Learning each and every day

My quest to edify myself a bit every day

Day 42 – February 11

Sight-singing has always been my nemesis. I’m just not that good at it . . . .and I blame my ear-training teacher from Theory 1 in college. Ostensibly, we were supposed to meet with her twice a week to do ear-training and sight-singing. For whatever reason, we only met once a week, and sight-singing practice/training just didn’t happen. When I hit Theory II the next year, I was the only vocal major, so the expectation was that I was great at sight-singing and it was easy for me. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth! Add that to the pressure I felt to be amazing, and it was awful. I remember some sight-singing tests that were just flops. One in particular was an atonal thing (so not exactly easy). I knew I had messed up, and knew where, but couldn’t figure out how to get back on track, because frankly, there was no track, it was atonal. Anyway, it was so terrible I actually had to tell the prof that I was finished. AWFUL!!

Anyway, so what does that have to do with today’s lesson? Well, I’m not as terrible as I tell myself that I am. But, my cause is definitely helped or hindered depending on who I’m sitting next to in choir rehearsal. Last week, I was next to a very young singer (read: not yet able to read all the musical road signs at the same time, hence, the volume was always LOUD!), and I was so thrown off when she’d be singing the wrong notes. I knew I was right, but it sure was hard to hang on when there was so much sound in my ear.

Contrast that with today, when I was sitting next to another soprano who was not at all loud. I’m not sure if she was not well or just not confident, but she didn’t sing very loud. My ability to “hang on” to the correct notes was greatly improved. I should add that we were reading slightly easier music this week than last. Last week is was a Bach motet that was VERY busy and lots of little black notes, so pretty easy to get all tangled up and lost. This week it was Mozart and Lasso, not as busy and slower. So I guess that probably had something to do with it as well. In any case, I learned that I’m not a horrid sight-reader, just not as good as I should be given my degree in vocal performance=) But I also realized that it’s high time I quit beating myself up over it. Singing is my gift, sight-singing is not. I’m finally okay with that.

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