Friday, August 26, 2011

Classical Voice Lessons

In Middle School and High School I took classical voice lessons from a belarusian, voice teacher (pianist extraordinaire). (if she reads this I want it to be flattering of her, because I loved her so much).

I just did not love classical voice.

Why did I take classical voice? It is the same reason a hip hop dancer takes ballet (do they?). Or why a basketball player cross trains.

If these examples make you think I am a Hip Hop singer- wrong again.

But nevertheless- my voice lessons took place in a big Victorian house that had been converted into a russian Music teacher School for kids who wanted to be stressed out.



Our specific voice lessons often took place in the attic room, late at night, when no one was around. I think it had to do with my insane after school schedule. But why it had to be in the attic, I fail to remember.

But, because of the remoteness and the late hour, there was a time that I thought she was a ghost/angel sent to teach me to sing and that I was the only one who saw her. But then I got confused as to who we paid and how my mom knew about her. Also, why she was there, and why the head of the music school let me be there if I was singing alone in a room with a magical piano.

Eventually one of the other teachers came in a talked to her during our 11 pm voice lesson- and I realized she was just a human.

But, save for that one month where I thought she was an angel/ghost, I did everything I could to make sure that I sang as LITTLE AS POSSIBLE in my lessons.

This was my ultimate education in procrastination.


I would stall as long as possible, sit down on the couch (when we were in the living room room on the first floor), chat about life, ask her about her life and how her green card process was going, etc.. She was getting her doctorate in music from Temple in Philadelphia- and she would update me on the progress of her dissertation.

She would tell me about her current gym regimen and I would encourage the talk. She would tell me about her new boyfriend that she met on the internet who lived in Virginia (I think she lives there now) who she would visit every other weekend.

She would tell me about her hobby of collecting beautiful computer backgrounds. She had a file on her computer with hundreds, maybe thousands of picturesque landscapes to set as backgrounds for her computer.

She would tell me about her baby (her car) and her son. And her cat named Charlie. I just remembered about her cat!

She would tell me she would go 90 mph on the highway when her "friends" weren't around. (The cops.)

She also started really getting into playing Pool when I was a junior and senior in high school.

I am sure I told her about a lot of things too, since I was the one instigating the procrastination, but I can't remember my big talking subjects, only hers.

When I did actually sing, we would warm up, and it was hard.

Then if we were learning a song, she would teach me the words to the foreign classical song- often russian. I would phonetically write the words out on a piece of paper (the only time I was actually supposed to be on the couch), memorize them, and sing songs with words I had no idea the meaning of. I would also accidentally copy her accent exactly- so when I sang an english song (the few classical ones there are), I had a russian accent. It was weird. (of me.)

I wasn't very good at classical singing, I always sounded very young. Not opera-like at all. I attribute that to a lack of passion, practice and ... desire. But I learned a lot from Irina.

I also think it may have helped me in singing to this day, but who can say...

I would put up a track of me singing an English song in a Russian accent if I was on my mom's computer, God I should find that....

All this talk makes we want to contact Irina. Maybe I will send her this post!

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