Adding a faulty Twitter plug-in, when I don’t even use Twitter. Not so smart.
It basically gave the inner workings of the site super AIDS. However, this problem has now been remedied.
In other news, something interesting dawned on me yesterday.
I rarely speak of singing quite as much as I used to, however, this was interesting enough to share. I recently acquired a quality alto sax, which makes me super happy, and saves me a bunch of money in crappy instrument rental this school year. When I finally opened that case, and held that thing in my hands it was as if no time had passed at all in between the last time I had held one. Well over a decade, but my hands lost all concept of elapsed time. I effortlessly fingered several scales, and automatically began checking the pads for any signs of catastrophic wear. It felt wonderful.
So yesterday, while driving to the airport, I was thinking about playing my horn, and re-played the process of how I ended up picking it up in the first place. I would have chosen chorus, and in hindsight, it likely would have been a more solid choice, however, what the older siblings did, I generally did as well.
I have a very clear memory of what it was like to take that heavy black case home for the first time. Walking a mile and half to and from school with it will do that. However, I was so excited, it didn’t matter. I just wanted to open that thing up, and be the jazz superstar I knew I was. So, I got home, assembled it, took a deep breath, and blew wildly, pressing keys rhythmically. The sound that emerged was something between a wounded Canadian goose, and one very angry African elephant. I tried several more times to no avail. It was then that I wisely decided to crack open my beginner alto sax manual and abandon my dreams of being a jazz wunderkind.
Lesson 1: Breathing. Take a slow deep breath, and make sure your lips are correctly positioned, then let the air out slowly. Try making a “too” sound while you breath out.
It didn’t take long to figure out how to make it sound the way I wanted, however, it took much longer to understand exactly how much breath was needed for certain notes, and how well it needed to be controlled in order to keep a smooth legato note-line. Many years in fact. Along the way, I managed to pass NYSSMA three times, and earn a few accolades here and there as well.
So I’m smiling, and remembering all that stuff, and suddenly I mindlessly began singing along to Harvey Danger. However, I was still breathing like I was playing the sax, because in my mind, that is exactly what I was doing. Mid-way through the chorus, “I’m not sick, but I’m not well…”, it occurred to me that this singing felt very different. It sounded different too. Not that I could hear myself any more accurately than I could before, but I could hear the difference in the quality of the sound. It felt lighter, thinner. It felt like I was blowing notes from my sax. I felt my face buzzing considerably more than it ever had, and what was even more surprising was that it was almost completely effortless.
I had spent years in my youth learning precise breath control in order to play my horn correctly, and under that context, thought was not required to execute that control. But change the context (ie. singing), and suddenly I’m doing ridiculous things, like making myself hoarse, and breathing in many different, and often comical ways.
So now I’m singing, and thinking about singing.
So I quickly thought of playing my sax again, and instead of imagining the notes being sung, I imagined how they would sound coming out of my horn. It was not so much thinking as much as hearing it in my head. I could break it down, but nevertheless, the process was instantaneous. I knew how I would have to blow, and what needed to be pressed, and it happened in my mind right along with the songs vocals. As long as I stayed a sax, somehow everything worked out alright.
I tried everything as a sax. Every song I could think of. Every note that had me cracking and breaking, every legato line and pretty vibrato I ever heard. Again and again, I could pretty much do whatever the hell I wanted with varying degrees of success as long as I remained an instrument, and not a “singer”.
Then came the ‘eureka”duh’ moment.
Singers ARE wind instruments. Why the above connection was not made prior to this point is somewhat of a mystery to me. I believe it could be the fact that I have not thought about playing for so long that it just didn’t occur to me. Of course, the moment all of that came rushing back, wham-o, there it was.
I knew the above fact, the same way I ‘know’ so many facts about singing correctly.
I simply had no frame of reference. I may have executed everything correctly a handful of times, but I never had any real way of actually ‘knowing’ how it should feel with any consistency.
I am not certain when I will sing again in any real way, or if I even will attempt to sing again. I think I may be quite a bit better at it than I was before. So, I suppose, I hope I do.
Until I get over it,
Live it, Love it, (play it softly..)