Vocal Woes — May Update

Almost there!

Not too much more to report since my last update, except that I am still working on getting comfortable again in my upper range. I’m starting to be able to revisit some of my old solo repertoire and sing it again without too much fear that I won’t be able to hit the high notes.

I finished out the Spring season with Sacred Music Chorale and ended up switch-hitting between tenor and bass, favoring the bass in most pieces, but opting for tenor when the bass part sat too low. (And at times confusing my neighbor!)

For the Spring season of Seattle Bach Choir I’ve gone back to being a full-time tenor. The repertoire sits pretty high in the tenor voice for this concert (especially for our May Cantata concert), so this has been good exercise for my upper range, with a focus on not pushing myself.

I also decided now was the time to go back to voice lessons, so I broke up with my piano teacher and began voice studies again. I’m happy to say that I’m already noticing some good things happening!

So I guess this has been a rebuilding year of sorts, but in the end I’m hoping this whole stressful experience will make me a better singer.

New Arrangements for Strings & Flute

So for the Sacred Music Chorale‘s upcoming Spring 2016 concerts this weekend, I have once again had the opportunity to liven up some of the pieces we’re singing with strings and flute. Emboldened by the results at Christmas, I volunteered to take on 7 of our pieces:

  • Consider the Lilies by Marie E. Roll
  • How Can I Keep from Singing? arranged by Bradley Ellingboe
  • The Lord Is My Shepherd by Thomas Matthews
  • O Be Joyful in the Lord by John Rutter
  • Our Father, arranged by Benjamin Harlan
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty arranged by Robert Sterling
  • Shout for Joy! by Dan Davison

As with my previous arrangements, nothing too earth-shatteringly difficult or “out there.” And some, like the Our Father, are fairly minimal (just a bass line in that case).

But still there were a few interesting challenges. I was even so bold as to add a countermelody near the end of Consider the Lilies to make things a little more interesting.

I got to hear them live for the first time at dress rehearsal on Wednesday and they are sounding pretty good! Just a couple of minor typos found, and we decided to drop the string accompaniment at the very beginning of How Can I Keep from Singing? since it ended up being a bit much in practice.

Now that I’m past being concerned with how the arrangements turned out, I can focus on enjoying singing in the upcoming concerts!

Vocal Woes – March Update

At last, some improvement!

Since my previous post, I followed up with my doctor and visited a vocal coach who is experienced in working with singers who have vocal damage. Prior to those visits I had started noticing a little less trouble getting above a D4 while singing, and was at times able to reach E4.

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Vocal Woes

Back at the start of November, things were just really starting to click. I was on sabbatical from work, had just joined the Seattle Bach Choir, and had taken a few lessons from a new voice teacher I was really excited to work with. I was really starting to feel good improvement in my tone and excited to keep working at it.

And then one Thursday morning I woke up and found I could no longer sing much above a D4 (pretty much the sweet spot for a tenor). When I tried to sing anything higher, what came out was a strained D. If I was lucky.

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First Arrangements Performed

I’m a firm believer that nothing you learn really sinks in until you apply it. So, having just completed my first year course in Music Theory, I figured that I really needed to keep working at composition in order to help cement the things I had learned.

Thus, I was excited to be given the opportunity to develop string arrangements for several pieces in the Sacred Music Chorale‘s Fall 2015 concert. Read More →