulder, so that's out.

Getting into a practice room and singing my heart out always works for me, too. Unfortunately my voice feels a bit under the weather - rather hoarse and scratchy (a few colleagues reported the same yesterday; we're all hoping it's just something temporary in the air) - so I have to go carefully there, and yodelling gaily through my entire repertoire is out of the question.

Even so, I have to get there somehow! What helps for me is starting *something* creative. Doesn't have to be any good (as my dreary grey and green pastel streak of misery purporting to depict the riverside today amply demonstrates) - just gets me in the right mood. I finally got around to uploading and working on my latest batch of photos, and ended up thoroughly enjoying reliving the good times when they were taken. The picture above, for example, was taken on my way to work last week...

Add in a bit of stretching, a gentle vocal warm-up and appreciating the costume and make-up as they go on, and we should be there!

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